It took five sets, and the Gophers trailed 1-0 and 2-1, but Minnesota upset No. 5-ranked Michigan State on Thursday night at the Sports Pavilion.
The Gophers won 23-25, 25-21, 24-26, 25-22, 15-7. Three front-line players were in double digits in kills for the home team: Adrianna Nora had 12, five in the deciding set, Daly Santana 11 and Tori Dixon 10.
It was the first loss for the Spartans (17-2, 6-1 Big Ten) in conference play and kept the No. 10 Gophers (17-3, 5-2) in title contention.
Ashley Wittman and Morgan Bohl led Minnesota in digs with 20 apiece.
Lauren Wicinski led MSU with 22 kills but she also had 11 errors.
Neither team hit particularly well. The Gophers had a .067 hitting percentage — a season low, the Spartans .087.
U women at UMD rink
The Gophers women’s hockey team, which has a 53-game winning streak, plays No. 7 Minnesota Duluth at 6:07 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Amsoil Arena.
Minnesota (4-0, 2-0 WCHA) has won 10 of its past 11 games with the Bulldogs (2-1-1, 0-1-1).
The No. 1 Gophers have allowed just five goals in four games, so they are giving up 1.25 goals per game — tying them for the WCHA’s best defense. UMD is averaging a conference-high 4.75 goals per game. Freshman defenseman Lara Stalder leads the conference in scoring with two goals and seven assists for nine points.
Forwards Rachael Bona and Hannah Brandt lead the Gophers with seven points apiece. Bona has four goals, including two winners, Brandt has one goal.
• Minnesota United FC defender Kevin Friedland, a pro soccer player for 10 years, has announced he will retire after the team’s final game on Nov. 10. Friedland, 32, is also a fourth-year assistant coach and a member of United’s marketing staff for three seasons.
• Gophers junior Leandro Toledo is the second seed in the USTA/ITA Central Regional tournament at the University of Tulsa. Matches in the main draw start Friday.
• Eight Minnesota are among the 22 players named to the U.S. team which will compete in the 2013 World Junior A Challenge from Nov. 4-10 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. They are forwards Connor Hurley of Eagan, Austin Poganski of St. Cloud, C.J. Franklin of Forest Lake and Karson Kuhlman of Cloquet and defensemen Teemu Kivihalme of Savage, Neal Pionk of Hermantown, Steven Johnson of Excelsior and Jordan Gross of Maple Grove.