25 Sep Timely Offense Leads Volleyball Past Lipscomb 3-0 in ASUN Opener
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In a rematch of last season’s five-set thriller for the ASUN title, it was FGCU that found timely offense and had stout defensive plays at the net on Friday night in taking a 3-0 win over Lipscomb at Allen Arena to open league play. The Eagles improve to 9-4 overall (1-0 ASUN), while Lipscomb fell to 3-8 (0-1 ASUN).
“That match was won for us at the net with our blocking. Midway through set one, it sure didn’t look like it was going to unfold that way. Eventually our front row found its rhythm and that really changed the complexity of the match-up,” said head coach Matt Botsford. “We had some great performances off the bench at some key moments and that momentum carried through in each set. Breelyn came in with a key dig and serve to seal up game one. Lauren finished off set two with a big swing after a timeout. And Snowy came in and provided a nice calming presence in serve receive while really making a nice adjustment for us with the block set up. Road wins are going to be big this season, so we are happy about that start versus a very good team.”
FGCU’s Erin Shomaker (Granville, Ohio/Granville HS) led all players with 14 kills while adding two assists, four digs, and two aces. Cortney VanLiew (Seymour, Ind./Columbus East HS) added seven kills (4 digs, 2 blocks), while Aja Jones (Venice, Fla./Venice HS) added five kills and five blocks. Juliana Lentz (Miami, Fla./St. Brendan HS) led all players with seven blocks, while Chelsey Lockey (Eaton, Colo./Eaton HS) added five of her own to go with 33 assists and five digs. Dana Axner (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman HS) added nine digs and now needs 11 more to move into second all-time at FGCU.
Lipscomb was led by Logan Gish who had nine kills, four blocks, and four kills. Kamryn Bacus added eight kills, while two others had seven. Delaney Dilfer had 29 assists and Delaney Smith led all players with 12 digs.
Overall, FGCU hit .258 for the match compared to .129 for Lipscomb. The Bisons held a 9-to-2 advantage in aces, but FGCU was strong at the net with a 13-to-8 edge in blocks. The difference in the day were 24 attack errors for Lipscomb compared to 14 for the Eagles.
The first set saw the Eagles take a dramatic 27-25 decision as the teams traded points the entire way. The opener saw seven lead changes and 17 ties overall. After Lipscomb took a 23-21 lead, FGCU called timeout before a pair of Eagles blocks tied the match at 23 each. A kill by Jones, who assisted on both of the prior blocks, gave FGCU a 24-23 lead. The Bisons were able to tie the match again at 25-25, but a kill from VanLiew and a solo block by Lentz clinched the set for the Eagles.
Set two start the same as the first until both teams traded early four-point swings. The Eagles took a 9-7 lead first before Lipscomb scored four straight to go up 12-10 forcing a FGCU timeout. Lipscomb was able to extend its lead to 15-11 before a kill by Shomaker broke up the momentum. Another block assist by the Eagles followed by a Lipscomb error and a kill by Snowy Burnam (Palm City, Fla./Jensen Beach HS) tied the match at 15-15.
After Lipscomb retook a two-point lead, 17-15, the Eagles ripped off five straight points to go up by three. FGCU extended that to a 24-20 lead after a kill by Lockey to set up match point. Lipscomb managed to score three straight before a kill by Lauren Clark (Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park HS/Penn State) gave the Eagles the 25-23 win.
The Bisons led by as many as five early in the third set and held a 15-12 lead midway through. Thanks to a kill by Shomaker along with a pair of block assists and a Lipscomb error, the Eagles took a 16-15 lead. Lipscomb briefly tied the match at 16, before the teams traded three-point spurts. FGCU closed the match scoring six of the final seven points to clinch the sweep.
FGCU will remain in Nashville this weekend to take on Bellarmine (Saturday, 4 PM ET) and Eastern Kentucky (Sunday, 1 PM) at Allen Arena. Bellarmine fell 3-2 to Liberty on Friday, while Eastern Kentucky swept Jacksonville 3-0 earlier in the day.
Most Career Kills
|1.||1,497||Cortney VanLiew (.231)||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.||1,677||Dana Axner (325 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 166-56 (.750) record overall, including an 82-19 (.813) 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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