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March 11, 1994 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-03-11

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The Michigan Daily -Friday, March 11.,1994 -11

*Wolverines look for better defense
in series with Central Florida

By RYAN WHITE
DAILY BASEBALL WRITER
Simply put, Michigan baseball
coach Bill Freehan expects one thing
out of his team this weekend when it
.ravels to Orlando - defensive im-
provement.
"Defense is what hurt us most on
the spring trip," Freehan said. "You
can practice on turf where the bounces
are true, but you don't really improve
until you get out in the grass, the dirt
and the sun."
The grass, the dirt, the sun and this
weekend's competition will be pro-
%"ided by Central Florida. The Wol-
verines (3-5 overall) go up against the
Golden Knights (9-6) three times this
weekend, tonight at7 p.m. and tomor-
row at 3 and 7 p.m.
This weekend's games will be
Freehan's first chance to look at his
team in game action since its trip to
Florida last month. In those games
Michigan averaged two errors per
ame, and made other mistakes that
"Freehan says don't show up in the box
score.
"We need to pick the ball up and

communicate better," he said. "We
shot ourselves in the foot with base-
running mistakes and miscommuni-
cation between our outfielders and
infielders on fly balls; things that don't
show up as errors."
One thing Freehan doesn't have to
worry about is offense. So far this
season the Wolverines are averaging
10.9 hits per game and have a team
batting average of .303.
Sophomore Brian Simmons is
leading the Michigan attack from the
plate. He has hits in all eight of the
Wolverines' games, and a batting
average of .471 with seven runs bat-
ted in and two home runs.
The Michigan bats will receive
added help with the return of sopho-
more Scott Weaver, who was hitting
.350 through the Wolverines' first
five games before going down with a
knee injury and missing the last three.
According to Freehan, Michigan
will need the added firepower.
"They're a good team whose
strength is pitching," Freehan said.
"They have a couple of really good
left-handers."

The Golden Knights have a team
earned run average of 2.36, and will
send two pitchers to the mound against
the Wolverines with ERAs below two.
Tim Riegert (0-0,1.08 ERA), one of
the left-handers, will start the first
game tomorrow, and Brian Scrutero
(2-0, 0.78) is scheduled to complete
the series.
Mike Halperin (2-3, 2.93) will
pitch today against Michigan.
As for the Wolverines, pitching is
another thing that Freehan believes
needs improvement.
Michigan's team ERA is 5.82, al-
lowing 54 runs in the Wolverines'
eight games.
Junior Heath Murray (0-1, 7.20)_
will pitch today for Michigan, and jun-
ior Ray Ricken (1-1,4.32) will beonthe
mound for game one tomorrow.
Either senior Chris Newton orjun-
ior Ron Hollis will close out the series
for the Wolverines.
Freehan sees the series as coming
down to three things.
"The keys for us are defensive
coordination, hitting breaking balls
and throwing strikes," he said.

The Michigan pitching staff has a 5.82 earned run average after the team's first eight games.

Concentration on Michigan State for tumblers

By TIM SMITH
DAILY SPORTS WRITER
The women's gymnastics team is
one Michigan team that cannot be
accused of not supporting the soon-
to-be cut men's gymnastics team.
Last weekend against Ohio State
in a rare co-ed meet, the women's
team might have let their concentra-
tion slide just a little bit in order to
ensure that their male counterparts
received some much needed sup-
port.
Although the Wolverines scored a
193.525, the consensus seemed to be
that watching the men may have been
a little bit too much of a distraction for
a team that usually prides itself on its
concentration and unyielding team
support.
"Our kids were as focused on the
men's team doing well as they were

on us doing well," Michigan coach
Bev Plocki said. "You can't be fo-
cused on that many things at one time
and put 100 percent of what you have
into your performance."
Agreeing with the coach, sopho-
more All-American Wendy Marshall
also felt that the co-ed meet definitely
had an effect.
"Our eyes were wandering to the
guy's team," Marshall said. "It took
some of the emphasis off the gym-
nasts we were supposed to be watch-
ing."
This weekend in a home-and-
home against intrastate rival Michi-
gan State, things should be a little
different, however. Although the
Spartans are having a subpar year,
don't think for one second that the
Wolverines will drop their guard and
be in position for a possible upset.

'I don't think we're
going to let down one
bit. We have too much
at stake for a regional
seed from here on out
to let down.'
- Bev Plocki
women's gymnastics
coach
"I don't think we're going to let
down one bit," Plocki said. "We have
too much at stake for a regional seed
from here on out to let down."
Unlike most Michigan sports,
where the thrill of facing the Spartans
is reason enough to be pumped up, the

regional seeding in the near future is
an additional impetus for the team to
perform well.
"We need this weekend's meets to
add to our regional composites," jun-
ior Kelly Carfora said. "We're more
focused on that than beating our rival
Michigan State."
In most sports, there is the regular
season, and than there's the time at
the end of the season that really mat-
ters. According to Plocki, that time is
now.
"This is the beginning of the last
stretch of our season. Everything that
we've done up to this point has just
been a dress rehearsal for what starts
now and goes through to the Nation-
als," Plocki said. "These last couple
of meets are the main events and are
going to determine what seed we are
when it comes time for regionals."
HOCKEY
Continued from page 10
Wiseman from behind the net to the
right circle.
Although Berenson said that
Michigan will probably go back to its
,normal configuration this weekend,
the new formation will remain part of
Michigan's arsenal.
"We like to add twists to our power
play so we're not as predictable,"
Berenson said.
If the Wolverines take the series
from Kent, they advance to the CCHA
semifinals March 18-20 at Joe Louis
Arena.

