Lady Rattlers Thirsty for Fresh Shot at NCAA Volleyball Crown

The Florida A&M Lady Rattlers volleyball team ended its streak of nine consecutive Mid-Eastern Conference Athletic championships last year. This year, the Lady Rattlers are looking to get back on top and earn a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

The Lady Rattlers remember how last year ended well and have learned from that experience, Trifonov said.

“Hopefully we learned we need to play consistent and mentally strong,” Trifonov said. “We have to compete and not overlook an opponent. We had a bad day last year and hopefully the team is a little bit hungrier to bring the championship back to Florida A&M.”

Trifonov said the team’s approach to the MEAC tournament would be to focus on the task at hand.

“We have to approach it one game at a time and not worry about who is coming up next. If we overlook somebody, that might be our last match,” Trifonov said. “Every game is like an elimination game, so we have to play like there is no tomorrow.”

Playing tough opponents early on in the season has helped prepare the Lady Rattlers for the tournament Trifonov said.

“It’s easier said than done, but we have to be creative with the schedule and our conference is one of the lowest RPI’s conference ranking in the nation,” Trifonov said. “We try to schedule as many tough teams in the start of the season as we can. All the good teams are going to prepare us for the MEAC tournament.”

The Lady Rattlers want to avoid self-inflicted mistakes during the tournament.

“We can be our own worst enemy,” Trifonov said. “It’s up to the mental approach for the team and hopefully we remain healthy coming into tournament play, but we are ready and we have to show what we have learned and improved on this season.”

Middle Blocker Pamela Barrera said FAMU volleyball is back and the team just has to play its style of volleyball to win.

“The MEAC title is coming back to FAMU where it belongs,” Barrera said. “We are

playing well and we just have to play our brand of volleyball.”

To win the conference and head back to the NCAA tournament, they must communicate well Outside Hitter Maria Ceccarelli said.

“We have to continue to talk to each other,” Ceccarelli said. “We have what it takes to bring the crown back home to Florida A&M.”

With new faces on the team, the Lady Rattlers feel the pressure is not on them but the other teams to beat them, Trifonov said.

“We are always there so we have to worry about us not other teams,” Trifonov said. “If we go and play our style of volleyball the other teams don’t really matter.”

Bringing the MEAC championship back home is the goal for Florida A&M.

“It’s keeping the tradition, the proud tradition at Florida A&M,” Trifonov said. “Another championship means another trip to the NCAA tournament. It’s always been the goal more times and we have achieved that goal more times than not.”