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March 13, 1989 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-03-13

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Page 12 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 13, 1989

1989 NCAAs will be Fisher's last stand

BY STEVEN COHEN
Michigan's top-ranked 134-
pounder.John Fisher has accom-
plished nearly everything in col-
legiate wrestling. He is a three-time
All-American and only the 28th
three-time Big Ten champion.
He has won the Las Vegas
Classic, the Midlands, the Sunshine
Open, the Ohio Open, and the
Northern Open. That's every major
collegiate tournament except one-
the national championships, which
begins Thursday at Oklahoma City.
For the past two seasons, Fisher
has wrestled to a 96-3 record. During
this undefeated 1988-89 campaign,
January's Big Ten Athlete-of-the-
Month has captured the Outstanding
Wrestler award in four separate
tournaments.
"I THINK he wants it (a
national championship) more than
anyone in the country," said Mich-
igan graduate assistant Will Waters,
formerly a high school and college
teammate of Fisher's. "He's come
up short three times and he's the
kind of guy who becomes more
determined if he loses."
This week, Fisher has an oppor-
tunity to win the national title that
has eluded him, but to accomplish
that he will likely have to get past
second-ranked Joe Melchiore of
Iowa.
Melchiore, who transferred to
Iowa in 1988 after two seasons at
Oklahoma, stunned Fisher, 14-4, at
last season's NCAA's, a loss that
ended Fisher's hopes of a national
title. Fisher eventually finished third
overall.
"That one loss ruined my entire
season," Fisher said.
MELCHIORE, also a three-
time All-American, would like noth-
ing more than to-ruin Fisher's sea-
son again.

"HE (Fisher) is
definitely a class
above the average
134-pounder," Mel-
chiore said. "If ev-
erything goes as
planned, as I plan,
we'll meet in the
finals. "
Fisher and Mel-
chiore have already
met three times this
season, with Fisher
winning all three.
"John, in my
mind totally dom-
inated Melchiore,"
Oklahoma State
coach Joe Seay said
after their first
meeting, at the
East-West All Star
Classic. "He took
control of the match
right from the start.
It was no contest as
to who was going
to win."
"I DON'T
THINK he can
beat Fish," added
Waters."The worst I

match," Iowa coach
Dan Gable, said be-
fore the Great Am-
erican Duals. "but
don't you think he
was motivated for
the NCAA's last
season?"
ADDED Iowa
assistant coach
Barry Davis: "There
is no pressure on
Melchiore. He has
to just go out and
wrestle. Fisher is
the No.1 ranked
guy. Melchiore has
had great NCAA
tournaments every
year, he's finished
seventh and fourth,
and last year took
second."
The most recent
confrontation came
at the Big Ten
Championships on
March 5, a 13-10
victory for Fisher.
As in the earlier
matches, Melchiore
came on strong

prised Fisher with a fireman's carry,
one of his better moves and had
Fisher on his back.
"I guess I've got him thinking,"
Melchiore said. "I broke him
mentally, he was in total control and
thought he had me broken. He has to
be thinking about what I'm doing. I
know he's watching films of me and
I'm watching films of him. And this
year from studying him I noticed
that he is not as strong in the third
period as he is in the first."
Fisher asserts that he is not
spending his time worrying about
Melchiore.
"My goal is to be national
champion," Fisher said. "Whoever is
in my way; I'll have to beat. I'll
concentrate as much on my first
match as I will on my last.
"ALL I GOT to say is that
usually when you're losing, you
have to go after a guy. I let him in
the match. It's no excuse, but I was
thinking, 'I stuck (pinned) the guy.
What else do I have to do?'
"If we both get to the finals and I
don't get a pin, I'm going to wrestle
seven minutes from first to third
period."
The self-confident Melchiore is
becoming even more sure of him-
self. "Even though I lost it, I felt
good after the (last) match," Mel-
chiore said. "But at the same time I
can't look ahead of anyone."
Fisher countered: "Even though I
feel bad I'm glad I won. I'd rather
feel bad and win than feel good and
lose.
"I have respect for Melchiore, but
not enough to let him win the
national title."

