Senior outside hitter Maria Ceccareli carded 24 kills to lead the Lady Rattlers' attack. Freshman Yeisha Arcia, started slowly in the first set, but picked up the slack down the stretch to give FAMU the boost to close the gap with the Trojans.
Coach Tony Trifonov was pleased with the turnaround of the team. "You can't compare one match with another. They were on the road and early in the season, now it's more like a little more towards the end of the season and we were playing at home. We stepped up a level. We haven't had that much competition since the last time we played Troy," he said.
One major improvement for the Lady Rattlers this season has been the play of setter Diana Gonzales. Her accurate placements allowed the hitters to attack with full thrust as opposed to the constant struggles of last year. Gonzales put up 63 assists in the match, indicating that the hitters we scoring from the sets. On the defensive front, Karol Marquez was solid, accumulating 32 digs, while Arcia made 15 on the day.
The Trojans were led by Alicia Dukes with 19 kills, followed by Devin Von Pingel with 17. Breanna Cullity and Kayla Pickart closed out the Trojans in double digit kills, with 15 and 10 respectively.
Alexandra Alexander set up the hitters with 50 assists. Defensively, Courtney Cohen had 27 digs, while Alexander carded 15. Dukes added 11 digs for the Trojans.
The Lady Rattlers stepped out of conference play after 11 days off. An unexpected cancellation against the University of Jacksonville Dolphins last week, left the team in limbo after defeating the B-CU Lady Wildcats in three sets on Oct.12.
"We made a lot of unforced errors that cost us. We missed a lot of serves, we didn't put a lot of balls away, and we got blocked a lot. We didn't block well, and all of those things cost us the match. Overall we needed to step out of conference and raise the level up a little bit so that we can get prepared for the conference matches ahead of us. The Troy coach said ‘I don't know what you did with your kids but they play unbelievable now'," Trifonov said.
The Lady Rattlers return to MEAC action on Friday, Oct. 26 as they travel to Orangeburg, SC to face South Carolina State Bulldogs, with a Sunday, Oct. 28 meeting with the Savannah State Tigers in Savannah, Ga.