The Minnesota volleyball team had three players receive First-Team All Big Ten honors according to an announcement by the conference office on Monday, Dec. 1. Junior libero Christine Tan (Safety Harbor, Fla.) was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and received First-Team All-Big Ten honors, while sophomores Brook Dieter (Bloomington, Minn.) and Lauren Gibbemeyer also received first team honors.
It marks the first time since 2004 that the Golden Gophers claimed three First-Team All-Big Ten honorees. That year, Kelly Bowman, Paula Gentil and Erin Martin collected the honors. Minnesota also collected three first team players in 1999, 2000 and 2002.
Tan became the third Golden Gopher to win Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors. She joins Paula Gentil (2002, 03, 04) and Malama Peniata (2006) on that list. Minnesota players have claimed Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors in five of the eight years of the award’s existence.
This season, Tan is averaging 4.91 dps, 0.45 aps and is tied for second on the team in service aces. She leads the conference in digs per set in conference play and overall, and is 30th in the nation in digs. In 2008, she set a conference record for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors at five. That mark also matched the conference record for weekly honors set by Stacey Gordon in 2004. Tan enters the NCAA Tournament leading the Big Ten in serve-receive percentage at .982. She has committed only 11 errors in 628 attempts.
Tan enters the week with 579 digs this season. The 579 digs are the fourth-most on the Minnesota single-season list. She is just 21 digs away from becoming the second Golden Gopher in school history to reach 600 digs in a season.
Gibbemeyer was one of eight players to receive First-Team All-Big Ten honors unanimously this year. She also extended a streak of four years in a row that a Golden Gopher middle blocker has received First-Team All-Big Ten honors. Gibbemeyer has combined with Jessy Jones (2007) and Meredith Nelson (2005-06) to put together that string of first team honors.
Going back to 1999, Minnesota has had a middle blocker named to the first team in seven of the last 10 seasons. Stephanie Hagen (1999, 2000, 2001) is also on that list with Gibbemeyer, Jones and Nelson.
Gibbemeyer enters the NCAA Tournament leading the team in kills (381), blocks (167) and hitting percentage (.319). She is currently 13th in the nation in blocks, and is fourth overall in the Big Ten at 1.42 blps. Gibbemeyer is also 10th in hitting percentage and seventh in points (4.20 pps). In Big Ten play, she finished 10th in kills (3.19 kps), 10th in hitting percentage (.305), eighth in points (4.14 pps) and fifth in blocks (1.40 blps).
She enters the week with 167 blocks on the season. That total puts her at fifth on the school’s single-season list in that category. Gibbemeyer is just eight blocks from tying the single-season school record for blocks at 175 set by Charnette Fair in 1999.
Dieter was one of five outside hitters to receive First-Team All-Big Ten honors this year. She becomes the first Golden Gopher outside hitter since Erin Martin (in 2004) to collect the honors. Dieter and Gibbemeyer also became the first sophomores at Minnesota to collect First-Team All-Big Ten honors since Kelly Bowman did so in 2004.
Heading into the tournament, Dieter leads the team with 3.57 kps, has 2.23 dps and 0.68 blps. In conference play, Dieter averaged 3.82 kps, 3.00 dps and 0.70 blps. She was sixth overall in the Big Ten in kills and eighth in points per set. In Big Ten play, Dieter was sixth in kills and sixth in points per set.
Dieter had double-figure kills in 15 of 17 Big Ten contests this year, before getting injured against Michigan. The only matches in which she failed to reach double-figures were at No. 1 Penn State and in the match where she left with an injury in the second set against the Wolverines. Dieter also produced double-doubles in nine matches this year.
Senior Kelly Schmidt (Champaign, Ill.) also claimed the Big Ten Sportsmanship honor, which goes to one player on each team.
Penn State’s Russ Rose was named Big Ten Coach of the Year, while Nicole Fawcett received Player of the Year honors. Illinois’ Michelle Bartsch was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
The Nittany Lions led the way with five First-Team All-Big Ten honorees (Fawcett, Christa Harmotto, Megan Hodge, Alisha Glass and Arielle Wilson). Minnesota was second in the Big Ten with three First-Team All-Big Ten honorees. Illinois (Laura DeBruler), Indiana (Ashley Benson), Michigan (Lexi Zimmerman), Michigan State (Vanessa King) and Purdue (Stephanie Lynch) each collected on First-Team All-Big Ten honoree.
Johannah Bangert (Illinois), Erica Short (Indiana), Berth Karpiak (Michigan), Katie Dull (Ohio State) and Roberta Holehouse (Penn State) all collected Honorable Mention All-Big Ten honors