The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, April 22, 1996 - 5B
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STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Who: Brian Steinbach Sport: Baseball
[ Eligibility: Sophomore Year: Junior
Hometown: Pewaukee, Wis. High School: Arrowhead
Why: On Friday morning, Steinbach read to 40 second graders at Abott
$4 ' Elementary school as part of the SHARE reading program. Steinbach read
two books and autographed schedule cards for the kids. Earlier in the
week, Steinbach and the rest of the Michigan baseball team autographed
a baseball and a media guide for Tyler Moreno, a fifth-grader from Grand
Rapids whi is suffering from a rare form of bone cancer.
Background: Steinbach compiled a 3-3 record this season, including a 5-3
win at Northwestern. He scattered four hits over seven innings and struck
Steinbach out three ... won the Geoff Zahn award as the Wolverines' most valuable
pitcher in 1995, his first season with Michigan ... earned academic All-
Big Ten honors last year.
ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Who: Tshimanga Biakabutuka Sport: Football
Eligibility: None Year: Junior
Hometown: Lonquiel, Quebec Team: Carolina Panthers
Why: Biakabutuka played well enough for the Wolverines during
the 1995 football season to forego his senior season of eligibilty at
Michigan to be chosen in the top 10 of this year's NFL entry draft.
The Carolina Panthers made Biakabutuka the eighth overall
selection with their only first-round pick.
Background: Biakabutuka led the Wolverines in rushing this
season ... ran up 313 yards, second most in Michigan history, to
lead Michigan to a win over then-No. 2 Ohio State and deny the
rival Buckeyes a Rose Bowl berth ... was the second running back Bliakabutuka
selected behind Nebraska's Lawrence Phillips, but ahead of
Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George of Ohio State .
By Parry Sollenberger
ily Sports Editor
The tall Michigan basketball team
4ust got taller.
,On Friday, the Wolverines signed
PeterVignier, a 6-foot- 11,240-pound
center from Teaneck, N.J. The lanky
youngster joins a Michigan front line
that already includes 6-foot-8 Robert
Traylor, 6-foot-9 Maceo Baston and
6-foot-9 Maurice Taylor.
"We're very excited to add Peter to
e Michigan basketball program,"
. Fisher said. " ie'll be an outstanding
-addition both as a player and a student
Vignier averaged 11 points and I1
rebounds per game for Teaneck High
School this past season. He also en-
joys swatting a shot once in a while,
as evidenced by his nine block-per-
game average his senior year. Vignier
helped lead his team to a 29-1 record.
"He's a player who has gotten bet-
er and better each year," Fisher said.
"We look for that growth and devel-
opment to continue at Michigan. We
think his best days are ahead of him."
Vignier is certainly no dumb jock,
His 3.7 GPA and 1,300 SAT score
were good enough for admission to
Harvard. Vignier chose Michigan over
the Crimson, Ohio State and St. Louis.
* While Fisher was pleased to land
Vignier, the freshman-to-be wasn't
as heavily recruited as recent Wolver-
ine signees. Nor is he expected to
come in and dominate the Big Ten.
But he is likely to push Michigan's
other big men.
"He brings size, enthusiasm and is
another big man who will add strong
competition to our team," Fisher said.
Vignier is the second Michigan re-
cruit to sign this year and the first this
Wring. Brandon Hughes, an All-
American point guard from Barton
County (Kansas) Community College,
signed in November.
Several publications ranked the past
two Michigan recruiting classes to be
the nation's best. That has made re-
cruiting this year that much tougher
for Fisher. It's hard to sell a program
that has so many young players. The
olverines return five juniors and
ree sophomores next season.
Michigan does remain in the run-
nitig for a couple of other recruits -
center Jamaal Magloire from Toronto
afid guard Vernon Jennings from At-
The Associated Press
STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. - Barb
Mucha, forced to play 29 holes because
of rain the previous day, closed with a
2-under-par 70 yesterday to win the
w 'GA Chick-fil-A Charity Champion-
ship by two strokes.
Mucha finished with a three-round
-:otal of 8-under 208 for her fourth vic-
.ory in 10 years on the tour. Her previ-
)us win came at the State Farm Rail
Classic in 1994.
Dottie Pepper, a co-leader when play
was halted Saturday, and Liselotte
Neumann shared second at 210.
Men's spikers take 17th at national championships
By Mark Snyder
Daily Sports Writer
After a season that was pieced to-
gether little by little, the Michigan
men's volleyball team finished the
puzzle this weekend - almost.
