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February 01, 1996 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-01

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10A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 1, 1996

MEN'S AND WOMEN S TENNIS
Michigannetters
x
fly south for ivite:
Tough teams loom at O'Charley's

By Richard Shin
For the Daily
The Michigan men's tennis team trav-
els to Tennessee this weekend looking
to mirror its recent singles success.
But matching that performance will
not be easy.
On Monday, senior Peter Pusztai cap-
tured the Big Ten singles title, winning
the final in straight sets.
At the upcoming eighth annual

O'Charley's/
Volunteer
Tennis Clas-
sic, Michi-
gan looks to
add a team
trophy to
'match
Pusztai's in-
dividual
honor. The
Wolverines
have never
won the

O'Charley's
Invitational
Michigan wil face
off against eight
teams in the three-
day event. The
matches will run
Friday-Sunday with
Michigan's first
match at 1 p.m. in
Knoxville, Tenn.

tournament, losing a tough match in the
second round last year to South Florida.
However, they will get a shot at re-
demption as they face the Bulls in the
first round tomorrow at 1 p.m.
"On paper, the match looks pretty
even," said Michigan assistant coach
Dan Goldberg. "But the team is going
in confident that they can win."
The Wolverines, ranked 24th in the
nation and seeded third in the eight-
team tournament, will face some stiff
competition, including three otherteams
ranked in the top 30 nationally -No. 9
Southern Alabama, No. 19 Tennessee,
and No. 29 Alabama-Birmingham.
In addition to Michigan's team rank-
ing, many of its players boast national
rankings of their own. Pusztai is the
64th-ranked player in the country, and
senior John Costanzo is No. 79. The
duo also combines to form the 29th-
ranked doubles team in the nation.
South Florida, which is ranked No.
30, should serve as a test for the Wol-
verines as they strive to reach the upper
echelon of men's tennis.
Pusztai will be challenged at the first
singles position, facing the 19th-ranked
singles player - sophomore George

"(Peter Pusztai)
is the best player
in the nation."
- Brian Eisner
Michigan tennis coach
Bastl, an opponent he has played be-
fore. Coach Brian Eisner has no reser-
vations about keeping Pusztai at No. 1.
"Peter will definitely be playing first
singles," Eisner said. "He matches up
with any other playerin the nation-he
is the best player in the nation."
In last year's tournament, Michigan
was without the services of current
sophomore Arvid Swan because of an
injury. Swan was one of the three Wol-
verines in the semifinals of Big Tens
this season. His presence in this year's
tourney should strengthen the team over-
all.
Eisner expects the Wolverines to rise
to the occasion this weekend as they
face a field that is rich in talent.
"(Our) expectations are very high,"
Eisner said. "We're going in with the
idea that we are going to win the tourna-
ment."
In the second round, Michigan faces
the winner of the match between Ten-
nessee and Virginia Tech. The Volun-
teers, seeded second, have the l1th-
ranked singles player in Pablo Mon-
tana, and the No. 4 doubles tandem in
Montana and Chris Mahony. Tennes-
see should give the Wolverines the big-
gest challenge they have encountered
all season. Facing such demanding com-
petition so soon after the singles cham-
pionships was a concern for Eisner.
"Emotionally, it really takes a lot to
play for three days straight like we did
last weekend," he said. "It takes a tre-
mendous emotional toll on our players.
Right now, we are getting prepared for
this weekend."
And to take the title, Michigan will
probably need to be prepared to play its
best tennis of the young season.

