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April 02, 1993 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 1993-04-02

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Page 16-The Michigan Daily- Friday, April 2,1993

'M'9women's
tenms team
prepares for
stretch run
by Tim Spolar
Daily Sports Writer
For the third time this year, the
Michigan women's tennis team
heads South for a non-conference
road trip.
After taking a beating at the
hands of Florida State and South
Florida followed by a consolation ti-
tle at the Rice Invitational, the Wol-
verines' matches at North Carolina
and Richmond this weekend will
decisively tilt the scales of success
in the season's non-league action.
The last break in its Big Ten
schedule, Michigan hopes the week-
end litmus test will prove the
Wolverines ready for the conference
stretch run.
"This will break up some of the
monotony of playing every weekend
against Big Ten (teams)," sopho-
more co-captain Jaimie Fielding
said. "These are still important
matches, but we'll get to work on a
few new changes to get ready for
next week's matches against Michi-
gan State and then Minnesota and
Iowa. This will give us a good test to
see if we're ready for those teams."
"I think this weekend will have
really good matches to get us pre-
pared for the stretch in the Big Ten,"
sophomore Simone Lacher added.
"(UNC) would fit in really well in
the Big Ten, in terms of the caliber
of their players."
Coming off a weekend of ex-
tremes, in which they beat Big Ten
cellar dweller Ohio State, 7-2, only
to be shutout, 9-0, by national power
Indiana the next day, the Wolverines
are seeking matches somewhere in
between. While they don't want a
cakewalk, they do want to remain
competitive.
"I definitely think these matches,
especially against North Carolina,
who was ranked No. 22 in the coun-
try, will be close," Fielding said.
"I'm not sure how good Richmond
is, but they're probably better than
Ohio State, so we should see a dif-
ferent look this weekend."

; pTumblers start regionals
Women gymnasts fty to earn frst-ever berth in NCAA tourney

by Thom Holden
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's
gymnastics team left Thursdayafter-
noon for the NCAA Central
Regional meet with one thing in
mind: Qualify for the national meet.
The Big Ten Champion
Wolverines, currently ranked 10th in
the country, begin their quest for a
national title this weekend at the
Central Regional finals in Baton
Rouge, Louisiana. The regionals
lead to the national championship
meet April 15-17 in Corvallis, Ore.
Last year, after winning the Big
Tens, the Wolverines narrowly
missed qualifying for NCAAs.
The nation is broken down into
five regions, with the regional
champion receiving an automatic bid
to the national meet. With only
twelve teams participating at the na-
tional meet, competition for the last
seven "at-large" spots should be ex-
tremely tough.
Along with the Wolverines, third-
ranked Alabama, No. 9 Auburn, No.
11 Louisiana State, Southeast
Missouri State, Missouri and
Michigan State will compete in the
Baton Rouge regional.
Coach Bev Plocki said consis-
tency is the Wolverines need to be
consistent to qualify for the champi-
onship meet for the first time in
school history.
"We have to do what we've been
doing the last few weeks." Plocki

'We have to do what we've been doing the last
few weeks. We can't afford to have any kind of
mental block ... We have to hit our sets.'
- Bev Plocki
Michigan women's gymnastics coach'

said. "We can't afford to have any
kind of mental block ... We have to
hit our sets."
Senior tri-captain Ali Winski
echoed her coach's sentiments.
"We're about due for a hit." she
said. "I think we're peaking at the
right time."
But the national rankings and
seedings maybea little misleading.
Due to scoring differences from re-
gion to region, the Wolverines may
have an advantage over teams from
the South. Very close judging in the
Midwest coupled with fairly liberal
marks for the southern teams may
have pushed Michigan's composite
score down, and with it it's national
ranking. The regional scoring differ-
ences may have accounted for
Michigan missing a bid last year.
"Our region was very strictly
scored, and the Midwest and the
West region (were) scored very le-
niently, so the teams from the
Midwest and West got our spot."
Plocki said. "Until there is no com-
parison of scores between regions,
that is bound to happen."

But being in the more liberal
South may give the Wolverines a
higher score than they are used td 0
resulting in perhaps their coveted
national bid.
Another advantage for the
Wolverines at the regional meet is
their reputation.
"People seem to be targeting
Michigan as the up and coming
team." Plocki said.
If a judge feels that one routine
will be better than another, the first
may receive friendlier marks than
the second.
"I don't think it will be really
blatant" Plocki said referring to
scoring by reputation "but it may
happen."
The team has prepared for this
meet for the last two weeks.
Sophomore All-American Beth
Wymer said " We're working harder
so our bodies are a little tired, but
we're going to be ready."
"Our two goals this year were to
repeat as Big Ten Champions and
get a bid to the Nationals." Winskl
said.
One down, one to go.

