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Shomaker Named ASUN Volleyball Player of the Year Highlighting Postseason Honors

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – For the second straight season, FGCU junior outside hitter Erin Shomaker was named the ASUN Volleyball Player of the Year, while five Eagles landed on All-ASUN Teams as announced by the league office on Wednesday afternoon. Additionally, head coach Matt Botsford was named the ASUN Coach of the Year for the third time in his career.
 
Shomaker’s honor marked the sixth time FGCU has been home to the league’s Player of the Year and the fifth consecutive season. She was also a unanimous pick to the All-ASUN First Team for the second season in a row. Joining her on the All-ASUN First Team was setter Chelsey Lockey who earned her third all-conference honor. FGCU was represented by Juliana Lentz and Dana Axner, who was earlier named to the ASUN All-Academic Team alongside Shomaker, on the second team. Skylar English rounded out the group as she was named to the ASUN All-Freshman Team.
 
One of the top outside hitters in the country, Shomaker was the 2020 ASUN Player of the Year and entered 2021 as the ASUN Preseason Player of the Year. She was also a unanimous selection to the 2020 All-ASUN First Team. This season she leads FGCU with 342 total kills and 3.84 kills per set, while ranking 2nd on the team in service aces (28) and third for digs (181). Shomaker led the ASUN in kills per set and was fourth in total kills for overall matches (2nd for ASUN matches). Also among the ASUN, she led the conference in points per set (4.47) and ranked third overall (397.5).

“Erin continues to play such a high quality brand of volleyball and this year she has added other elements to her game which demonstrates her commitment to growth,” said Botsford. “The improvements she has made as a blocker and as a primary passer compliment the high level attacking threat she poses out on the court. Her consistency on a day to day basis is astounding and one of the many things that makes her so special.”

 

Nationally, Shomaker ranks 71st in kills per set, 82nd in points, and 92nd in total kills. She had double-figure kills in 23 matches for the year and posted double-doubles in kills and digs against Rutgers (12 kills, 10 digs), vs. Miami (10 kills, 10 digs), against Kennesaw State (13 kills, 11 digs), and against North Florida (15 kills, 11 digs). She also matched her season-high with 11 digs against Bellarmine. All-time, she ranks eighth at FGCU in career kills (828) and fourth in kills per set (3.4). She is posting career-best season totals in kills, service aces, digs, total blocks, and points this fall and her 353 kills are currently the 16th-most for a single-season in program history. In her career, she has also been honored as an AVCA and VolleyballMag.com Honorable Mention All-American, an AVCA Honorable Mention All-Southeast Region selection, the 2019 ASUN Freshman of the Year, and as a selection to the ASUN All-Freshman Team. She was honored earlier on Wednesday to the ASUN All-Academic Team as well.

 

Lockey earned the first team nod after being the 2020 ASUN Setter of the Year. She was also named to the first team last season and was a second-team pick in 2019. As the top setter for FGCU at nearly 1,000 assists for the year, she ranks third in the ASUN for total assists and second for assists per set (10.51) despite FGCU playing the 10th fewest sets in the league. Lockey ranks 40th nationally in assists per set and 54th for total assists. She posted a season-high 54 in five-set road win at North Florida and had six matches with 40-or-more assists including 45 against Georgia, 48 in the home match-up against North Florida, and 44 against Stetson (3 sets). Under her direction, FGCU ranked 2nd in the ASUN in kills per set (13.49), while the offense ranks 19th nationally in hitting percentage (.269). She has also helped the net defense with 59 total blocks – the fourth-most on the team. For her career, has 3,356 assists which are the second-most in program history and the 15th most in ASUN history.

“Chelsey is such a talented setter and what she has done this season with our offense is super impressive,” said Botsford. “Her decision making, her set location, her command of the position, and her overall competitiveness, all highlight how important Chelsey is to our success.”

