Balanced Offense Leads Volleyball Past FAU, 3-0, In Split Day At Sunshine State Classic

Balanced Offense Leads Volleyball Past FAU, 3-0, In Split Day At Sunshine State Classic

BOCA RATON, Fla. – A balanced offensive attack led by 14 kills from Erin Shomaker (Granville, Ohio/Granville HS) and a .417 team hitting percentage for the night led the FGCU volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-15) win over FAU in the finale of the Sunshine State Classic at FAU Arena. The win improved FGCU to 8-4 on the year after it fell to Miami, 3-0 (17-25, 13-25, 20-25) earlier in the day, while FAU dropped to 8-5 overall.
“Miami (9-1 overall) played so well this morning and we just didn’t have an answer. They were able to score in bunches, and at the end of sets executed at a really high level,” said head coach Matt Botsford. “That kind of pressure over 25 points is tough to combat if you aren’t clean with each touch.”
The night cap proved a different story for the Eagles after regrouping between matches.
“Thankfully we saw a very positive competitive response by the team this evening. I thought this match was as consistent as we have played all season from start to finish,” said Botsford. “And the best part was the contributions were coming from everyone. Shelby Kent was great from the service line, Claire Ertel was a really nice addition to the backrow, Lauren Clark provided some nice fire power up front, and ultimately everyone did their job well.”
Both Chelsey Lockey (Eaton, Colo./Eaton HS) and Shomaker were named to the All-Tournament Team following their performances.
“Chelsey set a phenomenal match tonight against FAU between her distribution and location,” said Botsford. “Erin’s stat line tonight was impressive in a lot of ways, but that kind of efficiency on that number of swings, really tells the story.”
In the win over FAU, Shomaker hit .583 for the match going 14-of-24 with no errors, while adding two digs and two blocks. Lauren Clark (Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park HS/Penn State) and Juliana Lentz (Miami, Fla./St. Brendan HS) each tallied eight kills, while Aja Jones (Venice, Fla./Venice HS) had seven and Skylar English (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) posted six. Jones added four blocks, while Clark and English each had a pair of aces. Lockey had 36 assists, while Dana Axner (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman HS) led the team with 18 digs.
Between both matches today, Axner tallied a total of 29 digs giving her 1,668 for her career which moved her past Holly Youngquist (1652, 2008-11) for third all-time in program history.
The .417 hitting percentage was highlighted by a .579 effort in the third set where FGCU was 13-of-19 with just two errors compared to a .188 percentage for FAU for the match. The Eagles held a 6-to-3 advantage in aces and a 12-to-8 edge in blocks.
In the first set, FGCU used a pair of four-point bursts to build out a 22-12 lead where Shomaker had four kills and English had a pair in that stretch. A kill by Clark closed out the set to give the Eagles the 1-0 lead.
Another four-point run early in set two gave the Green and Blue an early 6-3 lead which the Eagles were eventually able to extend to five, 13-8. FGCU pushed the lead to as many as seven in the latter stages of the set before eventually taking a 23-14 lead after a kill from Shomaker, an ace from Axner, and a kill by Lentz. The Owls were able to pull a little closer at the end of the set with a three-point run, but an attack error by FAU gave the Eagles the 2-0 lead.
FGCU got ahead early in the third set building out a quick 10-5 lead. A pair of FAU errors followed by a kill by Clark put the Eagles up 20-12 late. FGCU closed out the match scoring five of the final six points for the sweep.
The Eagles started the day with a tough match against the Hurricanes. Shomaker led the way posting a double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs followed by Jones who had six and English who had five. FGCU struggled offensively hitting just 0.078 for the match while committing 21 errors. Lockey had 23 assists, while Axner had 11 digs.
Miami was led by Angela Grieve who had 13 kills and Janice Leao who had 11 for the match. Savannah Vach directed the offense, which hit .327, picking up 37 assists.
The Hurricanes held a 6-to-1 advantage in aces and a slim 6-to-5 edge in blocks.
Both teams traded early runs in the first set, but it was Miami that capitalized on a six-point spurt which put the Hurricanes up 16-9. The Eagles ripped off a four-point run late in the match to pull within 22-15, but Miami scored three of the next five to take the set.
In set two, Miami once again used an early run to build out a lead that eventually stretched to 22-12. The Hurricanes tallied three of the final four points to take the 2-0 lead.
The third set saw FGCU erase an early deficit with a four-point run to tie the game at 10-10 after two Miami errors and a kill and ace by Shomaker. The Eagles took the lead at 12-11 and 13-12, but a three point run by the Hurricanes after it was tied 14-14 gave Miami some breathing room. Kills from Jones and Shomaker pulled FGCU back within a point, 19-18. After the Hurricanes stretched its lead back to three, the Eagles again came back to cut the deficit to 21-20. However, Miami closed things out with four straight points to claim the match.
The Eagles will next open ASUN play with a trip to Nashville next weekend. FGCU will open a three-match set there against Lipscomb on Friday (6 PM), Bellarmine on Saturday (3 PM), and Eastern Kentucky on Sunday (12 PM).
Most Career Kills

