JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — On a historic day for the FGCU beach volleyball team (14-12), two native Texans entered their names on the record book when the Eagles separated two games against North Florida (W, 4-1). and No. 19 Georgia State (L, 3-2) on Saturday at the Cooper Beach Volleyball Complex.
With the win, the FGCU set the record for the most regular season wins in program history that the team had set in 2019. The 2018 and 2017 teams each won 13 in the regular season, while the 2019 team holds the record for the most overall wins – including postseason – at 18.
“These are the types of games every coach loves as we prepare for the regular season to close,” said FGCU head coach Chris Sweat said. “Every set for both games was neck to neck getting the athletes into high pressure all day, and learning from the results and growing is what it’s about. UNF and GSU pushed us to do it all day on to be the best, and it was. ” It’s really fun to watch. “
Kayla Whetstone and Kacie Johnsonwho make up the team’s second-largest pair, posted two grueling three-set wins, each of which improved to a team-best 19-7 overall this year. To the Johnson (Frisco, Texas / Lebanon Trail HS)She becomes the new rookie winner of the program, beating the previous record of 18 Kirstine Garder in 2019.
“Kacie was stepping up for us during the biggest moments of the year and has grown so much as a player over the year,” said Sweat. “She is such a competitor and has had some great moments for us this year. She loves the game and will have amazing results here at FGCU for the next few years.”
Meanwhile, Whetstone (Arlington, Texas / Arlington Lamar HS) broke a tie Karissa Rhoades (61, 2016-19) to become the program’s career wins the leader. She took her 62nd win in the season opener against North Florida before increasing her career record to 63-22 (.741) in the final.
For the duo, it was their fifth win against a ranked team this year, while Whetstone increased their program record career to eight. Johnson, just 26 games in her career, already ranks fourth in FGCU history for the most wins over ranked teams.
“Kayla has been an integral part of the program the entire time,” said Sweat. “She’s been such an ambassador for us on and off the pitch, and she’s the perfect example of a student athlete. If she and Kacie clicked from the moment they stepped on the pitch this season, you could see that there was something special and she would do very well this year. Kayla has been in so many great moments in her career and I couldn’t be more of her to set that record. “
In addition to the above records, Whetstone may be the first player in program history to book two seasons of 20 wins in a career with one more win, while Johnson may be the youngest to hit 20. In fact, so far only four players have reached the milestone in one season – Whetstone (24-5 in 2019), Snowy Burnam (24-5 in 2019), Rhoades (20-8 in 2019) and Puisis (20-8 in 2019).
Giovanna Borgiottiwho has teamed up with Garder (Halden, Norway / Topvolley Norge) To get a 21-13, 28-26 win over Georgia State No. 19 at Couple No. 1, she upgraded her career to a total of six teams, making it the second highest of all time behind Whetstone.
In addition, the senior woman achieved her 58th career victory with graduation, which moves her past Katie Puisis (57, 2016-19) and sole proprietorship of third place among all-time Eagle greats. With two more triumphs, she can give the FGCU a pair of teammates with 60 wins for the first time.
If that’s not enough Borgiotti (Vienna, Va./George C. Marshall HS) is the first player in program history to win at least 10 games in each of her four seasons, and she has split her career wins across four different pairs – 14 in 1st place, 12 in 2nd place, 14th in 3rd place and 18 in No. 4.
In the victory over North Florida, the pair was No. 3 of Maddison Parmelly (Rockwall, Texas / Rockwall Heath HS) and Lexie Hamilton (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) took the match clinch win when the Eagles won the first four pairs played. Those two are now 15-11 this year which is the second best on the team.
Up against a team for the tenth time in a season on Saturday when they faced a tougher schedule than ever before, the Eagles keep knocking on the door to consistently beat the best in the nation. They had multiple wins against top 20 teams for the first time in a season, and their loss to Georgia State was the team’s fourth 2-3 loss to a ranked team this year.
The FGCU will end the regular season on Sunday against Jacksonville (10 a.m.) and North Florida (12 p.m.). The Eagles need a win to get the squad the second-most team wins in a single season in 2017 and 2018.
Following Sunday’s action, the FGCU will compete in the ASUN championship from April 23-25 in DeLand, Florida.
FGCU 4, North Florida 1
1. Antonia Harrison / Dana Roskic (UNF) def. Giovanna Borgiotti / Kirstine Garder 13-21, 21-17, 15-10
2. Kayla Whetstone / Kacie Johnson (FGCU) def. Taryn Griffey / Callie Workman 23-21, 18-21, 15-12
3. Maddison Parmelly / Lexie Hamilton (FGCU) def. Leah Maloney / Marisa Rogers 21-18, 22-20
4th Emma Hansen / Madie Lichty (FGCU) def. Carleigh Semeniuk / Lauren Galinis 21-18, 28-30, 15-13
5. Jenna Banz / Trinity Rosales (FGCU) def. Chantel McMillan / Carolyn Cain 21-19, 21-12
No. 19 Georgia State 3, FGCU 2
1. Giovanna Borgiotti / Kirstine Garder (FGCU) def. Eden Hawes / Maddy Delmonte 21-13, 28-26
2. Kayla Whetstone / Kacie Johnson (FGCU) def. Kate Novack / Kelly Dorn 21-16, 19-21, 15-12
3. Olivia Stasevich / Mattie Johnson (GSU) def. Maddison Parmelly / Lexie Hamilton 18-21, 23-21, 15-9
4. Meagan McCall / Maddie Gordon (GSU) def. Emma Hansen / Madie Lichty 21-14, 22-20
5. Angel Ferary / Bella Ferary (GSU) def. Trinity Rosales / Jenna Banz 21-23, 21-17, 16-14
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Chris Sweat is in his sophomore season as head coach of the FGCU beach volleyball program, having served as assistant coach for the past five seasons. As a member of VolleyballMag.com’s list of hot shots for under 40s in January 2020, he led the Eagles to a 4-0 start in 2020 before shutting down Covid-19 and set an 18-12 record to open his tenure as head coach.
FGCU Athletics sponsors events in November and April for the benefit of the FGCU Campus Food Pantry (www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry) and Harry Chapin Food Bank (www.harrychapinfoodbank.org), the charity of FGCU Athletics. For more information, including how you can contribute, please visit www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry. Use the hashtag #FeedFGCU to raise awareness.
The FGCU teams have teamed up to win an incredible 85 regular season and tournament titles in just 13 seasons in Division I. Additionally, in just nine seasons after the season, the Eagles have competed in 40 teams or individuals in NCAA championships. Eight FGCU programs have achieved a national top 25 placement in their respective sport – including women’s basketball (No. 21, 2020-21), beach volleyball (No. 20, 2021) as well as men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s soccer (2018) than three of the youngest. In 2016-17, the Greens and Blues reached the top sixth place in the division in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and national top 100 placements, ahead of several Power 5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN, and Florida State’s top seven teams received the NCAA Public Recognition Award for their rate of academic progression in their sport. The FGCU achieved a combined classroom record of 3.50 GPA in the fall semester 2020 and exceeded the general population of university students for 23 consecutive semesters. Another milestone was reached in the fall semesters 2019, spring 2020, and fall 2020, as all 15 programs achieved a team GPA of 3.0 or higher. The Eagles also hit an all-time high of 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – as one of two runners-up for the first-ever NACDA Community Service Award, presented by the Fiesta Bowl.
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