WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 17) – The FAMU Women’s Volleyball team dropped a hard-fought 3-1 decision to North Carolina A&T in the semifinal round of the 2018 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Volleyball Tournament at Burr Gymnasium on the Howard University campus Saturday evening.
FAMU (11-16), swept two matches from the Aggies in the regular season en route to the MEAC South Division title, but fell behind early Saturday’s bout, dropping the first two sets, 25-20 and 25-23, before winning the third frame, 25-17.
The fourth set was back-and-forth before the Aggies prevailed to secure a berth in Sunday night’s tournament final, with a 26-24 nail-biter.
First-team All-MEAC outside Maria Yvett Garcia led FAMU with 15 kills, followed by Radka Dimitrova with 12 kills, and Aybuke Kocabiyik with nine. Ilayda Nurkan handed out 36 assists, while Valentina Carrasco finished with a team-high 14 digs.
The Rattler Women, under first-year head coach Gokhan Yilmaz, reached the semifinals with a tough, five-set (3-2) match win over Morgan (Md.) State in Friday’s quarterfinal round.
FAMU figured to be in for a pitched battle with the Bears, after Morgan won the opening set, 25-21, before the Rattlers rebounded to take the second set, 25-16. MSU won the third set, 25-23, with FAMU winning the fourth, 25-19, to force a decisive fifth period. FAMU prevailed in that final frame, 15-10 to move on to Saturday’s semifinals.
Maria Yvett Garcia led FAMU in the tourney opener with 25 kills, while Aybuke Kocabiyik added 11 kills, Radka Dimitrova nine (9), and Karina Pressoir eight (8) . Ilayda Nurkan recorded 46 assists for FAMU, while trio of Carrasco (16), Jessa Long (14) and Dimitrova (13) led the way in digs in Friday’s match.
Sunday’s final will feature defending champion Howard against North Carolina A&T at 8:00 p.m. on ESPNU and ESPN3.com