By Gene McGivern

Men’s hockey: It doesn’t seem like it outside, but it is hockey season. The men’s hockey team, one of the preseason favorites in the MIAC, will get a stiff test out of the gate Friday when it hosts Augsburg in the 1999-2000 season opener at the State Fairgrounds Coliseum. Game time is 7 p.m. The same teams meet Saturday night at Augsburg Arena at 7:30 p.m. Coach Terry Skrypek has 18 returning players from last year’s team that won the regular season and postseason MIAC titles before losing in the NCAA playoff quarterfinals. The Auggies are off to a 2-0 start after sweeping Bethel last weekend.

Cross country: Rest time is over and the men’s and women’s cross country team head to Waverly, Iowa, Saturday for the NCAA Division III Central Regional Meet. The women will race at 11 a.m., and the men start at noon. Four teams and five individuals not on those teams advance to the NCAA National Championships Nov. 20 in Oshkosh, Wis.

The Tommy women are expected to battle with St. Olaf, Macalester, Luther, Wartburg and Nebraska Wesleyan for the team qualifying berths, while the men are expected to duel St. John’s, Nebraska Wesleyan, Grinnell and Wartburg for a berth in the nationals.

Swimming: The first men’s and women’s home meet of the year is this Saturday at O’Shaughnessy Pool when Hamline dives in. The meet begins at 1 p.m. with no admission charge. It’s the season-opening dual for the men. The women dropped a 127-116 decision to Concordia-Moorhead last Saturday at Moorhead, although UST won five events.

Women’s basketball: It doesn’t count in the regular season, but new women’s basketball coach Tricia Dornisch gets her first game look at her team Tuesday night when they host a club team from Mexico in an exhibition game at 7 p.m. at Schoenecker Arena. Six of the top players from last year’s 22-4 team (including All-America candidate Molly Hayden) are back. The Tommies start the regular season with a pair of games in a California tournament Nov. 19-20.

Volleyball: One of the brightest volleyball seasons in many years came to a tough end last Saturday night when St. Thomas dropped a five-game match to Bethel in the championship match of the MIAC postseason tournament. Bethel and UST shared the MIAC championship, but the Royals got the automatic NCAA playoff bid. St. Thomas, which finished with a 21-11 mark, missed out on an at-large selection. The Tommies, the top seed in the tournament due to its 10-1 regular season conference mark, got to the title match by outlasting Hamline in five games and then winning three close games from St. Olaf.

Three UST players — seniors Jill Kraus, Rachel Myskevitz and Jenny Schmitt — were named to the All-MIAC team. Freshman Katie Reynolds was named honorable mention.

Men’s soccer: The men’s soccer team dropped a 2-1 decision to Bethel last Saturday to wrap up the soccer season. Ryan Dolan scored early in the second half to tie the game but the Royals scored with 14 minutes remaining for the win. Will Loepfe went the distance in goal. St. Thomas finished with a 7-10 overall mark, 4-6 in the MIAC.