Page 8-The Michigan Daily- Thursday, January 14,1993
Depth key to
by Mike Rancilio
Daily Sports Writer
Spikers prepare for
fresh start in opener*
On a campus with Fab Fives and five-ringed football
players, it's easy to see how another varsity program
can be overlooked.
The women's gymnastics team is a case in point. It
has quietly emerged from the basement of the Big Ten
just four years ago to Big Ten champions, last year and
has gone seemingly unnoticed.
The Wolverines are ranked No. 11 nationally in the
NACGC pre-season poll and set to take defending the
Big Ten crown to a new level: a national one.
"Our goal is to make a statement early, and to come
out with a big score to show the country," Michigan
coach Bev Plocki said.
The team's first test comes tomorrow night against
Pittsburgh and West Virginia at 7 p.m. at Keen Arena.
Michigan plans to showcase its talents to pave the way
to the NCAA tournament bid that eluded it last year.
"When teams reach the top ten they tend to stay
there," Plocki said. "We expect to get into the top ten
and advance to Nationals this year."
Despite a 20-3 overall record, a Big Ten champi-
onship and a second-place finish at the Regional Cham-
pionships, the Wolverines did not receive an at-large
bid to Nationals last year. The team seems to have the
proper mindset to ensure it won't be overlooked:
"Last year, we competed against the Floridas and
Georgias," Plocki said, "but this year we have a chance
of beating (the top-ranked teams)."
"We feel more pressure this year to prove our-
selves," tri-captain Julie Hofmeister said. "There is a
big push for the recognition we deserve."
Beyond the attitude, the Wolverines still have to put
up the numbers to reach national prominence. That fac-
tor doesn't seem to be a concern either.
"We are focused and experienced with that level of
gymnastics," Plocki said. "Barring injuries, we have
In layman's terms: they're stacked.
All-Big Ten performers Kelly Carfora, who also
qualified for Nationals, and Ali Winski return for the
Wolverines. 1991 Big Ten Freshman-of-the- Year
Wendy Wilkinson and heralded prep stars Li Li and
May May Leung come back after enduring injuries last
season. Add to this lineup freshmen Wendy Marshall,
Christina Miranda, and Dianna Ranelli, and the squad
appears to be set.
And Beth Wymer returns as well.
The sophomore Wymer compiled all-America and
Big Ten Gymnast-of-the-Year honors in her first colle-
But the glue behind this strong nucleus is Plocki.
The resurgence of the program from the doldrums of
1989 to the championship-caliber team of today coin-
cides with Plocki's arrival in 1990. In just three seasons,
she has compiled a 40-30 overall record, and has been
named Big Ten Coach of the Year and NCAA Central
Region Coach of the Year.
Tomorrow night is more than an opening meet. To-
morrow night Michigan plans to prove it deserves to be-
long among the nation's elite.
by Erin Himstedt
Daily Sports Writer
Built on a foundation of
inexperienced, but substantial talent,
the Michigan men's volleyball team
hopes to capture its first two
victories this weekend.
The spikers' first regular season
matches will be played Saturday at
the Intramural Sports Building.
Action against Indiana and Bowling
Green State will begin at 4 and 8
The squad would like to improve
on last year's somewhat erratic 12-5
record. The Wolverines finished a
disappointing sixth at the Big Ten
championship, then bounced back to
finish 17th out of 50 competitors at
the 1992 National Club finals.
As the season begins, the
Wolverines regard their lack of
collegiate experience as their
"It's essentially a complete new
team from last year, (with) only one
returning starter," co-coach Tom
Johengen said. "That's\a difficulty
against us. But a lot of our new
players are really talented, with more.
experience than we've seen before,.
and I think we'll improve at a fast
Junior Mike Rubin agreed.
"The bulk of the team has been
replaced, but although it's an
inexperienced team, it's a very
talented, quick learning team, and
we can do better than most people
expect," he said. "It could have been
a disadvantage, but considering we
had the whole last season to work
out our kinks, it shouldn't be that
much of a factor."
The squad' considers increased
team unity to be another advantage.
"It's great to get a fresh start,
fresh faces, a positive attitude. I
think our attitude and teamwork will
carry us through. Everybody's
giving 100 percent," senior Chad
Stielstra said. "What we lack in
experience we make up for in drive
The team has lost some height
since last year, but Johengen does
not see this as a crucial component
"(The team's height) is
potentially a liability, and there
might be a question of blocking, but
so much depends on ball control and
'A lot of our new
players are really
talented, with more
experience than we've
passing," he said. "There are so
many more important factors."
Stielstra agreed that passing
ranks as a focal point for the team.
"Our height is really sufficient,
and everything starts with a pass, so
we're working oirthat."
While the spikers have not yet
met the Falcons this year, they did
defeat Indiana in a preseason match-
up. Johengen was more impressed
by their attitude than their skills.
"They're a real scrappy team;
also kind of inexperienced. They're
not really big, but they don't give up
on any balls. We have a little more
skill and offensive power."
