The Student News Site of Florida Gulf Coast University

Eagle Media

Eagle Media

Eagle Media

Kacie Johnson Sets Win Record as Highlight in Beach Volleyball’s Season Through March

Jessica Piland/FGCU Athletics

The FGCU beach volleyball team is  over halfway through the 2024 season and currently has a record of 11-13 overall and 2-2 in conference play.

Before the season started, two Eagles were already being recognized. Senior Kacie Johnson and graduate student Shelby Beisner were named to the 2024 ASUN Preseason All-Conference Team. 

The season started in DeLand, Florida on Feb. 23 and 24 as the Eagles played in the Stetson Season Opener. FGCU started off strong by going 3-0 over those two days before taking their first loss of the season against fellow ASUN opponent Stetson, which was ranked No. 16 nationally, in the final match of the weekend.

On March 1 and 2, the Eagles were once again on the road in Florida, this time traveling to Jacksonville for the UNF Tournament. To open up the month, the Eagles defeated ASUN rival Jacksonville Dolphins. A new historic record was set that match as Johnson won her 70th match, now holding the most wins in FGCU beach volleyball history.

Story continues below advertisement

“Kacie has meant everything to this program,” head coach Chris Sweat said. “She came in her freshman year and took off and played awesome with one of our seniors that year, Kayla Whetstone. This year, she is a leader on the team and is a great person out on the court. She is everything we are looking for in a player.” 

After the opening tournament win, the Eagles went 2-1 the rest of the weekend, splitting two matches against another conference foe, North Florida followed by another win over Mercer. FGCU has not yet played another ASUN opponent since that weekend.

On March 5, the Eagles were at home for the first of two home dates as they hosted Eckerd and Tampa. Before the first match, Johnson was honored with her teammates for earning the record holder for most wins in program history.

The Eagles split the two matches as they easily defeated Eckerd 5-0 before losing a tightly contested battle against Tampa 3-2.

Although the first home matches occurred during FGCU’s spring break, a sizable crowd showed up for support, including multiple athletes from other sports who were off that day.

The weekend of March 8 and 9 had the Eagles back on the road for the Tampa Invite. They split those four matches evenly with a 2-2 record. One of those wins was against Tampa, which was ranked No. 20 at the time.

The week after, the Eagles had several matches in Boca Raton on the campus of Florida Atlantic on March 12 and 15. With a tough stretch of four top 15 opponents in a row, the Eagles were unable to come away with a win in that stretch, finishing 0-4. However, several players still received recognition for their play. Junior Kaitlyn Luebbers and sophomore Nicole De Oliveira won ASUN Pair of the Week on March 13.

The Eagles were at home for the second and last time for two more matches on March 20 as they hosted Palm Beach Atlantic and No. 16 FAU. It was senior day as four seniors, including Johnson and Beisner as well as Manaia Rewi and Trinity Rosales were recognized before the first match.

FGCU split those two matches as they defeated Palm Beach Atlantic 4-1 but lost to FAU 4-1 as Johnson reflected on her final season so far. 

“We have played some really hard teams this year so we have had some tough matches,” Johnson said. “But we have come really close with some big teams and we are hoping to pull out wins against some more ranked teams with more meets coming up later this season. We just have to keep pushing hard and playing hard.” 

The Eagles traveled out of state to Fort Worth, Texas for the final four matches of the month at the TCU Invitational on March 22 and 23. Against another gauntlet all consisting of top 15 opponents, the Eagles struggled and went 1-3. The final match of the weekend, however, was a 3-2 victory over No. 13 FIU.

The win over FIU also moved Rosales up to her 70th win, now trailing Johnson for the most wins in FGCU beach volleyball history. Early that next week, Luebbers and Oliveira were once again recognized as the ASUN Pair of the Week.

The FGCU beach volleyball team is in the midst of their last two weekends of meets in April. The Eagles traveled to Atlanta, Georgia for the Georgia State Tournament on April 5 and 6 and will be headed to Boca Raton for the FAU Tournament on April 13 and 14. The ASUN Tournament will be held in DeLand from April 24 through April 27.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Eagle Media Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

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