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March 15, 1994 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-03-15

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 15, 1994

Spartans hope to be NCAA-worthy
Carter, Guolla, Buzak will be key to MSU success

01

By JAESON ROSENFELD
DAILY HOCKEY WRITER
Michigan State has something to
prove at the CCHA finals this week-
end.
The Spartans (17-8-5 CCHA, 22-
11-5 overall) want to prove that last
weekend's first-round struggle
against ninth-
seeded Illinois-
The Road Chicago was a
fluke. Michi-
to gan State lost
The Joe the series
opener and
pulled out a 2-
1 overtime vic-
*' tory Saturday
before blowing
CCHA the Flames out,
Championshiip 8-3, Sunday.
More im-
portantly, the
Spartans want
to prove to the NCAA selection com-
mittee that they belong in the 12-team
tournament. Michigan State coach
Ron Mason feels his team has the
ability to compete with the nation's
best.

"Our team is capable of playing to
our record," Mason said. "We're ca-
pable of beating any team in the coun-
try in any given game."
If the committee were to select on
the basis of conference finish alone,
Michigan State's third-place regular
season finish would earn it a bid. In
the past, the committee has tradition-
ally taken three teams from each of
the four collegiate hockey confer-
ences.
Aside from an NCAA tournament
spot, the Spartans are shooting for
their first CCHA postseason crown
since 1990. The road to that crown
would in all likelihood lead to Michi-
gan - who Michigan State split with
in four regular season meetings - in
the finals. Mason isn't expecting to
see the same Michigan squad his team
beat soundly, 5-1, in their last meet-
ing.
"The reason they tailed off at the
end of the season is motivation,"
Mason said. "Those guys are going to
want to prove they can do it."
For their part, the Spartans have
the personnel to challenge for the
title.

Goalie Mike Buzak ranks fifth in
the nation in goals against average and
posted two victories against the Wol-
verines this season.
Additionally, with three fifty
point scorers in their lineup, the
Spartans can put points on the
scoreboard.
Junior Steve Guolla, an All-CCHA
second team selection, leads the Spar-
tans with 19 goals and 44 assists on
the season. Sophomore center Anson
Carter (29 goals-22 assists-51
points) and junior left wing Rem
Murray (16-36-52) round out the Spar-
tans' scoring trio.
Despite impressive numbers,
Michigan State's scoring and
goaltending have both been plagued by
inconsistency. In one five-game stretch
starting Feb. 11, the Spartans' perfor-
mances ranged from a II-I drubbing at
the hands of second-place Lake Supe-
rior to that 5-1 win over first-place the
Wolverines.
Michigan State closed the 1-1-2
stretch by tying eighth-place Notre
Dame and losing to Ferris State.
It's this type of inconsistency
that could make Michigan State
champions or knock them out Fri-
day.
-The Daily willpreview the teams
remaining in the CCHA title hunt all
this week.

JOHNATHAN LURIE/Daily

Blake Sloan, who earned a spot on the All-CCHA rookie team last week, is just one of several members of the
Michigan hockey team to receive post-season recognition from the conference.

CCHA
Continued from page 9
ment, which is important since many of
the participants are on the bubble.
Michigan (24-5-1 CCHA, 31-6-lover-
all) and Lake Superior (18-8-4, 26-9-
4) are assured of at-large bids, but the
other teams are unsure of their immedi-
ate future.
Based on reputation and CCHA
record,Michigan State(17-8-5, 22-11-
5) has the best chance of continuing its
season after this weekend. The Bron-
cos (18-10-2, 23-11-3) and Redskins
(17-12-1, 21-15-1) rolled through the
second half of the year and have legiti-

mate claims to a bid. The teams meet
Friday in a game with huge tournament
implications. Bowling Green (15-13-
2, 19-16-2) probably has to advance to
the finals to even get consideration.
"Anyone of the six teams could be
in the NCAA tournament and do well,"
Lake Superior coach Jeff Jackson said.
One addition this weekend is the
use of instant replay. This is a measure
agreed upon by the participants and
will only be used atthereferees' discre-
tion. This is the first time replay will be
used in the CCHA championships.
The quarterfinals begin at 4 p.m.
Friday. Michigan's semifinal is 2 p.m.
Saturday and the championship game
is 2 p.m. Sunday.

r

Focused Futures

Hitters fall to Iowa in
first round of Classic

By JOSH KARP
DAILY SPORTS WRITER
Heading into the 24-team Univer-
sityof South Florida Classic, the Michi-
gan softball team had prided itself on
defense. However, the southern sun
must have burned a hole in the players'
mitts.
The Wolverines (9-9) faced Iowa
(6-6) in the quarterfinals Saturday night,
and committed seven errors enroute to
a 4-0 defeat, and elimination from the
tournament. Junior first baseman
Michelle Silver had four of those er-
rors, as coach Carol Hutchins looked
on in disbelief.
"(That was) Michigan softball at its
very worst," Hutchins said. "(Iowa's
play) wasn't really a factor. We were
just bad."
"It was a really weird game," said
juniorpitcher Kelly Kovach (5-5), who
took the loss. "We put a lot of pride in
our defense. (These things) happen
sometimes."
Michigan mustered a mere three
hits in the game, while Iowa scored
runs in the first, second, fourth and fifth
innings.
Early on, however, the Wolverines
took a leave from their offensive woes.
The squad opened up its pool play with
wins over Sam Houston (5-12) and
East Carolina (15-9) Friday, by scores
of 7-2 and l 1-2, respectively. Against
East Carolina, the Michigan team
pounded out 10 hits. Outfielder Tracy
Taylorhad three hits including adouble.
Silver, Tracy Carr and Jennifer Smith
all contributed with two hits each.
"We hit well (against East Caro-
lina)," Kovach said. "Everyone just

took it upon themselves to get on base."
In its third game, Michigan matched
up against Oklahoma (25-4) but lost 2-
I in eight innings. In its half of the
eighth, the Wolverines' Erin Martino
tried a suicide squeeze with one out.
But Kathleen Berrigan forgot to run,
and Michigan didn't score. Oklahoma
won the game with a run in the bottom
of the inning.
The team quickly rebounded against
Ball State (5-3), getting its best offen-
sive output of the season. Although it
won by a close 6-4 count, Michigan
had 12 hits. Carr led the squad going 4-
4, including the game-winning single
that knocked home Jessica Lang in the
fifth inning.
The Wolverines ended their pool
play falling 4-0 to Virginia (9-2). Right
fielderLesa Arvia had Michigan's only
hit in the game.
With its 3-2 record in its bracket,
the Wolverines qualified for single-
elimination play. Forced to face host
South Florida directly after its game
with Virginia, the Wolverines proved
they could handle the pressure. Kovach
pitched brilliantly, giving up only two
hits in a 1-0 Michigan triumph.
"We were sharp (versus South
Florida) and we hustled,"Hutchins said.
"I was very impressed.'
Iowa, who lost in the semifinals to
eventual champion Oklahoma State,
knocked off the Wolverines to end
Michigan's tournament run.
Michigan's Kovach and Carr were
selected to the all-tournament team.
Kovach recorded three wins and Carr
broke out of a hitting slump going 8-23
with four runs batted in.

*I

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