Lady Rattlers dominate home game

Christening the new Florida A&M Multipurpose Center in fine fashion, FAMU’s Lady Rattler volleyball team defeated the Mercer University Bears three matches to none.Coach Tony Trifonov is currently in his 12th year as FAMU’s volleyball coach. With a record of 254-105, eight straight Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference titles under his belt, and eight NCAA Tournament appearances under his belt, Trifonov looked to continue his success with the team’s home opener.Although they had a bit of a shaky start, the Lady Rattlers did not disappoint.“I have an injury to my ankle, but in the second game I decided I had to play like ‘I don’t care, I’m just going to go hard,'” said fourth-year outside hitter, Maria Gomez.Gomez is the only senior player on the team. Her experience as a player helped to elevate the team’s play after dropping the first two points of the game to the Bears. Gomez got the first kill for the Lady Rattlers, and had a total of 11 for the game.“I really feel like I have to be a leader on the team,” Gomez said.Junior outside hitter Jovana Blazeski also had an outstanding game on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, leading the team in big kills with 13 and digs with 10.As a team, the Lady Rattlers had a total 26 digs, stopping Mercer attacks while setting up shots, with a total of 39 kills. During the first and second matches, the Bears were able to challenge the Lady Rattlers; even passing them in kills 25-24. The score for both games was 25-23, small scale victories where Coach Trifonov had to call timeouts after trailing early in game one, 8-12, and in game two, 2-5.“The girls probably put a little more pressure on themselves to win than they needed to. This was a big opening game in the new arena, I’m happy we were able to get away with a win,” Trifonov said.The third game revolved around kill shots from the team. FAMU had 15 kills while holding the Bears to 3 on 19 attempts. FAMU jumped out to a 17-9 lead during the third game, never trailing and winning in a 25-18 effort. “The third game we felt a little bit more relaxed. [The team] loosened up a little bit and that’s why we were able to jump out to an early lead,” Trifonov said.Libby Hansch led the Bears effort with 7 kills on 11 attacks, and the Bears as a whole had 28 kills. The final score for all three matches were 25-23, 25-23, 25-18.The next home game for the Lady Rattlers is on Oct. 16 against Winston Salem State University.