Page 10 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 30, 1989
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'M' NETTERS WANT TO IMPROVE ON #17 RANKING
Men chase 2nd NCAA crown
BY ANDREW GOTTESMAN
Having two of the top three
players in the country, a rookie
phenom and a couple of seasoned
veterans is a mix every team looks
For Michigan's men's tennis
team, this mix could help bring a
national championship to Ann
Arbor. Last year's third place NCAA
finish after winning the Big Ten
meet pushed the Wolverines into
serious contender status for this
"After last year's great finish, I
feel the players really have the
confidence needed to make a run at
the national title," coach Brian
Eisner said. "The Big Ten's and the
NCAA's are really our goals this
year. Everything else. is pretty
The Wolverines, ranked 11th in
the Volvo Tennis/Collegiate pre-
season polls have, however, begun
the season on a somewhat
disappointing note. They have gone
3-7 and dropped to No. 17 nationally
in their seven pre-conference
"We've played a vigorous
schedule so far," senior Dan
Goldberg said of the 10 matches, all
of which were against top-20 teams.
Eisner is not fazed by the early
performance. "We have really started
to be plagued by injuries," he said.
First singles player Malivai
Washington recently returned from a
three-week absence due to a knee
injury. Washington, a sophomore, is
ranked No. 1 in collegiate tennis and
has already won two of the three legs
of the college Grand Slam.
Another key injury recently befell
first-year hotshot and third-singles
player Dave Kass. Against Arkansas
he aggravated a year-old shoulder
injury. With any luck, he'll be back
for the Big Ten schedule, which
begins April 8. Kass, the team's
only true first-year player, won the
state high school tennis
championship in Florida and Ohio.
Senior Mike Pizzutello did not
even make the last road trip to West
Virginia because of a foot injury.
"When we're playing those level
teams, you can't afford to play two
players short," Eisner said. "We just
want to get everybody well."
And if this happens, Michigan
will certainly be a team to watch. In
addition to Washington, Michigan
has another All-American in No. 2
singles player Goldberg. The 1988
Big Ten Player-of-the-Year,
Goldberg currently holds the number
three spot in national rankings. "I
think if we come out of (Big Tens)
with a win, we'll be a real threat at
NCAA's," he said.
The historically weak Big Tens,
however, will be a much more hotly
contested crown this year. "Right
now, you've got three (Big Ten)
teams that are ranked ahead of us,"
senior captain Chip McColl said.
"The Big Ten is an up and
coming conference," Eisner said.
McColl feels Michigan can
overcome its early problems in time
for the late-season meets. "It's
important that we don't look at the
3-7 record we have now," he said.
"Our goal is to win the NCAA
championships, without a doubt."
Michigan women seek net
BY JEFF SHERAN
coached the Micl
tennis team to a fif
finish, well ahead o
standing the team st
ago. The team, hov
possesses any senic
unable to replac
standout and co-Bi
the-Year Tina Basle
difficulties this se
persistent injuries t
Stross and Jennifer
0-7 start seemedt
managed to put M
position for the r
season. Three of N
have been to the to
the Big Ten: Indiar
Two of the lo
avenged in rematch
Michigan and We
And one victory, a,
Ohio State, came a
Now, with the
teams out of the
confidence of a stro
victory, Michigan cc
the rest of its conf
all of which will be
"Finally we're i
season. We're pl
similar caliber and
shot at being seeder
the Big Ten Cham
been through, m,,
place would be a
Michigan's upcoming matches
Ritare as follows:
Elizabeth RIowa: This April 1st matchup
higan women's features perhaps the only Big Ten
th place Big Ten team more beleaguered by injuries
f the tenth place than Michigan. Four of Iowa's top
uffered two years players are out of action, which
wever, no longer gives the Wolverines an edge.
ors, and has been -Minnesota: A victory over Iowa
e first singles would give the Wolverines some
g Ten Player-of- much-needed momentum for their
matchup with the Golden Gophers
the Wolverines' the next day. Minnesota is the
ason have been strongest team left on Michigan's
o starters Wendy schedule, and stands in the way of
Lev. The team's Michigan improving to fourth in the
to confirm their conference.
-Michigan State: The rivalry
)ugh, Ritt has between these two teams and the
ichigan in good familiarity amongstthe sopposing
emainder of the players always creates an
Michigan's losses unpredictable matchup.
)p three teams in -Notre Dame: Although not a Big
na, Northwestern Ten opponent, the Irish do compete
with Michigan for recruits, making
sses were later this sole remaining away match a
es against Eastern very important one.
stern Michigan. -Purdue: The Boilermakers are an
7-2 lambasting of extremely erratic team which can
against a favored surprise Michigan, who won both
t. contests last season. Purdue lost to
clearly superior Western Michigan, which gives
way, and the Michigan an apparent edge.
ng Big Ten road -Illinois: Marked by consistency,
an concentrate on the Illini have great depth in singles
erence schedule, and doubles, but lack a true
played at home. superstar. Defeating Illinois would
n control of our inspire Michigan as it heads into the
aying teams of Big Tens one week later.
we have a clear Ritt sees Purdue, Illinois, Iowa,
d fifth going into and Michigan State as the most
pionships," Ritt important matches to win, because,
hat the team has as she explains, "We know we can
aintaining fifth beat those teams."
very successful We'll find out beginning
Wom ' fJESSICA GREENE/Daily
Women's first singles player Stacy Berg is trying to lead the
Wolverines to their second straight successful season. Berg finished
24-5 last season; 11-3 in the Big Ten.
Berg adds stardom
to Michigan team
BY MARK KATZ
When Michigan tennis star Stacy Berg came out of high school two
years ago, she basically had her choice of colleges.
After spending five years, from age 11 to age 16, consistently in the
top 50 players nationally in her age group, she was a much heralded
So why Michigan?
"I felt that at another school, like Wisconsin (a top 20 school currently
ranked second in the Big Ten), I'd just be another one of the girls," Berg
explained. "I felt like here, I could really contribute to the team."
Berg, a sophomore in the middle of her second season with Michigan,
is the No. 1 seeded singles and doubles player on the team. She has led
the Wolverines to wins in four of their past six matches with consistent
performances and leadership. But success in the world of tennis is no
novel concept for the native Chicagoan.
For Berg, the road to collegiate tennis began early in life. "I started
playing when I was five just a little kid with my parents, because my
whole family has always played tennis. I started taking lessons when I
was nine, and I played my first tournament when I was 10."
The young tennis proteg6 began hitting the road at age 11, playing
first local and then national tournaments. "I was nationally ranked from
the time when I was 11 until 18. The first year in every age group I
tended to be ranked around 50 (Junior tennis rankings are grouped in two
year blocks starting from 12-and-under and going through age 18). The
second year I was usually somewhere in the 30's."
Berg said her tennis skills improved consistently during her junior
tennis career, except for a two-year static period at the end of her high
school career. "My play kept my rankings consistent when I was 11 to
16, but I think a lot of people do a little worse when they're a junior and
senior in high school just because they become interested in other things.
I was one of those people." Her rank fell to around 100 during her senior
year of high school.
However, her arrival at Michigan boosted her level of competition
higher than ever before. "I think in the one year I've been at college, I've
improved more than I did all four years in high school."
Berg credits this sudden improvement to intensified practice and the
team-oriented approach to college tennis. "When you're practicing for
yourself, it is just for yourself," she said. "It's a different kind of respons-
ibility. When you're going through junior tennis, you're paying your
coach money, so he has to be positive about whatever you do. If I didn't
feel like playing, there was not much he could say to me.
"But here, it's like you owe the school something. I have to be (at
practice) trying my hardest every lay. I owe it to the school, to my team-
mates, and to my coach, so I work a lot harder here than I ever did when I
The sophomore leader hopes to funnel this enthusiastic effort toward
overall improvement in the team, a relatively young squad composed of
only one junior, Berg and three other sophomores, and four first-year
players. "Everyone already has improved so much; it's incredible. But we
still do have a lot of improvement to do."
