Dec. 4, 2012
Junior middle blocker Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minn.) and senior opposite hitter Katherine Harms (Albertville, Minn.) were both named to the Mideast All-Region team, announced by the America Volleyball Coaches Association on Tuesday, Dec. 4. The all-region honors follow All-Big Ten selections for the duo, announced prior to the NCAA post season. The Dixon and Harms selections mark the 15th-straight year the Gophers have had an all-region honoree. Its the second-straight honor for Dixon and the first for Harms.
Dixon continues her dominance against opponents as she hits .441 on the season. That hitting percentage is the third-best nationally and tops the Big Ten Conference. In just 667 swings, Dixon has 364 kills, 70 errors to average 3.08 kills per set. She opened her junior campaign hitting a stifling .875 this year and since then, has hit over .500 in 14 matches this year. In league games alone, she has hit .420, which only rivals teammate Dana Knudsen in the conference. A Preseason All-Big Ten, Dixon was a three-time honoree of the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Week. Against Penn State earlier this year, she accomplished a season-best 11 blocks as she averages 1.03 per set. In 118 sets played, Dixon also ranks third on the team in aces (31) and has 83 digs and produced 466.0 points this season. This past weekend, Dixon reached her 1,000th career kill as she helped the Gophers to a four-set win over Creighton to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16.
Harms saved her best season for her last as she leads the team in kills (484), kills per set (4.10) and points (569.5). Following the conference season, Harms was named a unanimous All-Big Ten selection, her first career honor. A six-rotation player, Harms also is tied for second on the team in digs (294) and aces (40). Harms finished the regular season ranked sixth in the Big Ten in kills, third in points per set, 10th in hitting percentage and fifth in aces. She bettered her junior numbers from 305 kills to 458 this season and can add to those numbers as the Gophers compete in the NCAA Regional this weekend. She amassed her 1,000th career kill in the regular season finale against Indiana (11/24). Entering the NCAA postseason, Harms has 1,039 career kills and 637 career digs. Having a standout season, she entered the year with 555 career kills and 340 digs. Having never earned weekly conference awards, Harms snagged three Big Ten Player of the Week honors this year.
Minnesota will face Purdue (23-10) on Friday, Dec. 7 at 6:00 p.m. CT in the NCAA Regional Semifinal. Prior to the Gopher/Boilermaker match will be the No. 1 seed Penn State (28-3) and No. 16 seed Kentucky (22-10) contest, at 4 p.m. CT. The winner of each match will compete for the NCAA Regional Final on Dec. 8, 3 p.m. CT, and a trip to the NCAA Final Four. Of the 16 teams that advanced, six hail from the Big Ten Conference, including three in the Purdue Regional. Also making it to the Sweet 16 was Nebraska (Omaha Region), Michigan and Michigan State (California Region).
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