27 Sep Juliana Lentz Earns ASUN Defensive Player of the Week Honor
FORT MYERS, Fla. – After leading the FGCU defense in the Eagles’ three wins during the crossover play weekend, Juliana Lentz (Miami, Fla./St. Brendan HS) was selected as the ASUN Volleyball Defensive Player of the Week as announced Monday.
“These past three matches our block and defense have really come together. On the net side, our middles have led that effort and Julianna was phenomenal in that regard this weekend,” said head coach Matt Botsford. “She is learning how to take advantage of her physical gifts up front and utilizing good eye work to put herself in better positions.”
Lentz anchored the defensive effort at the net while also providing timely offense as FGCU swept its crossover weekend in Nashville going 3-0 – including a 3-0 win over defending ASUN champs Lipscomb. The Green and Blue also picked up wins over Bellarmine and Eastern Kentucky.
In the three matches, Lentz led the Eagles with 21 total blocks (2.33/set) for the series. Overall, FGCU held a 33.5-to-16 advantage in team blocks in the three wins. In addition to her blocks, Lentz added 23 total kills (2.56/set) and scored a total of 34.5 points. In the win over Lipscomb, she had 4 kills and 7 blocks. She followed that with an 11-kill effort with 9 blocks (tied for the 5th-most in a single game in program history) in the win over Bellarmine. On Sunday against EKU, she added 8 kills and 5 blocks.
For the season, she leads the Eagles with 60 total blocks and ranks second in the ASUN at 1.28 per set. Her .382 hit percentage is also the second best in the league. She ranks second on the team with 113 kills and in points at 3.21 per set.
Lentz and the Eagles will remain on the road this upcoming weekend with a Friday night match (7 PM) at Jacksonville on October 7 before heading across town to take on North Florida on Saturday, October 8 (7 PM).
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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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