Although she doesn't realistically see the team eclipsing last year's
finish of fifth in the Big Ten, Berg looks optimistically towards the fut-
ure. "I think starting next year we will be right at the top of the Big Ten."
Senior Chip McColl practices his groundstrokes during warmups at
the Track and Tennis Building. McColl hopes his leadership can pay
off at the NCAA meet in May.
steadies 'M' ship
BY ERIC LEMONT
Chip McColl, captain of the men's tennis team, may not have the best
win-loss record, but he has a track record of competitiveness. McColl is
also not the most talented player, but he has a talent for bringing out the
best in his teammates.
How does a player with average skills lead one of the top teams in the
country possessing some of the nation's top players?
"Chip plays with a tremendous amount of spirit, a tremendous amount
of fight and the other players pick up on that," said coach Brian Eisner.
"Whether he's winning or losing is not even the issue."
McColl, who posted a 17-7 record last year as the team's number six
singles player and a 1-4 record so far this season on the number three
doubles team, agrees that competitiveness is his strongest suit.
"I'm not the best player athlete in the world, I don't have the best
skills. There are people out there with much better skills. But if someone
is going to beat me I just want to make sure that they earn it, that they
work for it. And, yes, I will compete to no end out there. That's
something I take pride in," he said.
This ferocity was most clearly evidenced at last year's NCAA
championships. In a semifinal against second ranked Louisiana State with
the two teams tied 4-4, McColl was involved in the final doubles match
that would decide the winner.
After the two teams see-sawed back and forth, LSU finally emerged
victorious. Although losing "the most emotional match" he has ever
played in, McColl learned that the Wolverines can compete with any team
in the country. This realization has led to McColl's goal of a national
championship for this season.
"I came into this year just set on winning the NCAA's. Set on it. And I
still am like that," McColl said. "Now, (after the LSU match) I see that
the teams that we're playing are good but no better than we are. I've made
that clear and I hope that everyone believes it now or will believe it by the
time we get there."
If Eisner is right, the team is listening to what McColl has to say. "I've
found that, through the years, players usually choose someone for a captain
that thev feel nmfortble talkino n. A nlaver that realIv croe- 2n Chin
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1989 women's tennis roster
Frederika Adam Fr. Albany, CA
Stacy Berg So, River Forest, IL
Caroline Copan Fr. Ann Arbor, MI
Chris Hunt Fr, Southfield,MI.
Jennifer Lev Fr, CedarhurstNY
Ary Malik Fr. Brookfield, WI
Cathy Smidt Jr. Dix Hills, NY
Anna Schork.o...nnA rbor,,MI.
Wendy SCross So. Ann Arbor, MI
Kass streaks to success at full speed
BY ANDREW GOTTESMAN
Some people like to live at a
leisurely pace, to relax and take it
easy. Others like to speed things up
And then there is Dave Kass, "the
best freshman in college tennis in
the United States this year,"
according to coach Brian Eisner.
Kass (23-4) already holds the third-
singles position on the Michigan
men's tennis team and a Rolex
Indoor Singles Championship.
"Everything I like to do, I do in
extremes," Kass, a Columbus na-
ti;e coal"Irinn't An n e in a
Kass also raced to the top three of
each age group he has played in. He
won the Florida state championship
before choosing Michigan over
UCLA because it is closer to home.
"I didn't go pro before college so
I could work on mental and physical
things," Kass said.
After coming to college - and
finally slowing down for a while in
the process - Kass has been forced
to step out of the limelight once
again. At many schools, Kass' No.
20 national ranking, the highest this
year for a first-year player, would
certainly earn him a second, if not
first, singles position. But with
Mnivn; ahinetnrn th NTn 1
now he's No. 1 in the country,"
McColl said. "If Dave just goes,
down there every day and puts his
mind to it, he can really take off." 4
As for his future, Kass says, "I'd
like to win the NCAA's. That's the
most prestigious thing in college.
"Eventually, I'd like to be in the:
top 10 (in the world)," he said.
Right now, however, Kass must
overcome a shoulder injury he
sustained last summer. After under-:
going rehabilitation for the rest of:
the year, Kass began playing again.
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