The team is optimistic about
Saturday's event, but it takes nothing
"We should be able to beat
Indiana, but we shouldn't take them
lightly; they're a team who can
rally," Rubin said. "We're very
optimistic. Our goal is to show really
well in the Big Ten, and to improve
every step of the way."
KRIS T OFFR ILLTT E/Laily
Michigan's Juwan Howard and Indiana's Damon Bailey battle over a loose ball Tuesday night
at Crisler Arena. The Hoosiers upended the Wolverines and their 11-game winning streak.
Loss to IUBcan't
[uIITAL NTBOKdiscourage Blue
by Ken Davidoff
Daily Basketball Writer
Michigan's 76-75 loss to Indiana marked
the first of many categories for the cagers.
It was Michigan's first loss to a team
besides Duke since February 26, 1992, when it
fell to Wisconsin. For the first time this season,
an opponent outrebounded Michigan, as the
Hoosiers notched 33 boards to the Wolverines'
31. Moreover, Indiana's .552 field goal per-
centage broke Michigan's season-long streaks
of outshooting its opponent and holding it to
under 50 percent.
The bean counters can search all they want,
though, and they still won't find the first time
the Wolverines have lost their confidence, for
that has yet to occur.
"This doesn't hurt our chances at all as far
as winning the Big Ten title goes," center
Juwan Howard said. "This just motivates us
even more to win the Big Ten title down in
Bloomington. We're looking forward to it."
The rematch will take place Sunday, Feb.
14, at Indiana's Assembly Hall.
A STAR IS BORN: When you talk about
star sophomores in the Big Ten, you discuss
the Fab Five and Purdue's Glenn Robinson.
When you think of the best player on Indiana,
senior forward Calbert Cheaney pops into your
mind. But forward Alan Henderson muscled
his way into both conversations with his 22
points and eight rebounds Tuesday night. Hen-
derson impressed everyone with his accurate
"We knew Henderson was a guy who could
step out and would shoot the 15- or 18-foot-
ers," Michigan coach Steve Fisher said. "I
didn't know he would make quite as many as
he did. He came up big at both ends of the
TABLE FOR FIVE: The celebrities were
out in droves at Crisler Arena Tuesday night.
In addition to ESPN sportscasters Mike Patrick
and Dick Vitale, sports television personality
Dick Schaap showed up to take in the contest.
Former team captain Freddie Hunter and uni-
versity president James Duderstadt also ap-
'M' battles injuries, inexperience in Windy City
1 Maine (25)
Record Points Pvs.
by Brian Hillburn
This weekend, the men's gym-
nastics team will blow into Chicago
for the Windy City Invitational.
The Invitational marks the first
major meet of the year for the Wol-
verines, who look to rebound from
last weekend's loss at Minnesota.
The Windy City Invitational fea-
tures all of the squad's Big Ten op-
ponents with the exception of Penn
State. Massachusetts, Iowa State,
Western Michigan, Washington and
host Illinois-Chicago will also be
"This meet gives us some expo-
sure to the other teams in the Big
Ten," Michigan coach Bob Darden
Even though the Invitational will
not affect the team's Big Ten rank-
ing, Darden regards the meet as very
important because it helps set the
pace for the season.
The Wolverines will have some
difficulty winning the meet, as this
year's team has considerably less
collegiate experience than last sea-
son's. There are no seniors on the
squad, and two of their top perform-
ers will miss the tournament with
"(In order to win), we have to
work our tails off on all events,"
With Royce Toni and all-
American Brian Winkler sidelined
with back injuries, Darden has been
forced to put four freshmen in the
lineup. Although he concedes that
first-year students Kris Klinger,
Chris Onuska, Bob Young and Jason
Taft have a lot of learning to do,
Darden adds that "they're doing
The injuries to Toni and Winkler
were significant factors in the
Wolverines' difficulties last week-
end against Minnesota. The injuries,
coupled with a stellar performance
by Minnesota's former Olympian
John Rothlisberger help explain why
the team lost the meet 271-257. Top
collegiate scores range between 270
Darden looks at Minnesota as the
team to beat this year in the Big Ten.
However, the Golden Gophers will
not have an easy time winning, for
the conference should be very
"(The Big Ten) is going to be
tough this year," Darden said. "Last
year, five out of the 10 were in
Last year, the Wolverines fin-
ished sixth in the Big Ten. They will
open their Big Ten home campaign
against Ohio State Jan. 23.
4 Minn.'-Duluth 12-5-1
6 Miami (Oh.)
10 Michigan St.
The Office of Minority Affairs
is now taking applications for
Student Program Hosts for
the KING/CHAVEZ/PARKS /
Spring Visitation Program
Application deadline is
January 15, 1993
Student Program hosts are responsible for
supervising and developing work schedules for
teams of student leaders who will work with
students from middle schools visiting the univer-
Others receiving votes: Minnesota 10, Ferris State 9,
New Hampshire 4, Lowell 3, St. Cloud St. 3, St. Law-
rence 3, Western Michigan 3, Alaska-Fairbanks1
If you are interested in
performing in a Broadway-style
musical, or if you enjoy working
backstage then you won't want
to miss the MASS MEETING