Michigan's John Costanzo will be part of the Wolverines' singles contingent against No. 30 South Florida this weekend.
Mwomens ten swins at vi ctory

By Pranay Reddy
For the Daily
Let the games begin. After spend-
ing the entire fall term competing in
invitational matches as individuals,
the Michigan women's tennis team
faces Penn State this Saturday in its
first dual match of the season.
Coach Bitsy Ritt feels the team had
a strong fall season, with a number of
players showing improvement. The
team is now set to concentrate on the
upcoming regular season matches.
"We're anxious. We're ready to
play," Ritt said.
The Wolverines face an improved
Penn State team from the one they
defeated a year ago, 8-1. The Nittany
Lions boast a deeper lineup than last
year's squad and return their top
singles player, Olga Novako.
The Wolverines should sport a
strong blend of young and experi-
enced talent during this campaign.
Freshmen Jennifer Boylan and
Tumeka Harris, as well as sophomore
Sibyl Smith, will all play important
roles in Michigan's success this sea-
son.

The experience possessed by re-
turning starters Sarah Cyganiak, Tara
Graff, Sora Moon and Angie Popek
should help with the development of
the three budding talents. Popek, who
did not play in the fall season due to a
knee injury, plans to return strongly
this winter.
Cyganiak, who will play first
singles, hopes to continue the perfor-
mance that garnered her Big Ten All-
Conference recognition the past two
years. Her leadership will also be im-
portant during a difficult regular sea-
son.
"Just play every match one at a
time," Cyganiak said, in reference to
the younger players' development.
"We can just hope to come out on top
each time."
This advice should come in handy
when the Wolverines prepare for
matches against their traditional Big
Ten foes this season.
Michigan is looking to improve
upon last year's fifth-place finish in
the Big Ten.
"We'd like to finish in the top three
in the Big Ten, if not shoot for the

championship," Ritt said.
The Wolverines, now ranked No.
30 nationally and fifth regionally, will
have their work cut out for them if
they hope to garner the conference
title.
The influx of inexperienced play-
ers, and the always-difficult Big Ten
schedule are not the only roadblocks
facing Michigan.
The NCAA is testing a new format
for women's tennis dual meets this sea-
son. The new scoring system is de-
signed to de-emphasize doubles play
by giving only one point to the team that
wins the majority of the three doubles
matches. The old system allotted apoint
for each match won.
With this new format, players are
under added pressure to perform well
in their singles matches. This could
be problematic for the relatively in-
experienced Wolverine team.
Michigan, however, is not con-
cerned by this.
"We have a solid team here, a solid
lineup, and a great doubles team,"
Ritt said. "We're ready for the dual
season."

Gymnastic
competition
promises to
be a Classig
By Nancy Berger
Daily Sports Writer
Ideally, the State of Michigan Clas-
sic is supposed to be a competition
between five of the state's premier
gymnastics programs.
The Classic features three Mid-
American Conference schools, includ-
ing Central Michigan, Eastern Mi *
gan, and Western Michigan, as
as the Big Ten powerhouses, Michi-
gan and Michigan State.
This year, though, the intra-state
showdown looks more like two sepa-
rate conference meets which are be-
ing held at the same place and time.
"It's going to be a tough meet,'said
Central Michigan head coach jerr.y
Reighard. "Unfortunately, it lools as
though it will be a Big Ten race ag
MAC race."
Michigan's field of competition
seems to be drastically reduced from
five to one, when comparing the over-
all team scores.
No. 9 Michigan State, seems tobe
the Wolverines' only opponent intheir
quest to capture their third Classic
championship.
Both Big Ten schools have scored
above 190 points in each of their meets
this season, while none of the
peting MAC schools have scored
above the 190 mark.
Michigan State (3-0 Big Ten,8-0
overall) recorded its highest team
point total of the season last weekend
with 192.250 points.
Despite its one conference loss,
Michigan's highest season point total
is still two points higher than that f
Michigan State. The Wolverin'
scored 194.750 points in their
meet of the season.
"It's going to be
a tough meet.
Unfortunately, i
looks as though iti
Will be a Big Ten@
race and a MAC
race, f
- Jerry Reighard
Central Michigan women's
gymnastics coach
Michigan State will have to'l
prove on last year's Classic perfq-
mance, as well as their own season
highs, i fthey are going to beat a Michi-
gan squad with an abundance aftal-
ent. <
Even though Michigan has been
severely handicapped by a num fpf
injuries, the depth of the squad "al-
lowed the team to score 193400 points
against Massachusetts. This scortos
the performiance turned in by the sq
that won the 1995 Classic, A
Michigan ran away with the title by
almost four points.
The Wolverines know all too well,
however, that winning gymnVtfc

