Page 4 - The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday- April 9, 1990
by Sarah Osburn
Daily Sports Writer
Three consecutive Big Ten second place
finishes have left the Michigan softball
team frustrated. In fact, for the last three
years, the softball team have missed a first
place finish by only one game. Last year,
the team was edged out of first place by
So, the team is hungry for a Big Ten
title. Unfortunately, the Wolverines might
not get to the dinner table as they must
contend with the loss of four letterwinners:
MaryAnn Daviera, Karen Katcavage, Beth
Mueller, and Nan Payne.
"Seniors are always a loss," Hutch-ins
said, "but the biggest loss was probably
MaryAnn Daviera. She was a great catcher.
This doesn't diminish the loss of the other
seniors, but MaryAnn was like glue."
Daviera was named to the first team All-
Big Ten team and to the Academic All-Big
The Michigan team, however, does
return a plethora of award winning talent.
Among the eleven letterwinners returning
are Stacey Heams, who was named the
team's Rookie-of-the-Year in 1989. She
joins Bonnie Tholl, who returns for her
junior season after making first team All-
Big Ten and the All-Midwest Regional
team last year.
Another junior, Julie Cooper, was a Bud
Lite All-Tournament selection last spring
and Andrea Nelson made the All-Midwest
Regional team and won the Bud Lite
Tournament MVP as a soph-omore last
And Sara Dyksterhouse's lone honor, a
second team All-Big Ten selection, does
not sum up her worth to the team.
"Sara is real consistent. She has been a
rock at first base," Hutchins said. "She has
been in her position for four years, and she
is what makes our defense work."
Jenny Allard's list of achievements is
extensive as well. To name just a few, she
made the first team All-American team,
was named Big Ten MVP, made first team
all-Big Ten, was a three time Big Ten
player-of-the-week, and was the team's
MVP. Not surpris-ingly, Allard was made
captain of this year's squad.
"We have a lot of depth," Allard said.
"There are only three seniors, but the
freshmen are starting to contribute, and
there are a lot of people who can do the
The Wolverines have seven new-comers
on the team, including four first-year
players in the line-up: Patti Benedict, Kelly
Forbis, Kari Kunnen, and Karla Kunnen.
"They are all improving," Hutchins
said. "Kari and Karla have come a long
way. They are starting to relax. We need
them to come through.
"Benedict has had up and down hitting
but that is starting to smooth out," she,*
Probably the most encouraging per-
formance has come from first year pitcher,
Kelly Forbis. "She has pitched as well as
the other two (Allard and Nelson) and she
can really hold her own," Hutchins said.
"Composure is her greatest asset, and she'
has as much of it as anyone. She definitely
isn't playing like a freshman."
With exclusion of Tholl, the'
Wolverines have not been seriously
hindered by injuries, unlike some others in
the conference. Tholl dislocated her
shoulder in the Bud Lite Invitational, and
missed the Ohio State Tournament as a
"Bonnie is being taped together to
play," Hutchins said. "We won't really,
know how well she is until we put her in.'
Bonnie is a major person on our team. She;
is one of the best shortstops in the country,
as well as the key to our defense. Her,
replacements have been doing a very good
job, but we want to go with the best line.
up," Hutchins said.
Hutchins, named Big Ten coach of the:
year in 1985, is in her sixth year as
Michigan's head softball coach. In four out
of her five seasons the Wolverines have
finished second in the Big Ten, with an
overall record of 170-94.
Bonnie Tholl returned to action this weekend after missing the Ohio State Tournament
beacause of a dislocated shoulder. Tholl was an All-Big Ten player last season and is
considered one of the best shortstops in the country.
Iowa, Indiana join,
Blue In title chrse
Daily Sports Writer
Coach Carol Hutchins has told her softball team the same line many
times. The Big Ten Conference season is the "only thing that counts." And
this year, with that emphasis placed, the Wolverines hope to be counted first
when it's all over.
"We need to make the next progression," Hutchins said, "and that is a
Big Ten Championship."
It's common knowledge around the league that Michigan has the ability
to accomplish those lofty championship goals.
"I've said from the beginning that I thought the team with the talent and
the experience is Michigan," Iowa Coach Gayle Blevins said. "They're the
team to beat."
The problem is, however, that this is not the first time that Michigan
has been in such a position. First place, and the automatic NCAA
tournament bid it brings, has eluded the Wolverines in each of the past three
seasons by the slimmest of margins. Each time Michigan has finished only
one win away from the title. Last year it was Iowa who won the crown,
finishing with a 17-7 league record. Michigan ended at 16-8 in the Big Ten.
