FORT MYERS, Fla. – After nearly a month on the road, the FGCU volleyball team returns home to host Kennesaw State on Friday night and Liberty on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles enter the weekend with a 13-4 overall record (5-0 ASUN) and have won six straight.
Both matches will be streamed on Facebook Live. Friday night will be a White Out and Faculty/Staff MVP night, while Sunday afternoon will be a Pink Out and Dig Pink Day to support breast cancer awareness. Proceeds from the sale of special pink apparel will be used to support the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Tickets are available by calling 866-FGCU-TIX, ordering on www.FGCUTickets.com, or at the Alico Arena Ticket Office.
The Eagles are coming off a pair of divisional road wins last weekend at Jacksonville (3-0) and at North Florida (3-2). Both UNF and FGCU were unbeaten heading into last Saturday night’s match-up. After the Osepreys took a 2-0 lead, the Eagles were able to rally winning three straight sets to take early control of the East Division. With the win over UNF, the Green and Blue is now the only unbeaten team in league play.
For her efforts in both matches, Erin Shomaker (Granville, Ohio/Granville HS) was named the ASUN Player of the Week. She led FGCU with 26 kills, 15 digs, four blocks, and an ace. Shomaker currently leads the ASUN in kills per set (3.70) and has 200 total kills which ranks fifth. She also ranks third in total aces (21), first in points per set (4.34), and fourth in total points (234.5).
For her career, Shomaker enters the weekend with 675 career kills, 317 digs, and 96 blocks. She now ranks 13th all-time at FGCU for career kills, fifth for kills per set (3.3), and is 15th in total points (779.0).
Also last weekend, Cortney VanLiew (Seymour, Ind./Columbus East HS) became the third player in program history to reach the 1,000 kills/1,000 digs milestone joining fellow FGCU Hall of Famer Amanda Carroll and Olympian Brooke Youngquist Sweat. She extended her program record for career kills to 1,526 and now has 1,013 career digs.
Dana Axner (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman HS) and Chelsey Lockey (Eaton, Colo./Eaton HS) each continue to move up the all-time ranks in program history. Axner’s 1,735 career digs currently rank second all-time at FGCU with the senior needing 231 more to set the program record. Lockey has 2,930 career assists which currently ranks her fourth all-time. She needs 179 to move up to third surpassing Chandra Lefever (3108, 2006-09).
All-time, the Eagles are 17-12 in the series with Kennesaw State including a 3-0 win over the Owls in last spring’s ASUN tournament. In Alico Arena, FGCU holds an 8-4 advantage.
Liberty and FGCU have met just five times with the Eagles holding a 4-1 record in the series though they did not play each other last spring.
Kennesaw State enters the weekend with an 8-7 overall record and a 2-2 mark in league play. Emma Schurfranz leads the Owls with 182 kills followed by Lauren Chastang who has 172 on the year. Dani Ballou has 134 kills as well to round out the top offensive players.
Liberty holds a 6-5 overall mark and a 2-2 record in ASUN action. Rajini Fitzmaurice leads the Flames with 98 kills followed by Trinity Watts who has 95 kills.
Following the home weekend, the Eagles will just play one match next week with a road trip to Stetson on Saturday evening (6 PM)
ASUN Leaders (Top 10)
Kills/Set – Shomaker (1st, 3.70)
Hitting Percentage – Lentz (2nd, .370)
Assists/Set – Lockey (2nd, 10.25)
Aces – Shomaker (t4th, 21)
Digs/Set – Axner (1st, 4.85)
Blocks/Set – Lentz (2nd, 1.27), Jones (3rd, 1.15)
Points/Set – Shomaker (1st, 4.34)
Most Career Kills
|1.||1,526||Cortney VanLiew (.229)||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.||1,735||Dana Axner (339 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|
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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 169-56 (.751) record overall, including an 85-19 (.814) 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.