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September 08, 1994 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-09-08

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Page 19



Early struggles continue for hitters
Inexperience follows Wolverines home in loss to Eastern Michigan


Daily Sports Writers
Growing pains continue to plague
the youthful Michigan volleyball
team, as another more seasoned club
took advantage of Wolverine inexpe-
rience. Poised to take a two game-to-
one lead, Michigan lost some key
points, some confidence and eventu-
ally the match to Eastern Michigan
last night, 15-12, 8-15, 16-14, 15-9.
The loss marked the second
straight time Michigan (0-4) seemed
to buckle in a tight situation, a fact not
lost on coach Greg Giovanazzi.
"Eastern played very well as the
night went on," he said. "They kept
enough pressure on us to show our
youth. We are a very young team and
as long as there is pressure on us, we
still have a little bit of trouble mesh-
"It's my job as coach to try to
terminate that cancer."

After facing three game points in
the pivotal third game, Eastern (3-2)
scored five consecutive points to take
the game and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-
five match. The setback seemed to
frustrate the Wolverines a bit, as the
Eagles' domination continued well
into the fourth and final game.
"For them it was a good case of
momentum," Michigan outside hitter
Colleen Miniuk said. "They came out
and they jumped on us right away,
and they didn't let down at all. We
had some communication errors -
errors that we normally don't do, even
in practices."
Eastern took a quick 7-2 lead on
the strength of a .405 fourth-game
hitting percentage, nearly four times
better than their third game effort.
Michigan did manage to close to
within 9-7, but the Eagles won six of
the last eight points for the victory.
Miniuk, who led the Wolverines
with 17 kills, thought that Michigan's

woes might have begun much earlier.
"At the beginning, I think every-
one was kind of surprised by how
well Eastern came out," she said. "I
think wejust played really tentatively
at the beginning."
In the first game, serving errors
haunted the Wolverines, who fell be-
hind 7-1. Michigan then went on their
own spurt, moving within two points
behind the play of right side hitter
Shareen Luze, but another Eastern
rally put the first game out of reach.
Eastern coach Nona Richardson,
who eclipsed Frank Fristensky as the
school's all-time winningest coach
with the victory, benched some of her
starters in the first game for disciplin-
ary reasons. Those players saw action
in game two, and according to
Richardson, they used it as a warm-up
for the all-important third contest.
That might explain Michigan's
seemingly easy victory in that one.
Kills from Luze and Miniuk helped

the Wolverines roll to a quick 10-2
lead. The Eagles, who made a team-
low 12 kills in that game, began to
play more in sync at that point, but the
deficit was too much to overcome.
Their steadily improving play
showed in the next game, during which
the teams traded one- or two-point
leads. The Wolverines seemed as if
they might pull away when an ace
from setter Erin McGovern made it
12-9 in favor of Michigan. Only after
a couple Eastern hitting errors put the
Wolverines one point away from vic-
tory did the Eagles seize command of
the game and the match.
Though disappointed with the out-
come, Giovanazzi sees no reason to
give up on this team.
"I don't have any doubts that even-
tually this will be an excellent team,"
he said. "It's just that right now is a
very rocky period of time. It's testing
all of our patience a little bit, as well
as the confidence of the players."

Michigan captain Aimee Smith stretches to pass the bail to one of her
teammates in yesterday's 15-12, 8-15, 16-14, 15-9 loss to Eastern Michigan.

Con n-Faber

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