The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, September 27, 1993 - 7
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By J.L ROSTAM-ABADI
DAILY SPORTS WRITER
Despite a discouraging start,
the Michigan volleyball
team (4-6 overall, 0-2 Big
Ten) is keeping its spirits up. With six
returning seniors, a strong freshman
class and a coach who encourages
individuality, the Wolverines have all
* the right ingredients for a winning
This year's senior class has gone
through many changes throughout
their Michigan careers. Head coach
Greg Giovanazzi is the third coach
the seniors have played under.
Granted, adjusting to three
coaches' distinct styles has taken some
flexibility on the players' part.
After coaching the 1992 women's
Olympic volleyball team, Giovanazzi
introduced his coaching tactics to Cliff
"Greg is an open person," senior
outside hitter Michelle Horrigan said.
"He says it like it is and he tells you
what's going on and doesn't play
Giovanazzi's approach takes a dif-
ferent twist from the usual teamwork
"Basically he believes in individu-
ality," Horrigan said. "Greg encour-
ages diversity - he encourages us to
be individuals. When we're together
we don't have to all be 'together.'
When we're apart we can go and do
our own thing. Our styles are all dif-
ferent, but yet within his realm, that's
what he wants."
More importantly, Giovanazzi
takes an active role in coaching.
"He leads by example," senior
middle blocker JoAnna Collias said.
"In practice he'll come and play with
us. It's good to see him play. Hedoesn't
stress the whole team unity. He doesn't
think that's as important as playing
hard and working hard and playing
Giovanazzi said he thinks indi-
* vidual responsibility is key.
"I believe much more in power
and strength of the individual to make
the group better," Giovanazzi said. "I
would really like to see the players
accept individual responsibility for
how well this team does instead of
always looking at it as a team loss or
a team win. '
"I'm not a screamer or physical
* punishment-type coach, but I'm in-
tense in a different way. As a coach, I
expect their commitment is the same
as mine. Most of all, I think, and I
Continued from page 1
In the first game, the Wolverines
notched the opening point and took
the lead at 3-2. However, Illinois ran
off 12 of the next 13 points and never
looked back. The second and third
games were dominated by Illinois, as
the Wolverines were not able to score
after 7-2 in either game.
The hitting combination of Kristin
Henriksen (12 kills) and Sue Nucci
(12 kills) along with the setting of
Kathleen Shannon (29 assists) led Il-
linois to its fourth straight victory.
hope the players would agree, it's a
positive coaching style. I'mnotsome-
body who wants to dwell on the nega-
tive points. I'm somebody who wants
to dwell on, hey, this is how you get
The Wolverines are predicted to
finish fourth in the Big Ten this year,
which would be a big improvement
over the last few seasons.
"This is my fourth year here and
we've conte so far," Collias said. "My
freshman year we had something like
a 2-16 record and now we've had a
total turnaround. Hopefully we'll
come out in the top three in the Big
Ten this year. That's what we're gun-
ning for as a team."
Collias sentiments are shared
among her fellow senior teammates.
"This is my last year and I just
want to go as far as we can go,"
Just how far can they go?
An important factor to look at be-
fore this question can be answered is
Michigan's net play.
"I expect it to be a team that plays
well at the net," Giovanazzi said. "That
means that they attack well and block
well. We're a good sized team.
"I don't think they're necessarily
well-suited to being a great ball-han-
dling defensive team all the time. I
think they're better suited to being an
excellent attacking team, and a good
Starting positions in middle court
are held by senior middle blocker
Fiona Davidson and first-year player
Shannon Brownlee, with sophomore
Suzy O'Donnell as back up. Senior
Karen Jacobsen substitutes for
Davidson in the backcourt. Davidson
returns for her senior season after be-
ing ranked in the top ten in the Big Ten
in hitting efficiency, blocking and ser-
vice aces last year.
On the right side, Collias is backed
up by junior Robyn Read and first-
year player Shareen Luze.
"Shareen Luze started the first
couple of matches of the year in the
spot that JoAnna's now playing,"
Giovanazzi said. "Shareen's coming
in and hitting for Robyn in the front
court and I believe Shareen's going to
be a very, very good player her four
Horrigan, the all-time attack leader
at Michigan, who severely sprained
her ankle in last week's Michigan
State game, has been plagued with
injuries since the start of the season.
"I just keep getting these little
Suzy O'Donnell and JoAnna Collias
led the Wolverines in kills with 12 and
11, respectively. Collias also had six
digs which moved her into third place
on the Michigan all-time digs list.
Michigan now looks to regroup
before next weekend's matches at Iowa
and Minnesota. Health is still a major
question, and so are execution and
ball control. The Wolverines must
work on their passing in order to im-
"We'll go back to the gymMonday
and practice passing - a lot," Kanim
things that set me back," Horrigan
said. "I need to be out here playing."
When able, she will return to help
out on the right side.
"If Michelle is healthy, she'll carry
a big load and play opposite of (left
outside hitter) Aimee (Smith),"
Giovanazzi said. "But JoAnna is go-
ing to be tough to beat out. And I like
this situation. I like it where they all
have to compete a lot."
This is Smith's third position in
"She (Smith) was a middle blocker
in her first year, she played right side
last year and now she's playing left
side," Giovanazzi said. "For someone
like Aimee, that's a pretty logical pro-
gression because the left side is a
tougher position to play. It's been a
difficult start of a season for her, I
think, and she's only going to get
better. I have all the confidence in the
world in her."
In addition to strong net play,
Giovanazzi said he believes a well-
executed service and service return
game is vital.
"We've traditionally, in the last
two years, become a very good serv-
ing team," Giovanazzi said. "And now
with Aimee Smith, Shannon Brownlee
and JoAnna Collias, we're also a very
good serve receive team.
"Marita (McCahill) comes in as a
But Michigan's strong outside hit-
ting will only be as good as its setting
enables it to be.
"The setting without a doubt has
been the biggest dilemma so far this
year," Giovanazzi said. "It's been the
area where we have the least consis-
tency. We've been using three setters
almost interchangeably and that's
(freshman Erin) McGovern, (junior
Julie) Scherer and (senior Erica)
"We've settled on McGovern as
our starter. I think it's important for
the team that they can rely on which
setter they're going to be dealing with.
Due to Erin's youth and her compo-
sure on the court ... for now she's the
best person to go in."
The No. 1 goal for Michigan is to
keep improving and try to make it to
the NCAA championships.
"We're playing a much tougher
schedule intentionally and we're re-
ally not going to measure the success
of this teamby therecord,"Giovanazzi
said. "We're going to measure the
success of this team by how we're
playing at the end of the year, whether
we make it to the NCAA tournament
and how much our first-year players
develop throughout the year.
"If we can become a consistent
team, siding out and serve receive
then that's going to be the biggest
difference for us. We're just really
trying to spend a lot more time on
controlling the ball in side-out situa-
tions. That's the biggest issue for us."
The ultimate, long-range goal for
the Wolverines is to turn the program
into a national title contender.
"This is a program that expects to
be a Final Four team within the next
four or five years, even -sooner,"
"I think it's a team that should be
vying for, the conference title if not
next year, then '95 for sure. What we
expect is that we'll be competing with
the UCLAs and the Stanfords in the
next few years."
Though they've struggled recently, Erica Badran-Grycen and the Michigan Wolverines
look to continue their rise through the Big Ten ranks this season.
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