01 Oct Early ASUN Test This Weekend as Volleyball Heads to Jacksonville, North Florida
|FGCU Volleyball Match Notes|
|Match 1 (Fri.)||FGCU (11-4, 3-0 ASUN) vs Jacksonville (4-11, 1-2 ASUN)|
|Match 2 (Sat.)||FGCU vs North Florida (14-1, 3-0 ASUN)|
|Date //Time||Fri. Oct. 1 // 7:00 p.m.
Sat. Oct. 2 // 7:00 p.m.
|Location||Jacksonville, Fla. // Swisher Arena (Friday) // UNF Arena (Saturday)|
|Live Stats||vs Jacksonville | vs North Florida|
|Live Stream||vs. Jacksonville – N/A | vs. North Florida – ESPN+|
|@FGCU_VB | @FGCUEagles|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – After sweeping last weekend’s divisional crossover games in Nashville, the FGCU volleyball team stays in the Sunshine State this weekend with matches at Jacksonville on Friday night and at North Florida on Saturday. The Eagles (11-4, 3-0 ASUN) enter the weekend tied alongside North Florida (14-1, 3-0 ASUN) for first place in the East Division and both remain perfect in league play overall. Jacksonville is 4-11 overall and 1-2 in league play.
Both matches are set for 7 PM opening serves with Saturday night’s tilt at UNF streamed on ESPN+.
The Eagles picked up three wins last weekend including a 3-0 victory against Lipscomb in a rematch of last year’s ASUN title game. FGCU also earned 3-0 wins over Bellarmine and Eastern Kentucky.
Both match ups are two of the longer running series in program history. The Green and Blue lead the all-time series against Jacksonville 25-11 including a 19-9 ledger in conference play. The Eagles also have a 10-match win streak in place against the Dolphins. Against UNF, FGCU is 26-8 all-time including 23-5 in league play. The teams split their four meetings last spring.
Coming off last weekend, Juliana Lentz (Miami, Fla./St. Brendan HS) was tabbed the ASUN Defensive Player of the Week after posting 21 blocks and 23 kills in the three matches. She joins Erin Shomaker (Granville, Ohio/Granville HS) as weekly award winners this season – Shomaker was named the ASUN Player of the Week on August 30.
Cortney VanLiew (Seymour, Ind./Columbus East HS) enters the weekend with 997 digs for her career. She needs just three more to become the third player in program history to have 1,000 career kills and digs. She extended her program-record to 1,508 kills after the three matches last weekend. Amanda Carroll and Brooke Youngquist Sweat are the only other two Eagles to accomplish the 1,000 kills/1,000 digs feat.
Shomaker continues to pace the offense with 174 kills (3.78/set), while Lentz ranks second on the team with 113 (2.40/set). Lentz also leads the team in blocks (60) followed by Aja Jones (Venice, Fla./Venice HS) with 52 alongside her 87 kills which ranks third on the team. Chelsey Lockey (Eaton, Colo./Eaton HS) leads the Eagles with 485 assists to direct the offense, while Dana Axner (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman HS) continues to be a stalwart in the back with 236 digs (5.02/set).
Axner moved into second all-time in career digs after last weekend to pass Whitney Masters. She now has 1,704 for her career and needs 262 to pass Whitney Hendry (2004-07) for the program record.
Jacksonville picked up a win over Bellarmine last weekend to snap a four-match losing skid. Cami Kelsey leads the squad with 111 kills.
North Florida has won seven straight including three last weekend during its crossover series at Jacksonville State. The Osprey have three players with 100-plus kills so far this season: Dariana Hollingsworth-Santana (175), Gabby O’Connell (108), and Maddie Boyd (104).
Following this weekend’s matches, the Eagles will return to Alico Arena on Friday, August 8 to host Kennesaw State and Sunday, August 10 to take on Liberty. Tickets are available online at www.FGCUTickets.com, at the Alico Arena Ticket Office, or by calling 866-FGCU-TIX.
ASUN Leaders (Top 10)
Kills/Set – Shomaker (1st, 3.78)
Hitting Percentage – Lentz (2nd, .382)
Assists/Set – Lockey (1st, 10.32)
Aces – Shomaker (t3rd, 20)
Digs/Set – Axner (1st, 5.02)
Blocks/Set – Lentz (2nd, 1.28), Jones (4th, 1.13)
Points/Set – Shomaker (1st, 4.47)
For complete coverage of the volleyball program, follow the Eagles on Twitter at @FGCU_VB, on Instagram at @FGCU_VB, on Facebook at /FGCUVolleyball and online at FGCUathletics.com. You can also sign-up to have news on FGCU volleyball or other programs delivered directly to your inbox by visiting www.fgcuathletics.com/email.
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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 167-56 (.751) record overall, including an 83-19 (.814) 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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