The Student News Site of Florida Gulf Coast University

Eagle Media

Eagle Media

Eagle Media

Eagles Record Perfect Homestand Against Rival Florida Schools in Tight Five-Set Matches, Start ASUN Play 2-0

Jessica Piland/FGCU Athletics
Alexandra Zakutney (5) and Juliana Lentz (13) celebrate after a winning a point against University of Maryland.

Starting ASUN Conference matches with two at home, the Florida Gulf Coast University volleyball team captured each in tough five-set match victories over Jacksonville University and the University of North Florida over the weekend.

The Eagles were heavily tested in both matches but were able to defend Alico Arena and improve to a 9-5 record and a 2-0 record in conference to start, tied for first overall.

In both teams’ conference opener, FGCU welcomed Jacksonville. The Dolphins entered the match with a 3-9 record, while the Eagles entered with a 7-5 record.

FGCU and Jacksonville alternated set wins during the match. It was hard fought throughout, but the Eagles were able to come away with a tight 25-21 set-one victory to begin.

Story continues below advertisement

The second set was tighter, but the Dolphins came away with a 25-22 set two victory, knotting up the match at one set apiece. Set three went FGCU’s way, 25-18, while Jacksonville responded by forcing a fifth set, capturing a 25-21 set four victory to do so.

A fast start in the fifth by the Eagles had them up on the Dolphins 8-4 before the teams switched sides. Jacksonville was able to cut the lead to one point multiple times, but it wasn’t enough as FGCU held back their rally.

Junior outside hitter Skylar English finished off the Dolphins with one final kill, her twelfth of the match, as the Eagles earned a 15-11 set five victory and a 3-2 match win over Jacksonville.

Two Eagles earned a double-double, as English recorded 12 kills and 13 digs while fifth-year outside hitter Alexandra Zakutney recorded 12 kills and digs. The Eagles recorded a season-high 15 blocks in the match as senior middle blocker, Juliana Lentz, led the team with eight blocks.

Welcoming North Florida, it didn’t get easier for FGCU. The Eagles entered with a 8-5 record coming into the match after beating Jacksonville, while the Ospreys entered with a 6-8 record and looked to respond after losing a five set battle against Stetson.

Similar to Jacksonville, the teams went back and forth in set wins. This time, the Eagles fell behind to start. The first set was close early until the Ospreys pulled away and earned a 25-16 set-one victory. The Eagles recovered and similar to set-one, a 25-15 set-two victory by FGCU tied it at 1 set each.

The next two sets were decided by tight margins. North Florida outlasted FGCU 25-23 to earn a set three victory that pushed the Eagles to the brink. The Eagles faced a match point during the fourth set, but the Ospreys were called for reaching over the net. Exchanging points from there, FGCU rallied from another North Florida attack error for a 28-26 set four victory.

The fifth set of the match went FGCU’s way after it was 7 apiece. Then, the Eagles took control with a 4-0 run. North Florida got within one point multiple times, but a miss by the Ospreys gave the Eagles a 15-12 set five victory and 3-2 win.

Freshman middle blocker Ella Chapman was named ASUN Freshman of the Week for her performances. Against Jacksonville, Chapman was a key contributor in the fifth set as she recorded four total blocks and a kill. Against North Florida, she earned a season-high 10 kills and hit .500. Chapman is the first FGCU volleyball player to win a weekly award from the ASUN Conference this season.

FGCU volleyball will return to action with a two-match conference road trip starting at Queens in Charlotte and Kennesaw State. FGCU will be back at Alico Arena for a five match homestand beginning October 6th against Stetson.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
James Curtis
James Curtis, Eagle News Sports Editor
James Curtis is a senior majoring in journalism and minoring in global studies. He is from Tampa, FL, and has known he wanted to be a journalist since taking a journalism class in seventh grade. He has been involved in sports for his whole life, including swimming competitively all the way through high school. His goal now is to be a sports journalist. When not covering sports games or writing stories, he's usually spending his free time with his friends or watching YouTube.

Comments (0)

All Eagle Media Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *