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April 12, 1995 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-04-12

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 12, 1995

Softball looks to heat

Men's tennis eager for
showdown with Irish

up against
by Dan McKenzie
Daily Sports writer
Sometimes spring is unpredictable.
The weather is often good, but every
once in a while, it hits a cooling-off
period. The same can be said for the
Michigan softball team.
At this point in the season, the Wol-
verines (9-3 Big Ten, 26-6 overall) have
surpassed all expectations. They are the
top team in the Big Ten and their 81
percent winning percentage is, at this
point, the highest since head coach Carol
Hutchins took over 11 years ago.
However, Michigan has hit a cold
spell recently, splitting a doubleheader
with non-conference foe Toledo last
week and dropping three out of four to
Iowa this past weekend.
Today, the Wolverines play Penn
State (13-14,2-6), which currently holds
the eighth spot in the conference ahead
of only Purdue. Considering the cir-
cumstances, the Nittany Lions might be
just what the doctor ordered.
Nonetheless, the Wolverines refuse
to take this game lightly.
"We're worried about every game,"
leftfielder Lesa Arvia said. "But we're
confident. We're going out there to win
these games."
Based on the past, Michigan is in
good position to return to its form of
earlier this year. The Wolverines hold a

renn State
13-1 series lead over the Nittany Lions,
including three victories over them last
year. Also, Penn State has come up
short every time in its previous four
games in Ann Arbor.
"I don't want to say that we're easily
expecting to win, but we do have confi-
dencethat we'regoingtowin,"Arviasaid.
Thematchup with Penn State comes
on the heels of an emotional extra-
inning game with the Hawkeyes. After
going 13 scoreless innings with Iowa,
the Wolverines surrendered three runs
in the 14th.
"We talked about that today and of
course, it was disappointing," Arvia
said. "But we're a team that, hopefully,
is not going to dwell on that."
"Any time you play 14 innings and
lose a game, it's going to be a really
tough loss," Pearcy added.
With 16 conference games left, the
Big Ten title is far from decided. In fact,
the winner of the regular season confer-
ence title still has to win a playoff with
the other three top teams in the Big Ten.
But Michigan is definitely focused
on the Big Ten crown. And the Wolver-
ines would also like to duplicate the 19-
game win streak that they had going up
until last week.
"We're going to bounce back,"
Arvia said. "And we're going to take it
out on Penn State."

By Marc Ughtdale
Daily Sports Writer
Although every match counts
equally in a team's overall record,
some matches have a little extra at
stake.
The Michigan men's tennis team
will face this situation today in its
first non-conference match of the
season against No. 19 Notre Dame
in South Bend. The match will be
pivotal for the teams' sucesss not
only this year, but next season, as
well.
A victory over the Irish could
very possibly catapult the Wolver-
ines from No. 28 into the top 20 -
one of their preseason goals. But
more importantly, a Michigan win
would place it on the inside track for
a No. 1 seed in its regional tourna-
ment.
The winner of the regional tourna-
ment would secure a berth in the
NCAA Tournament.
Junior John Costanzo emphasized
that the Wolverines are eagerly await-
ing the showdown.
"This is our biggest match of the
year," Costanzo said. "We've been
waiting for the match since Minne-
sota."
The red-hot Wolverines are in the
midst of a five-match winning streak
and have won seven in a row in the
Big Ten. Michigan picked up victo-
ries against conference foes Michi-
gan State, Purdue, Iowa, Wisconsin
and Penn State en route to its 12-6
record.
Senior Grady Burnett said the
team's new-found confidence comes
from its strong play.
"I feel pretty good about it (the

Notre Dame match)," he said. "Our
team's been playing well and showed
a lot of heart this weekend under
some tough conditions."
In addition, the Wolverines are
looking to redeem themselves after.
losses in each of the past four years to
the Irish, including a heartbreaker last
year in Ann Arbor, 4-3.
"I would love to beat them be-
cause we have not beaten them since
I've been here," Burnett said.
At the same time, Notre Dame is
the perennial top-seed from Region
No. 4, and represents the Midwest
each year in the NCAA Tournament.
Some of the Michigan players 0
are ready to end the reign of the
Irish.
"It would be a solid win and some-
thing to build on 'because they have
won the region the last three or four
years in a row," Burnett said. "So,
that would really re-establish us as
the dominant team in this part of the
region."
A decision will be made in early@
fall concerning which team will rep-
resent the region in the National
Indoor Team Championships (NIT).
The dominant team in the region at
the end of the year will get an invi-
tation to the NIT, held each year in
Louisville, Ken. during February.
By defeating Notre Dame, Michi-
gan will place itself in an ideal po-
sition to be selected.
In order to accomplish these goals, 0
Eisner realizes that the team must
continue to play at the top of its game
to beat the Irish.
"I feel very confident that we (can)
play a good match," Eisner said. "We
certainly are the better team."

TONYA BROAD/Daiy

The Michigan softball team faces Penn State this afternoon.

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