Page 10-The Michigan Daily- Wednesday, November 6, 1991
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1. Nrrthwetern At Mkchiatt 11. Colorado at Ok ahom State
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=. Geor=:a at rd1 . Ilinois at Purdue
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Michigarn Nothwesten Name: Phone:
Horrigan s return leads
for state supremacy
by Ken Davidoff
Daily Sports Writer
Redemption is one of the
strongholds of our society. Fallen
heroes as different as Jimmy Swag-
gart and Bob Probert try their darn-
dest to achieve this end, though they
don't always succeed. Tonight, the
Michigan women's volleyball team
will try to redeem itself after its
disappointing loss to Ohio State
The Wolverines (7-5 in the Big
Ten, 16-7 overall) travel to East
Lansing tonight to take on their in-
trastate rival Michigan State (0-12,
2-20) in State Pride Night II. Be-
sides the motivation of the rivalry,
Michigan also wants to prove that
its lackluster performance against
the Buckeyes was an aberration.
"We need to come back and get a
team good," outside hitter Aimee
Smith said. "We're gonna be really
"After the Ohio State match, we
need to execute more," middle
blocker Fiona Davidson said. "We
want to show people what we're ca-
Davidson and her teammates
will likely get that chance against
the Spartans, who have been crippled
by injuries. Middle blocker Amy
Westhouse, who leads the Spartans
with a .297 hitting percentage, hopes
to be back tonight after missing the
past four games with an ankle in-
jury, but she will not be at full
strength. Spartan coach Ginger
Mayson feels her team's maladies
are a primary reason for her squad's
"We've been inconsistent due to
different injuries at different
times," she said. "We don't have a
whole slew of weaknesses; we're
just kind of banged up."
Michigan coach Peggy Bradley-
Doppes wants her players to use a
quick attack and get the ball to the
middle of the court, thereby forcing
middle hitters Jennifer Gray and
Connie Thomas to do the bulk of the
work. Bradley-Doppes is not hesi-
tant to admit that she expects a vic-
tory from this match.
"Yeah, we should win," she said.
"I'll put my 14 kids up against any-
one. I think I've got a better team."
by Ryan Herrington
Daily Sports Writer
How quickly things change.
It wasn't long ago that the
Michigan volleyball team was
looking at its third consecutive sub-
.500 season and wondering if the
team was ever going to get any bet-
It also wasn't long ago that
Michelle Horrigan was watching
from the sidelines, out for the sea-
son with an injury, wondering if she
was going to get any better. Or even
But those memories have faded
now that the Wolverines are on
track for their first winning season
since 1983. The resurgence can be at-
tributed in large part to the inspired
play of Horrigan, a 5-foot-I l out-
side-hitter, who is sixth in the Big
Ten in hitting efficiency with a .287
percentage and leads the Big Ten in
kills per game with 4.21.
While Horrigan has made oppos-
ing Big Ten defenses look foolish
this season, her Michigan career did
not begin auspiciously. A native of
Toledo, Ohio, Horrigan was medi-
cally redshirted during the 1990
season as a result of suffering from
a severe case of shin splints. The
problem developed in 1989, her first
year as a Wolverine, and still both-
ers her today.
"At the beginning of my sopho-
more year, (the pain) kept increas-
ing," Horrigan explained. "By the
time the middle of the preseason
rolled around, they were starting to
bother me. The coaches and the
trainers were trying to work with
me, saying, 'Back down when you
need to back down.'
"It got so bad that I couldn't
play, I couldn't even walk. Finally,
after I played just a few games,
(Michigan coach) Peggy (Bradley-
Doppes) came to me and said, 'Why
don't we do this (redshirt) this
With Horrigan was unable to
perform, Bradley-Doppes knew
what had to be done.
"It really wasn't an option
whether to sit her out or not,"
Bradley-Doppes said. "For me, it
was something that when I dis-
cussed it with Horrigan, it was 'I
don't want to risk your health.' It's
something we need to do and if it
pays off in the long run that's
And it has paid off. Almost ev-
eryone associated with Michigan
volleyball agrees that the year lay-
off for Horrigan has been the best
thing that could have happened for
her and the team.
