The No. 12 Gophers volleyball team opened Big Ten play with a 3-0 sweep of No. 20 Illinois on Friday night in Champaign, Ill., defeating the Illini for the second year in a row on their home court. The scorers were 25-17, 25-17, 25-23.
Katherine Harms led the Gophers with a match-high 17 kills in 30 attempts, for a .400 hitting percentage. Tori Dixon and a .688 hitting percentage. Ashley Wittman had eight kills and Alexandra Palmer had a match-high 44 assists.
The Gophers had a .292 attack percentage in the first set but became more accurate as the match wore on, hitting .406 in each of the final two sets.
Dixon led the Gophers in the third set when she had six kills, while Harms had five and Wittman had four. Minnesota held the lead throughout the set, although the two teams tied six times. The Gophers led at one point 16-9, only to have the Illini battle back and tie the set at 19-19 and again at 22-22.
Gophers women race to title at Eau Claire
Kate Bucknam and Cassy Opitz crossed the finish line less than two seconds apart in a battle for second and third place, leading the Gophers women's cross-country team to the team championship Friday at Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Blugold Invitational.
Bucknam, a redshirt freshman, finished second in 21 minutes, 47.46 seconds, edging out Opitz (21:47.92).
The Gophers had four runners in the top 10 and scored 34 points. Host UW-Eau Claire was second with 60 points, 30 ahead of third-place Carleton.
The Blugolds' Ashlyn Mauer placed first overall in 21:42.32 on the 6,000-meter course. Eau Claire also got a fourth place from Madi Sawyer (21:52.52) and a sixth from Steph Sjostrom (22:01.58).
U loses at soccer
Nkem Ezurike took advantage of a Gophers turnover and scored the game's only goal in the 32nd minute, giving Michigan a 1-0 victory in a Big Ten soccer match at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium. The Gophers (5-5) fell to 0-2 in the Big Ten for the first time since 2006.