The Gophers softball team will open its 2017 season against Maryland — in a nonconference game — in the University of Texas' tournament Feb. 10 in Austin.

Minnesota is scheduled to play 54 games, 16 at home at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium. The Gophers will play on the road their first eight weeks. They will open the Big Ten season at Nebraska on March 24-26. The Gophers home opener will be April 5 when they have a doubleheader scheduled against South Dakota.

Minnesota will play five games against teams that finished in the top 25 last season and 22 games against NCAA tournament teams.

"Our 2017 schedule is challenging, and will prepare us well for Big Ten and postseason play," Gophers coach Jessica Allister said.


• Kaleb Dobbs, of Sioux Falls (S.D.) Lincoln, signed with the Gophers men's tennis team. He won three state titles and is ranked No. 89 nationally. "He is a very good athlete and student, who will thrive in college athletics," Minnesota coach Geoff Young said. "I believe being able to practice every day with our existing players will greatly elevate his tennis game."

• Southern Illinois assistant Todd Nelson was named St. Catherine's volleyball coach. Nelson, a native of New Richmond, Wis., graduated from Minnesota Duluth in 1998 and was a former Bulldogs assistant as well as an assistant at Marquette and Indiana State.