Liberty volleyball completed a successful second season in the ASUN Conference in 2019.
Note: The Liberty volleyball team enjoyed a successful second season of ASUN Conference competition in 2019, finishing third in the conference standings before making its first postseason appearance since 2012. The ASUN Conference office recently penned this season recap article. With another season of ASUN Conference Volleyball in the books, we take a look back at the highlights and accomplishments from the nine league squads following the 2019 season. Kennesaw State captured its second ASUN Championship title as the No. 2 seed while FGCU claimed four of the five individual superlative awards after earning back-to-back regular season titles.
The Owls made their second appearance in the last three years in the NCAA Tournament, defeating No. 1 FGCU 3-2 in an epic rematch of the 2018 ASUN Championship Final. Kennesaw State jumped out to a quick 2-0 match lead taking the first two sets 27-25 and 25-22, respectively. FGCU battled and took the third and fourth sets by a score of 26-24, forcing the fifth set. KSU battled back from a 10-12 deficit to claim the match 15-13 with Dani Ballou earning the final point for the Owls.
Cortney VanLiew and Dana Axner were named the Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year for the second-straight year, respectively, after guiding the Eagles to its second-consecutive ASUN Regular Season Title. VanLiew totaled 423 kills, 222 digs, 52 blocks and 23 aces for a total of 476.5 points. She led the league in kills per set (4.07). Axner, the only player to earn back-to-back ASUN Defensive Player of the Year honors, led the league in digs per set (5.47) ranking 12th in the NCAA.
The Eagles claimed the Freshman of the Year honor for the third-straight season and fourth time in the last five years, with Erin Shomaker this season. She finished fourth among ASUN freshmen in hitting percentage (.273) collecting 233 kills for a 2.33 kills per set average. Kennesaw State's Lexi Broadwater also earned back-to-back honors this season, collecting ASUN Setter of the Year. The senior finished the season second in the country in assists per set (12.08) and 10th in total assists (1,389).
Liberty's Amelia Johnson earned Scholar-Athlete of the Year distinction after being named to the All-Academic Team sporting a perfect 4.00 GPA. She helped the Flames to a 21-12 record, posting a conference-high 457 kills. Liberty also advanced to the NIVC Quarterfinals, earning wins over La Salle and High Point at home in the first and second rounds.
FGCU - Amanda Carroll finished her career as an Eagle holding several ASUN Records - kills (60) and attempts (168) in the ASUN Championship. She also finished in the top-10 in career totals for aces (6th; 137) and kills (9th; 1,483); just the third player in ASUN history to total more than 1,240 digs and 1,480 kills. - Daniele Serrano concluded her illustrious career as No. 1 in the ASUN record book in blocks (483) and sixth in total block average (1.09). - FGCU advanced to its fourth-consecutive ASUN Championship final, second-straight as the No. 1 seed.
Jacksonville - Sydney Bolding finished the season as No. 1 in the ASUN and No. 21 in the country in hitting percentage with a .392, second highest among freshmen in the country. - Mallory Mattingly wrapped up her career with 1,420 kills and 1,066 digs, earning her 1,000th dig against Liberty, becoming just the fourth player to reach 1,000 kills and digs in Jacksonville's program history. - JAX had five players record more than 100 kills this season with two reaching 300-plus kills in Mattingly (394) and Lexi Wierzbicki (309).
Kennesaw State - Lauren Chastang was a key part of the Owls offense this season, collecting a team-high 454 kills (2nd in ASUN) while serving up 65 aces, a league-high and sixth-best in the country. Both becoming KSU single-season records. - Quin Sutphin also set a new mark hitting .349 for the season, fourth-best in the ASUN; she also added 93 total blocks and 342 kills. - KSU has earned 20 or more wins in its last three season, and have held a .800 or better record in ASUN play since 2016.
Liberty - The Flames posted their first 20-plus win season since 2014, with a 21-12 record including an 11-2 mark at home. Of the 21 wins, 10 came in straight sets. - Kailey Macy finds herself in the top-5 in the ASUN record book for total block average at 1.17 in her two years, averaging 1.31 blocks per set this season for a total of 115. - Three players averaged over 2.50 kills per set for the Flames this season - Amelia Johnson (3.81), Casey Goodwin (2.96) and Anna Gragg (2.52).
Lipscomb - The Bisons made their 15th-consecutive appearance in the ASUN Championship Semifinals after defeating Stetson 3-1. - Morgan Elmore finished her career with 3,604 assists, ranking 11th in career totals in ASUN history; recorded 55 digs against FGCU in ASUN Championship Semifinal, her sixth time recording 50 or more assists in 2019 season. - Lipscomb had five players average over 2.00 kills per set with Megan Kuper leading the way at 2.94. Sami Rubal is one of the five (2.24) and led the team in hitting percentage (.294).
NJIT - First-year head Coach Pedro Trevino earned his first win at the helm of the Highlanders against FDU on Sept. 7 at the FDU Invitational. - Seniors Olivia Welsch ended her career with 938 digs while classmate Liz Benson finished with 2,510 assists and 744 digs. - Madi Busler led the NJIT attack with 237 kills for a 2.47 kills per set average for a team-high 266.5 points.
North Alabama - The Lions had two freshmen leading the attack this season in Anna Katherine Griggs (178 kills) and Alyssa Dutton (146 kills). - UNA totaled six players with over 130 digs this season, led by Mackenzie Sullivan with 377 for an average of 4.19 digs per set. - In ASUN matches, Bob White's squad finished third in total blocks (126) and block assists (220) and fourth in blocks per set (2.10).
North Florida - The Ospreys earned its sixth-straight appearance in the ASUN Championship and ninth in the last 10 seasons after finishing 7-9 in ASUN play. - UNF had two of the ASUN's top freshmen on its team in Julianna Askew and Rocio Moro. Moro was 15th in the nation in total digs (633) while Askew was 20th in total assists (1,296). - Solimar Cestero, a Second Team All-Conference member, totaled 424 kills (3rd) while hitting .227 over the season. She is currently riding a six-match streak with 10-plus kills which dates back to Nov. 5.
Stetson - The Hatters set a single-season record winning eight-straight matches (Oct. 6 - Oct. 30) en route to finishing the season with a 9-7 mark and making back-to-back ASUN Championship appearances. - Elena Djokovic finished her freshman campaign with 293 kills, a team high while Brianna Schmid led the team and ended at No. 5 in the ASUN in hitting percentage (.330). - Junior Chelcie Spence currently sits at No. 24 in ASUN history for career digs (1,332). With her averaging 444 digs per season she is projected to finish her career with 1,776 (7th).