beMinnesota volleyball senior Nicole Branagh was named the 2000 Big Ten Co-Player of the Year, along with Wisconsin junior Sherisa Livingston. Branagh became the Big Ten's all-time leader in kills Wednesday at Iowa and now has 2,326 kills, 26 more than former Gopher All-American Katrien DeDecker. Branagh is Minnesota's first Big Ten Player of the Year since Martie Larsen won the award in 1983.
Branagh was a unanimous selection to her third All-Big Ten team and becomes the third Gopher in school history to earn three first-team All-Big Ten awards. Juniors Lindsey Berg and Stephanie Hagen also were named to the All-Big Ten team, both repeating from 1999. Hagen was a unanimous selection on the team.
Minnesota and Wisconsin each had three players on the 13-member All-Big Ten team. Minnesota finished the 2000 regular season at 28-3, 17-3 in the Big Ten. The ninth-ranked Gophers set records for winning percentage in both overall and conference matches.
The Gophers will host Robert Morris in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday at 8 p.m. Duke and Arizona State will precede the Minnesota match at 6 p.m., with the winners playing in a second-round match Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets for the NCAA Volleyball Tournament can be obtained by calling the Gopher Ticket Office at (612) 624-8080.
2000 NCAA VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT
First-Second Rounds at Minneapolis, Minn.
Duke (21-12) vs. Arizona State (17-11), 6 p.m.
Robert Morris (21-15) vs. Minnesota (28-3), 8 p.m.
Friday's Winners, 7 p.m.