Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 21, 1989
M ol -
BY JEFF SHERAN
Coaching the Michigan men's
gymnastics team this season has
been like trying to start a car in the
Upper Peninsula during winter. Once
it gets going, it runs well, but
getting it started can be very difficult.
This held true Saturday, as
Michigan took second in a four-way
meet at Crisler Arena. They finished
ahead of Air Force and Western
Michigan, but behind Michigan
"We're still trying to pull-start
the team," Michigan coach Bob
The Wolverines competed
without two of their top all-around
performers, John Mains and Louie
Ball. But they received strong scores
from last minute subtitutes Shawn
Martin, who competed in six events
instead of three, Matt Harrison, who
also moved into the all-around slot,
and seldom-used senior Scott Smith.
Darden decided not to use Mains
early in the week. The first-year all-
arounder had been nursing a sprained
finger for two weeks, and Darden
wanted to rest him before the team's
upcoming west coast trip.
Ball, however, was listed to
start the meet until he went down
with a shoulder injury. "Ball may
have been able to hobble through
with a 60 percent effort, but we want
him to be 100 percent for the road
trip and the Big Ten
Martin, who totalled a 50.75,
"turned in the best performance of his
life for us," Coach Bob Darden said.
"Harrison and Smith really came
Michigan gymnasts feel they
would have won if everyone was
"With our regular lineup we
would almost definitely have won,"
conceded Troy Fabregas, who pitched
in with an 8.9 on the rings.
Ball added, "We beat ourselves.
The lineup we had was still good
enough that if we hit like we should
have, we'd have won."
"I don't believe that lack of
experience excuse," Darden said.
"This is the best team I've been
associated with in my 16 years with
"Every night I pray for patience,
and then I say dammit, why can't we
get going already?"
The body lay lifeless on the ice face down, arms
spread and just waiting for some detective in a trench
coat, smoking cheap cigars to come and chalk the
outline of the body before it would be carted away.
Michigan State's Pat Murray placed a puck past
Michigan goaltender Warren'Sharples. All the hopes
for Michigan, Sharples, and the Wolverine faithful
were shot down when the scoreboard showed 3:51 left
in the third period. It now read Michigan 3, Visitor 4.
It was a game with play-off atmosphere, bands,
super fans and a large Michigan State contingent.
It was a game destined for overtime. And a game
which seemed so perfectly scripted to make Warren
Sharples the hero.
Murray got the puck.
The puck evaded Sharples.
Sharples could only wait to be chalked.
THE STORY is that Sharples was so bad the
night before that Michigan coach Red Berenson decided
to yank him only 11:02 into the action. Sharples
stopped 11 shots, but allowed four past the crease.
To the bench he went. An utter failure.
But Saturday Sharples returned and at times brought
standing o's from the Michigan contingent at Yost.
Forget about the goals by Jeff Urban and Ryan
Pardoski to give Michigan a first period 2-0 lead.
This period belonged to Sharples and Sharples
alone. The Spartans swarmed the net and begged to let
the puck enter. Sharples shut the door. Twenty times
in this period Sharples turned the stick, moved a skate,
caught a puck to thwart a MSU rally. Not one could
penetrate the crease. This season, he's stopped less in
an entire game.
"In the first period he played extremely well," State
coach Ron Mason said. "We had a lot of chances
around the net. He was right on his game. You wonder
if you're going to get that first goal."
FINALLY a goal broke through at the 6:48 mark
of the second period. You had to wonder if this
Michigan team, which had been riding the Sharples
'm' goalie frozen to
ice by final score
wave, would fall apart.
They didn't - quite yet. They continued to scrap
and scrape. When a slow forward found himself the
only thing left to prevent a State breakaway, the body
dove with the stick held out in an effort to stop the
puck's forward motion.
There were fights, and more fights; more dives -
but no high fives for the effort. Bodies were flying
everywhere, in a hope to protect Sharples, a lead,
home-ice, and home pride.
Then Murray got the puck.
The puck evaded Sharples.
The script had to be thrown out.
A SCRIPT which had rivalry written all over it.
State's goaltender -the rather cocky Jason Muzzatti,
the victor in this duel is the Calgary Flames first-
round draft choice. Sharples is their 16th-round choice.
"It wouldn't surprise me if Muzzatti got there
before I did," Sharples said. "But somewhere down the
road, we'll lock horns."
Last year during a bench-clearing brawl, the two did
lock and butt horns. Goalie vs. goalie. Number one
vs. number 16.
THEN there was Saturday. Live national cable-TV.
Muzzatti. Sharples. Drama to the highest degree.
"That was a great game," Berenson simply stated.
"It's just too bad it went that way the last few
Like when Murray got the puck - and it evaded
"I've matured so I could put setbacks behind me,"
Sharples said when explaining why he came back to
play so well Saturday night.
Now, he'll have to put another one behind him.
Mason called his team's victory a "championship
effort by a championship team."
He's probably right.
But I'll tell you one other thing. If Warren
Sharples' effort wasn't quite of championship caliber,
it was damn close.
FROM STAFF REPORTS
Oklahoma became the first No. 1
team in five weeks to hold tghe top
spot in the AP college basketball poll.
Michigan retained its No. 13 ranking, while Indiana jumped from ninth
to fourth after its 76-75 victory over the Wolverines.
Ohio State dropped from the Top 20 for the first time this season, while
Illinois fell from fifth to tenth, and Iowa moved up one notch to 14.
Oklahoma was followed by Arizona and Georgetown. St. Mary's and Ball
State joined the Top 20 for the first time ever, taking the 19th and 20th
- Michigan's game against the Hawkeyes was scheduled for Saturday,
March 4, at 1 p.m. after ABC decided to televise Illinois-Indiana March 5.
'M' gymnasts beaming after first victory
BY MARK KATZ
After a month of competition,
the Michigan women's gymnastics
team finally fulfilled the goals coach
Dana Kempthorn had set: a win and
an overall score above 182.
The team cruised past Missouri
Saturday for their first win with a
team-record point total of 182.9.
The Wolverines put an end to
their falls on the balance beam to
win the meet.
"A meet can be won or lost on
the beam," Jeni Hescott said. "And
everyone came through for us on
Kempthorn found nothing to
fault with the team.
"(The gymnasts) hit today like I
asked them to do," she said. "This
meet really brought a lot of
confidence back to us. We came in
with a much improved, more
competitive attitude, and it worked
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