The Michigan Daily - Thursdday, November 18, 1993 - 11
-Brownee 's athletic ability a cut above the competition
Rookie middle blocker has shown enormous potential for Wolverines in her first season
By BRETT JOHNSON
DAILY SPORTS WRITER
Awesome athletic ability.
This is the first thing the Michigan
volleyball coaches talk about when
name is brought up. And why not?
Throughout her life, she has com-
peted in a variety of sports.
"I played everything," Brownlee
said. "I played basketball, and I played
tennis a lot when I was young. I took
lessons from age six to about 13 and
played in a lot of tournaments. I come
from a real tennis family.
0 "My favorite (other sport) is soft-
ball. I've played softball every sum-
mer of my life since I was five or six.
I still play at a pretty high level at
home. I'm looking forward towards
the summer again and playing."
In fact, Brownlee plays first-base
and bats fourth for a junior softball
team in her hometown of London,
Ontario. They travel around Canada
and the United States, including
Michigan, to play in different tourna-
However, volleyball is where
Brownlee truly excels, having made a
major impact on the Wolverines in
her first season. The transfer from
Western Ontario has started in all but
one match at middle blocker her one
non-start was due to a funeral) and
as shown glimpses that she can be-
ome a dominant player in the Big
What Wolverine head coach Greg
Giovanazzi and assistant coaches
Mora Kanim and Jennifer Dhaenens
are trying to do is mesh this talent
with more aggressive play. If this can
happen, there is no telling how much
better Brownlee can become.
"It is absolutely unlimited in what
she can potentially do as a volleyball
player," Giovanazzi said. "She's got
the right physique for playing the
game. She has long arms and legs, a
good arm swing, good hand-eye co-
ordination and she's quick. If there is
anything I want to see improve in
Shannon is her determination. We
want her to be more aggressive - a
take-charge type of player."
She may be in only her first season
at Michigan, but Brownlee's connec-
tion to the Wolverines started two
years before she came to Ann Arbor.
When she was a senior at Saunders
Secondary School in London,
Brownlee was being heavily recruited
by many United States schools, in-
cluding Michigan, Ohio State, Wis-
consin and Washington. In fact,
Michigan got its first recruiting tip on
Brownlee from another collegiate
"Two years ago the assistantcoach
at the University of Washington told
me about Shannon and said 'We've
talked to her and she wants to stay
closer to home,"' Kanim said. "He
said, 'If your looking for someone,
you might give her a call and watch
her play.' I followed up on that, and
we started to recruit her."
However, Brownlee eventually
decided to stay at home and attend
"I don't know why but I chose not
said. "He had never coached at this
level before. It was sort of like high
school all over again. I was living at
home and going to school in the same
city I grew up in. The caliber of vol-
leyball was alittle higher, but it wasn't
that much. I didn't improve much last
year, which isn't supposed to happen.
"There was a guy I got in contact
with, that I had played for before, that
knew Greg. It's illegal for Greg and
me to talk without my release, so Ihad
to get that, and finally I got to talk to
(Greg). I got lucky because he had
another scholarship available."
So one year later than Giovanazzi
had hoped, Brownlee finally brought
her skills to the Wolverines. The tran-
sition was difficult at first, she says.
Just like any first-year player in any
sport, she had to learn how to manage
her study time, volleyball time and
"At first, I was sort of bummed
out," she said. "It was hard. Once
school started, I found that I was
really busy with study table and liv-
ing in the dorm. I wasn't used to not
having time to myself."
Now she says she is use to the
routine and is enjoying herself. As for
volleyball, Brownlee says that the
transition was not that hard because
of the team unity the Wolverines have.
In fact, the team concept is one of the
biggest reasons she decided to trans-
fer to Michigan.
"It hasn't been hard to mesh at all.
One of the reasons I came here was
that on my recruiting trip I liked the
players," Brownlee said. "They were
just so nice, fun and friendly. At a lot
of the other places I had gone to, it
wasn't like that. I looked at that as-
pect, and it helped me make my deci-
sion to come here."
