Volleyball Hosts North Florida on Friday, Jacksonville on Saturday

Volleyball Hosts North Florida on Friday, Jacksonville on Saturday

FORT MYERS, Fla. – With the nation’s fifth-best win streak on the line, the FGCU volleyball team will host a pair of key ASUN East Division match-ups on Friday against North Florida and Saturday against Jacksonville. The Eagles (19-4, 11-0 ASUN) are on pace to equal their best start in ASUN play since going 14-0 to open league play in 2012.

Both matches are slated to start at 6 PM on each night with Friday also featuring the Hoops & Halloween spectacular following the match. Each night’s action will be streamed live on Facebook Live with John Vittas calling the action.
As the regular-season hits the home stretch, the Eagles remain as the only unbeaten team in ASUN action and lead the East Division. North Florida is second in the East with a 20-3 overall record and a 9-2 league mark. Jacksonville is sixth in the East at 4-19 overall and 1-10 in ASUN play.
The Green and Blue are coming off three wins in cross-division play last weekend including Sunday’s victory over West Division leader Jacksonville State (19-5, 9-2). The Eagles have swept every ASUN match this season except the road match at UNF earlier this season which saw a dramatic rally by FGCU to win 3-2.
In the earlier meeting against the Ospreys, FGCU overcame a 2-0 deficit to win the final three sets. Skylar English (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) had a match-high and season-best 17 kills, while Erin Shomaker (Granville, Ohio/Granville HS) had 14 kills and eight blocks. Cortney VanLiew (Seymour, Ind./Columbus East HS), the program’s all-time leader in kills, had a double-double with 13 kills and 10 digs.
FGCU is looking for its sixth 20-win season over the last seven seasons even though the Spring 2021 campaign featured just 17 matches total. They enter the match with a No. 50 RPI ranking which leads the ASUN.
Nationally, the Eagles rank eighth in opponent hitting percentage (0.136), 14th in blocks per set (2.71), and 23rd in hitting percentage (0.269).
All-time against North Florida, FGCU holds a 27-8 overall record including the win earlier this season. Against Jacksonville, the Eagles are 26-11 all-time including a 3-0 win at Swisher Gymnasium at the beginning of October.
Shomaker leads the Eagles with 271 kills while adding 24 service aces, 143 digs, and 39 blocks. Juliana Lentz (Miami, Fla./St. Brendan HS) has 169 kills and a team-high 92 blocks. Aja Jones (Venice, Fla./Venice HS) is just behind with 139 kills and 85 blocks. Chelsey Lockey (Eaton, Colo./Eaton HS) has again produced one of the best seasons in the nation for a setter with 762 assists, while Dana Axner (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman HS) once again leads the floor defense with 350 digs.
North Florida has won three straight after falling to Kennesaw State on October 17 – its only other loss in October since playing the Eagles. Jacksonville has dropped eight straight matches since defeating Bellarmine on Sept. 26.
ASUN Leaders (Top 10)
Kills/Set – Shomaker (1st, 3.76)
Hitting Percentage – Lentz (2nd, .390), Aja Jones (5th, .307)
Assists/Set – Lockey (2nd, 10.44)
Aces – Shomaker (10th, 24)
Digs/Set – Axner (1st, 4.79)
Blocks/Set – Lentz (1st, 1.28), Jones (3rd, 1.20)
Points/Set – Shomaker (1st, 4.41)
Most Career Kills

1.  1,570   Cortney VanLiew (.226)  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.  1,818  Dana Axner (357 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.  3,128  Chelsey Lockey (344 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 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.



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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