After beginning the Big Ten volleyball season with a 10-0 record, the third-ranked Gophers begin the second half of the league schedule this weekend, playing at Michigan State on Friday and No. 12 Michigan on Saturday.

The Gophers (16-2, 10-0 Big Ten) remained third in the national rankings this week after sweeping Iowa and beating No. 5 Nebraska 3-1 last weekend. They have swept eight of 10 league foes and have held opponents' hitting percentage below .200 in seven conference matches.

Five players already have surpassed 100 kills this season, led by sophomore Stephanie Samedy (201).

Michigan State (15-8, 3-7) is second in the Big Ten in blocks (2.78 per set) but has lost its past three matches to fall to 3-7 in conference play.

The Wolverines (18-3, 7-3), who lost to Illinois and swept Northwestern last weekend, are led by outside hitter Carly Skjodt, whose 4.14 kills per set rank third in the Big Ten.


AD change at Hill-Murray

Hill-Murray activities director Bill Lechner will relinquish those duties at the end of the 2018-19 school year but remain head coach of the successful boys' hockey program.

Former Red Wing High School and Gophers hockey standout John Pohl, who has worked at Hill-Murray since 2017 as a learning coordinator and athletics assistant, will succeed Lechner as activities director.

Lechner, about to begin his 22nd season as head hockey coach, also coached baseball for 18 years at Hill-Murray, a Maplewood-based Catholic school.

During Lechner's tenure, the school expanded its sports and co-curricular offerings, built a stadium and fieldhouse and funded improvements at Aldrich Ice Arena.

David La Vaque

U soccer at Rutgers

The Gophers women's soccer team, seeded seventh, will play No. 2 seed Rutgers at noon Sunday in Piscataway, N.J., in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament.

Minnesota (9-8-1, 5-5-1 Big Ten) lost 2-1 in overtime to the visiting Scarlet Knights (11-2-5, 7-1-3) on Sept. 30. The Gophers are 15-11-4 all-time in tournament matches. They won Big Ten tournament titles twice, in 1995 and 2016.

Rutgers' Meagan McClelland was named the Big Ten goalkeeper and freshman of the week. She made five saves total as the Scarlet Knights beat Michigan State 1-0 in double overtime and Purdue 2-1.


• Gabriel Watson, who broke the University of Sioux Falls' single-game rushing record with 320 yards and scored five touchdowns in a 55-21 win over Minnesota State Moorhead on Saturday was been named the national offensive player of the week.

• St. Thomas center Hannah Spaulding was named to's preseason All-America first team in women's basketball. Saint Mary's forward Brandi Blattner was picked for the third team.