The Gophers women’s soccer team moved up one spot in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s latest NCAA Division I rankings to No. 8 on Tuesday. That ranking is the highest ever in program history, and this is the fifth straight week in the top 10 for Minnesota (9-2-1, 3-0-1 conference).

The Big Ten, meantime, named Gophers goalkeeper Tarah Hobbs of Hugo its defensive player of the week for the second consecutive week and fifth time in her career. She shut out Indiana and Purdue last weekend

MIAC applauded

The MIAC has received the Outstanding Service Award from Special Olympics Minnesota.

It recognized the conference’s 13 member schools for their contributions to Special Olympics in areas such as volunteer work; hosting state, regional and local competitions on campus; raising money through the Polar Plunge and other campus fundraisers; conducting Respect Campaigns and pledges; hosting sports clinics; working with the Young Athletes program; and especially for embracing Unified Sports, which pairs Special Olympics athletes with college student-athletes to compete together.

Etc.

• For the second week in a row, three Big Ten teams are at the top of the American Volleyball Coaches Association rankings: Nebraska is No. 1, followed by the No. 2 Gophers and No. 3 Wisconsin.

• The Champlin Park High School marching band was invited to perform at the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 30 in Memphis, Tenn.

• Alexis Zeis of the University of Mary was named the USTFCCCA’s national athlete of the week in women’s cross country. The junior from Bismarck, N.D., won the Maroon Division II race at the Griak Invitational on Saturday by 15 seconds.