plaThe Minnesota volleyball team announced its postseason awards at the team banquet on Saturday, Feb. 7. Minnesota's team awards included the team MVP, the Maurice Batie Award for most inspirational player and the Golddiggers Booster Club Award.
Paula Gentil (Forteleza Ceara, Brazil.) was named Minnesota's 2003 Most Valuable Player. Gentil, who was a Second-Team AVCA All-American this season, was the only libero named to any of the three AVCA All-American teams. She was also named first team All-Big Ten, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for a second year in a row and AVCA All-Region. Gentil finished the season with a Big Ten record 656 digs in 2003. She also set a school record in digs for a second season in a row, and is currently fourth on the school's career digs list.
Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.) received the Maurice Batie Award for most inspirational player on the team. Busse became the first Minnesota player since 1996 to be named a First-Team AVCA All-American. She was also the third Golden Gopher in school history to be named Big Ten Player of the Year joining Nicole Branagh (Co-Player of the Year in 2000) and Jill Halsted (1983). Busse excelled both on and off the court as she became the first Minnesota volleyball player to receive First-Team Academic All-American honors. She finished her career ranked sixth on the Minnesota kills list with 1,502.
Busse also received the Golddigger Award for the Minnesota Volleyball Booster Club. The award is given to the player who demonstrates a positive attitude during competition on and off the court and also helps promote a positive image for the University of Minnesota.
Minnesota advanced to the Final Four for the first time in school history in the 2003 season. The Golden Gophers also finished the season as No. 4 team in the nation, their highest ranking in school history.