SENIOR CENTERS ICER SURGE
Finals and failure, Lerg skates on
BY GARY LEVY
Over the past four years, the
*ichigan hockey team has seen the
highest peaks and the lowest valleys of
And senior Dan Lerg has been
through it all
A a freshman, he was a member of
the squad that reached the NdAA finals
before bowing to Wisconsin in over-
time, 6-5. Michigan failed to live up to
pre-season expectations Lerg's
sophomore year, finishing 15-20-1,
*king an unexplainable dive in mid-
season. Injuries plagued Lerg and his
teammates his junior year as the icers
plunged to record (8-27-1) depths.
But . this year in his final season,
Michigan has climbed back to respec-
tability once again with a 21-8-1 record,
the team determined to finish its season
in Providence, R.I., home ot the '79-'80
Throughout these highlights and har-
dships, the 5-9, 165-pound center has
*een a consistent contributor to
Michigan's offense, as his statistics in-
dicate, and in his senior year is en-
joying the finest season of his career.
"We count on him as one of the main
scoring threats," said Michigan Coach
Dan Farrell. "He's one of the most ex-
perienced players at this level of
After graduating from Detroit
Catholic Central High School, Lerg
walked on to -the Michigan team and
arned a spot centering the fourth line.
He finished sixth in scoring (24-19-43)
on the '76-'77 squad which captured 14
of its final 17 games, the three losses
coming at the hands of champion
"We didn't become a great team until
later in the year," said Lerg. "We were
on a seven-game losing streak until we
turned it around and won twelve
IHfis freshman season proved to be a
valuable learning experience for Lerg.
"I'd learn something from about every'
player just by watching them," he said.
"They'd teach you a little bit about the
game every day in practice, and in
games too. Players like Kris Manery,
Dave Debol, Rob Palmer, Kip Maurer,
Billy Thayer; I learned so much from
them, it's unbelievable."
"I've never seen anything happen
quite so bad," continued Lerg. "We
were going so great and all of a sudden
-to take a dive like that, it was very
disappointing, that's for sure."
Despite the dismal season, Lerg
finished second to Debol in team
Torn knee ligaments shortened
junior Gordie Hampson and freshman
Bruno Baseotto, Lerg is having the
finest offensive season of his career (32-
32-64). "Gordie is a good checker and-
obviously Bruno can pass and score. We
complement each other well.
"Not much was expected4rom us this
year and we could've just gone with the
approach, 'Hey, if we win, we win. If we
don't, well, that's what was expected.'
But now all we expect to do is win.
Despite this season's success, as in
his freshman year, Lerg sees no com-
parison between the two squads. "This
year we rely on hard work, discipline
and drive," he said. "We just keep
plugging away. We don't have the
finesse players like we had then with
Manery and Debol. They're going to
score 80-90 points for you a year, but
this year,,everybody's chipping in. It's
an all-out team effort.
"That year, we were more talented.
I'm not saying that team didn't work
hard, but a lot of things came naturally
for them, whereas this team it doesn't,
so we make up for it with hard work,"
With each season, Lerg said he has
improved his abilities and realizes this
improvement must continue. "My
freshman year I was a terrible skater. I
think I've improved that and a little bit
of everything," said Lerg. "You have to
improve to keep playing or otherwise
you'll be out of a job."
Lerg has already been drafted by the
St. Louis Blues and said he will
-definitely give professional hockey a
try. "You just can't walk out on
something you've been doing all your
life and say, 'Hey, goodbye,' without
giving it a shot, because a couple of
years from now, I'd be kicking myself
wondering, 'Could I have done it or
couldn't I?' "
Lerg has been through all the ups and
downs over the past four years and for
now is determined to end his college
career the way it began - a winner.
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Michigan foliowers had high expec-
tatins for the '77-'78 season, as did Lerg
himself. The icers started strong with
an 11-3 record and a number one
ranking, but somehow managed a com-
plete collapse (4-17-1) the remainder of
the season which is something that even
Lerg cannot explain.
"Ever since my freshman year when
we went to the NCAA tournament, I ex-
pected to go four years straight. And I
thought we were on our way until we
lost two to (Michigan) Tech just before
Christmas. Then we got bombed at the
Great Lakes Invitational, and after
that, we didn't win too many."
Lerg's junior season to 23 games and in-
juries to several other key players
caused the icers '78'79 campaign- to
never get off the ground. Michigan won
its first thre games, but took another
nosedive, finistling a lowly 8-27-1.
"We could have had a really good
year," said Lerg, who still managed 12
goals and 19 assists. "Everybody talks
about the injuries, but you've still got to
play over them.
"Obviously it hurt us, though,
because if you look at this year when
we've stayed healthy, we've done one
heck of a lot better."