"I think she is at a much higher
level (than before the injury),"
Bradley-Doppes said. "One, I think
that she's had some good training,
and two, I think her confidence is
good. Three, I think her maturity is
more apparent. A lot more
(important) than an athlete's abil-
ity is their maturity: how they ad-
dress practice, how they address the
Michelle Horrigan, back in the Michigan line-up, rises to the occasion earlier this season.
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game, their competitive maturity. I
think Michelle has demonstrated a
lot of maturity. Although she's
only a sophomore eligibility, you
can see that she plays much older
than that. She's just a joy to coach."
Horrigan has returned to the
Michigan lineup a more complete
player, having gone through exten-
sive rehabilitation to strengthen and
stretch her shin muscles. She also
spent much of the year in the weight
room, improving her power for net
play. She feels that sitting out the
year helped her realize where she
needed to improve.
"I think last year gave me more
insight, more experience - visual
experience - than playing," Horri-
gan said. "I got to sit back and
watch everyone make mistakes. I got
to sit back and watch the proper way
to do things and the wrong way to
do things. And I got to sit back and
get excited about playing volley-
ball because I wasn't in there.
"I saw so much last year that
even though I didn't play last year, I
knew what to do," she added. "It
made me a heck of a better player.
It's almost like everyone needs just
a week to sit out and just watch ev-
eryone do it. It makes you desire
that much greater."
While changing her focus on vol-
leyball, the injury also changed
Horrigan's perceptive about other
things, including academics.
"I want to do well in school
now. That's one of my main priori-
ties, whereas my freshman year, it
wasn't," Horrigan said. "Freshman
year, it was meeting new people and
playing volleyball, and I kind of
lost focus on school. But now I just
want to do a good job at the things I
need to do."
However, Horrigan's competi-
tive nature made it difficult for her
to watch her teammates go on the
road and play while she stayed be-
hind, confined to the weight room.
Horrigan has played volleyball
since the sixth grade and was a two-
time all district player in high
school at Notre Dame Academy in
Toledo. Horrigan's passion for vol-
leyball has been a constant through-
out her life and continues to drive
her at the collegiate level.
To help Horrigan get through
the lean times in 1990, she had to
look no further than her head coach.
Bradley-Doppes sat out a portion of
her collegiate career with an injury
of her own.
"I had talked to her about how I
had had a similar thing happen when
I was an athlete," Bradley-Doppes
'My goal is just to go
out there and have a
heck of a good time.
said. "I was an all-American, honor-
able mention (at Mount St. Joseph),
and my freshman summer, I blew
my knee out. I was out for about the
first six to eight weeks, and there
was quite a bit of high expectations
for my performance."
Bradley-Doppes explained to
Horrigan that she could learn a lot
from watching from the bench and
tried to keep her spirits up during
times of frustration.
"She is a very dynamic player and
a tremendous athlete," Bradley-
Doppes said. "She is very coachable
and sitting out made her very hun-
gry, but she has kept things in per-
In return, Horrigan has been a
tremendous asset for Bradley@
Doppes. Horrigan epitomizes the
new Michigan spirit and work ethic
which has been created over the last
few years. Through her aggressive
play, Horrigan has emerged as a
leader on this Wolverine squad.
"I see myself as someone who
says I am going to go out and show
you how hard I can work, come on
and do it with me," she said. "I go
out there and try to spark some exO
While Horrigan's comeback can
be deemed a success, she is still
hampered by the pain at times. As
recently as this summer, there was
serious doubts as to whether Horri-
gan would comeback at all.
"I had met with her parents and
even at our preseason bash, we
weren't sure if she was going t
make it," Bradley-Doppes said."1
think with Michelle, it's a credit to
her and her conditioning this sum-
mer, her ability to stay focused and
her ability to play with some pain."
Last week, Horrigan sat out of
the match against Eastern Michigan
to rest her legs for the remainder of
the Big Ten season. Doctors want to
operate after the season is over to
try to fix her aliment. Yet despito
the constant fear that at any mo-
ment she might be making her last
spike of the season, Horrigan has a
"We didn't know if I was going
to make it through preseason, and I
did," she said. "We didn't know if I
was going to make it into the Big
Ten season, and I did. My goal is just
to go out there and have a heck of
good time. And whatever happens,
And for a change, what has hap-
pened has been good - for Michigan
volleyball and Michelle Horrigan.
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