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April 15, 1994 - Image 14

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-04-15

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14- The Michigan Daily - Friday, April 15, 1994

Blue streaks against Lions
Softball hopes to continue win streak over PSU

By MARC DILLER
DAILY SPORTS WRITER
When two teams moving in oppo-
site directions collide this weekend,
they will battle for respect in the Big
Ten conference.
The Michigan softball team (6-2
Big Ten, 19-17 overall), winners of
seven of its last nine games, travels to
State College, Penn. where they will
face Penn State (1-7, 5-23) in apair of
doubleheaders.
"We're playing good ball now and
it's just a matter of playing it out on
the field," Michigan softball coach
Carol Hutchins said.
The Wolverines chances of ex-
tending their streak looks probable
given that Michigan has defeated the
Nittany Lions in the teams' last 10
contests.
The Wolverines are currently
ranked third in the division whereas
the Nittany Lions still linger in the
conference's basement. In the most
recent NCAA poll, Michigan received
honorable mention votes and was
ranked fifth in the Mideast Region
Poll behind conference foes, Indiana
(17th) and Iowa (20th).
The Wolverines enter this
weekend's games with a 7-2 mark
against teams in the March 30 NCAA
Top 25. This is the first time that
Michigan has been ranked in the 1994
regional rankings.
Michigan can't be too overconfi-
dent, however. The Wolverines are in
the midst of studying for finals and
have to maintain focus in order to
continue their good fortune.

"We're just trying to get our work
done," Hutchins said. "Which in-
cludes homework in both areas, on
the field and off."
Led by its pitching phenoms -
junior Kelly Kovach (9-8, 1.35 ERA),
sophomore Tracy Carr (2-0, 0.74
ERA) and freshman Kelly Holmes
(8-9, 2.75 ERA) - Michigan boasts
one of the top defenses in the confer-
ence.
Penn State, however, is plagued
by defense that is frequently ineffec-
tive - allowing just under six runs
per game and a 4.36 ERA. Its offense
is not much better - batting .253
with only 2.78 runs per game.
The Wolverines have suffered
their own hitting woes of late, though.
The team is batting a lowly .233 and
has only managed to score 2.75 runs

per game. In its Wednesday double-
header match-up with Eastern
Michigan, Michigan only managed
to muster two runs on 15 hits.
"We're out to play good defense,"
Hutchins said. "It starts on the mound.
We need to play good defense and
hope our offense wins the game for
us."
The Wolverines have the good
fortune of being two games over .500
- even with their rough season.
Michigan is still competing for its
third consecutive Big Ten champion-
ship, and the Nittany Lions are trying
to emerge from the cellar's depths.
"We need to stay focused, stay
confident and play good defense,"
Hutchins said. "When you're playing
in the Big Ten conference, every game
matters."

M'gofers
look for top
finish in
Irish invite
By REBECCA MOATZ
DAILY SPORTS WRITER
Just one week after Jose-Maria
Olazabal won the Masters, it is no
coincidence that the Michigan
women's golf team enters this
weekend's golf tournamentwith more
confidence than usual.
On the final day of the tournament,
Olazabalfoundanoteinhislocker from
1983 Masters champion Steve
Bellesteros that read, "Be patient....
You are the best golfer in the world."
Although they may not be the best
golfers in the world, and they will not
be sporting the green blazers worn by
Masters champions, the Wolverines
have shown signs of steady improve-
ment. They are achieving the goals
they set for themselves - mainly
increased confidence and a more con-
sistent short game.
After finishing 14th in last
weekend's Southern Florida Spring
Invitational, the Wolverines expect
to finish in the top five at tomorrow's
Irish Invitational in South Bend, Ind.
"We should finish at least in the
top three," Michigan coach Kathy
Teichert said. "It should be tough, but
we should be able to do it."
Participating in this weekend's
tournament will be juniors Tegan and
Tiffany McCorkel and Jenny
Zimmerman, sophomore Shannon
McDonald and freshmen Molly
Vandebark and Wendy Westfall.
McDonald has been consistently
leading the team, having accumulated
a 12th-place finish at the Indiana In-
vitational and tying for 10th at USF.
She attributes her improved game to
her work on her short game, specifi-
cally putting.
The team will have its hands full
this weekend. Playing against Big Ten
rivals Michigan State, Wisconsin and
Purdue will provide the Wolverines
with plenty of competition but the
ultimate goal will be to overcome the
Spartans.
Finishing just a few strokes behind 0
Michigan State last weekend provided
the Wolverines with the motivation to
work harder this weekend.
"If we can beat (Michigan State
and Iowa), we can come to the middle
of the Big Ten," McDonald said.
And while aquality finish may not
rival a green blazer, it would not be a
bad consolation prize.

Michigan's Lesa Arvia swings for the fences earlier this season. The junior
outfielder looks to improve her .205 average in Happy Valley as she and the
rest of the Wolverines try for their 11th straight win over Penn State.

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