The Minnesota volleyball team had three players receive Mideast All-Region honors according to an announcement by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) on Wednesday, Dec. 9. Junior middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) and senior libero Christine Tan (Safety Harbor, Fla.) received first-team honors, while senior setter Taylor Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) was named Honorable-Mention All-Region.
It marks the ninth time under Mike Hebert that the Golden Gophers have had multiple players collect All-Region honors. It is also the first time since 2002 and 2003 that the Golden Gophers have had the same two players collect First-Team All-Region honors in back-to-back seasons. The last time it happened was when Cassie Busse and Paula Gentil each were named to the first team in 2002 and 2003.
Gibbemeyer was one of three middle blockers from the Big Ten to be named First-Team All-Region. She also became the first Golden Gopher middle blocker since Stephanie Hagen to be named All-Region in two straight years. Hagen received the honors three years in a row from 1999-2001.
Entering the NCAA Tournament, Gibbemeyer is one of two players in the nation to be in the top 10 nationally in both hitting percentage and blocks. She is currently seventh in blocks (1.51 blps) and ninth in hitting percentage at .398. Gibbemeyer is also third in the conference in hitting percentage, third in blocks, sixth in points (4.25 pps) and ninth in kills (3.32 kps).
Gibbemeyer enters the NCAA Regional round with the sixth highest point total (5.57 pps) and is tied for the ninth-highest block total (1.86 blps) in NCAA Tournament play. In conference play, she finished second in the Big Ten in hitting percentage (.399), fourth in blocks (1.43 blps), fourth in points (4.36 pps) and fourth in kills (3.49 kps). Gibbemeyer was the only player in the Big Ten to be in the top five in all four categories.
Last week, she tied the school’s single-season list in blocks (175), broke the block assists record (155) and is second in hitting percentage (.398). Gibbemeyer is also second on the school’s career hitting percentage list at .331, fifth in blocks with 471 and 16th in kills at 1,109.
Tan and Northwestern libero Kate Nobilio were both named to the Mideast All-Region team after receiving Honorable-Mention All-Big Ten honors. The two Big Ten liberos are two of 11 to be named First-Team All-Region. Tan joins Gentil as one of two liberos to be named First-Team All-Region in consecutive years. Gentil was named to the first team every year from 2002-05.
Entering the week, Tan is sixth in the Big Ten in digs at 3.82 dps. She has been named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week three times this year and 10 times in her career. The 10 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors are a conference record.
In NCAA Tournament play, Tan has averaged 5.29 dps. She also helped Minnesota get one of its biggest points of the season when she delivered a service ace that gave the Golden Gophers the third set against Louisville in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Tan enters the week second on the Golden Gophers all-time assists list with 1,880 and will move into the top 10 in career matches played at Minnesota with 134 after the match against Colorado State on Friday. In conference play, Tan was eighth in the Big Ten in digs with 3.60 dps.
Carico becomes the first Golden Gopher setter to be named All-Region (Honorable-Mention or First-Team) since 2006 when Kelly Bowman was named Honorable-Mention as well. Lindsey Taatjes (First-Team in 2002) is the last 5-1 Golden Gopher setter to receive All-Region honors.
Entering the NCAA Regionals, Carico is fourth in the conference in assists at 10.65 aps. She finished Big Ten play second in assists in conference play at 11.08. Carico enters the NCAA Regionals second place in assists in NCAA Tournament play at 14.14 aps.
Earlier this year, she became the fifth Golden Gopher setter to record her 5,000th career kill in a Gopher uniform. She has collected 1,086 assists this year, after record 4,101 in three years at USC. Her career total heading into the NCAA Regionals is 5,187.