 

Axner, a defensive specialist/libero, has been outstanding this season in leading the Eagles defense. For the year, she has a team-best 416 digs (4.62/set) including 216 in ASUN play. Her play has helped FGCU hold opponents to a .128 hitting percentage on the year which ranks 3rd nationally. She has four matches with 20-or-more digs including a pair of three-set matches with 22 (vs. Stetson) and 21 (vs. Central Arkansas) with a season-high 24 digs coming in a five-set win at North Florida. In the ASUN, she ranks 2nd in digs per set (4.62) and 5th in overall digs despite FGCU playing the 10th fewest sets of any team this season. Her 1,906 career digs ranks 16th nationally among active NCAA players and are the most among any ASUN player, while also ranking as the third-most career digs in ASUN history. In her career, she has been twice named the ASUN Defensive Player of the Year (2018, 2019) and was the 2018 ASUN Freshman of the Year. She has also been a three-time All-ASUN selection and was a 2019 AVCA First Team All-Region and 2019 VolleyballMag.com Honorable Mention All-American. She has also been a two-time ASUN All-Academic Team selection and was a top 30 candidate this season for the 2021 Senior CLASS Award after earning CoSIDA Third Team All-America accolades last season.

 

“Dana has been a rock for us at the libero position for four years and it is so rewarding to watch her continue to grow,” said Botsford. “This season she has really elevated her play on the serve receive side while continuing to be an elite defender. She is playing with such a passion on the floor and that definitely rubs off on the rest of the team.”

Lentz was a member of the ASUN All-Freshman Team last spring. She ranks 3rd on the team in total kills (175), 2nd in kills per set (2.33), 2nd in blocks (94), and blocks per set (1.25) despite missing the last four games of the regular season due to injury. Her 175 kills and 46 kills are more than double her freshman output. She ranks fifth in total blocks among ASUN players and second in hitting percentage. Nationally, Lentz ranks 34th in blocks per set and 23rd in hitting percentage. She was a key factor in FGCU ranking third nationally in opponent hitting percentage (.128) and sixth in blocks per set which both lead the ASUN. She had five games this season with 10-or-more kills for a match highlighted by 18 against Florida A&M. Lentz also hit over .400 in 13 matches for the year. On defense, she had a season-high nine blocks against Bellarmine and had 5-or-more blocks in nine matches on the year. Overall, she ranks second on the team in total points as well with 239 through 24 matches.

“I’m happy to see Juliana being recognized for the wonderful season she put together prior to the injury. She was such a force for us at the net as both a blocker and an attacker, that her presence was felt in every match,” said Botsford. “She has grown so much as a player in a short amount of time and we were witnessing that evolution in front of our eyes from one match to the next.”

 

English was one of the top rookies in the league after compiling 155 kills, 30 aces, 118 digs, and 64 blocks on the year. She had a season-high 17 kills in five-set road win at North Florida where she hit .630 with no errors. She also had 14 kills against Georgia and 12 kills against UCF. Overall, had 14 matches with 6-or-more kills. On the team, she ranked fifth in total kills, fifth in digs, and was third in blocks – impressive as the freshman played alongside a two-time ASUN Players of the Year, a two-time ASUN Defensive Player of the Year, and four prior All-ASUN First Team selections. From the service line, English led FGCU with 30 aces which ranks 8th in the ASUN.

“Skylar has transitioned so well to the college game and I am really proud of how she has responded to taking on an important role within our lineup,” said Botsford. “That is a lot to ask of anyone, but even more challenging for newcomers. Because she is so poised and comfortable in all phases of the game, Skylar has made an immediate impact and her versatility has provided us with a lot of flexibility.”

 

For Botsford, this was his third Coach of the Year honor in the last four seasons after guiding FGCU to a 23-5 overall record and the top-seed in the East Division. Under his tutelage through eight seasons, the Eagles have compiled a 180-58 (.759) 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 (though the Spring 21 campaign had just 17 total games) 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.

 

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.

 

E.A.G.L.E. 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 E.A.G.L.E. Campaign – Eagle Athletics Generating Lifetime Excellence. Join Our Team and pledge your gift today to help the Eagles of tomorrow!

COACH BOTSFORD

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 180-58 (.759) 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.

 

#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 utilize the hashtag #FeedFGCU to help raise awareness.

 

ABOUT FGCU

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.

 

 



https://fgcuathletics.com/news/2021/11/17/shomaker-named-asun-volleyball-player-of-the-year-highlighting-postseason-honors.aspx | Shomaker Named ASUN Volleyball Player of the Year Highlighting Postseason Honors

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