FORT MYERS, Fla. – After a historic season which saw the FGCU volleyball team win the ASUN Championship title and reach the NCAA Tournament second round, the Eagles finished the year atop the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association All-Sport Standings list alongside Creighton.
“Our players, both past and present, have put in a lot of work to help position this program among the nation’s top volleyball schools. Those efforts continue but we can appreciate seeing our 2021 group recognized for the impact they have had on that journey, ” said the head coach Matt Botsford. “This award highlights the many accomplishments and successes of what was a memorable season for all of us. I am so proud of that team and happy to see them atop the DI-AAA standings.”
The Eagles put together a historic season which saw FGCU post a 27-6 overall record en route to the ASUN Championship Title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. In the NCAA First Round, the Green and Blue was able to rally past Texas Tech, but fell in the second round against eventual national champion Wisconsin. The championship title and NCAA berth marked the second time in program history (2018) for the Eagles to accomplish both.
The 27 wins tied the program record, alongside the 2016, 2018, and 2019 teams, while FGCU also posted its best-ever RPI at No. 31 during the year. Over the last five seasons, the Eagles have the 12th most wins of any team in the country with 144 which is more than Stanford, Penn State, and Washington, but just behind Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Courtney VanLiew was named a Senior CLASS Award Second Team All-American. The honor was a capstone for VanLiew who stands as one of the all-time greats in the volleyball program. She, along with Dana Axnerbecame the first representatives from the volleyball program to be recognized among the initial top-30 since the award began in 2010. VanLiew then became the first Eagle volleyball player to be named a finalist in November and just the fourth FGCU student-athlete overall.
Erin Shoemaker was tabbed an AVCA Honorable Mention All-American marking the third time that an Eagle has earned the accolade. She earned her second consecutive ASUN Player of the Year honor after leading FGCU in kills (413), kills per set (3.86), service aces (33), and points (478.5), while adding 215 digs and 58 blocks.
Joining Shomaker, who was a repeat unanimous pick for the All-ASUN First Team, on the ASUN All-Conference squad were setter Chelsey Lockey (First Team) duck Juliana Lentz and Axner who were both second team selections. Axner was also named to the ASUN All-Academic Team alongside Shomaker. Skylar English rounded out the group as she was named to the ASUN All-Freshman Team. Additionally, Botsford was named the ASUN Coach of the Year for the third time in his career.
Pepperdine claimed the All-Sports Trophy overall for the first time in 10 years and the fourth time overall. Joining Pepperdine to round out the top three were Providence and Gonzaga, respectively.
The following institutions finished atop the 2021-22 DI-AAA ADA All-Sports standings in their respective sports:
|Cross Country (Men’s)||University of Portland|
|Cross Country (Women’s)||Providence College|
|Soccer (Men’s)||Saint Louis University|
|Soccer (Women’s)||Santa Clara University|
|Volleyball (Women’s)|| Creighton University
Florida Gulf Coast University
|Basketball (Men’s)||St. Peter’s University|
|Basketball (Women’s)||Creighton University|
|Swimming & Diving (Men’s)||*No I-AAA Institutions Scored|
|Swimming & Diving (Women’s)||*No I-AAA Institutions Scored|
|Track & Field (Men’s Indoor)||Fairleigh Dickinson University|
|Track & Field (Women’s Indoor)||High Point University|
|Golf (Men’s)||Pepperdine University|
|Golf (Women’s)||Pepperdine University|
|Lacrosse (Men’s)|| Boston University
Saint Joseph’s University
University of Vermont
|Lacrosse (Women’s)||Loyola University Maryland|
|Softball|| Cal State Fullerton
Wichita State University
|Tennis (Men’s)|| Pepperdine University
|Track & Field (Men’s Outdoor)||University of Texas at Arlington|
|Track & Field (Women’s Outdoor)|| Binghamton University
High Point University
About Division I-AAA ADA:
Now in its 21st year, the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association’s mission is to enhance initiatives common to its Division I-AAA membership (the 98 Division I institutions that do not sponsor football), in particular, aspects related to their flagship basketball programs. For more information on the Division I-AAA ADA, please visit www.div1aaa-ada.com. The Division I-AAA ADA is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 57th year. For more information on NACDA and the 18 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com.
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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 use 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.