By Emily Kois
The FGCU volleyball team came out of top against Alabama State in the second day of play in the Volleyknights Invitational at UCF. The team earned 12 aces, defeating Alabama State in three sets.
The team finished 2-1 at the invitational, finishing second behind UCF.
“Last night, we struggled with outlet attacking, and I thought we made a much more concerted effort to make good decisions today when we were put in those situations, and the outside hitters did a better job with their creativity,” FGCU head coach Matt Botsford said.
Following the invite, Sharonda Pickering and Daniele Serrano were named to the All-Volleyknights Invitational team.
Maggie Rick also had a successful weekend earning her 109th straight match with double-digit assists and now places ninth on the program’s career aces list with 79.
“We have some stuff we need to work on and clean up,” Botsford said, looking forward to next weekend. “Ultimately for us, I think it’s about consistency. Our top level is pretty good. We just have to shrink those stretches during a match where it gets away from us a little bit. So, that’s going to be our focus. First contact looks good, blocking continues to look good. But I think outlet attacking is going to be important for us – and continued effort on serving.”
Cortney VanLiew was a dominant force for the team earning a match-high 12 digs, eight kills, and had a career-high four aces. Pickering also tied VanLiew for match kills with eight, along with seven block assists. Karissa Rhoades also had four aces to assist in the teams’ total of 12.
This weekend, Pickering produced 22 kills over 36 attempts on just two errors. She added one solo block, 10 block assists and four digs. Serrano was also dominant over the weekend, totaling 18 kills with only two errors over 36 attempts, along with one solo and six block assists. She hit at least .400 in each match, including .545 in the team’s loss to UCF.
Rick produced double-digit assists and finished with a match-high 12, along with three digs. She has at least 10 in all 109 matches over her career.
Kaitlan Krivdo, Snowy Burnam and Tori Morris were also standouts over the weekend. Offensively these three were strong on the net, with several solo blocks and kills over the weekend.
As a team, FGCU hit .387 over 62 attempts, which was the second-best percentage in a match this season. Defensively, the Eagles had 17 blocks and held Alabama State to a -.101 hitting percentage.
Next, FGCU will face off against Jacksonville to open up conference play. The game is set for Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. at Jacksonville.