The team unity is something that
the whole squad experiences. Erin
McGovern, a setter and fellow first-
year player, says that her relationship
with Brownlee, both on and off the
court, is very strong.
"Shannon and I are pretty good
buddies. We hang out a lot. Most of
the freshmen hang out together,"
McGovern said. "On the court, we
connect pretty well. We talk out there.
She's always ready for the kill. She's
up there talking to me and telling me
where she's at."
The coaches have been pleased
with her progress but are looking for
her to make even more strides.
Brownlee has been a solid player and
even spectacular at times, but her
consistency has been a problem. In
order for her to take a step towards a
higher level of play, Kanim said she
feels Brownlee has to become more
"I think, at times, she is our best
attacker and our best passer. At other
times, she isn't," Kanim said. "We
see glimpses of her being just awe-
some. Right now, those are pretty
sporadic. We're looking forward to
her becoming more consistent. As
she learns, she will consistently be a
great player forus. She's gifted enough
to be a focal point on this team."
Her volleyball education has been
an ongoing process throughout the
year. Shannon said that she has learned
alot this season but definitely sees the
need for improvement, especially in
her defensive play.
"I'm learning a lot on the front
row this year, and I think I've im-
proved that way," Brownlee said."The
one thing that I do want to improve
on, that I haven't improved on that
much, is my defense. I'm not really
slow. I just need to learn how to play
the balls better. That's what Greg gets
on me a lot for. I think if I keep
working on it, I'll get it."
With improvement, Brownlee's
play will continue to elevate, and this
is what the coaches are waiting to see.
If she stays determined, Brownlee
can be a dominant player in the Big
"I see her future impact being
whatever she wants it to be," Kanim
said. "From an athletic standpoint,
the gifts that she has as a volleyball
player are tremendous. The rest will
be determined by how self-motivated
she is to be great."
"I think Shannon has the physical
ability to be an all-Big Ten player,
Giovanazzi said. "It's going to be an
issue of how important it is to Shan-
to go to the states," Brownlee said. "I
just wasn't ready to leave home, yet."
After playing one year at Western,
Brownlee decided that it was time to
move on. Brownlee got her release
from the school and was back in con-
tact with Giovanazzi.
"When Iwent to Western last year,
there was a new coach," Brownlee
Continued from Page 10
anyone of them could win."
The graduation of three world-
. lass swimmers hurtMichigan greatly,
specially in dual meet competition.
"After we lost the three big guns
from last year, (Eric)Namesnik, (Eric)
Wunderlich and Brian Gunn, every-
body thinks they have a shot at us,"
Urbanchek said. "I think that's great.
We need a little wake-up call periodi-
"(The loss of the three swimmers)
will make our dual meet lineup pretty
nuch set. We don't have too many
guys we can rotate around. So in a
tough competition, everybody will
know who will swim where. We can't
pull too many surprises."
In swimming his team in off
events, Urbanchek hopes to discover
some hidden talent.
"It might be an eye opener for me,
too," he said. "Maybe (I'll) find some-
body for some of the weak spots we
The Gophers surprised Michigan
and exploited the team's weaknesses.
But Urbanchek thinks his swimmers
have learned a lesson from the en-
"I don't think we're going to take
any other teams casually from now
on, because of that," he said.
"We actually had to dig down and
come from behind. And that was good.
It was agood wake-up call. Teams are
not going to lay down for us."
Badgers will stay in
conference title hunt
By MICHAEL ROSENBERG
DAILY SPORTS WRITER
If Michigan beats Ohio State and
Wisconsin defeats Illinois Saturday,
the Big Ten, that greatest of college
football conferences, will have its
championship decided in the heart of
Middle America - Tokyo. That's
where Michigan State and Wisconsin
will square off Dec. 5.
Oops. So much for scheduling.
