Seven NSIC volleyball teams were ranked in the top 25 nationally in the NCAA Division II preseason coaches’ poll, including top-ranked Concordia (St. Paul), which received 38 of 48 first-place votes, and No. 2-ranked Southwest Minnesota State.

Concordia, the reigning national champion, and Southwest Minnesota State shared the NSIC regular-season title in 2016-17.

The conference’s other five ranked teams are No. 5 Winona State, No. 7 Minnesota Duluth, No. 10 Augustana, No. 13 Wayne State (Neb.) and No. 24 Northern State.

Fowles honored again

Lynx center Sylvia Fowles was named the WNBA’s Western Conference player of the week for a league-leading fifth time this season. Fowles averaged 22 points, 13 rebounds and 3.5 blocks in two games and shot 15 of 23 from the field.

Saints lose opener at Winnipeg

The St. Paul Saints opened a crucial four-game series in Winnipeg by losing to the Goldeyes 6-3. The Saints and ace Mark Hamburger were cruising with a 3-0 lead before Winnipeg scored six runs in the eighth inning. The loss leaves the Saints (42-38) six games behind the first-place Goldeyes (48-32) in the American Association North Division with 19 games left in the regular season.

Staff reports