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FGCU Sweeps Bellarmine in ASUN Volleyball Quarterfinals

Jessica Piland/FGCU Athletics

On Nov. 16, FGCU began their ASUN Volleyball Championship journey as the hosts and the number one seed. First up in the quarterfinals, the Eagles faced off against the number eight seed, Bellarmine. Although trying at times, FGCU came away with the 3-0 sweep over the Knights to move on to the semifinals.

The Eagles finished the regular season with an overall record of 23-6 and a conference record of 15-1. On the other hand, the Knights finished the regular season with an overall record of 9-19 and a conference record of 7-9. FGCU swept Bellarmine in the previous match this year in Louisville.

Starting off the first set, FGCU got out to an early lead and led by as much as eight points. Bellarmine attempted to close that gap but every time they got a little closer, the Eagles then added to their lead. With that, FGCU captured the first set, 25-17, as junior outside hitter Skylar English finished off the set.

In the second set, things were a lot tighter. The teams traded the lead multiple times each way. But after being tied at 15, the Eagles took the lead on the next point and wouldn’t relinquish it again. FGCU secured the second set, 25-18, courtesy of senior middle blocker Juliana Lentz, pushing Bellarmine to the brink in the next set.

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Once again to open up the third set, the teams were close, as both held narrow leads and traded points. FGCU held a one point lead as late as 14-13. Then, the Eagles took control and went on a run. The Knights were only able to earn four more points to finish off the set and match. FGCU won set three, 25-17, as fifth-year outside hitter Alexandra Zakutney secured the set and match point for the Eagles to sweep the Knights, 3-0. FGCU head coach Matt Botsford commented on what he liked about the match afterwards and what he’s looking for next.

“I really just want them to play a quality brand of volleyball and for me, that is good in every phase. We don’t have to be great at any one phase. But then if there’s one area that’s deficient, then we can elevate it in a different area. And that happened tonight. The blocking elevated and everything kind of came with it as that took place,” Botsford said.

FGCU advanced to the semifinals of the ASUN Volleyball Championship where they will face off against the number four seed, Kennesaw State, tonight. Kennesaw State defeated North Alabama, 3-1, to move on. A trip to the final is on the line in this pivotal match. Lentz is excited about the match coming up.

“I love playing Kennesaw. We’ve played them four years and I love playing them. They’re a great team, they have great players. They’re very challenging and they’re not an easy team to play. Each of their hitters are very different and it’s a great way to show what we can do and what they can do. Whether it’s a three setter, a four setter or a five setter, it’s a great game either way and I’m excited to play them,” Lentz said.

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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.

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