The Big Ten announced the 2021 conference volleyball awards on Wednesday and Minnesota Gophers redshirt senior Stephanie Samedy was named the Big Ten Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. Samedy becomes the first ever Gopher to win the award twice, and is just the fourth ever Big Ten player to win the award in back to back seasons. It now makes five of the last seven seasons that a Gopher has won the Big Ten Plyer of the Year award as Samedy joins herself, Samantha Seliger-Swenson in 2018, Sarah Wilhite in 2016 and Daly Santana in 2015.
Samedy returning for a fifth season was key to the Gophers success as she once again was one of the best players in the nation. Samedy led the conference was was in the top 15 in the nation in both points (5.39) and kills (4.84) per set. Samedy improved in every area of her game from last year, posting career-highs in points, kills and digs per set (3.75). She ranks No. 3 all-time at Minnesota in matches played (141) and attempts (5,145). No. 4 in kills (1,969), No. 7 in digs (1,502) and No. 15 in blocks (402).
Samedy joins fellow 5th year senior Dana Rettke from Wisconsin as the only two players in Big Ten history to earn 5 First Team All Big Ten honors.
Joining Samedy on the All-Big Ten First Team was senior libero CC McGraw. McGraw earned first team honors for the second time in her career (2019). CC lead the Gophers and ranked second in the Big Ten with 4.72 digs per set, and was the only Gopher to play in every single set this season. Her 4.72 digs per set is a new career high and she had a Big Ten-best three matches with 30+ digs in 2021. The rest of the Big Ten had four such games combined. McGraw will enter the 2022 season ranked No. 5 all-time in digs at Minnesota (1,530).
Sophomore outside Jenna Wennas earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors. Her break out season saw her her average 3.29 kills and 2.60 digs per set. She ranked second on the team in kills only behind Samedy. Wenaas reached double digit kills in 21 of 27 matches and tallied nine double doubles in 2021.
The Gophers will next be in action Friday night at 7PM when they host South Dakota in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. A full preview of the Minneapolis regional will be coming later this week.