09 Nov VanLiew Named Top-10 Finalist for Senior Class Award
FORT MYERS, Fla. – One of the top awards in the nation, the Senior CLASS Award announced its top-10 candidates for the 2021 volleyball honor last week with FGCU’s Cortney VanLiew (Seymour, Ind./Columbus East HS) among the group. The award annually recognizes student-athletes who excel in the classroom, on the court, in the community, and display high character.
VanLiew, along with teammate Dana Axner (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman HS) became the first representatives from the volleyball program to be recognized among the initial top-30 since the award began in 2010. VanLiew now becomes the first Eagle volleyball player to be named a finalist and just the fourth FGCU student-athlete overall.
“Cortney continues to do it all here at FGCU,” said head coach Matt Botsford. “From the court, to the classroom, to the community, she exemplifies the spirit of of the senior class award and I’m so excited to see her being recognized as a finalist.”
VanLiew received her undergraduate degree in accounting with a minor in Spanish this past spring 2021 and has commenced working on her master’s degree in business administration. She returned for the 2021-22 campaign to utilize the extra year of eligibility due to the COVID pandemic. She has compiled a 3.678 cumulative GPA for her undergraduate career and has been a President’s List selection, a Dean’s List selection, an AD’s Honor Roll selection, and a member of the ASUN Honor Roll. She is the program’s first two-time CoSIDA All-Academic Team selection and is just the second three-time ASUN All-Academic honoree in program history. To highlight her undergraduate career, she was inducted into the FGCU Hall of Fame as announced this past spring.
In the community, VanLiew has compiled over 250 community service hours during her time at FGCU at places such as LEAD Like a Girl SWFL, Project Life Movement, Read Across America, Naples Humane Society and more. She served twice as the President of Eagles Council (SAAC), and she’s been heavily involved with the ASUN’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee, as well. Additionally, she has been an advocate and outspoken ambassador for FGCU on mental health for student-athletes. She is at the forefront of working with young children during camps and clinics and has been heavily involved in outreach on and off campus.
She is also one of the all-time top players in program history after setting the all-time career kills record earlier this year. She currently has 1,594 in 142 matches played. She also became one of three players in program history to record 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs joining fellow FGCU Hall of Famer Amanda Carroll and Olympian Brooke Youngquist Sweat. VanLiew now has 1,078 digs for her career which ranks as the eighth most in program history. She is a two-time ASUN Player of the Year (2018, 2019) for indoor volleyball and an AVCA Honorable Mention All-American in 2018. Historically, the outside hitter is looking to become the first in program history and the fifth in conference history to become a four-time First Team All-ASUN honoree. In the summer of 2020, VanLiew was selected to the ASUN’s All-Decade Team (2010-19). Among her NCAA peers, she currently ranks 20th nationally for career kills among active players. In the ASUN, she ranks 5th all-time in conference history for career kills as well.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior or graduate student and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. The complete list of candidates follows this release.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The finalists were chosen by national media from the list of 30 candidates announced earlier this season. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner, and fans are encouraged to submit votes online at the Senior CLASS Award website (unlimited voting) through December 6. Fan votes will be combined with those of the media and Division I head coaches to determine the winner.
The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship in December.
For more information on all of the candidates, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.
FGCU Senior Class Top-10 Finalists
2011 – Adam Glick – Men’s Soccer (1st Team Honors)
2016 – Tabby Tindell – Women’s Soccer (1st Team Honors)
2019 – Riley Randolph – Softball (2nd Team Honors)
2021 – Cortney VanLiew – Volleyball
Volleyball 2021 Finalists
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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 178-57 (.758) record overall, including a 94-20 (.828) 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 six of the past seven 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.
FGCU Athletics sponsors events in November and April to benefit the FGCU Campus Food Pantry (www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry) and the Harry Chapin Food Bank (www.harrychapinfoodbank.org), FGCU Athletics’ charities of choice. For more information, including how to make a contribution, please visit www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry and utilize the hashtag #FeedFGCU to help raise awareness.
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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