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On Thursday night, the University of St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota will do something they've never done before: square off as Division I opponents.

The No. 11-ranked Gophers volleyball team will play host to the Tommies at Maturi Pavilion at 7:30 p.m., and this one counts.

St. Thomas made the leap from Division III to Division I this year. So far, the only competition between the Tommies and Gophers was a women's soccer exhibition game Aug. 14.

St. Thomas (established in 1885) and Minnesota (1851) have competed in the past, of course, just not with both as Division I opponents. The NCAA didn't divide into divisions until 1973.

Before that, for example, the Gophers and Tommies played football three times, with Minnesota winning each one, the last being a 25-7 tussle in 1918.

This matchup in volleyball will be part of the Diet Coke Classic. As part of that, the Tommies (1-7) will face Iowa State on Friday, and the Gophers (3-3) will play the Cyclones on Saturday.