Cassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.) and sophomore libero Paula Gentil (Forteleaza Ceara', Brazil) were both named to the Mideast All-Region team for a second straight year according to an announcement by the America Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) on Wednesday, Dec. 10.
In her senior season, Busse was named the 2003 Big Ten Player of the Year. She became only the third player in school history to claim conference player of the year honors, joining Nicole Branagh (Co-Big Ten Player of the Year in 2000) and Martie Larsen (1983). Busse was also named First Team All-Big Ten for the second season in a row.
She is currently third in the Big Ten in kills at 4.65 kpg, first in service aces at 0.46 sapg and 11th in hitting percentage at .299. Busse leads the Golden Gophers in kills with 549, hitting percentage at .299, service aces with 54, is second in blocks with 95 and third in digs at 290. Busse was second in kills in conference play at 5.03 kpg, sixth in hitting percentage at .296 and eighth in service aces.
This season she became only the fourth player in Minnesota history to record 500 kills in back-to-back seasons joining Branagh (1998, 99, 2000), Katrien DeDecker (1995, 96) and Chris Schaefer (1988, 89). Busse is currently sixth on the Minnesota career kills list with 1,437, eighth in career service aces at 162 and fourth in career hitting percentage. She was also the fourth Minnesota player to be named AVCA National Player of the Week (10/27), and is one of only three players in school history to be named Big Ten Player of the Week four times or more. Busse recorded 20 kills or more in nine matches this season and also registered nine double-doubles this season.
Gentil claimed Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Big Ten honors for a second straight season. She is currently only 17 digs from tying the Big Ten single-season record.
In just two years at Minnesota, she has accumulated 1,163 career digs which is good for sixth on the school's career list and puts her just 128 digs from tying the school record. Gentil comes into the week with a Big Ten leading 589 digs and is 12th in the nation as of Nov. 30.
This season she has recorded 20 digs or more in nine matches, including a school record 33 against No. 11 Penn State on Nov. 28. Gentil has recorded double-figure digs in 30 of Minnesota's 34 matches this season, and has 58 double-figure dig matches in her career.
It marks the fifth straight season Minnesota has had at least five players named to the All-Region team. The Golden Gophers have had at least one player named to the team in seven of Mike Hebert's eight years at Minnesota.