Roundup: VB team back on track

Mike Hebert's Gopher volleyball team seems to be back on track after a rough start, after a perfect week that included a victory over their highest-ranked foe in 10 years. And, Dan Monson added a new member to his brain trust.

The Gophers jumped four spots in the USA Today/AVCA poll and are now ranked No. 18 after going 4-0 and winning the Diet Coke Classic last week. They kicked off the week with a 3-1 win over No. 6 Northern Iowa in Rochester, Minn. The last time they beat a team ranked that high was in December 1993 when they toppled No. 5 UC-Santa Barbara.

Over the weekend, the U of M knocked off Colorado State 3-2 in the first round of the Diet Coke Classic at the Sports Pavilion, then cruised past Charlotte and UW-Milwaukee in three-game sweeps to win the title.

Hebert's squad is now 7-5 after starting the season with four straight losses. They begin Big Ten play this weekend with matches at Indiana on Friday and Purdue on Saturday.

VB on TV: Gopher fans will get four chances to see the volleyball team on television this fall. Three matches will be televised on Fox Sports Net North, including two live broadcasts -- at Wisconsin on Oct. 12 and at Ohio State on Oct. 17.

FSN will air the Oct. 31 match with Wisconsin on tape delay Nov. 2, and ESPN2 will air the Nov. 29 match with Ohio State on Nov. 30.

Ware joins men's hoops staff: Former Hopkins HS star James Ware is the new face in the U of M men's basketball office. Head coach Dan Monson hired Ware to replace J.B. Bickerstaff as the team's director of basketball operations. Bickerstaff left the program earlier this month to join the Timberwolves' radio broadcast team.

Ware was a two-year starter at Texas Tech, and since his graduation in 2000 he has been a volunteer assistant coach at Hopkins, where he coached current Gophers Kris Humphries and Dan Coleman. He also served as the program coordinator for the work study program at the U of M for the past 2½ years.

"We're very fortunate to find someone as qualified as James who has a background of working in an administrative position right here on campus," said Monson. "His basketball experience, coupled with his work in the community, will be a great addition to our program."

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