The team finished 17th at the na-
tional volleyball championships
Thursday through Saturday in Toledo,
Ohio, after beginning the weekend
seeded No. 31.
"I'm happy with the fact that we
went in and finished a lot higher than
we were seeded," Michigan captain
Jamie Reynolds said. "We played very
well, and if we would have had one
match go a little differently, we could
have finished even higher."
Even higher in Reynolds' book
meant third or fourth overall, a posi-
tion the team aimed for at the begin-
ning of the season.
The tournament began with all 48
teams participating in pool play in an
effort to narrow the field.
"There's no tournament that every
team comes to except this one,"
A large number of teams partici-
pated because of the club-tournament
format. The teams who attended were
the ones that could afford to pay for
"Most schools don't have varsity
(men'svolleyball) teams," Reynolds said.
The pool play began with matches
against the Connecticut, Navy and
Navy began the tournament as the
No. 7 seed, but it struggled against
Although the Wolverines lost the
first set 15-12, they stormed back to
take a 15-11 victory in the second.
The tightly fought match went to the
Midshipmen as they won the last
"We lost in rally score in the third
match. We had a chance to win and
we didn't," Reynolds said.
Northern Colorado, a top 10team,
was up next for the Wolverines and
the Michigan handled it with relative
Straight sets were the result as the
Wolverines rolled to a 15-8, 15-10
The final match for Michigan in
pool play was against Connecticut.
The Huskies gave Michigan more
trouble than expected, but the Wol-
verines still came away with a vic-
tory, hanging on in three sets, 15-6,
At this point, Michigan learned its
The power pools were next with
eight groups of three teams emerging
from the original pools.
The teams were re-seeded entering
the powerpools, and Michigan moved
up to No. 17.
Reynolds said the seeding was well-
deserved and reflective of the Wol-
"We gave some teams that are very
good a lot of trouble," he said.
The Wolverines' power pool con-
tained Virginia and Colorado.
The Buffaloes were one of the top-
five teams in the country heading into
the weekend, and Michigan didn't ex-
pect to defeat them. But Virginia was
a target the Wolverines believed they
Someone forgot to tell Michigan's
Michigan beat dominant Colorado
in three sets, 15-6,8-15, 15-13. A win
over a top five team displayed the
talent the Wolverines possessed on
the court and expectations were high.
"We beat Colorado, who is defi-
nitely atop five team," Reynolds said.
But as was the case throughout the
season, Michigan fell to a lesser foe
after a big win.
Virginia ended Michigan's season
with a 15-12, 15-10 victory.
Reynolds didn't feel that there was
much Michigan could do to combat
the Cavalier attack, however.
"(Virginia dominated) every aspect
of the game. They were serving very
tough," he said. "All of their offense
was landing on the line. They were
playing great (defense), but in order
for us to have beaten them, we would
have had to be (great.)"
The loss to Virginia hurt more than
Michigan knew at the time. With a I-
1 record in the power pool, it lost out
to Virginia on a tiebreaker. Although
they didn't advance, Reynolds ac-
cepted the Wolverines' fate.
"We playedwell. Wecouldbeat(Vir-
ginia) any other time except for the
match they played us," he said. "(The
Cavaliers) really played the best match
they could have played against us."
The tournament was a high point in a
season of change for the Wolverines.
They began the year with only a
few returning starters and a very young
team. Inexperience plagued Michi-
gan in matches against bigger, stron-
ger opponents like Michigan State.
But the Wolverines adapted to the
styles of play of their opponents and
improved with each passing match.
Passing in the matches also was a
problem, however. Michigan went
through a number of setters as it
needed to adjust to the varying line-
ups that took the floor.
The rotation was more in and out of
the lineup than around the court.
Suresh Pothiraj, one of the few re-
turning players from last season,
battled both mononucleosis and a
sprained knee, which limited his ac-
Andy Spitser began the season as
the team's most powerful hitter on
kills and ended it playing with a soft
cast on his broken thumb.
Additions to the team, though, are
what created the different atmosphere
for every match.
Chad Stilstra took the position of
assistant coach to begin the season.
His Wolverine career had been suc-
cessful, but the itch to compete re-
turned and he soon followed. Stilstra
began taking graduate classes at the
University, and activated himself to a
starting spot on the front line.
Ernesto Rodriguez had played with
the team last season, but didn't begin
the year as a part of the team. He
returned to the court in March, com-
pleting the lineup - almost.
Last season's captain Stan Lee
watched quietly as Michigan's sea-
son of ups and downs unfolded.
Lee, a Medical student at Michi-
gan, pulled his sweats out of the closet
to compete at the national champion-
ships this weekend.
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