USA Softball named Gophers junior righthander Amber Fiser to its Player of the Year watch list of 50 on Wednesday.

Fiser, of Van Horne, Iowa, was a first-team All-Big Ten pick last season, when she was 27-10 with a 1.69 earned-run average. She had nine shutouts and struck out 237.

Fiser also made honorable mention on's preseason All-­America team and Justin's World of Softball's fourth preseason All-America team.

• The Gophers softball team is No. 21 in the USA Today/NFCA preseason poll and No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Softball poll. Minnesota opens its season Feb. 8 vs. North Florida and Central Florida in Orlando.

UMD pair honored

Nick Swaney of Minnesota Duluth was named NCHC player of the month for January, and teammate Hunter Shepard was the league's goalie of the month.

Swaney, a sophomore forward from Lakeville, had six goals and two assists as the Bulldogs went 5-1. He was the Wild's seventh-round draft choice in 2017.

Shepard, a junior from Cohasset, Minn., had a 1.34 goals-against average and .944 save percentage for the month.


• Former Brainerd High School baseball coach Lowell Scearcy, who retired last year after 51 years, was elected to the National High School Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame. Scearcy will be inducted at a banquet on June 25 in Bismarck, N.D.

• Gophers women's hockey associate head coach Joel Johnson was named an assistant coach for the U.S. women's team that will compete in the 2019 Rivalry Series against Canada next month in London, Ontario; Toronto and Detroit as well as in the 2019 IIHF Women's World Championship April 4-14 in Espoo, Finland.