Page 4- The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - September 23, 1991
'M' faces top schedule
Stickers see opportunity to gain national acclaim
by Adam M. Lutz
Daily Sports Writer
After a successful 1990 season,
with a record of 12-7-2, one would
expect Michigan's field hockey
coach to set lofty goals for her im-
proving team. Yet, coach Patti
Smith keeps both her's and the
team's goals short and sweet.
"Play consistent, look. at one
game at a time, and play our best,"
the coach said. She claims that her
idea is to keep all goals "simple, in
order to keep the team focused on
The Wolverines are a young team
facing an extremely difficult sched-
ule, with eight of their 18 oppo-
nents ranked in the NCAA Division
I Top 20 poll. Michigan's only re-
turning seniors, Sandie Marotti and
Kristin Shaiper, will be called on to
use their leadership skills.
Coach Smith enters her third sea-
son on the verge of bringing na-
tional recognition to a team that has
never finished in the upper echelon
of the Midwest Collegiate Field
Hockey Conference (MCFHC). In
preparing for this year, Smith
stressed offseason conditioning and
the team responded enthusiastically.
"Everyone is in shape for the sea-
son, and we now have more people
that are willing to sacrifice." Smith
explains that this is essential be-
cause "field hockey is such a team
game that we need contributions
from all 17 or 18 players."
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The offseason conditioning must
be paying off since the Wolverines
are currently ranked 14th nation-
ally, and have compiled impressive
victories on the road against some
top eastern schools.
The team's offense looks strong.
The scoring attack is led by last
year's top team scorer, junior Katie
Thomas. She complements Shaiper
by adding quickness and agility.
Meanwhile, junior Katie Vignevic,
last season's No. 2 returning scorer,
uses steady stickwork to fulfill her
responsibility of setting up the
All good teams rely on tough
defense, and this defense relies on its
ability to throw out multiple com-
binations in order to keep its oppo-
nents off-balance. The defensive line
is anchored by Marotti and is sup-
ported by juniors Katherine Epler
and Katie Allison.
Along with the tough non-
conference schedule, the MCFHC is
definitely one of the nation's top
conferences. Conference members
Iowa and Northwestern are both
ranked in the top 10 nationally..
The MCFHC will be dissolved
next season, as fourth-ranked Penn
State is added to the Big Ten, giving
the conference national prominence.
Smith explains that "with the addi-
tion of Penn State, the Big Ten will
be regarded along with the ACC as
the premier conferences in the coun-
Mary Beth Bird
Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.
Del Mar, Calif.
San Jose, Calif.
Del Mar, Calif.
St. Louis, Mo.
Toms River, N.J.
East Sandwich, Mass.
St. Louis, Mo.
Naramata, British Colombia
Head coach Patti Smith (kneeling) gives the team a pep talk during a recent game against Central Michigan.
The Wolverines, facing a tough schedule, look to improve on last season's 12-7-2 record.
Shaiper sticks outhrough
inju1ries and leads oWverines
by Chris Carr
Daily Sports Writer
With less than a minute to play
in Michigan's field hockey game
against Central Michigan last
Monday, the Wolverines, protecting
a 1-0 lead, had to defend against a
corner shot opportunity by the
Chippewas. Michigan assistant
coach Meri Dembrow turned to head
coach Patti Smith and said, "Let
Smith instructed senior forward
Kristin Shaiper to line up next to
goalie Nicole Hoover. As Central
passed the ball in front of the net,
Shaiper rushed towards the shooter
. . . . . . . . . . . . . - . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
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and with her speed, was able to get
close enough to deflect the shot
wide of the goal and preserve the
victory for the Wolverines.
For Shaiper, last Monday rep-
resented the first time during her in-
jury-plagued career that she had
played the entire game. It was also
an indication of how the Wolverines
intend to use her to win games this
season: anywhere and everywhere.
"Kristin is definitely one of the
fastest players on our team," Smith
said. "We can get both offense and
defense out of her. Her speed is
important to our offense because it
gives us a lot of opportunities to get
the ball into our zone. She also
plays good individual defense and is
As a senior tri-captain, the St.
Louis, Mo. native welcomes her var-
ied role to help the Wolverines win
games. Last season, she was fifth on
the team in scoring with eight
points, but was second in shots on
goal (39), which provides an indica-
tion of her ability to give the
Wolverines plenty of scoring op-
"I'm a team player, and I am def-
initely not the star," Shaiper said.
"My role is to set up plays by draw-
ing corners, making assists, and get-
ting shots on goal. I also realize
that it is important for me to play
well defensively because everything
starts with defense."
As one of only two seniors on
the team, Shaiper has been part of
the team's major transformation
under Smith. Although it was a
team in transition during Shaiper's
first years, the Wolverines have
recently become nationally
"I think this team can go far be-
cause there is no one person that
other that each of us can assume our
role and give it our best effort."
Problems with shin splints and
constant knee pain have bothered
Shaiper since her sophomore year..
The training staff has tried various,,
methods to ease her discomfort -
extra stretching exercises, extra
taming, and even special orthopedic
devices for her shoes. However,
Shaiper's desire and willingness to
play with pain have been the key in
overcoming her injuries.
"As a leader, Kristin is more of a
quiet type of person, but her actions
speak louder than words," Smith.
said. "She has worked so hard at re-
habbing that now she is in a position
to play longer and stronger. If she
can be out on the field, she gives us a
If the Central Michigan game
displays any indication of things to
come, Shaiper should definitely give
the Wolverines a big boost.
does it all, which is what we relied
on in the past," Shaiper said.
"Everyone has a definite role, and
we all have the confidence in one an-
H k Center
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