JOE WEuTRAT E/Daily
Attackman Sten Carlson netted two goals and one assist in Michigan's win.
Lacrosse aggressive in
win over Detroit rival

Life on road continues for Blue tennis

0y MELANIE SCHUMAN
DAILY SPORTS WRITER
They had a game plan. But the
other team didn't like it. The Michi-
gan lacrosse players met more of a
challenge than they expected Wednes-
day night, but they survived and de-
feated Motor City Lacrosse Club (of
Detroit), 12-10.
The hard-pressing offensive and
defensive strategy only improved the
'Revel of intensity during the first half,
rather than wearing down the Wol-
verines' foe. But during the second
half, it was nothing but net as Michi-
gan went on to score five goals.
"At times I thought we really were
going to break the game open but we
never did," Michigan coach Robert
DiGiovanni said. "They've got expe-
rienced sticks ... they can virtually
seat anybody we have out here."
Optimistic at the half, up 7-6,
DiGiovanni stressed the potential to
open the gap with a man advantage.
Yet the Wolverines let up a goal in the
first minute of the second half and
allowed Motor City to tie the game.
This fall-back prompted DiGiovanni
to call for a timeout and regroup.
"(Motor City) was out for revenge,
4ecause we beat them last year,"
iGiovanni said. "They were up, and
we weren't. I guess we were flat so I
called a timeout to settle us down."
This was definitely a turning point
for the Michigan squad because it
only gave up one goal the rest of the
game - a shorthanded tally by former
Wolverine John Paul.
Leading 10-9, the Wolverines took
advantage of a three minute major
Wenalty (assessed to Paul for an ille-
gal stick) - scoring two goals, in-
cluding the game winner.
This was the second turning point
for Michigan as it pulled away from a
GYM NASTS

one goal game. Constant offensive
pressure broke down Motor City's
defense from the time the penalty
began until the end of the game. Ex-
cuses aside, of course, this is the first
game of Motor City's season.
"Talent wise, we're a lot better
than these guys,"Paul said. "They're
in better shape right now; they're bet-
ter organized. This is the first time we
have been together. It's good for us to
get out and run around."
Other Michigan graduates play-
ing for Motor City included player/
coach Paul Maturo and Rich Belanger,
who had one goal.
One star of the game for Michigan
was freshman goalie Aneil Aurora,
who had 15 saves in his sixth con-
secutive start this season. His perfor-
mance Wednesday shows how in-
strumental he has been in helping the
team boast its 5-1 record.
"A couple of times (the defense)
broke down ... and that is why (Motor
City) scored those transition goals,"
Aurora said.
Captain Steve Simich, who netted
four goals, graduate student Doug
Henke, who tallied four goals and one
assist and junior Sten Carlson, with
two goals and one assist, all sup-
ported Aurora's effort.,
"We were quick to answer with
most of their goals," Simich said.
"That shows the team was working
well together, playing with our heads
on and with desire."
"We knew they were going to put
up a strong fight, but in the end we
were just a little bit stronger," senior
Gannon Dudlar said. "After we got
off to a slow start, we sort of woke up
and started playing a lot better."
DiGiovanni praised the first-year
defenseman's solid play, noting how
it shut down Motor City's offense.
In short, Darden feels that the ter-
mination of men's gymnastics was

By RYAN CUSKADEN
DAILY SPORTS WRITER
"Lions, tigers and bears, oh my!"
Well, actually it's Wildcats, Jag-
uars and Jayhawks who will attempt
to sidetrack the Michigan women's
tennis team from their quest to find
the wizard of the Big Ten.
Michigan head coach Bitsy Ritt is
looking to lead the Wolverines (1-1
Big Ten, 4-3 overall) a little further
down the maize and blue brick road of
victory this weekend.
"We're not in Kansas anymore,
Toto."
Unfortunately for Michigan, Ritt
won't be heard uttering this phrase
anytime soon as the Wolverines de-
part to Kansas for their fourth con-
secutive road trip. Their opponents
this weekend will be Kansas State,
South Alabama and No. 9 Kansas.
While playing three matches in a
three-day span may be unheard of in
other sports, it is all but too familiar to
tennis players.
"Well, it seems like a lot, but
they're used to it," Ritt said. "The
purpose (of playing) three in a row is

to get ready for the Big Ten tourna-
ment. It gives us the opportunity to
see what we have to do to improve."
Another factor of concern could
be the infrequency of home play.
Within a two week period, the Wol-
verines have travelled from Miami
(Fla.) to Miami (Ohio), their last home
match being in early February.
Most recently, Michigan split a
pair of dual meets with Kentucky and
Miami (Ohio) on March 4th and 6th
respectively. Kentucky upended
Michigan on Thursday by sweeping
all but one of the singles matches then
later capturing a doubles match, but
the Wolverines bounced back to
trounce Miami, 7-2.

Michigan seems to thrive in the
hostile confines of its opponents'
home court. One possible reason for
their success on the road could be the
way they approach each match. Even
when down, the team has played with
enthusiasm.
"We kept right there with them
(Kentucky)," Ritt said. "(We did) not
get discouraged, played well and came
up short."
Perhaps the Tin Man and Cow-
ardly Lion should have sought out the
advice of the women's tennis team
rather than the Wizard of Oz.

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