@FGCU_VB Takes Down Liberty; Extends Win Streak & Clinches Tournament Spot

@FGCU_VB Takes Down Liberty; Extends Win Streak & Clinches Tournament Spot

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FORT MYERS, Fla. (FGCUAthletics.com) - The FGCU volleyball team (22-3, 10-1 ASUN) avenged its lone ASUN loss with a 25-17, 25-20, 25-22 win over Liberty (14-9, 7-4) inside Alico Arena on Tuesday.
"We found offense in some different places," FGCU head coach Matt Botsford said. "Snowy had a huge offensive output for us. Tori obviously early on. Dani was having some success on the offensive end. So, I think it was a little easier to distribute. It makes it harder to defend us. We didn't hit for some outstanding numbers but we got a lot of good looks at some different locations along the net. So, that made things a little easier and the defense continued to do what it's been doing all season."
With the win, FGCU not only extended its season-best winning streak to 12 and stayed in sole possession of first place in the ASUN standings, but they have also won 19 consecutive sets, while also remaining undefeated at home (10-0).
The Eagles have tied Creighton and New Mexico State for the seventh-longest winning streak nationally. They are four shy of matching the program's Division I era winning streak record of 16 set last year.
Longest Division I winning streaks
1. Western Kentucky - 20
2. Colorado State - 19
3. South Dakota - 18
4. Stephen F. Austin - 15
5. Towson - 14
6. Fairfield - 13
7. Creighton - 12
     FGCU - 12
     New Mexico State - 12
10. VCU - 11
Meanwhile, FGCU's set streak is three shy of matching the 2017 team for the second-longest in the program's Division I era behind the 2007 team, who won 30 straight. Additionally, FGCU is now tied with Stephen F. Austin and Milwaukee for the second-most wins in the nation behind Western Kentucky (23).
Most Division I victories
1. Western Kentucky - 23
2. Stephen F. Austin - 22
     Milwaukee - 22
     FGCU - 22
5. Pittsburgh - 21
    South Dakota - 21
7. Colorado State - 20
     Towson - 20
Erin Shomaker had a match-high 10 kills for her fifth double-digit performance of the season, while Snowy Burnam and Tori Morris each had eight kills with zero errors over a combined 36 attempts. Cortney VanLiew (7) and Daniele Serrano (6) also contributed in the kills category.
"Tori and Snowy were outstanding, right from the start," Botsford said. "Tori what she was doing at the net, impacting their hitters, but probably the most significant thing was what she did offensively. And because of the quick start she had, it started to open things up because they had to make sure they were honoring her presence up there. And that was part of the reason Snowy had the success she had and that started to move around the court."
In the opening set, FGCU produced a pair of 5-0 runs that proved crucial. The first one was capped by a kill from VanLiew (Seymour, Ind./Columbus East HS) and put the Eagles up 15-8, while the final run came to close the set and featured a pair of kills from Shomaker (Granville, Ohio/Granville HS), including a ferocious overpass kill on the set-winner.
Another kill from VanLiew capped a 12-2 run for the Eagles early in the second set, but the Flames responded with a 7-0 run that trimmed their deficit to three. Despite that, FGCU didn't let their lead dip below that mark as Morris (Virginia Beach, Va./Floyd E. Kellam HS) and Burnam (Palm City, Fla./Jensen Beach HS) capped the set with back-to-back kills.
The final set saw Liberty take several leads including a 14-13 advantage following a 3-0 run. Shomaker and VanLiew, though, answered with back-to-back kills to spur a 5-1 run for the Green and Blue. Although the teams exchanged the final eight points back and forth, FGCU never trailed by fewer than two the rest of the way.
Chelsey Lockey (Eaton, Colo./Eaton HS) had another solid match running the offense with a match-high 35 assists while adding three digs and one kill. She also had one of the team's three solo blocks and is now 77 assists shy of producing the 10th season with at least 1,000 in the program's Division I era.
Defensively, Serrano (Sanford, Fla./Seminole HS) stuffed a match-high seven shots, including one of the solo variety. She now has 443.0 career blocks, moving within 32 of surpassing Meredith Hardy (ETSU, 2010-13, 474.0) for the most in ASUN history. In addition to that, the senior middle blocker competed in her 135th career match, which along with teammate Amanda Carroll (Albuquerque, N.M./Sandia HS), ties Karissa Rhoades (2015-18) for the fifth-most in program history.
Burnam contributed three block assists, while VanLiew had two. Lockey, Morris and Shomaker also had one apiece.
VanLiew and Dana Axner each had a team-high 16 digs, while Burnam chipped in eight. Axner (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman HS) extended her double-digit streak to 17 straight, eclipsed 400 digs on the season and is 51 shy of surpassing Courtney Stephens (1,084, 2014-17) for the fourth-most career digs in the program's Division I era. VanLiew, meanwhile, became the ninth player in the same era with at least 700 career digs with 708.
FGCU is now 4-1 all-time against Liberty in a series that dates back to the beginning of last year when the Flames joined the ASUN from the Big South Conference.
The Eagles clinched a spot in the ASUN tournament with Tuesday's win and have also now won 10 or more matches in conference play in six consecutive seasons.
Burnam inched her way up the record book in several categories on Tuesday. Not only is she now three kills shy of becoming the 11th player in the program's Division I era with at least 600 in a career, but she moved into sole possession of ninth place on the career block assist list with 156, moved into the top 10 in career blocks with 167 and needs one more point to move into the top 10 in that career category.
Prior to Tuesday's match, the Eagles had the chance to celebrate Faculty and Staff Appreciation Night. Each member of the volleyball team selected an MVP to show their appreciation for his or her contributions to their development throughout their FGCU careers.
Next Up
FGCU will host Stetson (Friday at 7 p.m.) and North Florida (Sunday at 2 p.m.) this weekend. Prior to Friday's match, the program will honor its senior class before facing the Hatters, who are one of only two teams to take a set from the Green and Blue since their conference-opening loss to Liberty. Fans are encouraged to wear green on Sunday in what will be the team's regular season home finale.

ASUN Standings
1. FGCU - 22-3, 10-1
2. Kennesaw State - 16-7, 9-2
3. Lipscomb - 11-10, 7-3
4. Liberty - 14-9, 7-4
5. Stetson - 9-11, 6-4
6. North Florida - 11-14, 4-6
7. Jacksonville - 7-17, 3-7
8. North Alabama - 3-21, 1-10
9. NJIT - 1-25, 0-10

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