14 Nov Volleyball Sweeps Stetson, 3-0, on Senior Night
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Behind 15 kills from both Aja Jones (Venice, Fla./Venice HS) and Cortney VanLiew (Seymour, Ind./Columbus East HS), the FGCU volleyball team closed out the regular-season with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-19) win over Stetson in Alico Arena. The Eagles improved to 23-5 overall and 15-1 in the ASUN, while the Hatters fell to 13-15 overall and 8-8 in league play.
The Green and Blue will begin the ASUN Championship Tournament quarterfinal round on Thursday, Nov. 18 at 7 PM against Liberty. The Eagles are the top-seed in the East Division, while the Flames are the fifth-seed. FGCU will host all rounds of the ASUN Tournament from Nov. 18-20 with a full bracket of game times available on www.asunsports.org.
“I thought the nice thing about tonight was that each set we got better on the defensive side. Early on in the first set, I thought Stetson was controlling a lot of the play offensively and putting our defense on their heels,” said head coach Matt Botsford. “The girls made some nice adjustments and the blocks started to pick up and ultimatley the floor defense picked up as well.”
Prior to Saturday night’s match against the Hatters, FGCU honored graduate students Snowy Burnam (Palm City, Fla./Jensen Beach HS) and VanLiew for Senior Night. The duo have helped the Eagles post a 112-30 overall record with two ASUN regular-season titles, a 2018 ASUN Championship title, and a spot in the 2018 NCAA Tournament – the first-ever for the program.
The 15 kills for both VanLiew and Jones served as season-high marks. VanLiew also added 12 digs for a Senior Night double-double, hit .438 for the match, and posted three aces. Jones hit .500 for the match and had two blocks.
Erin Shomaker (Granville, Ohio/Granville HS) rounded out the FGCU offensive leaders with 11 kills, while Chelsey Lockey (Eaton, Colo./Eaton HS) had 44 assists. Defensively, Dana Axner (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman HS) had a match-high 22 digs to anchor the floor defense, while Emma Szypszak (Mequon, Wis./Homestead HS) had six blocks at the net.
Stetson was led by Elena Djokovic who had 10 kills, while Alejandra Perez had 20 digs.
The first set was nip-and-tuck to start with eight ties and three lead changes. A three-point spurt for the Eagles broke an 11-11 tie and FGCU never trailed from there. Stetson put together a three-point run of their own to pull within a point, 17-16, but the Green and Blue responded with kills from Jones, Szypszak, and VanLiew. FGCU scored five of the final seven points punctuated by a Shomaker kill for the 25-19 win.
After Stetson took an early four-point lead in the second set, FGCU used a seven-point run, highlighted by five kills from Jones, to go up 11-8. The Hatters were able to stay within three points including a kill by Anabelle Standish that made the score 14-11, but FGCU scored 11 of the final 15 points to take the 2-0 lead in the match.
In the final set, Stetson took an 18-17 lead after scoring three straight points. Following a FGCU timeout, the Eagles responded with four straight points including kills by Jones and VanLiew and an ace from Shomaker. Stetson scored after VanLiew’s kill to pull back within two, but FGCU scored four consecutive points to close out the match.
Overall, FGCU hit .299 while holding Stetson to .083 for the night and held a 51-to-30 advantage in kills.
Most Career Kills
|1.||1,609||Cortney VanLiew (.227)||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.||1,884||Dana Axner (367 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.||3,312||Chelsey Lockey (350 sets)||2018-present|
|4.||3,108||Chandra Lefever (309 sets)||2006-09|
|5.||1,809||Laura Monovill (186 sets)||2004-05|
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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 179-57 (.759) record overall, including a 95-20 (.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.
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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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