Nylah Raspberry Officially Signs with Volleyball


FORT MYERS, Fla. – Libero/defensive specialist Nylah Raspberry has officially signed with the FGCU volleyball program as announced by head coach Matt Botsford today. Raspberry becomes the seventh incoming student-athlete for the Eagles joining three previously announced freshmen signees and three Power 5 transfers.

“Nylah is an incredible player and a huge addition to our 2022 class. The speed that she patrols the backcourt with is as good as I have seen in the libero position and her touch on the ball is phenomenal. Her athleticism jumps out when she competes but her consistency is equally impressive,” said Botsford. “Nylah can impact a match in both the defensive and serve-receive phase, not to mention her ability to set out of system at a high level. Watching her over the past year we have really come to appreciate how much she does out on the court for her team and are looking forward to her doing the same for the Eagles.”

Raspberry, a native of Missouri City, Texas, has been a standout at Ridge Point High School and ranked as the No. 25 players in the Longhorn state.

Over the last two seasons, the 5-foot-8 libero played in 217 sets with 1,105 digs (5.1/set) and 32 aces. As a senior, she had 724 digs (5.4/set) and 24 aces along with 92 assists. In the early portion of the past fall season, she ranked as high as No. 1 in the nation with 12.9 digs per set after the first eight matches. After her junior season, she was honored as an AVCA High School All-Region selection and an All-VYPE Third Team honoree. Raspberry was also named a 2021 Prep Volleyball Honorable Mention All-American.

On top of her prep play, she also played for the Houston Juniors 18 Elite under head coach Kara Pratt.

Raspberry finalizes the 2022 incoming class for the Eagles joining a trio of incoming freshmen who were announced during the early signing period: middle blocker Iyanna Battle (Painesville Township, Ohio/Villa Angela-St. Joseph HS)outside hitter Rylen Reid (Rolling Meadows, Ill./Fremd HS)and setter Grace Reynolds (Martinsville, Ind./Martinsville HS). Additionally, a trio of Power 5 transfers have joined the program Lily Felts (Knoxville, Tenn./Berean Christian School/Tennessee), Oreva Evivie (Charlotte, NC/Charlotte Catholic/Virginia Tech)duck Julia Wohlert (Indianapolis, Ind./Decatur Central/Wisconsin).

The Eagles are coming off 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 and 2018 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.

The Eagles are set to return 12 veterans this upcoming season including three of their top-five point producers including two-time ASUN Player of the Year Erin Shomaker, ASUN All-Freshman Team honoree Skylar English, and All-ASUN Second Team selection Julianna Lentz who was in the middle of a terrific season before missing the final nine matches of the year due to injury.

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 marriage 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 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.

#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 90 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 14+ seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just 10 seasons of DI postseason eligibility, the Eagles have had a combined 44 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. 20, 2021-22), beach volleyball (No. 20, 2022) 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 25 consecutive semesters. The past five semesters (Fall 2019 – Fall 2021) 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.

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