Volleyball unanimously picked to repeat as Big Ten champions

Minnesota’s volleyball team, the defending Big Ten champions, was unanimously selected to repeat as conference champions in the 2003 Big Ten volleyball preseason coaches poll, announced Aug. 1 by Big Ten officials. It marks the first time in school history the Gophers have been named a preseason favorite.

Penn State was picked second in the preseason coaches poll, while Michigan State and Wisconsin were third and fourth. Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan, Northwestern, Illinois, Iowa and Purdue rounded out the rest of the poll.

Minnesota also had a conference-high three players named to the preseason All-Big Ten team, which was represented by players from nine squads. Cassie Busse was named to the team for the second year in a row, while Paula Gentil and Lindsey Taatjes were honored for the first time. All three players were named First Team All-Big Ten in 2002.

Only one other team had more then one player represented on the preseason All-Big Ten team. Lisa Argabright (Illinois), Christina Archibald (Indiana), Erin Moore (Michigan), Jenny Rood (Michigan State), Erika Lange (Northwestern), Stacey Gordon (Ohio State), Cara Smith and Sam Tortorello from Penn State and Morgan Shields (Wisconsin) rounded out the 12-member team.

Minnesota is coming off a 2002 season that saw it win the program’s first Big Ten title in school history. The Gophers finished 17-3, winning the conference by three matches, the largest margin between first and second since 1999. Minnesota returns five starters from last year’s conference championship team that set a school record for most wins in the NCAA Era (since 1981) going 32-6.

The Gophers will start the 2003 season on Aug. 29 at the Hawaiian Airlines Tournament in Honolulu, Hawaii. Minnesota’s first match of the season will be against 2002 Final Four participant Hawaii at 7 p.m. on Aug. 29 (HT). The Gophers will also play Louisville at 1 p.m. on Aug. 30 (HT) and UCLA at 3 p.m. on Aug. 31 (HT).


Five members of the Minnesota women’s rowing team captured several medals, including the gold medal in the Intermediate Eights event, at the United States Rowing Association National Championships held last weekend in Camden, N.J.

Minnesota rowers Katherine Nelson, Heidi Rose, two-time All-American Melissa Roche, Jill Peters and Janette Gustafson took the gold medal in the Intermediate Eight event. The team defeated Eastern club powerhouses Riverside Boat Club of Cambridge, Mass., New York Athletic Club and Vesper Boat Club of Philadelphia.

The boats were coached by John Davis, former assistant coach at the University and husband of Gophers coach Wendy Davis.