The perennial second-place result has given Hutchins reason to be
cautious in her league projections. She's optimistic but she's certainly not
predicting a Michigan championship. In fact Hutchins sees great parity in
the Big Ten.
"It's just true that anybody can beat anybody. It doesn't matter who's the
better team because the Big Ten is different. It adds a new element called
emotion. There is no dominant team in this league. Anybody can win it."
To win the title, Hutchins believes, it will take a steady effort.
"To win it, you've got to be consistent," Hutchins said. "The key is
being a consistently good team - not great and not rotten. You need to
play good defense and get good pitching when you need it. That's all it is.
"We've been through a lot of things this year already. We went through a
couple skids, we've been through a real high going 8-0 in the South Florida
Tournament. Hopefully, now, we're going to find our niche in the middle of
Going into this weekend's games here is a look at how the rest of the
conference shapes up for the 1990 campaign.
IOWA, described by Hutchins as "an aggressive, running team," has to
be considered one of the definite favorites along with Michigan. Currently
ranked 15th in the nation with a 21-15 record overall, the defending
champions boast two of the top pitchers in the league. See BIG 10, Page 6
Allard seeks one
b Scott Erskine
Daily Sports Writer S n f n l
When Michigan softball player Jennifer
Allard sets a goal for herself, she almost al-
ways reaches it.
This weekend, when the young All-
American took the field and began her final
Big Ten softball season, she also began her
final attempt at fulfilling a three-year long
dream: Being a part of the team that wins the
Big Ten softball title.
It is this dream that brought the twenty-
one year-old Southern Californian from the
warm West Coast climate to the sometimes
unforgiving Michigan winters.
"That was my one goal before I got to
Michigan. I wanted to be on the team to win
the Big Ten. That's what I wanted to be a
part of. I wanted to have a ring."
As of yet, however, this has been the
one, and possibly the only, award that she
hasn't received on the field. Despite the
Wolverines' outstanding performances over
the last three seasons, Michigan has finished
second by just one game each of the three
Despite this one fact, the infielder has had
an otherwise glorious softball career. Allard
was twice voted onto the all-league team in
She spent her summers playing on the
California Raiders, a travelling team based in
Southern California. The team won the na-
tional 18-and-under tournament two of the
three years she was on it.
In 1985 Allard's national champion team
was invited to represent the United States at
the Junior Olympic softball tournament,
where the team earned a bronze medal. Two
years later, at the same tournament, her team
won the gold.
"That was fantastic, fabulous, all those
wonderful things," Allard said. "It was like a
precious moment. It's something you re-
member, always," she said.
Allard came to Michigan in 1987 and
immediately began producing for the
Wolverines, capturing Michigan's Rookie-
In 1988, Allard was named to the second
team All-Big Ten, as she led Michigan in
hitting, doubles, and RBI's, and posted a
.306 conference batting average. She also set
a Michigan season record for doubles with
Then, in 1989 Allard received her biggest
individual award to date. She became the
third Michigan softball player to history to
be voted a first team All-American. Her 0.75
ERA also helped her to be named first team
SAll-Big Ten, All-Mideast Regional, and
Michigan's and the Big Ten's MVP.
In spite of all her individual success, Al-
lard said she would give it all up if her team
could win the Big Ten Championship.
"It's nice. I've gotten all of these other
awards, first team All-Big Ten, Big Ten
player-of-the-year, and All-American, and
those things are nice, but that wasn't my
She feels too that the awards that she's
gotten, she owes in part to her teammates.
"I'm not a strikeout pitcher and I-don't
strike a lot of people out, and in order for me
to be successful on the mound I have to have
a great defensive performance from everyone
else. And that's why those things mean so
y much- the team awards versus the 'Hey you
"If she knows that you're doing a feature
story on her she'll say I'd rather you do a fea-
ture story on Michigan softball," left fielder
and roommate Kelly O'Connor said. "Even
when she won All-American last year she
just down-played everything," she added.
R . Whether or not she reaches her goal of fi-
nally winning the conference championship,
Allard already has her next goal set.
After graduation this year, she will take
her accounting degree to Newport Beach,
California, where she already has her first
KENNETH SMOLLER/Daily job waiting for her. Her new goal is to
lead her squad someday be a CPA.
I-American. Think she'll do it?
Team captain Jennifer Allard hopes to
to a Big Ten title. Allard was a 1989 Al
I - I , -
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