Centering the first line along with
CAVS RALLY TO 107-102 WIN
hough the scrip
Pistons sink deeper in.
REW SHARP CLEVELAND forward Mike Mitchell On an impressive note, Piston guard
ial to The Daily led all scorers with 40 points, including Ron Lee started his first game and
For a while, it looked as 20 in the fourth quarter. Greg Kelser led played some gutsy ball, diving after
pt would have a different the Pistons with 23 points, while Leon stray passes and playing steady defen-
once again the inep- Douglas added 15. se.
titude of the Detroit Pistons shined
through as they succumbed to the
Cleveland Cavaliers, 107-102 at the
Silverdome last night.
The Pistons played their customary
steady first three quarters of play, but
as usual they were dead asleep in the
final quarter and tallied their seventh
The Pistons took the lead midway
through the first period and stayed on
top until the Cavs took a 93-91 advan-
tage with 5:25 left in the game. John
Long, however, erased that lead with a
jumper from the top of the key.
Cleveland regained the lead and kept
it following two straight buckets from
Luge, Downhill trials
underway at Olympics
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - Veteran Det-
tleff Gunther of East Germany zipped
o an early lead in defense of his 1976-
Olympic gold medal last night with a
track record 43.20 seconds in the first of
upper half of the course - to finish first
in the first run.
U.S. champion Jeff Tucker of West-
port, Conn., posted the top finish for an
American with a 45.16 run, good for 17th
Earlier in the evening, Vera Zozulya
of the Soviet Union led from the top of
the run in her bid to turn the tables on
Melitta Sollman of East Germany in
Debbie Genovese of Rockford, Ill.,
was the top American finisher: 16th
with a time of 40.50. The only other
Americans, Donna Burke and Sue
Charlesworth, were 19th and 24th,
Herbert Plank, the bronze medalist in
the downhill at the 1976 Olympics but a
forgotten man in this year's event, has
reminded his competitors that he's a
skier to be reckoned with.
In the final training run Wednesday
for the men's downhill, the 25-year-old
Italian charged down the 3,009-meter
course- in one minute, 43.91 seconds -
more than a second faster than his
nearest competitor and significantly
better than any time recorded in the
three-day practice session.
Runnerup in Wednesday's training
session was Peter Wirnsberger at
"RONNY'S A hustler," said Piston
Coach Richie Adubato. "He's
aggressive. We're hoping to channel his
aggression because he's a little over-
The most stirring event of the entire
game occurred with 2:50 remaining in
the first half, when the crowd of 5,437
began chanting "McAdoo! McAdoo!"
The clamor was meant for forward Bob
McAdoo, who reportedly had requested
to be traded.
McAdoo came off the bench and pop-
ped in four of his 10 points. Afterwards
he confessed he did not make any
statement suggesting that he wanted to
"I DON'T know where those repor-
ters got the idea that I wanted to play
elsewhere," McAdoo said angrily. "I
guess they're looking for things to
write, because I never said that I
wished to leave Detroit."
The loss left the Pistons even deeper
in the cellar of the NBA Central
'Sweet Lou' tops brass
DETROIT-The Detroit Tigers.
received a harsh welcome to the
realities of modern-day bargaining
Wednesday when an arbitrator ruled in
favor of second baseman Lou Whitaker
instead of the baseball club.
Meanwhile, Wednesday, another
arbitrator heard the case of shortstop
Alan Trammell in Chicago while, in
Detroit, first baseman Jason
Thomspon-who also had filed for
arbitration-signed his 1980 contract.
Arbitration cases still are scheduled
Feb. 22 for pitcher Mark Fidrych and
Feb. 23 for leftfielder Steve Kemp.
"THE TIGERS will certainly comply
with the arbitrator's decision for Lou
Whitaker," Tiger General Manager
Jim Campbell said. "It's the same
attitude as we had going in."
The exact amount of the Whitaker
settlement was unknown, but Whitaker's
agent, Rick Brode, had said he was
asking up to $125,000 for the young
second baseman who was the 1978
rookie of the year.
Whitaker's case was heard in
Chicago on Tuesday by University of
Michigan law professor Harry
Campbell, who also is president of the
club, refused to comment further on the
arbitration cases, however, saying he
did not want to "influence the cases still
THE SIGNING of Thompson was not
unexpected even though he tdo had filed
The slugging first baseman slumped
to a .248 batting average last season,
hitting 20 home runs and driving in 79
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four men's luge runs in the 1980 Winter.
Gunther, virtually unbeatable when
the chips are down in the oldest winter
sport, did not have an exceptional start
but picked up time through the
Labyrinth - a series of wriggles in the
Cleveland 107, Detroit 102
Philadelphia 107, Utah 85
New Jersey 98, Indiana 96
Milwaukee 1l1, Chicago.101
Detroit 2, Atlanta 2
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