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KENNESAW, Ga. - No. 1 FGCU won its first ASUN Conference Volleyball Championship title on Saturday night, as they took down No. 2 Kennesaw State in five sets at the KSU Convocation Center. With the win, the Eagles earn their first-ever berth in the NCAA Tournament.
The Eagles stormed out of the gate on Saturday night, as they took the first two sets, 25-20 and 27-25. In the first set, the Eagles and Owls went back and forth, but it was FCGU who used a 4-0 run late in the set to take a 20-16 lead. Dani Serrano and Cortney VanLiew both registered three kills in the set to lead the way for FGCU, while Snowy Burnam tallied seven digs.
The second set was more of the same, as it was back-and-forth for most of the set. The Eagles looked to go up 2-0 when the score sat at 23-20, but KSU, as they did most of the night, did not back down to force extra points. Ultimately, it was FGCU who would take the set, as VanLiew slammed home her third kill of the set to win it 27-25.
It would not come easy for FGCU, as the defending champs didn't go quietly. Kennesaw State took the third set 25-22, and won the fourth in dominating fashion 25-17. In the fourth set, KSU's outside hitters, Sydni Shelton and Lauren Chastang came alive, recording four kills a piece in the fourth frame. The Owls also outhit FGCU .375 to .167 to tie the match up.
The ASUN trophy came down to a fifth and final set, as one would expect with the two top seeds facing each other. The Eagles raced out to 4-0 lead, but KSU roared back to tie it at 10. FGCU proved to be too much, as they won five of the last seven points to secure the win and its first-ever ASUN Championship Final.
Serrano, the ASUN Championship MVP, finished the match with 13 kills, five blocks and hit .462. VanLiew, an All-Tournament Team selection, also had 13 kills to go along with 12 digs. Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year, Dana Axner was dynamite all tournament, as she too earned All-Tournament team honors. She had 27 digs in the match to break the FGCU single-season record of 558 set in 2015.
FGCU will hear its NCAA Tournament fate next Sunday, November 25th when the NCAA Selection Show airs at 8:30 PM ET on ESPNU.
ASUN All-Tournament Team
- Dani Serrano, FGCU - ASUN Championship MVP
- Cortney VanLiew, FGCU
- Dana Axner, FGCU
- Liesl Engelbrecht, Kennesaw State
- Sydni Shelton, Kennesaw State
- Lexi Broadwater, Kennesaw State
- Carlyle Nusbuam, Lipscomb
No. 1 FGCU vs. No. 2 Kennesaw State Game Notes
- FGCU pushed its win streak to 14; they have only surrendered eight sets during the streak
- For the second-straight season there was a first-time winner, as Kennesaw State won for the first time in 2017
- Saturday night's five-set match was the first five-set final since 2013 when Jacksonville defeated Lipscomb
- Kennesaw State finishes the season with a record of 24-7; their 24 wins surpass last year's school record of 21
- Dani Serrano is the first middle blocker to win ASUN Championship MVP since Katie Rose of Lipscomb in 2011