Volleyball Drops ASUN Opener In Five-Set Battle

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – FGCU Volleyball dropped its ASUN opener against North Florida 3-2 on Friday.

The conference-opening loss for the Eagles marked the first five-set battle of the season (25-20, 25-16, 25-27, 20-25 and 13-15). North Florida also snapped the Green and Blue’s five-game winning streak. In the defeat, FGCU fell to 10-4 overall (0-1 ASUN), while North Florida improved to 3-9 (1-0 ASUN).

“Tough loss but a fun, competitive match to be in,” head coach Matt Botsford said. “We played so clean in the first two sets, but things started to shift as we became really high error on the offensive end. I loved our fight in the fifth and was really pleased with our team’s ability to get chances through quality floor defense, but we have to be better at ending plays. We have made blocking a priority here at FGCU and to see a five-set match where we have four is disappointing. That is something we need to continue to address as we move forward.”

The Eagles grabbed a 2-0 set lead and reached match point twice before suffering the reverse sweep. FGCU won the opening set 25-20 and followed that up with a 25-16 set-two victory. Entering the match, FGCU was 10-1 on the year when winning the first set.

In the third set, the Green and Blue held 24-22 and a 25-24 match point advantage. However, North Florida pulled out a 27-25 win to effectively turn the tide.

FGCU hit .148 percent in the fourth and .034 in the deciding fifth set, a far contrast from its .476 percent in the second.

The Green and Blue never led in the fourth as the Ospreys captured the fourth set 25-20. North Florida then clinched the match over the ASUN preseason favorites with a 15-13 win in the fifth set. The fifth witnessed four tie scores despite FGCU trailing 8-4 early.

FGCU showed flashes and struggles all night from the service line behind 12 aces but accompanied by 15 service errors.

Four Eagles produced double-digit kills, Erin Shoemaker (16), Lauren Clark (12), Emma Szypszak (10 and Lily Felts (10). Chelsey Lockey posted her fifth double-double of the season with 44 assists and 10 digs.

FGCU looks to right the ship on Saturday at Jacksonville (7-6, 1-0 ASUN). First serve against the Dolphins is set for 5 pm The match will be streamed on YouTube.

EAGLES ON THE RISE

Place. Name (Year) FGCU Career Kills
1. Courtney VanLiew (2017-21) 1,657
2. Amanda Carroll (2015-19) 1,483
3. Brooke Youngquist (2004-07) 1,173
4. Olivia Messner (2011-14) 1,132
5. Erin Shoemaker (2019- 1,073

Place. Name (University and Years) ASUN Career Digs
1. Shelley Walroth (Jacksonville: 2006-09) 2,456
2. Dana Axner (FGCU: 2018- 2,166
3. Ann Mullins (Lipscomb: 2005-07) 1,969
4. Nicole Baran (North Florida: 2009-12) 1,900
5. Adriana Nieto (NJIT: 2015-18) 1,878

Place. Name (Year) FGCU Career Assists
1. Maggie Rick (2015-18) 4,540
2. Gigi Meyer (2011-14) 4,408
3. Chelsey Lockey (2018- 3,999
4. Chandra Lefever (2006-07, 09) 3,108
5. Laura Manovill (2004-05) 1,809

For complete coverage of the volleyball program, follow the Eagles on Twitter at @FGCU_VBon Instagram at @FGCU_VBon 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.

EAGLE CAMPAIGN
IT TAKES A TEAM to achieve our newest goal – a $10 million campaign to address student-athlete needs in continued academic success, life skills, mental health, nutrition, and strength and conditioning as well as departmental needs in facility expansion and improvement as well as mentoring and leadership training for coaches and staff. The name embodies our mission and the purpose of the EAGLE Campaign – Eagle Athletics Generating Lifetime Excellence. Join our team and pledge your gift today to help the Eagles of tomorrow!

COACH BOTSFORD
Matt Botsford finished 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 193-63 (.754) overall record, including a 96-21 (.821) 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 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 championship tournament. Now, the team has won four straight regular season titles, including two ASUN Tournament Championship Titles. 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 also 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. In 2021, Botsford led the Eagles to 27 victories, tying the program record previously set in 2016, 2018 and 2019 seasons, and an NCAA First Round win over Texas Tech. The win over the Red Raiders marked the second NCAA First Round win for the Green and Blue following its 3-2 win over No. 13 UCF in Orlando in 2018.

#FEEDFGCU
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 use the hashtag #FeedFGCU to help raise awareness.

ABOUT FGCU
FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 92 regular season conference and tournament titles in just 14+ seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just 10 plus seasons of DI postseason eligibility, the Eagles have had a combined 45 teams or individuals compete in the NCAA championships. In 2022, the men’s golf team became the first program to earn an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. Eight FGCU programs have earned a top-25 national ranking in their respective sport – including women’s basketball (No. 20, 2021-22), beach volleyball (No. 20, 2022) and both men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s soccer (2018) as four 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 26 consecutive semesters. In five of the past six semesters (Fall 2019 – Fall 2021), the Eagles reached another milestone 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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