FGCU Serves Up 12 Aces In Rout Of Alabama State

FGCU Serves Up 12 Aces In Rout Of Alabama State

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Orlando, Fla. – The FGCU volleyball team (7-5) produced 12 aces in a 25-12, 25-9, 25-8 win over Alabama State (3-12) on Saturday to close out the Volleyknights Invitational at The Venue on the campus of 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.

The Eagles went 2-1 in the event and finished second behind UCF. Sharonda Pickering and Daniele Serrano were named to the All-Volleyknights Invitational team, while Maggie Rick recorded her 109th straight match with double-digit assists and moved into sole possession of ninth place on the program's career aces list with 79.

FGCU will be back in action on Friday at 7 p.m. at Jacksonville as the Green and Blue opens ASUN play.

"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."

The team's 12 aces is tied for the fourth best three-set performance in program history. There have been three matches with 13.

Cortney VanLiew, who nearly had another double-double before finishing with a match-high 12 digs and eight kills, had a career-high four aces. Karissa Rhoades, who surpassed 800 career digs this weekend, also had four aces to match her career-high. In all, five different players had at least one.

Offensively, Pickering (Sea Cow's Bay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands/Elmore Stoutt HS) tied VanLiew (Seymour, Ind./Columbus East HS)for the match-high in kills with eight. She did so on just 10 attempts and added a match-high seven block assists, which equals her career-high.

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 (Sanford, Fla./Seminole HS) had just two kills against Alabama State, but sat the final set and compiled 18 kills with only two errors over 36 attempts, while adding one solo and six block assists this weekend. She hit at least .400 in each match, including .545 in the team's lone loss this weekend to UCF.

"Sharonda continues to play extremely well for us," Botsford said "She had some issues lining up the block last night and was focused on that this afternoon, and it showed. I was pleased with what she did out there. And Dani continues to play high efficiency."

Outside of VanLiew's defensive success, Dana Axner (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman HS) had eight digs as that duo combined for 20 of the team's 30 digs. The freshman libero added two aces and has at least eight digs in all 12 of her collegiate matches.

Rick (Alpharetta, Ga./Blessed Trinity Catholic HS) narrowly 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.

Chelsey Lockey (Eaton, Colo./Eaton HS) added 11 assists, and she now has at least 10 in nine of her 12 career matches.

Other standouts included: Kaitlan Krivdo (Hope Mills, N.C./Gray's Creek HS), who had a match-high two solo blocks along with one block assist and one kill; Snowy Burnam (Palm City, Fla./Jensen Beach HS), who had five kills over eight attempts along with two digs and one block assist; and Tori Morris (Virginia Beach, Va./Floyd E. Kellam HS), who had two kills and two block assists in limited action.

As a team, FGCU hit .387 over 62 attempts, which was the second best percentage in a match this season behind a .392 performance against Western Illinois last weekend. Defensively, the Eagles had 17 blocks and held Alabama State to a -.101 hitting percentage, which was a season-low for Green and Blue opponents.

2018 All-Volleyknights Invitational Team
McKenna Melville (UCF) – MVP
Nerissa Moravec (UCF)
Jordan Pingel (UCF)
Sharonda Pickering (FGCU)
Daniele Serrano (FGCU)

Kelly Wirth (Yale)
Kate Swanson (Yale)

Pickering (.382) and Serrano (.351) have now moved up to second and third on the program's career hitting percentage list…Rick needs just 13 assists to become the second player in program history (Gigi Meyer) to have 4,000 in a career. She broke a tie with Whitney Masters (78, 2011-14) on the career aces list with her 79th…Rhoades (Valrico, Fla./Bloomingdale Senior HS)sits at 804 assists, which is 143 shy of tying Meyer for fifth place on the program's Division-I era career list…Serrano needs one more solo block to tie Ashley Yance for second most in the Division-I era. She eclipsed 250 total blocks in her career this weekend.

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