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April 06, 1990 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-04-06

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, April 6, 1990 - Page 11
Satisfaction guaranteed if women win

by Jeni Durst
Daily Sports Writer
A win tomorrow would be
doubly satisfying for Michigan
women's tennis coach Bitsy Ritt in
her squad's Big Ten home opener.
One of the teams the Wolverines
will face this weekend is Wisconsin,
Ritt's former university. A win
would mark the first over the
Badgers since Ritt's arrival five years
ago.
Michigan will also face another
Big Ten rival, Northwestern, on
Sunday. The Wolverines will
attempt to garner their first
conference victories of the season.
"I think we can win," Ritt said.
"I'm very, very confident that we can
beat Wisconsin and I think we can
do well against Northwestern. . . I
would like to see (a win) come
against Wisconsin, that's my alma
mater, that's where Wendy (Gilles)
went to school, my assistant coach,
and we haven't beaten them since
I've been here. So, I'm pretty excited
for it."

Ritt has good reason for her
confidence. It might be much easier
for Michigan to capture a victory
than the Big Ten pre-season coaches'
poll would predict.
Though the Badgers crushed the
Wolverines 9-0 last year and were
ranked at No. 2 in the poll, "they're
not quite as strong as coaches
anticipated," Ritt added. So far, they
have compiled a conference record of
only 1-4, losing to teams ranked
well below them.
But all of the positive statistics
don't guarantee a Michigan victory.
The individual members of the team
will have be at their best.
"I think (all the matches) will be
very close, and they'll be very
competitive matches," Ritt said.
"Though I think we might have a
little bit more depth than Wisconsin
has."
At No. 1, Christine Schmeidel
will face the Badger's Elaine
Demetroulis, who she lost to at the
ITCA tournament in the fall.
Schmeidel should have a good

chance to even the record.
"Elaine was at the top of her
game (at the tournament), she played
flawless tennis," Ritt explained, "and
Christine is playing so much better
than she did last semester.
They have two different types of
play. Elaine is a serve and volleyer,
very aggressive, so she'll put a lot
of pressure on Christine. But, if
Christine returns serve well and hits
effective passing shots, she has a
great chance to win."
Wisconsin will challenge
Michigan more in doubles than in
singles; the Badgers are known for
their strong doubles play.
And doubles have proved to be a
problem area for the Wolverines this,
season. But, two individual doubles'
matches Michigan captured against
another tough team, Minnesota, last
weekend has helped to boost their
confidence.
"Traditionally, Wisconsin has
been very strong in doubles," Ritt
said. "But, after last weekend, where
we won two of the three doubles and
almost won at No.1 (seed), I think

we can play with them. I think it
will come down to the doubles and I
think we can win."
Northwestern should provide
tougher competition. The Wildcats
had a 9-0 romp over Michigan last
year and have captured the last 12 of
the two teams' previous 17 matches.
The Big Ten coaches ranked them
fourth in the pre-season and so far
have compiled a respectable 2-2
mark in the Big Ten.
"Northwestern has a win over
Wisconsin, 6-3, so I anticipate the
stronger match will be on Sunday
against Northwestern," Ritt said. "I
think we can beat both teams if we
play as well as we did against
Minnesota..if we continue to do that
we're going to get a win."
Michigan will strive for that win
Saturday at 11 a.m. against
Wisconsin and again Sunday versus
Northwestern at 10 at the Track and
Tennis Building. If the weather
improves the matches will be played
outside at the Huron Valley Tennis
Club.

Softball opens title quest vs.
by Scott Erskine
Daily Sports Writer

JOSE JUAREZIDaiiy
Malivai Washington (above) led the Wolverines to an undefeated Big
Ten record last year. Michigan will begin its home conference season
, against Northwestern Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Liberty Sports Complex.
New twist: 'M' tries to
upset favored Wildcats

by Michael Bess
Daily Sports Writer
The prospect of starting off
league play against Northwestern is
usually an appealing notion. This is
not the case in the world of men's
collegiate tennis.
Michigan (4-6), welcomes the
Wildcats on Saturday followed by a
Sunday venue with the Iowa
Hawkeyes. Both dual competitions
begin at 1 p.m. at the Liberty Sports
Complex in Ann Arbor.
The Wolverines have historically
been the prohibitive favorite entering
conference play. In coach Brian
Eisner's 20 year tenure, his teams
have captured 17 Big Ten titles.
1990 is different.
Michigan lost a great amount of
talent in the off-season due to a
variety of reasons. What remains is a
team that is potentially dangerous,
but painfully inexperienced.
Michigan has competed against a
number of national powers,which
should better prepare them for
conference play. Eisner's philosophy
is simple.
"Always seek the highest
competition," Eisner said. "Because
even if you lose you can learn from

it and it puts you on a positive note.
It's a basis for improvement."
The young Wolverine squad has
taken its lumps, but has pushed a
number of national powers to
competitive matches. Northwestern
is one of the stronger teams in the
Midwest region and could prove to
be a difficult opening opponent.
"Northwestern is a very good
team," Eisner said. "They may be
the No. 1 team in our section."
There are a number of similarities
between Michigan and Iowa. Both
have weaknesses, but are capable of
challenging for the Big Ten
championship.
"Iowa is a lot like us," said
Michigan's coach. "They aren't quite
as strong as Northwestern, but at
this stage we can't afford to take
anyone lightly."
Michigan will look for continued
strong play from number one singles
player David Kass. They will also
need another impressive performance
from their doubles teams, which
played well in last week's Blue/Gray
Team Championships.
The Wolverines will host
Michigan State later in the week and
Notre Dame on April 17th.

The Michigan women's softball
team begins its Big Ten season this
weekend at Varsity Diamond against
Minnesota. The team, which has had
its ups and downs throughout the
pre-season, hopes to start playing
more steadily.
These first four conference games
against the Golden Gophers may
prove crucial for Michigan, not only
because the outcome may set the
tone for the rest of the Big Ten
season, but also because last year's
championship was won by only a
half a game. Michigan finished
second in the Big Ten last year
behind Iowa.
Michigan head coach Carol
Hutchins says that consistency may
be the key to defeating the Golden
Gophers. "Playing consistently good

ball (is the key to winning). That's
all we need to do," she said. "We
need to execute. We need to play
defense." Hutchins is midway
through her sixth season as the head
coach of the Wolverines.
Junior outfielder Kelly O'Connor
hopes that the Wolverines can pull
together on offense. "I think that we
need to have hot bats, be good
offensively, and get some hits. We
haven't been hitting that well as of
recently," she said.
One bright spot for the
Wolverines is the anticipated return
of junior shortstop Bonnie Tholl,
who led the Big Ten in runs scored
last year and was first team all-Big

Gophers
Ten as well as making the Mideast
all-Regional team.
She is returning from a shoulder
injury which she suffered near the
end of March at the Bud Lite
Invitational in San Jose, California.
Minnesota, however, will be
playing without junior stars Brenda
Bixby and Kari Blank. Bixby, the
1988 Big Ten "Freshman of the
Year," will be forced to sit out with
a shoulder injury while Blank, the
Gopher's team MVP in 1989, will
be sidelined with a knee injury.
The Wolverines will face Min-
nesota at 3 and 5 p.m. Friday and at
1 and 3 p.m. Saturday.

Bixby

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