The Gophers were No. 3 when the NCAA volleyball committee released its top 10 teams late Wednesday night in its first reveal of the fall.
Penn State and Nebraska, two other Big Ten teams, were Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, and Stanford No. 4. The committee's top four teams when the real bracket is released Nov. 26 will host regional tournaments if they survive the early NCAA tournament rounds.
"The whole intent of releasing the top 10 is to spark conversation and debate and get everyone excited about NCAA volleyball," said Lisa Peterson, the chair of the committee. "The only thing easy was Penn State at No. 1. Everything else was a debate."
Minnesota (21-2, 10-2 Big Ten), No. 5 in the AVCA's poll this week and No. 2 in the RPI rankings, will host Maryland (16-8, 5-7) at 7 p.m. Friday at the Maturi Pavilion.
U women's streak at 35
The No. 6 Gophers women's hockey team (5-4-1, 4-3-1 WCHA) will play on the road three of the next four weekends, starting with a series at Minnesota State Mankato. Minnesota will play the Mavericks at 7 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday at the Verizon Center.
The Gophers have won 35 consecutive games against MSU Mankato, dating to Nov. 20, 1998, and lead the all-time series 80-3-3.
Defenseman Sydney Baldwin leads the team in points with 11 on one goal and 10 assists.
Minnesota is coming off two losses at No. 1 Wisconsin, 3-2 and 2-1 in overtime. The Mavericks (2-5-1, 1-3) split at home against St. Cloud State last weekend, losing 4-2, winning 3-1.
MIAC volleyball final set
Madie Kroehler had 13 kills and 19 digs as top-seeded St. Thomas defeated visiting St. Olaf 25-18, 25-21, 26-28, 25-23 in the MIAC volleyball tournament semifinals. Teammates Julia Spacek and Whitney Lloyd added 10 kills apiece for the Tommies.
St. Benedict, the second seed, defeated Augsburg 25-16, 20-25, 25-22, 23-25, 15-9 in St. Joseph, Minn., in the other semifinal. Liz Schultz had 17 kills and 21 digs for the Blazers.
The winners will play the championship match at 7 p.m. Saturday at St. Thomas.
Hamline to honor four
Four new members will be inducted into Hamline's Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday: Emily Deuth Ackman, a 2003 graduate, softball; Chris Dueffert, '98, men's basketball; Rachael Young Hartfiel and Keidra Anderson Stuart, both '06, cross country and track.