1.  1,490   Cortney VanLiew (.229)  2017-present
2. 1,483  Amanda Carroll (.259)  2015-19
3. 1,173  Brooke Youngquist Sweat (.245)   2004-07
4. 1,132  Olivia Mesner (.331)  2011-14
5. 961  Jessica Barnes (.194)  2010-14

Most Career Digs 

1.   1,965  Whitney Hendry (390 sets)  2004-07
2.  1,687  Whitney Masters (483 sets)  2011-14
3.  1,668  Dana Axner (322 sets)  2018-present
4.  1,652  Holly Youngquist (418 sets)  2008-11
5.  1,369  Brook Youngquist Sweat (346 sets)  2004-07

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Matt Botsford is in his eighth season as head coach of the FGCU women’s volleyball program in 2021 after being hired on Feb. 10, 2014. In his tenure, Botsford-led teams have compiled a 165-56 (.749) record overall, including an 81-19 (.810) record in ASUN play. Including this past year’s unprecedented spring season, he has taken the program to heights it has not seen in the Division-I era (2007-present) – registering at least 20 wins overall in five of the past six seasons and at least 10 wins in conference play every season. In 2018, he led the program to its first regular season championship since 2012 (fourth overall) and its first-ever ASUN tournament title, NCAA tournament appearance, NCAA tournament win and victory over a ranked team. His first two campaigns resulted in ASUN regular season runner-up finishes, and the following two saw the Eagles advance to the tournament championship and now the team has won three straight regular season titles, including a division title and ASUN tournament runner-up finish in the spring 2021 season. On Sept. 10, 2016, Botsford led his team to a five-set win over Indiana in Alico Arena, which signified the program’s first-ever win over a team from a Power-5 conference. In 2018, he led the team to a win over Miami (Fla.) – the program’s first-ever road Power 5 win, and the Eagles followed that up with a straight-set win over the Hurricanes at a neutral site in 2019.



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FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 85 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 14+ seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just nine seasons of D-I postseason eligibility, the Eagles have had a combined 42 teams or individuals compete in NCAA championships. Eight FGCU programs have earned a top-25 national ranking in their respective sport – including women’s basketball (No. 21, 2020-21), beach volleyball (No. 20, 2021) and both men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s soccer (2018) as three of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Green and Blue posted a department-best sixth-place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top-100 showing nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and state of Florida best seven teams earn the NCAA’s Public Recognition Award for their Academic Progress Rate in their sport. FGCU also collectively earned a record 3.50 GPA in the classroom in the fall 2020 semester and has outperformed the general University undergraduate population for 24 consecutive semesters. The 2019 Fall, 2020 Spring, 2020 Fall, and 2021 Spring semesters each saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a 3.0-or-higher team GPA in each. The Eagles also served an all-time high 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two runners-up for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.




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