Women’s soccer signs

The women’s soccer team announced Thursday the signings of four recruits to national letters of intent for 1999. The group consists of Katherine Arndt and Jordan Bieler, along with club teammates Meghan Jones and Liz Wagner.
“This recruiting class will bring the overall speed of our team up to the national level,” assistant coach Barbara Wickstrand said. “This is one of our best classes with more speed than any in the past.”
Defending Big Ten champion Minnesota finished last season 14-5-1, bowing out of the NCAA tournament in the second round.
Women’s hockey
The No. 4 Minnesota women’s hockey team opens a three-game homestand today, taking on Cornell College Friday and Saturday before capping the weekend with Minnesota State-Mankato on Sunday.
The Gophers are coming off a weekend of tough tournament games, and looking to improve on their three-game scoring output of three goals at the tournament.
“We would like to have a little more offensive production,” coach Laura Halldorson said. “We need to maintain the good goaltending and good defense we’ve had also.”
The only meeting between Minnesota and Cornell came in 1997 and ended in a 3-2 Gophers victory. Minnesota and Minnesota-State have met twice this season, and the Gophers defeated the Mavericks in both meetings, with a two-game combined score of 19-2.

Women’s gymnastics
The No. 7 Minnesota women’s gymnastics team hosts No. 12 Iowa State at the Sports Pavilion on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Gophers turned in their highest team total of this season in a losing effort against No. 1 Alabama last weekend, and now face an Iowa State squad that is poised for an upset.
“They’d love to come up here and pull an upset,” co-coach Jim Stephenson said. “They’ve got a lot of Minnesota kids that would like to come and show us how they’re doing this year.”
Last season Minnesota and the Cyclones split two regular season meets, but Iowa State was victorious over the Gophers at the NCAA central regional championships, giving them bragging rights heading in to Saturday night’s meet.
Men’s gymnastics
In its only home meet this month, the Minnesota men’s gymnastics squad hosts No. 3 Ohio State Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion.
This is the second highly-ranked dual meet opponent of the early season for the Gophers, having lost to No. 1 Iowa last weekend.
Men’s swimming-diving
The No. 9 Gophers have some unfinished team business to attend to this weekend at the Aquatic Center. The Big Ten travel squad has not yet been finalized, and with the Big Ten Championships three weeks away, decisions need to be made. Enter the Minnesota Challenge.
Beginning Friday at 6 p.m., and continuing through Saturday, the Minnesota Challenge provides seemingly everything a team would need at this point: a chance for the top performers to rest, a chance for the young swimmers to practice and a chance for those in between to decide their post-season fate.
“We’re really looking at the meet from those three perspectives,” coach Dennis Dale said.
After closing out the dual meet season last weekend with wins over Purdue and Wisconsin, the Gophers host this weekend’s challenge, and then prepare for the Big Ten Championships on Feb. 25-27.

Women’s swimming-diving
The No. 14 Gophers women will play host to as many as 15 local Division II and III schools at the Minnesota Challenge this weekend at the Aquatic Center. Coach Jean Freeman said there’s a two-fold need for this meet.
“It provides a taper meet for our swimmers not going to Big Tens,” Freeman said. “It’s also one more dress rehearsal for Big Tens.”
This late season tune-up meet will be run in three sessions, Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at noon and 6 p.m.
After wrapping up the Challenge, Minnesota will begin preparation for the Big Ten Championships, which will be held Feb. 18-20 at the Aquatic Center.
Track and Field
Coming off a successful Minnesota Invitational for both squads, the Gopher men’s and women’s track and field teams head to Ames, Iowa to take part in the Iowa State Classic. Competitions begins Friday at 5 p.m.
Women’s Tennis
Minnesota will host Illinois-Chicago on Sunday at 8 a.m. at the Northwest Athletic Club at 98th Street in Bloomington. The Gophers are 2-2 this season, while Illinois-Chicago is 0-3.
The young Minnesota team has more to work on this weekend than game fundamentals, and coach Martin Novak is looking forward to another opportunity to see his group jell.
“A little extra work on chemistry is our goal this weekend,” Novak said.
Men’s Tennis
No. 23 Minnesota takes on Ohio State Saturday night at 6 p.m. at the Northwestern Athletic Club at 98th Street in Bloomington. This will be the first match with the Buckeyes since last year’s 5-2 Gophers win.
Women’s basketball
The Gophers will try and stop a five-game losing skid with a home game tonight against Michigan.
The Wolverines might be just the right opponent; Minnesota won the last meeting 54-47. The Gophers were rested with a short practice Thursday and expect an energized game from Michigan.
“Nobody likes to lose to Minnesota,” senior Sonja Robinson said.
The Gophers will have to pull out of their tailspin which team members say has been caused by a horrible shooting slump.
“We didn’t shoot well and that carried over,” junior Erin Olson said. “We just had to get into practice and refocus on the little things.”