TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Aug. 14) - The Florida A&M Women's Volleyball team opens their 2017 campaign as always, on the road, opening the season in the Ole Miss Invitational, Aug. 25-27 in Oxford, Miss.
In that opening three-day event, FAMU will face Louisiana Tech ( 3:30 p.m. Central Time), and UT Chattanooga (8:00 p.m. CST) on Friday;; North Dakota (3:00 p.m.) on Saturday, while closing out against host Ole Miss on Sunday (1:00 p.m. CST).
The FAMU Women will also take part in three more tournaments including the North Dakota State Invitational in Fargo, N.D. (Sept. 1 and 2), the University of Florida Tourney (Sept. 15-16) in Gainesville, Florida, with the FAMU/FSU Invitational sandwiched in between, on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 8 and 9 in the Al Lawson Center.
FAMU will host Top 25 competition both days, opening on Friday, Sept. 8 against Pac 12 power Arizona at 6:00 p.m., followed by a 1:00 p.m. matinee on Saturday against SEC foe Tennessee.
After the Florida Tournament, FAMU will play home and home against North Florida, taking on the Ospreys in Jacksonville on Sept. 19, before hosting them here at the Lawson Center on Sept. 27. Both matches will start at 6:00 p.m.
Winners of all but one Southern Division title in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Volleyball history, FAMU opens 2017 conference play with three straight road matches: at South Carolina State (Sept. 29), at Savannah State (Oct. 1) and at Bethune-Cookman (Oct. 6).
The conference home openers will be Friday and Sunday, Oct. 13 and 15 - Homeocming Weekend - against North Carolina Central (7:00 p.m.) and North Carolina A&T (3:00 p.m.) in the Al Lawson Center.
FAMU's complete schedule is posted on FAMUAthletics.com.
INTERNATIONAL LADY RATTLERS LOCKED AND LOADED...
Armed with three Preseason First Team All-MEAC Selections, including the 2016 MEAC Rookie of the Year, FAMU is the favorite to win the Southern Division in 2017, after garnering 20 of a possbile 25 first place votes to edge out archrival Bethune-Cookman in the balloting.
Honored by the league's coaches and sports information directors on the Preseason All-Star team were 6-0 sophomore outside huitter Nicole Abreu (Lima, Peru), the MEAC Rookie of the Year in 2016, along with 6-1 sophomore Marie Yvette Garcia (Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep.), at outside hitter, and 5-6 junior libero Valentina Carrasco (Lima, Peru).
The 2017 FAMU roster is a sophomore-freshman mix, with just two juniors - Carrasco and 5-11 redshirt Pamela Soriano (Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep.), - along with 5-9 senior setter Valeria Lopez (Medellin, Colombia).
Also returning from last year's 17-12 (10-0 MEAC South) squad are sophomore twin sisters, 6-1 setter Elena and 6-2 hitter Radka Dimitrova (Sofia, Bulgaria); 5-10 second year hitter Alexis Gosha (Apopka, Florida), and 6-1 junior middle Nair Canessa (Lima, Peru).
A trio of freshmen newcomers include 6-1 middle Candelaria Herrera (San Juan, Argentina) and Istanbul, Turkey natives, 6-1 setter Ilayda Nurkan and 6-2 middle Aybuke Kocabiyik.
Rounding out the international flavor of FAMU Volleyball are the members of the coaching staff, Sofia, Bulgaria native head coach Tanio "Tony" Trifonov, who begins his 20th season at the helm, with 10 MEAC titles and over 360 career wins.
Also on the coaching staff is Associate Head Coach Gokhan Yilmaz (Istanbul, Turkey) and Assistant Coach Mariela Trifonov (Lima, Peru).