With this seemingly meaningless
game becoming more important by
the week, it looks as though the con-
ference title will be won in front of a
country full of people who actually
understand complicated economic is-
sues, like NAFTA or the NBA salary
On to this week's games:
Wisconsin (4-1-1 Big Ten, 7-1-1
overall) at Illinois (5-2, 5-5)
The Badgers have shocked the
world (well, most of Wisconsin, any-
way) with their superiorplay this year.
Their twin tailbacks, Brent Moss and
Terrell Fletcher, are each capable of
rushing for over 100 yards and should
test a tough Illinois run defense which
has allowed a mere 85 yards per game
on the ground. With a chance at Pasa-
denastilllooming, Wisconsin doesn't
figure to lose this one.
Illinois continues to be the most
unpredictable team in the Big Ten.
Last week the Illini were knocked out
of the Rose Bowl hunt in a 28-14 loss
to Penn State. This week they should
come closer to victory.
Wisconsin 21, Illinois 20.
Minnesota (3-4,4-6) at Iowa (2-
The Battle For Mediocrity. Min-
nesota lost a close 51-point nailbiter
to Michigan last week, after which
Golden Gopher coach Jim Wacker
said, "Give Michigan credit. They
whipped us like a goat tied to a post."
(Insert your own joke here.)
The Hawkeyes won't do that. Iowa
couldn't even whip a post, let alone
run one. After a decade of prosperity
under coach Hayden Fry, the
Hawkeyes have sunk so low Minne-
sota actually has a chance to beat
Fry is going for his 200th career
win Saturday. He'll get it.
Iowa 16, Minnesota 13
Purdue (0-7, 1-9) at Indiana (4-
The Boilermakers are so bad they
are banned in seven states. Unfortu-
nately, Indiana isn't one of them.
Purdue hasn't been within three area
codes of first place since running back
Mike Alstott ate Gerber. (I'm pretty
sure he stopped several years back.)
Here is all you need to know about
Purdue: last week, with the Boiler-
makers down by three against Michi-
gan State and driving with 28 seconds
to go, coach Jim Colletto elected to at
least salvage a tie and sent kicker
Brad Bobich into the game. Bobich
missed. That's right. Purdue has given
up on winning and focused on simply
gaining a tie, and they can't even do
Indiana, on the other hand, is en-
joying one of its best seasons in de-
cades. The Hoosiers almostbeatOhio
State last weekin Columbus, and they
are headed for a bowl game, possibly
even one that people care about. They'
won't lose this one.
Indiana 45, Purdue 13
Penn State (4-2, 7-2) at North-
western (0-7, 2-8)
If Northwestern and Purdue com-
bined teams, Penn State would still
beat them by two touchdowns.
Northwestern's Len Williams-to-
Lee Gissendaner pass tandemhas been-
one of the most productive in the Big
Ten over the past two years. Unfortu-
of making other combinations look
The Nittany Lions came.into the
league hoping to show the Big Ten
how the big boys play. Then they
found out that the big boys are in the
Big Ten. Penn State is not as good as
had been expected, but coach Joe
Paterno has a fine backfield featuring
Ki-Jana Carter and Mike Archie.
This could get ugly.
Penn State 42, Northwestern 10.'
Continued from page 10
When a team shaves and tapers, it
is reducing yardage, and increasing
intensity when preparing for a meet.
This makes for a combination which
Richardson describes as a good way
to elicit fast times.
There is a time change in the meet
Friday. It will now be held at 4 p.m.,
but that shouldn't change anything.
The coaches believe that no mat-
ter what, there will be some events
that will be, "totally out of hand," and
others in which the Wolverines will
fight "like crazy" to make it close.
"My grandmother has no eligibil-
ity left, so she can't swim in the med-
ley," Richardson joked.
THURSDAY NO COVER AT
ALSO FEATURING: 1
Any Taco Salad...$3.89
Long Island Ice Teas...$1.50
Pitchers of Coors Light...$3.25
AND DON'T FORGET SATURDAY
MICHIGAN VS. OHIO STETE