Fisher
...hopeful champ

have ever seen Fish wrestle was at
the Great American Duals and yet he
pulverized him."
Pulverized him?
"He was pulverizing him the
whole time. He threw him on his
head and the ref had to stop the
match because (Melchiore) was see-
ing stars."
Though Fisher has gotten the
best of Melchiore this year, there are
those who are still unsure whether
Fisher, who has lost three times in
the quarterfinals, will beat Melchiore
when it really counts.
"Yeah, (Fisher) is up for this

to tighten the outcome. At the Big
Tens, Melchiore whittled an 11-3
Fisher advantage to 11-10. A
takedown by Fisher with 20 seconds
to go sealed the victory.
Many Michigan partisans felt that
an apparent fall by Fisher wasn't
awarded in the opening period.
"It was close but I didn't think I
was pinned," Melchiore conceded. "It
could have been called, some offic-
ials might have called it, but I don't
think I was pinned."
THE NON-CALL allowed
Melchiore to turn the tables and
nearly pin Fisher. Melchiore sur-

SK A GREENE/IlIy *
Michigan's Char Durand shakes off Minnesota's Ellen Kramer in
Saturday night's 81-64 Michigan victory.
Team effor' keys
Y A DAM BENSON
The women's basketball teams from Michigan and Mininesota battled
to stay out of last place last night. But the action and the exicitement
resembled that of teams bound for post-sea~son action.
The Wolverines looked nothing like a cellar-dweller last night,
defeating the Golden Gophers 81-64 at Crisler Arena. While sonic coaches
would be happy to go far away after an 11-16 season, Mich V in coach Bud
VanDeWege was ready for any opponent he could find.
"I told the team I wish the season was two weeks longw r,' VanDe\Vege
said. "This would be a great time for a conference tournament, because we
are really playing good basketball."
Early in the first half, Michigan continued to be plagued by the same
problem they had suffered earlier this season: poor shooting. With the
Gophers ahead 15-6 at the 13:22 mark, the Wolverines appeared ready to:
.ca1 it a year.
But at that point, Joan Rieger, who was moved back to center from
power forward to replace the injured Val Hall, mistook herself f1r Akeem
Olajuwon. Rieger scored the next eight Michigan points to make the
score 19-18.
Rieger's spurt inspired the rest the Wolverines, and the game became,
competitive. Michigan took its first lead on a Tanya Powell jumper,
making the score 30-29. The Gophers eventually grabbed the lead back,
and even led going into halftime, 38-37. It appeared that this battle for the
bottom would be competitive to the finish.
So what ha ppened?
"We didn't come out as ready as we needled to," MinnK sota forward
Ellen Kramer said. "They were really emotional and ready to pkixy, with it
being their last game on their home court. We caime out kind of lax and
they todk advantage of everything we gave thcm."
Minnesota coach LaRue Fields said about her team's second haitf
drought, "We played awful and we didn't get the job done. (Michiga n) was
pumped and psyched. They came out in the second half andl they wanted it
more than we did and they got it." -
VanDeWege added: "I told the team (at the half) that I wanted to come
out, score the first basket, and never look back."
The Wolverines did not stop with the first bucket. They went on a 28-
6 rampage. This prompted Fields to pull her top two players, Kramer and
Lea Blackwell, to try and find a lineup that could stop the Wolverinies.
It didn't happen. In the second half, Michigan out hustled, outworked,
and outplayed Minnesota.
"(VanDeWege) told us to put them away," Michigan Froward Lesli<
Spicer said. "He said to qluit messing around with this team, and that's:
what we did.''
Other players besides Rieger keyed the Michigan outburst. Among the
most notable was Spicer, who tied Brown for leading scorer honors with

16 points, bombarded the Gophers from all sides.and showed her usual
strong defense.
"There were two keys, individually, going into the game. First, Joan
had to play well tonight, especially without Val, and she was fabulous,"
VanDeWege said. "Second was Leslie. Those two were keys and they both
responded beautifully."

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Baseball winsc
in season-open
BY JAY MOSES
The Michigan baseball team
opened its 1989 season last weekend
in the sunshine state with an im-
pressive win followed by two close
losses.
On Friday, the Wolverines (1-2)
came out of the gate strong with a
10-1 victory over Stetson. Saturday
and Sunday, Michigan dropped a pair
to Central Florida, 3-2 and 10-9.
In Friday's game, senior Dave
Peralta started and went 5 2/3 inn-
ings for the win in his longest stint
as a Wolverine. Sophomore Kirt
Ojala went the rest of the way in
relief for his first save.
Offensively, the Wolverines were
led by sophomore second baseman
Matt Morse, who went 3-for-4 with

one, drops two
ing weekend
Central Florida had played 19 morn
games than the Wolverines at th"O
point, and that disparity frequentl
has an effect on the outcome of earl
Spring games.
Ross Powell started and went five
innings for Michigan Saturdays
giving up four hits and striking out
eight. First-year pitcher Jason Pfaf
(0-1) took the loss for th'
Wolverines.;
Michigan scored its two runs irk
the first inning, but was unable tt
produce after that, Phil Price and
Greg Haeger each nearly missed
home runs. They both smashed
drives off the top of the outfield wal
for doubles, but neither of then;
scored. Had the hits been just .
couple of feet longer, Michigan

To A\ ta

11

II(RA tL A --l-AT-(' 1 il A A t1 A A AM~T

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