Kelly Bowman (Maple Grove, Minn.), junior libero Paula Gentil (Forteleza Ceara', Brazil) and senior outside hitter Erin Martin (Ames, Iowa) were all named to the AVCA Mideast All-Region team.
Minnesota's three players were the most of any team in the region. It also marked the fourth time in school history that three Golden Gophers were named All-Region in the same season. All four seasons (1999, 2000, 2002 and 2004) have come under current head coach Mike Hebert.
Gentil received All-Region awards for the third season in a row, and was the only libero named to the All-Mideast Region team. Bowman and Martin each received the honors for the first time in their careers. All three players were also named All-Big Ten last week.
This season, Bowman is averaging 2.39 kills per game, 6.77 assists per game and 3.04 digs per game as one of the setters in Minnesota's 6-2 offense. She leads the nation in triple-doubles with seven on the season. In Big Ten Conference play, Bowman tied for the lead in hitting percentage at .361 (167- 45-338). Bowman is also second on Minnesota in assists, third in digs, fourth in kills and first in hitting percentage at .321. She was also named Co-Big Ten Player of the Week and AVCA National Player of the Week on Oct. 25.
Martin enters the NCAA Regionals second in the Big Ten in kills per game at 5.02 kpg, and was third in conference play at 4.94 kpg. She enters the week sixth on the Minnesota single-season list in kills at 613, which is one kill from Cassie Busse's 2003 total of 614. Martin is currently fifth on the career list with 1,736. This season she has recorded double-figure kills in 32 of her 34 matches. Martin is also 22nd in the nation in kills as of Nov. 28.
In the past two seasons, Minnesota is 48-8 in matches that Martin has recorded double-figures. She is currently hitting a career-high .282 (613-189- 1,506) from the outside hitter position for the season. Martin is second on the team with 45 solo blocks. The 45 solo blocks gives her 114 for her career, which is fifth on the Minnesota career list. This season, Martin has been named tournament MVP of the Diet Coke Classic, the North Carolina Tournament and the Wyoming Tournament. She was also named to the NACWAA All-Tournament team.
Gentil enters the NCAA Tournament third in the nation in digs at 6.59. She is also first in the Big Ten, and was first in conference play at 6.81 dpg. Her 797 digs this season are the second most in NCAA history since rally-scoring began in 2001. This season she broke the 14-year old Big Ten career digs record, and is currently sixth in NCAA history in career digs with 2,027. Gentil has recorded double-figure digs in 33 of 34 matches this season, including setting the Big Ten single-match record for digs in a game with 47 against Penn State on Oct. 2.
She currently holds the Big Ten career, single-season and single-match digs record. Gentil is also third in the Big Ten in service aces per game, and fifth in conference play. She leads Minnesota in both digs and service aces, and is third on the team in assists. This season she is helping Minnesota towards a team-record pace of 19.89 digs per game this season. That is 1.40 digs per game more then the record of 17.49, which was set last season. Gentil has been named to the Diet Coke Classic, NACWAA Classic, North Carolina and Wyoming All-Tournament teams this season. She is also a two-time Big Ten Player of the Week (Aug. 30, Sept. 27).
The Big Ten grabbed 10 of the 12 All-Region spots in the Mideast. Minnesota led the way with three players, while Penn State and Ohio State each had two players. Michigan State, Illinois and Michigan State each had one player.