WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 13) - The Florida A&M Women’s Volleyball team begins their quest for the 2018 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title this Friday against Morgan (Md.) State at 2:00 p.m. in the quarterfinals of the MEAC Volleyball Championship in Burr Gymnasium here on the campus of Howard University.
The two semifinal round matches will be played here Saturday afternoon, with the championship match slated for Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, airing live on ESPNU and ESPN3.com.
FAMU VOLLEYBALL AT A GLANCE
FAMU (10-15, 9-1 MEAC) captured the Southern Division title with a seven-match conference winning streak to end the regular season, and enter the tournament as the No. 1 seed from the Southern, facing the Northern Division’s No. 4 seed, Morgan State (13-14, 5-5 MEAC).
The 2018 season was a debut campaign for head coach Gokhan Yilmaz, whose work resume is replete with successful development of talent on all levels, and his steady influence bore fruit this season, as FAMU won 10 of its’ final 12 regular season matches after a rugged start.
Leading the charge for FAMU’s title bid will be Preseason All-MEAC outside, junior Maria Yvett Garcia, who finished the regular season with 343 kills, 191 digs and 40 blocked shots; junior outside Radka Dimitrova, who slammed 227 kills to got with 215 digs and 49 blocks; sophomore Aybuke Kocabiyik who recorded 184 kills, and sophomore Karina Pressoir, who had 142 kills.
Sophomore Ilayda Nurkan (489) and junior Elena Dimitrova (325) led the club in assists, while senior libero Valentina Carrasco, the school’s all-time leader in digs, led the way in that category with 386, followed by Jessa Long (248), Radka Dimitrova (215), Maria Garcia (191), and Elena Dimitrova (103).
Aybuke Kocabiyik topped the club in total blocks with 87, followed by Pressoir (66).
FAMU’s MEAC HISTORY
The Rattlers, which have won a league-best 13 MEAC championships all-time, have not won a title since 2009, although they have made the finals five times since.
That 2009 title was the last of nine straight championships won by FAMU (2001-09), which won 10 in 11 years between 1999 and 2009.
FAMU won its’ first title in 1988, then won back-to-back crowns in 1995 and 1996, before their 11-year run of dominance began in 1999.