The Gophers fought off four match points in the fourth set on the way to a 25-22, 18-25, 23-25, 26-24, 15-9 victory over ninth-ranked Illinois on Saturday in Champaign, Ill.
The 19th-ranked Gophers (22-8, 12-6 Big Ten) have won five matches in a row, and are 7-1 in their past eight conference matches. The victory also ended a 23-match home winning streak by Illinois (22-6, 14-4).
Illinois appeared to be on the way to victory in the fourth set when a block on Lauren Gibbemeyer made it match point at 24-20. But Tori Dixon had two kills and a block as the Gophers scored the next six points and forced a fifth set.
Gibbemeyer hit .469 on the night and had 18 kills and five blocks. Ashley Wittman also finished with 18 kills for the Gophers, while Dixon added 14 kills and three blocks.
Michelle Bartsch led Illinois with 18 kills and 14 digs.
Concordia wins regional
Top-ranked Concordia (St. Paul) won the NCAA Division II Central Regional volleyball title with a 25-16, 26-24, 25-12 victory over Nebraska-Kearney in Marshall, Minn.
Megan Carlson, Cassie Haag and Kara Pioske each finished with a match-high 11 kills for Concordia.
The Golden Bears (29-4), winners of the past three national championships, played in the regional final for the ninth consecutive year, and will take a 19-match winning streak into the NCAA Elite Eight, which begins Dec. 2 in Louisville, Ky.
U women skate to victory
Four Gophers contributed goals in a 6-2 victory over Minnesota State Mankato on Saturday in Mankato.
The Gophers used a three-goal second period to break the game open and improved to 8-5-0 overall and 5-5-0 in the WCHA.
Becky Kortum's power-play goal for the Gophers was the only score of the opening period, but they widened their lead to 4-0 in the second period on goals by Sarah Erickson, Kortum and Sarah Davis.
Lauren Zrust broke up the Gophers' shutout when she converted a turnover into a Mavericks goal at 1:16 of the third period, but Erickson restored the four-goal lead when she rifled in a high shot from the left circle at 8:28.
Goals by Mankato's Kathleen Rogan at 9:33 in the third period and the Gophers' Kelly Terry at 15:26 closed out the scoring. Minnesota's line of Davis, Terry and Kortum scored four goals, while Erickson netted the other two.
Noora Raty finished with 27 saves for her seventh victory of the season.
Tommies runner takes 2nd
St. Thomas' Ben Sathre placed second overall at the NCAA Division III men's cross-country meet in Waverly, covering the 8,000-meter course on which he won the regional title a week ago in 24 minutes, 23.8 seconds.
Anders Hulleberg of Haverford was medalist in 24:22.2. The Hamline men placed 22nd overall, with an All-America 23rd-place finish by regional runner-up Devin Monson leading the way.
In the women's race, Emma Lee of St. Olaf finished 10th in the 6K race in 21:28.1, and the Oles placed 24th. Linda Keller of Minnesota-Morris was 19th in 21:35.1.
In a close women's team race, Middlebury won with 185 points, eight points better than Washington University of St. Louis.