Stephanie Samedy has already placed herself into any discussion about the greatest Gophers volleyball player of all time. On Wednesday, she got some more hardware to augment that argument.
The redshirt senior opposite hitter was named the Big Ten Volleyball Player of the Year for the second consecutive season — a first for the Gophers.
The last time any player won the award in back-to-back seasons was Bonnie Bremner with Penn State in 1997 and 1998.
Samedy posted 484 kills, 375 digs and 63 blocks this season; still, it can be hard to quantify just how dominant she has been. Consider that the gap between her conference-leading 5.39 points and 4.84 kills per set and the second-place finisher in the Big Ten was wider than the gap between second and 10th place.
Samedy wasn't the only Minnesota player honored on Wednesday as the conference announced its regular season awards.
Libero CC McGraw made first-team All-Big Ten for the second time in her career, finishing second in the conference with 4.72 digs per set. McGraw also moved into fifth place on the Gophers career digs list this season with 1,530.
Sophomore outside hitter Jenna Wenaas was named second-team All-Big Ten — making her first all-conference team after a breakout season that saw her finish second for the Gophers in kills (336) and points (383) and fourth in digs (265).
Redshirt senior Airi Miyabe — who was third on the team in kills (247) and points (261) — was named a sportsmanship honoree.
The Gophers finished the regular season 19-8 and tied for third in the Big Ten at 15-5 in conference play.
They open the NCAA Tournament on Friday at Maturi Pavilion against South Dakota at 7 p.m. The other matchup in their bracket is Stanford vs. Iowa State at 4 p.m. First round winners will play Saturday at 7 p.m.