Rattlers look to extend streak

The Florida A&M Lady Rattlers (6-11, 4-0 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) will go on the road to face the South Carolina State University Bulldogs (8-20, 1-2 in the MEAC). The game will take place Friday in Orangeburg, S.C.

The Lady Rattlers are coming off a 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 27-25, 25-20) win against the Bethune-Cookman University Wildcats (4-20, 1-3 in the MEAC).

Head coach Tony Trifonov said if the girls want to win this contest, the defense must get better each game.

“We need to get better, we have a lot of open areas on the court, and we have been working on covering those areas,” Trifonov said. “We need to read the opponent better and our blockers need to help in that aspect as well.”

The Lady Rattlers typically tries to play a fast-pace style of volleyball and they will try to set the tone early in order to run their offense against the Bulldogs.

“It is very important to set the pace early because the teams we play normally play with a slower tempo and then we struggle to maintain our level of play,” outside hitter Bianca Rucker said in a previous interview.  “So it was very important to control the pace of the game and maintain that fast-paced tempo.”

Trifonov  said throughout the season the team is young and it would take time to gel.  He said the players are talking and communicating more, as they get used to playing together.

“They are spending more time together and as a result, they are getting more comfortable with each other so that has something to do with the success,” Trifonov said.

The Lady Rattlers are not the same team that started out this season, their hitting has improved and they are starting to come together and play as a team.

“Our hitters are really stepping up their game right now, we’re learning a lot in practice, and it’s starting to show in the games and we are coming together as a team,” outside hitter Ashley Johnson said.

FAMU has been dominant as of late and the team has dropped just three sets during its win streak. Trifonov said he does not want the girls to get complacent because he knows the team has areas to improve on.

“We have to take care of easy balls, free balls, down balls, and we need to capitalize better in those areas to score points,” Trifonov said.

Trifonov said the team must bring its best against South Carolina State University because it’s not an easy place to play.

“I want the girls to play well, bottom line,” Trifonov said.  “It’s a very difficult place to play, it’s a small gym with a whole lot of people, and not the best facility to play a road game, so we need to put in our best effort to win.”