HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – After picking up a 3-0 win over UNCW in the semifinal round, the No. 20 FGCU beach volleyball team fell just short in the ASUN Championship title match as No. 18 Stetson claimed its 6th league title, 3-0, on Monday at the John Hunt Sand Volleyball Complex.
The second-seeded Eagles (29-9) finished the year with a program record 29 wins, while the Hatters improved to 23-16 overall earning the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
“Winning the ASUN was the goal from the start of the year, so coming up just short is heartbreaking,” said head coach Chris Sweat. “But with the record-breaking year the team had, the countless awards they won, and the way they all grew as a team and individually, I couldn’t be more proud of all of them.”
In the semifinal win over UNCW, Sweat earned his 50th career victory in just his third season as head coach. After taking the helm during the abbreviated 2020 campaign where the Eagles went 4-0 before the COVID-19 shutdown, Sweat led FGCU to 17 wins last year before earning 29 this season. In the 2022 ASUN Tournament, the Green and Blue finished 6-1 including a perfect 5-0 in pool play.
Facing the Seahawks in the semifinals, the Eagles jumped out to the early lead as Emma Hansen and Kaitlyn Luebbers won in straight sets (21-18, 21-15) in the fifth flight. Snowy Burnam and Cortney VanLiew then won the fourth flight with a dramatic 15-13 third set to push the Eagles lead to 2-0. Lexie Hamilton and Jaci Carpenter then secured the win in the second flight with another straight set win (21-11, 21-8) putting the Eagles in the title match.
Stetson won a pair of tightly contested matches in the fourth and fifth flights to take the early 2-0 lead in the championship match. The Hatters then earned the match-clinching point in the second flight as the Eagles were in tight battles in the No. 1 and No. 3 flights.
Burnam concluded her FGCU career as the all-time wins leader at 69 after passing Kayla Whetstone (67) on Sunday. She finished the 2022 season with a 25-12 overall record. Overall in the ASUN Tournament, the Eagles posted four sweeps and gave up just five sets through the seven matches. The 29 wins on the year surpassed the previous record of 18 set by the 2019 ASUN runner-up squad.
2022 ASUN Beach Volleyball All-Tournament Team
Carolina Ferraris and Anete Namike – Pair of the Tournament
Noelle Weintraub and Karin Zolnercikova, Stetson
Madison Parmelly & Kacie JohnsonFGCU
Ellie Bucci & Ashley Thompson, UNCW
Mariana Feliciano & Madeline CampNorth Florida
no. 20 FGCU 3, UNCW 0
one . Parmelly, Maddison/Johnson, Kacie (FGCU) etc. Mattie Johnson/Gracie Sistrunk (UNCW) 21-11, 14-14 (uf)
2nd . Hamilton, Lexie/Carpenter, Jacqueline (FGCU) def. Tessa Rogers/Sadie Sharkey (UNCW) 21-11, 21-8
3. Rosales, Trinity/Beisner, Shelby (FGCU) etc. Ellie Bucci/Ashley Thompson (UNCW) 21-19, 12-9 (uf)
4. Burnam, Snowy/VanLiew, Cortney (FGCU) def. Bri Haggerty/Maddy Folks (UNCW) 21-17, 18-21, 15-13
5 . Hansen, Emma/Luebbers, Kaitlyn (FGCU) def. Kaley McLaughlin/Jadyn Barry (UNCW) 21-18, 21-15
Order of finish: 5,4.2*
no. 18 Stetson 3, No. 20 FGCU 0
one . Parmelly, Maddison/Johnson, Kacie (FGCU) etc. Kylie Neuschaefer/Shae Henson (Stetson) 16-21, 9-14 (uf)
2nd . Carolina Ferraris/Anete Namike (Stetson) def. Hamilton, Lexie/Carpenter, Jacqueline (FGCU) 21-16, 21-10
3. Rosales, Trinity/Beisner, Shelby (FGCU) etc. Lauren Della/Gabriella Bramante (Stetson) 21-17, 14-15 (uf)
4. Audrey Gauthier/Colene Hamilton (Stetson) def. Burnam, Snowy/VanLiew, Cortney (FGCU) 21-18, 21-16
5 . Karin Zolnercikova/Noelle Weintraub (Stetson) def. Hansen, Emma/Luebbers, Kaitlyn (FGCU) 21-17, 21-17
Order of finish: 5,4.2*
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Chris Sweat is in his third season as head coach of the FGCU beach volleyball program after spending the prior five seasons as an assistant coach. A member of VolleyballMag.com’s Under 40 Coaching Hotshots list in January 2020, he led the Eagles to a 4-0 start in 2020 prior to the COVID-19 shutdown and has compiled a 50-23 (.685) record to open his head coaching tenure.
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 make a contribution, please visit www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry and utilize the hashtag #FeedFGCU to help raise awareness.
FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 92 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 14+ seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just 10 seasons of DI postseason eligibility, the Eagles have had a combined 44 teams or individuals compete in NCAA championships. Eight FGCU programs have earned a top-25 national ranking in their respective sport – including women’s basketball (No. 20, 2021-22), beach volleyball (No. 20, 2022) and both men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s soccer (2018) as three of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Green and Blue posted a department-best sixth-place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top-100 showing nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and state of Florida best seven teams earn the NCAA’s Public Recognition Award for their Academic Progress Rate in their sport. FGCU also collectively earned a record 3.50 GPA in the classroom in the fall 2020 semester and has outperformed the general University undergraduate population for 25 consecutive semesters. The past five semesters (Fall 2019 – Fall 2021) each saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a 3.0-or-higher team GPA in each. The Eagles also served an all-time high 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two runners-up for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.