25 Oct Skylar English Named ASUN Volleyball Freshman of the Week
FORT MYERS, Fla. – After posting 24 kills on the weekend to help the FGCU volleyball team pick up three wins during crossover play to remain unbeaten in league play, freshman Skylar English (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) was named the ASUN Freshman of the Week on Monday afternoon. The Eagles improved to 19-4 overall and 11-0 in ASUN play and extended their win streak to 12 games.
“Skylar has really elevated her game over the last month and you can see that she is feeling much more comfortable on the backside of the net. This weekend she showcased her ability to impact matches as an attacker, a blocker, and a server,” said head coach Matt Botsford. “The threat she is providing from the right side really helps to open things up for our offense. She continues to grow with each opportunity, and I just love the way she processes the game.”
English hit .487 for the weekend which included wins over North Alabama, Central Arkansas, and West Division leader Jacksonville State. She had just five attack errors with her 24 kills in the three matches and averaged 2.67 kills per set. Her well-rounded play included 15 digs, eight blocks, and five aces. Against Jacksonville State, she had 10 kills, eight digs, and three blocks. In the win over North Alabama, she hit .875 with seven kills on eight attempts while serving four aces and posting three blocks.
For the year, the freshman has 127 kills, the fifth-most on the team, and has 21 aces, the second-most on the team. Defensively, she has 82 digs and 48 blocks.
This marked the fourth weekly honor for the Eagles and the first for English. Erin Shomaker was named the league’s Player of the Week on Aug. 30 and Oct. 4, while Juliana Lentz was named the Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 27.
Entering the upcoming week, FGCU’s 12-match win streak is the fifth-longest in the NCAA and the Eagles rank No. 50 in the NCAA RPI. The Green and Blue are just one-win shy of posting its sixth 20-win season in the last seven years, though FGCU played just 17 games in the truncated Spring 21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Eagles are also closing in on equaling their best start to ASUN play in program history at 11-0 – in 2012, FGCU opened league play going 14-0.
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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 175-56 (.757) record overall, including a 91-19 (.826) 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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