(FCassie Busse (Prior Lake, Minn.) and Paula Gentil (Forteleaza Ceara', Brazil) were both named to AVCA All-American Team according to an announcement made by the America Volleyball Coaches Association on Wednesday, Dec. 17. Busse was named a First Team All-American, while Gentil was named a Second-Team All-American.
Busse becomes only the third Minnesota player to be named a First- Team All-American, joining Katrien DeDecker (1996 First Team AVCA All- American) and Jill Halsted (1981 AIAW First Team All-American).
Gentil and Busse also became the first players to claim the honors in back-to-back seasons since Nicole Branagh did so in 1999 and 2000. Halsted is the only other player to have claimed the honors twice in her career.
It marks only the third time in school history that Minnesota has had two All-Americans in the same season. However, the Golden Gophers have done it three times in the last four seasons. Busse and Gentil have been All-Americans in both 2002 and 2003, and Branagh and Stephanie Hagen did it in 2000.
Busse, who was named the Pacific Regional's Most Outstanding Player this past week, became only the third Minnesota player to be named Big Ten Player of the Year earlier this season. Last week she was named to the AVCA All-Region team.
For a second straight season in a row, Gentil was the only libero named to any of the three All-American teams. Gentil, who was named to the Pacific Region All-Tournament team last week, also received Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for a second season in a row. She was also named to the AVCA All-Region team last week and was selected First Team All-Big Ten for a second straight season.
Busse comes into the Final Four leading her team in kills (591), service aces (59) and hitting percentage (.295). She is also second in blocks (108) and third in digs at 305. She is first in the Big Ten in service aces, third in kills and 11th in hitting percentage. Busse was also named Big Ten Player of the Week twice (10/13 & 10/27), and AVCA National Player of the Week on Oct. 27.
She comes into the week sixth on the career kills list, fourth on the career hitting percentage list and eighth on the career service ace list. Busse is also fifth on the single-season kills list with 591, just nine kills from becoming only the fourth player in school history to record 600 kills in a season.
Gentil leads the team in digs with 646. This past week she broke the Big Ten single-season digs record, which was previously 606. Gentil's 646 digs are the fifth-highest since the NCAA went to rally scoring.
Coming into the week, Gentil is fourth on Minnesota career digs list with 1,220 as just a sophomore. Her 646 digs broke the single-season school record of 574 that she set last season. In just two seasons, Gentil has already tallied two of the four highest single-season dig totals in Big Ten history.
Minnesota will take on No. 1 USC on Thursday, Dec. 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the first match of the 2003 National Semifinals. That match will be broadcast live on Victory Sports One at 6:30 p.m. and on ESPN on a tape-delayed basis the same day at 10 p.m. If the Golden Gophers were to win they would take on the winner of Florida-Hawai'i in the National Championship on Saturday, Dec. 20 at 2:30 p.m.