Lady Rattlers defeat MEAC foe

The Florida A&M University Lady Rattlers volleyball team sent the South Carolina State Lady Bulldogs home with their tails between their legs after a 3-0 (30-19, 30-16, 30-12) victory Saturday afternoon.

The Lady Rattlers remained undefeated in the conference after their 90th straight regular season MEAC win.

The Lady Rattlers (14-6 overall, 9-0 MEAC) won each of the three games while holding the Lady Bulldogs to fewer points in the second and third games.

In the first game, the Lady Rattlers won 30-19.

As for the second game, the Lady Bulldogs held a one-point lead (6-5). But after the Lady Rattlers called a time out to refocus, they regained control and continued to dominate. The end score for the second game was 30-16.

The Lady Rattlers came out aggressive in the third game. The score was 11-3 when S.C. State called a time out to stop the FAMU run. But in the end, the Lady Rattlers proved to be too much for the Lady Bulldogs. The end score for the third game was 30-12.

Sophomore outside hitter Maritta Royster-Crockett said the squad has worked on teamwork and staying calm throughout the games. Royster-Crockett said she has some personal goals to reach.

“I want to work on being more consistent. I’m going to work on getting my speed up and a quicker arm swing,” she said.

Senior middle blocker and outside hitter Maria Andonova added 18 kills along with five digs.

“I feel good that we won,” Andonova said. “Just kind of a slow game, a lot of excitement.”

Andonova said she wants to win the conference championship and advance further in the NCAA tournament.

Rosa Rojas, a senior libero, led the team with 15 digs, and freshman setter Zaira Manzo registered 24 assists to lead FAMU.

Sophomore middle blocker Gisela Kloss recorded seven kills, and junior setter Charlene Pama had 13 assists for the Lady Bulldogs.

S.C. State assistant coach Lokene Campos said some of the problems during the match were due to injuries and the amount of young players on the team.

“It did show us a few things we need. We do need to take time to let our players rest,” Campos said. “It’s mainly back to the basics. It was there at times for us, at times it wasn’t there.”

The Lady Rattlers won all three games, but head coach Tony Trifonov said he still looks for improvement, especially in conference play.

“We’re letting a lot of free balls drop. We’re trying not to get complacent with it,” Trifonov said. “Sometimes we tend to relax. We’re trying to keep the team focused.”

Other problems stem from construction in the gym. The gym’s air conditioning system is currently being installed and has hindered some of the team’s practices.

“It’s difficult with construction going on,” he said. “It’s hot; that tends to drain a lot of our energy.”

Trifonov said FAMU plans to finish the construction on the air conditioning this week.

FAMU returns to action today against North Florida. Due to the Dorm Step Show, the start time was switched to 2 p.m. at Gaither Gym.