FORT MYERS, Florida. – Three-time All-SEC outside hitter Lily Felts (Knoxville, Tenn./Berean Christian School) will officially join the FGCU volleyball program as a grad transfer after a stellar career at Tennessee. The current senior finished her career with the Volunteers with over 1,000 kills and over 900 recoveries and helped Tennessee reach two NCAA Tournaments.
“Lily has been one of the premier players in the SEC and one of the best six-rotation outside hitters in the country. The way she attacks the game, the competitive fire she possesses, and her ability to play every phase at such a high level, will immediately strengthen our roster,” said the head coach Matt Botsford. “As well as the talents evident on the pitch, Lily’s shared vision of what can be achieved here was also very evident throughout the recruiting process and something that resonated with me. We are so excited that she has chosen to spend her final year of eligibility with us and I look forward to seeing the contributions she will no doubt make to the Greens and Blues.”
Felts adds another top offensive player to Eagles roster alongside two-time ASUN Player of the Year Erin ShomakerASUN All-Freshman Team Winner skylar english, and second-team All-ASUN selection Julianna Lentz who was in the midst of a terrific season before missing the final nine games of the year through injury. Felts had 285 kills last fall, which will also fill the void by losing one of the all-time greats in program history, Cortney VanLeiw, who had 223 kills in her last campaign. indoors.
“I chose FGCU because of the incredible family atmosphere, high level of coaching and competitive streak shown by every member of the program,” Felts said. “I look forward to experiencing all that FGCU has to offer and competing with one of the best programs in the country.”
In addition to earning All-SEC honors during his career, Felts was a member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, a selection to the 2018 SEC All-Freshman Team, as well as a number of All-Secondary Teams. -Tournament during the season, notably as MVP of the 2018 Rocky Top Invitational.
As a senior, she displayed her 1,000and kill against Ohio State where she became the 22n/a player in Tennessee history to reach the milestone. In the NCAA Tournament, she had 11 kills against the Buckeyes and nine kills, 12 digs, and four blocks against North Carolina.
She led the Lady Vols as a junior with 242 wins with her 3.23 wins per set ranked 10th.and for only one season in program history at the time of rally scores. She also tied for the team-high in service aces (11). Many of his best performances have come against nationally ranked teams: 16 kills and 18 digs in a win over No. 16 Missouri; 18 kills and 11 digs in a loss to 15th South Carolina; 19 kills and 19 digs in a win over 15th South Carolina.
As a sophomore in 2019, she recorded 224 kills and 211 recoveries. She had a season-high 17 eliminations against LSU, along with 11 recoveries. In total, over the course of the year, she played in 10 games with double-digit totals and eight with double-digit digs.
Felts started 24 out of 27 games in 2018 in his debut campaign. She finished the year averaging 2.53 kills per set and 2.32 digs per set with 11 double-digit performances and four double-doubles. In her first-ever NCAA Tournament game, she posted 19 decisive wins in Tennessee’s behind-the-scenes win over Colorado State.
Prior to college, Felts played at Berean Christian School and competed for the K2 18 Elite-Jota Club. She earned state MVP honors while helping Berean Christian win a state championship as a senior. She holds two Tennessee State records for most kills in a game (51) as well as most kills in a set (17). She was a 2017 AAU All-American with K2 18 Elite-Jota and was named to the JVA Ultra Ankle National Team. That same year, she was also a member of Team USA Under Armor and selected as National Athletic Association of Private Schools National Player of the Year.
The Eagles are coming off a historic season that saw FGCU post a 27-6 overall record en route to the ASUN Championship title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. In the first round of the NCAA, the Greens and Blues managed to rally Texas Tech but fell in the second round to eventual national champion Wisconsin. The championship title and NCAA berth marked the second time in program history (2018) for the Eagles to accomplish both.
The 27 wins tied the program record, alongside the 2016 and 2018 teams, while the FGCU also posted its best RPI at No. 31 during the year. Over the past five seasons, the Eagles have all 12and most wins of any team in the country with 144, more than Stanford, Penn State and Washington, but just behind Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The Eagles are expected to fire 12 veterans this coming season, including three of their top five point producers.
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IT TAKES A TEAM to achieve our new goal – a $10 million campaign to address the needs of student-athletes for continued academic success, life skills, mental health, nutrition, strength and conditioning, as well as the department’s needs for facility expansion and improvements as well as mentorship and leadership training for coaches and staff. The name embodies our mission and the goal of the EAGLE – Eagle Athletics Generating Lifetime Excellence campaign. Join our team and commit your donation today to help the Eagles of tomorrow!
Matt Botsford completed his eighth season as head coach of the FGCU women’s volleyball program in 2021 after being hired on February 10, 2014. During his tenure, teams coached by Botsford compiled an overall record of 184-59 (.757), including a 96-20 (.827) ASUN in-game record. Including last year’s unprecedented spring season, he has taken the program to heights it has never seen in the Division I era (2007-present) – recording at least 20 total wins in six of the past seven seasons and at least 10 wins in conference play each season. In 2018, he led the program to its first regular season championship since 2012 (fourth overall) and its first-ever ASUN Tournament title, NCAA Tournament appearance, NCAA Tournament win, and victory over a ranked team. His first two campaigns resulted in ASUN’s second-place regular-season finish, and the next two saw the Eagles advance to the tournament championship and now the team has won three consecutive regular-season titles, including including a division title and runners-up in the ASUN Tournament in the 2021 Spring season. program against a team from a Power-5 conference. In 2018, he led the team to a win over Miami, Florida – the Power 5’s first-ever road win, and the Eagles followed that up with a straight-sets win over the Hurricanes at a neutral site in 2019.
FGCU Athletics sponsors events in November and April to benefit the FGCU Campus Food Pantry (www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry) and the Harry Chapin Food Bank (www.harrychapinfoodbank.org), FGCU Athletics’ charities of choice. For more information, including how to contribute, please visit www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry and use the hashtag #FeedFGCU to help raise awareness.
ABOUT THE FGCU
FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 87 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 14+ seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just nine seasons of DI playoff eligibility, the Eagles have brought together 43 teams or individuals competing in NCAA championships. Eight FGCU programs ranked in the top 25 nationally in their respective sports, including women’s basketball (#25, 2021-22), beach volleyball (#20, 2021) and men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s football. (2018) as three of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Vert et Bleu posted the department’s best sixth place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top 100 nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and Florida State’s top seven teams won the NCAA Public Recognition Award for their rate of academic progression in their sport. FGCU also collectively achieved a record 3.50 classroom GPA in the fall 2020 semester and outperformed the general undergraduate college population for 24 consecutive semesters. The Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 semesters each saw another milestone achieved, with all 15 programs achieving a team GPA of 3.0 or higher in each. The Eagles also served an all-time high of 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two finalists for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.