Home Court Advantage?

The Florida A&M Lady Rattlers volleyball team remains winless on the season, as they lost their home opener Sunday to the Lady Dolphins of Jacksonville University. The team lost in four sets (25-21 L, 25-19 L, 25-15 W, 25-18 L) in the Al Lawson Center.

FAMU lost the first two sets and fell into an early 0-2 hole. Head Coach Tony Trifonov said the team was rattled at times and it hurt their play in the early sets.

“Jacksonville didn’t make a lot of errors and we broke down in the serve receive and first set,” Trifonov said. “A questionable call caused the momentum change in the first set and it shouldn’t have rattled us, but it did and we weren’t able to recover.”

FAMU came out and took control of the third set, winning 25-15, putting them back in the match. Outside Hitter Bianca Rucker said the team was more focused and played in rhythm.

“After the second set, we talked amongst ourselves and that got us fired up and ready to play,” Rucker said. “We were more comfortable and that allowed us to play in rhythm more. In that set in particular, we were able to control the pace and dictate the tempo.”

The Lady Rattlers couldn’t keep the momentum going as the Lady Dolphins sealed the victory with a 25-18 victory in the fourth set. Jacksonville University Head Coach Shaun Kupferberg said his team was more relaxed in the fourth set, which lead to the win.

“I told team to get the team back to the basics after we lost the third set,” Kupferberg said. “We had to get settled in, not get frustrated and get back to our game plan and that’s what we did.”

Trifonov said that with a young team and no seniors on the floor, someone must step up to be a leader and errors can’t happen if the team wants to be successful this season.

“Leadership for this team is important and a lack of leadership and inexperience hurt us today,” Trifonov said. “At times today we played great which shows we have the talent. We just need to put it to use.”

The Lady Rattlers have a few games coming up against top-tier competition and Trifonov said it would serve as a measuring stick for this team.

“We have tough competition coming up with the likes of Miami University, Oklahoma University, Florida International and Auburn University,” Trifonov said. “Three of those four teams made the NCAA Tournament last year and it will see where we are at so far as a team. Those games will be a great test for us.”