This was a struggle. But in the end, the No. 3-ranked Gophers volleyball team prevailed, winning in its first five-set match of the season.

Minnesota beat Michigan State 23-25, 25-19, 25-17, 21-25, 15-7 on Saturday night before 5,599 at Maturi Pavilion, extending its program record for consecutive Big Ten wins to start a season to 14.

Regan Pittman had 15 kills, hit a team-high .520 and had a career-high-tying eight blocks to lead the Gophers. But as usual, there was plenty of balance. Alexis Hart, Stephanie Samedy and Adanna Rollins all had 14 kills. Hart, a junior, also got her 1,000th career kill, while Samedy and Rollins had double-doubles, with 20 and 13 digs, respectively.

Minnesota, 20-2 overall, hit .273. The Spartans (15-12, 3-11), who lost 3-0 to the Gophers in East Lansing, Mich., on Oct. 26, hit .189.

U in soccer final

The Gophers women’s soccer team (11-8-1) will play top-seeded Penn State (15-5) at 11 a.m. Sunday in the championship game of the Big Ten tournament in Westfield, Ind. The match will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.

Minnesota, seeded seventh, needs to beat the Nittany Lions to get an automatic spot in the NCAA tournament. Penn State has shut out its past three opponents, a streak that began with a 2-0 win over the Gophers on Oct. 21.

Tommies rally

After trailing 1-0 at halftime, St. Thomas scored three goals in the second half Saturday to defeat visiting Augsburg 3-1 and win its first MIAC women’s soccer tournament.

Kristen Epperly tied the score at 1-all in the 65th minute. Ellie Eskierka got the eventual game-winner in the 81st minute and Mallory DeBoom, with an assist from Eskierka, got the third goal in the 87th minute.

Ashley St. Aubin scored the lone goal for the Auggies (14-7); it was her conference-leading 21st.

Carleton wins title

Carleton edged Augsburg 4-3 in a shootout to win the MIAC men’s soccer title in Northfield. Mark Roth, Adam Pearson, David Rubin and William Lanzillo all scored for the Knights on penalty kicks.

The two teams played to a 1-1 tie through regulation and overtime.

Gusties need five sets

Kate Holtan had 22 kills and Lauren Hanson 19 to lead host Gustavus (26-2) past St. Benedict 25-21, 25-19, 24-26, 21-25, 15-13 in the championship match of the MIAC volleyball tournament.


• Allie Thunstrom scored a goal in every period as the Minnesota Whitecaps beat host Minnesota Duluth 5-1 in a women’s hockey exhibition game.

• Former Wayzata prep golf star Sarah Burnham earned her 2019 LPGA Tour card, finishing the two-week, eight-round Q-Series at Pinehurst tied for 27th at 5 over par.

• Northern State and Minnesota Duluth tied for the NSIC regular-season volleyball title with 3-0 sweeps over Bemidji State and Minot State, respectively. Concordia (St. Paul), which also had a chance to tie for first, lost 3-1 at home to Wayne State.