Big Ten Boasts Four First-Team and 11 Total AVCA All-Americans
Dec. 15, 2004
PARK RIDGE, IL - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) has selected 11 Big Ten student-athletes to its 24th annual AVCA All-America teams for Division I women's volleyball, it was announced today.
Four Big Ten standouts were named First Team AVCA All-America, including two from national semifinalist Minnesota. Ohio State's Stacey Gordon, a 5-11 senior outside hitter, was honored for the fourth time in her career and the second time to the first team. Gordon, the two-time Big Ten Player of the Year, was named first team in 2002 and second team in 2001 and 2003. She averaged 7.08 kills en route to shattering nearly every kill record in the League, while producing 20 or more kills in 24 of 34 matches in 2004 with a .359 attack percentage. She also posted averages of 3.73 digs and 0.55 blocks per game this season.
Minnesota's Kelly Bowman and Paula Gentil were also named to the first team along with Penn State's Sam Tortorello. Bowman, a 5-10 sophomore setter/hitter, led the Big Ten this season with nine triple-doubles, including one in each of the regional semifinal and final matches. Gentil, a 5-9 junior libero, is a three-time AVCA All-American, as she was a second team honoree in 2003 and a third team selection in 2002. The League's three-time Defensive Player of the Year winner broke the NCAA season record for total digs with 876 and is on pace to break the average dig record. With a year of eligibility left, Gentil shattered the Big Ten career dig record by 175 and currently has 2,106 to her resume. A 5-11 junior setter, Tortorello is a two-time AVCA All-American, having been named to the second team last season. She averaged 14.00 assists, 1.27 kills, 3.03 digs and 0.93 blocks per game in leading the third-ranked Nittany Lions to a second seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Ohio State's Marisa Main and Penn State's Syndie Nadeau both earned their first AVCA All-America honors, as the pair was selected to the second team. Main, a 5-9 sophomore setter, ranks second nationally in assists per game with a 14.88 average and helped lead the Buckeyes to a .313 team attack percentage and a spot in the NCAA regional finals. Nadeau, a 6-1 senior right side/opposite hitter, had 17 doubles-doubles in 2004 with a .307 attack percentage and was also the first-ever Nittany Lion to claim Sports Imports/National Player of the Week honors.
Wisconsin's Jill Odenthal, a 6-0 senior right side/opposite hitter, gained her first AVCA All-America honor by being named to the third team. Odenthal helped the Badgers into the regional finals as the 14th seed in the NCAA Tournament after a memorable upset over unbeaten No. 2 Hawaii in the semifinals. She produced 19 matches of double-digit kills and averaged 3.06 kills, 1.95 digs and 0.83 blocks per game in helping Wisconsin to 22 wins in 2004.
Four Big Ten student-athletes - Illinois senior Jessica Belter, Michigan State senior Kim Schram, Minnesota senior Erin Martin and Wisconsin junior Sheila Shaw - earned Honorable Mention All-America accolades from the AVCA.
Each of the three AVCA All-America Teams is comprised of 12 athletes, while the AVCA All-America honorable mention selections are AVCA All-Region selections not chosen on one of the three AVCA All-America teams. The awards will be presented along with the announcement of the AVCA National Player of the Year on December 17, 2004, at the AVCA All-America/Player of the Year Banquet at the Long Beach (Calif.) Westin Hotel.