The Gophers women’s soccer team will play North Dakota at 7 p.m. Friday at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in a season-opening exhibition match. Admission is free.
Minnesota returns leading scorer Katie Thyken, who had seven goals last season, and Tarah Hobbs, the Big Ten goalkeeper of the year in 2013 as a freshman. Thyken will be one of the team’s four captains this season along with seniors Becca Roberts and Olivia Schultz and junior Haley Helverson.
U volleyball picked 7th
The Gophers volleyball team was picked to finish seventh in the preseason Big Ten coaches’ poll. It had two players — 6-3 senior outside hitter Adrianna Nora and 6-2 sophomore middle blocker Hannah Tapp — named to the preseason all-conference team.
Defending NCAA and Big Ten champion Penn State was named the conference favorite, ahead of Nebraska and Wisconsin, predicted to place second and third, respectively. The Cornhuskers were the conference runners-up a year ago, and the Badgers reached the NCAA title match.
The Gophers are ranked No. 12 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s preseason poll.
United adds Brazilian
Pedro Mendes of Indy Eleven will join Minnesota United FC for the rest of the North American Soccer League season. The Loons acquired the 24-year-old Brazilian in exchange for cash.
He scored 12 goals for the Atlanta Silverbacks in 2012. Mendes is the sixth Brazilian on United’s roster, which stays at 28, because the team loaned forward Nate Polak to Oklahoma City FC of the USL PRO.
Indy Eleven plays United at 7 p.m. Saturday at the National Sports Center.
• The starting time for the Armed Forces Classic men’s basketball game — between the Gophers and Louisville — is set. It will begin at 6 p.m. on Nov. 14 at a U.S. Coast Guard hangar in Puerto Rico. ESPN will televise it.
• Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Southwest Minnesota Regional Sports Center in Marshall were held Thursday. The facility will include a two-sheet ice arena that can be converted to host wrestling, basketball, volleyball and soccer events.