MOLLY STEVENS/Daily
Junior Wendy Wilkinson swings on the uneven bars two weeks ago at the
Big Ten Championships. Michigan will be in Baton Rouge, La. for the NCAA
Central Regional qualifying meet this weekend.

Blue softball tries to retain status as Big Ten s top dog'

by Charlie Breitrose
Daily Softball Writer
It's a dog-eat-dog world out there, and
Michigan's "top-dog" softball team is ready to
defend its territory.
The defending Big Ten champion Wolver-
ines begin their hunt for another title this
weekend. Michigan opens conference play
against Minnesota at 3 p.m. today (weather
permitting), and 1 p.m. Saturday at Alumni
Field. The two teams will face off in a pair of
doubleheaders this weekend.
The road to the conference title is long and
hard, with many pitfalls and possibly a few pit
bulls. Last season, No. 15 Michigan won the
championship by a lone game.
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins says every

Big Ten game is a challenge and expects the
Gophers to be no different.
"(The game) is going to be a dog fight, as
all Big Ten games are," Hutchins said.
Going into this weekend, Minnesota holds a
10-14 record. However, these numbers are de-
ceiving, as nine of the losses came against top
10 teams. Gophers' coach Lisa Bernstein said
the rigorous schedule should be an asset.
"You gotta play the best to prepare for Big
Ten play," Bernstein said.
Michigan is ready to get into the conference
schedule after three long spring trips to Ari-
zona, Florida and California.
"All spring I was saying 'I can't wait for
Big Ten season,"' senior centerfielder and cap-
tain Kari Kunnen said.

Senior Kelly Forbis and sophomore Kelly
Kovach fill the pitching role.
Forbis is 9-2, and is coming off a perfect
game against Santa Clara in last weekend's
National Invitational Softball Tournement.
Kovach's record isn't as impressive, but the
1992 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year boasts 45
strikeouts in 60 innings pitched.
Senior catcher Karla Kunnen likes what she
sees from behind the plate.
"Out of my four years," Karla said, "I'd
have to say this is the strongest pitching we've
had. We're pretty accurate with the strike
zone. "
The Michigan bats have also heated up, the
team is hitting at a .277 clip. Outfielder Patti
Benedict leads the team with her sizzling .500

batting average. Freshman Tracy Carr, who re-
cently moved into the starting line-up at third
base, is second with an average of .341.
The Gophers have some sluggers of their
own. Shortstop Kiki Romero holds the highest
batting average in the starting nine (.317). But
the power on the team comes from catcher Lisa
Sojka, who has two home runs and two dou-
bles, while driving in eight runs.
Righthander Jennifer McCann has led the
Minnesota pitching staff with a 6-1 record and
1.36 ERA. However, she cannot start every
outing, and the Gophers second and third
starters, Sarah Maschka and Jennifer Johnson,
are 6-13 combined.
"We have to play our game," Bernstein
said, "drive in runs and get good pitching."

I Weather won't stop Blue crew this weekend "

by Brian Hillburn
Daily Sports Writer
Neither the rain, nor snow, nor
sleet, nor cold will keep the Michi-
gan crew team from competing this
weekend. Despite the nasty weather
that is predicted for this Saturday's
home regatta, the crew teams will be
racing on the Huron River against
Cincinnati.
The competition against the
Bearcats will allow for the Wolver-

ines to work out some of the glitches
in their rowing techniques. Al-
though Michigan performed well at
last week's regatta at Purdue, there
is still some room for improvement,
head coach Will Brewster said.
"We have a long way to go in
technical improvement," Brewster
said. "Things haven't really come
together for us yet. But, it's really
early [in the season] for us."
Because of the small size of the

Huron River, the teams will be rac-
ing more than they do in normal re
gattas. Instead of each boat compet-
ing in one race of 2000 meters, each
boat will be competing three time
in races of 1000 meters each.
"We have a good opportunity to
learn about how we race. Each boat
will be in three races right in a row.
We are being given the opportunity
to see how we do in competition."
Brewster said.,

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