FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU volleyball team has announced the addition of 6-foot-7 middle blocker/right side hitter Julia Wohlert (Indianapolis, Ind./Decatur Central/Wisconsin) as an incoming transfer from national champion Wisconsin. The Indianapolis, Ind., native will have two years of eligibility remaining with the Eagles.
“Julia will immediately help strengthen our front line defense and offense. Her ability to play both middle and opposite will create some exciting line-up variations and will allow us to get creative with match-ups,” said head coach Matt Botsford. “Julia’s experience at Wisconsin for the past 4 years will be a tremendous asset for her as she has played with, and against, some of the top talent in the nation. In doing so, she has learned how to leverage her physical gifts and I ‘m excited for her to showcase them here as an Eagle. We are a program that prides itself on blocking, and I expect that Julia will excel very quickly in that regard.”
Wohlert played in two matches during her time in Madison and was selected as an Academic All-Big Ten honoree this past season. She redshirted the 2018 campaign and did not play in 2019.
“I chose to come to FGCU because of its history of being a winning program. Coming from a team with multiple Big Ten Championships and an NCAA National Championship, I want to help in the culture of winning,” said Wohlert. “The campus and weather will also be a nice change from Madison for a couple of years. I was so impressed by the team and their run in the NCAA Tournament as we (Wisconsin) played them. I knew once the coaching staff reached out that I wanted to go to FGCU. I can’t wait to get down there this summer and start training with the team!”
Prior to playing at Wisconsin, she was a two-time all-county selection at Decator Central High School, ranked No. 47 on the PrepVolleyball Senior Aces, and was honored as a member of the VolleyballMag.com Fab 50.
She averaged 3.1 kills and 1.3 blocks per set while hitting .614 as a senior. She also competed in the Indiana High School Volleyball Coaches Association North vs. South All-Star Team as a junior and senior. Additionally, she played for the Circle City Volleyball Club.
In addition to Wohlert, the Eagles also recently announced the addition of the Tennessee transfer Lily Felts and Virgina Tech transfer Oreva Evivie. Felts was a three-time All-SEC outside hitter in Knoxville and brings over 1,000 career kills and 900 digs to the Eagles. Evivie, who will have four years of eligibility, is a 6-foot middle blocker who did not see game action for the Hokies last fall. The Eagles also signed a trio of incoming freshmen for the 2022 campaign: 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).
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 ShoemakerASUN All-Freshman Team honoree Skylar Englishand All-ASUN Second Team selection Julianna Lentz who was in the midst of a terrific season before missing the final nine matches of the year due to injury.
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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 89 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 43 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.