Lady Rattlers defend volleyball streak

The Florida A&M Lady Rattlers returned to the Al Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center with a pair of 3-0 wins this weekend.

The first victory came Friday night (25-11, 25-21, 25-15) against the South Carolina State University Lady Bulldogs (3-19, 2-4 MEAC). The team followed that effort with another win (25-20, 25-11, 25-17) against the winless Savannah State University Lady Tigers (0-26, 0-7 MEAC) Sunday afternoon.

The Lady Rattlers (11-6, 7-0 MEAC) are in the middle of a nine-game win streak dating back to Sept. 13 and a seven-game unbeaten streak in conference play.

Friday’s game was filled with rapid action. The momentum rarely stayed under the Lady Rattlers’ control.

Despite the victories, head coach Tanio “Tony” Trifonov was displeased with his team’s effort.

“My overall assessment is disappointment,” Trifonov said. “There is a lot to work on as far as our consistency goes. Once you bring down the energy against a team it is very difficult to bring it back up.

“We’re just not a very good volleyball team if we can’t control our level of play, and we have to play at the level of whichever team we’re playing against. We’re just not a very good team.”

The first set was marked by the Lady Rattlers’ ability to break tendency and start quickly. The team was able to jump out to a 16-5 lead and never surrendered the lead throughout the set.

However, that was the last set in which the Lady Rattlers looked dominant.

The second set started out slowly for the Lady Rattlers as they went down seven to nine. However, the team was able to bounce back, taking the set 25-21.

The third set was another uneven showing for FAMU as the team started out tied at five before going on a 20-10 run to finish the game.

The Lady Rattlers regained their composure and were able to finish strong despite their mid-game lull.

On Sunday, the team reverted back to its slow-starting ways with eight ties in the first set, despite taking it 25-20.

FAMU managed to stem the tide a bit in the second set with a 25-11 advantage, as the set was marked by the team’s .560 hitting percentage.

The final set showcased a slew of errors by the Lady Rattlers as they struggled to pull away from the Lady Tigers.

Senior outside hitter and middle blocker Katherine Huanec led the team with 15 kills on Friday and 10 more Sunday.

“We need to play better from the start,” Huanec said. “We can’t play down to our competition and get to where we want to be.”

Freshman middle blocker Dei’Ja Martin chipped in with three kills on both Friday and Sunday. She knows the team will need to improve its intensity.

“Our intensity was lacking, but we will need to improve,” Martin said. “We played way too relaxed, and we will be better with that as the season winds down.”

The Lady Rattlers will travel to Greensboro, N.C., to play the North Carolina A&T Lady Aggies on Friday.