Volleyball team drops to fifth in latest national poll

Minnesota’s volleyball team held on to a slim edge over Big Ten rivals Penn State and Ohio State in the most recent USA Today/CSTV Top 25 Coaches’ Poll, but the three front-runners are 5-6-7 after the Gophers’ loss to Wisconsin on Saturday.

The Buckeyes and Lions, who are traveling partners, each swept the Purdue-Indiana combo on their home floors and held their rankings.

The Gophers swept Northwestern on Friday before dropping a tight five-game match to the Badgers at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis.

Ohio State leads the conference with an 11-1 mark so far this season. Penn State and the Gophers are tied for second at 10-2, and unranked Wisconsin is third at 9-3.

Minnesota plays host to the Lions on Friday and the Buckeyes on Saturday in a crucial weekend with major Big Ten title implications.

Darwitz is offensive player of the week

Minnesota women’s hockey junior forward Natalie Darwitz was named WCHA offensive player of the week after a huge weekend at Minnesota State-Mankato.

Darwitz scored eight points and helped the Gophers remain undefeated at 8-0-0 this season.

Three of her five goals were short-handed and one was a game-winner. Four of them came Saturday in a 6-0 Minnesota win.

The Gophers play Ohio State on Saturday and Sunday at Ridder Arena. Both games are scheduled for 1:05 p.m. starts.

Konrad in all-star duel

Minnesota wrestling sophomore heavyweight Cole Konrad was selected Monday to wrestle in the 39th annual Marines All-Star Classic on Nov. 22 on the campus of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

The event is a duel-format match pitting the top-two ranked wrestlers at all 10 weights against each other.

Konrad, who is ranked second, will battle top-ranked Steve Mocco of Oklahoma State in the first-ever match between the two.