Volleyball Garners USMC/AVCA Team Academic Award For Fifth Consecutive Year

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU volleyball program garnered the United States Marine Corps and the American Volleyball Coaches Association Academic Distinction for the fifth consecutive year as announced by the AVCA on Monday.

The USMC/AVCA Academic Team Award honors volleyball programs who maintain a combined grade-point average of 3.3 for the 2021-22 academic year.

“I love seeing our team rewarded for their work and achievements outside of the volleyball court. This group has taken a lot of pride in the academic part of their lives here at FGCU and the results have been very impressive,” said head coach Matt Botsford. “We have always had a high standard in that regard, but this past year our players took it to another level. That kind of success requires an awful lot of hard work, a lot of time, and a lot of focus.”

The volleyball squad ranked top three among all 15 FGCU athletic teams for highest team GPA during both the fall and spring semesters. Botsford’s squad posted a 3.60 GPA for the fall and spring semesters combined.

A 3.58 in the fall placed second in the department and a spring GPA of 3.64 ranked third. Twelve Eagles were named to the Dean’s List in the fall, accompanied by two 4.0s.

In the spring, the student Eagles made the Dean’s List, including five President’s List recipients (4.0).

On the court, the Eagles pieced together a historic season in 2021 which saw FGCU tie the program record for single-season wins (27), capture the ASUN crown and reach the NCAA Tournament Second Round falling to eventual national champion Wisconsin.

FGCU also posted its best-ever RPI of No. 31 during the year. Over the last five seasons, the Green and Blue has recorded the 12th most wins of any team in the country at 144, which is more than Stanford, Penn State, and Washington, but just behind Minnesota and the Badgers.

Five Eagles earned ASUN honors in 2021; two first team, two second team and one all-freshman team recipient. To highlight the honors, Botsford took home his third ASUN Coach of the Year Award as outside hitter Erin Shoemaker was named the ASUN Volleyball Player of the Year.

Shomaker was also tabbed an AVCA Honorable Mention All-American, while Courtney VanLiew was named a Senior CLASS Award Second Team All-American and a NCAA Woman of the Year Nominee.

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.

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 marriage today to help the Eagles of tomorrow!

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 184-59 (.757) 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. Wed 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 92 conference regular season 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 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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