Volleyball Advances to ASUN Semifinals with 3-0 Win Over Liberty

Volleyball Advances to ASUN Semifinals with 3-0 Win Over Liberty

FORT MYERS, Fla. – A balanced offensive attack along with timely runs proved the difference maker as the FGCU volleyball team advanced to the ASUN Championship Tournament semifinals with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-17) win over Liberty on Thursday evening at Alico Arena. The win improved the Eagles to 24-5 overall, while the Flames ended their season at 10-14 overall.
“As I thought and you would expect, there’s a lot of emotion and anxiousness,” said head coach Matt Botsford. “It was as clean as I would have liked in the beginning, but I think we took steps through each set to get better. Overall, we’re happy to get the sweep and to move on.
Top seeded FGCU will next take on the East Division’s third seed, North Florida, tomorrow night at 7 PM. The other semifinal game will feature the No. 2 seed in the East, Kennesaw State take on the West Division’s top seed Jacksonville State at 4 PM. All games of the tournament will be played in Alico Arena.
In Thursday’s other quarterfinal match-ups, #2E KSU defeated #3W Eastern Kentucky (3-0), while E1W JSU took down #4E Stetson (3-0). #3E UNF defeated #2W Lipscomb, 3-1, in the only match of the day that went more than three sets. The winners of Friday’s semifinal matches will then meet on Saturday night at 7 PM for the ASUN Championship title.
The win advances FGCU to the ASUN Championship semifinal for the 11th consecutive season. .  A win on Friday night would put the Eagles into the Championship match for the sixth straight season and seventh overall.
Erin Shomaker finished with a match-high 10 kills, while Cortney VanLiew (Seymour, Ind./Columbus East HS) and Skylar English (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) each had nine. VanLiew added six digs, while English hit .615 for the night. Dana Axner (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman HS) led the floor defense with 14 digs. Chelsey Lockey (Eaton, Colo./Eaton HS)paced the offense with 29 assists and added five digs.
Trinity Watts led the Flames with 10 kills while three others added five kills.
FGCU took control of the first set early jumping out to a 10-2 lead thanks to eight straight points. The run featured three aces from Axner along with kills by Jones, Shomaker, and English. Liberty pulled back within six twice, including 18-12, but the Eagles scored seven of the final 10 points to take the early 1-0 lead.
The second set saw both sides exchange early runs and leads before FGCU put together a 9-to-2 run to go up 19-14. The Eagles would push the lead to six twice after that, including 22-16, before the Flames were able to rally trimming the lead to 23-20. The teams traded points off a VanLiew kill for FGCU and a Lydia Burts kill for Liberty before a service error by the Flames ceded the set to the Eagles.
In the third set, FGCU jumped out to an 11-3 lead before the Eagles scored five straight to pull back within three. An 8-to-2 run for the Eagles re-extended the lead to 19-10 giving the Green and Blue all the padding it needed. The two clubs traded the final nine points of the set with Skylar English putting the match away with the final kill of the night.
Most Career Kills

1.  1,618  Cortney VanLiew (.225)  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.  1,898  Dana Axner (370 sets)  2018-present
3.  1,687  Whitney Masters (483 sets)  2011-14
4.  1,652  Holly Youngquist (418 sets)  2008-11
5.  1,369  Brook Youngquist Sweat (346 sets)  2004-07

Most Career Assists 

1.   4,540  Maggie Rick (467 sets)  2015-18
2.  4,408  Gigi Myer (474 sets)  2011-14
3.  3,341  Chelsey Lockey (353 sets)  2018-present
4.  3,108  Chandra Lefever (309 sets)  2006-09
5.  1,809  Laura Monovill (186 sets)  2004-05


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 181-58 (.780) record overall, including a 96-20 (.827) 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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