meets isn't as easy as intermeja te
tumbling.
"Michigan State will be the tough-
est competition, but anything can hap-
pen," said Michigan sophomore
Lauren LaBranche.
Anything will most likely happen
this weekend as it has all season log,
especially when it comes to injuries.
A Michigan gymnast is looking
more like an endangered species these
days, as the team could possiblybe
competing with fewer than seven
women. Michigan coach Bev Plocki
can't seem to stop the plague ofipji-
ries that is ravaging her squad.
Senior Tina Miranda has 's
cumbed to an injury suffered in pr
tice, while fellow senior Dianna
Ranelli suffered a nagging knee. in-
jury. She will find out if she can com-
pete later this week.
Michigan looks to erase one or two
of its star performers from the ,i$-
abled list and write their names on the
lineup sheet by this weekend.
..v
o you IIeo,
watchM'higa
O ts
HOw woud ou

Men's tennis upcoming matches
Feb. 8-11 NCAA indoor individual championships
Feb. 22-25 NCAA Indoor Team Championships
March 5 Texas
March 8-10 Corpus Christi Team Tournament
March 14-17 Blue-Gray Championships
March 20 Minnesota
March 30 Northwestern
March 31 Wisconsin

Dallas
Louisville, Ky.
Austin, Texas
Corpus Christi, Texas
Montgomery, Ala.
Ann Arbor
Evanston
Madison

South Bend beckons
Wolverine speedsters

By Avi Ebenstein
Daily Sports Writer
This weekend features another
matchup of Michigan against the
vaunted Fighting Irish.
Yet this matchup is not on the grid-
iron: it's the men's track team's sec-
ond meet of the indoor season in South
Bend. The Meyo Invitational features
Michigan and Big Ten rivals Purdue,
Michigan State and Minnesota.
"Wisconsin looks like the team to
beat in the Big Ten this year," fresh-
man Dan Filstrup said.
In addition to adjusting to the com-
petition, Michigan runners will have
to acclimate themselves to the unusu-
ally large Notre Dame track. The
South Bend track extends 375 meters
- quite a change from the normal
200-meter tracks.
This oddity makes for longer
straight-aways, and better times for
the runners. Michigan runners will
also change their racing strategies.
"When I usually run a 400-meter, I
can't afford to wait until the last
straight away to make my sprint,"
Filstrup said. "But on a longer track,
I can use my 'kick' on the final straight
away."

Michigan coach Jack Harvey voiced
some of the team goals for this rela-
tively unimportant meet.
"Since this meet is a non-scoring
meet, we're just going down there to
get some good times," Harvey said.
The Meyo Invitational is strange
for another reason: The races will not
be held underthe blazing Indiana sun.
Michigan, like all teams in the Big
Ten, holds this part of its schedule
indoors.
Michigan begins its indoor training
in January and does not venture out-
side until the end of March. The Wol-
verines already have three meets un-
der their belts.
Indoor tracks have more dramatic
turns which make for different racing
techniques. Runners, when outdoors,
can take the more gradual turns at
higher speeds.
So Michigan runners are gearing
themselves up for the differences and
heading towards a very successful in-
door season.
Last season, the Wolverines fin-
ished fourth at the NCAA Indoors last
year. Outdoors, schools in the south
and west usually dominate the com-
petition.

PATTI LuPONE
with the yfnn rbor Symphony Orchestra
February 17, 1996 8 p.m.
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor
Tickets available at UMS Box Office, Burton Tower, Ann Arbor.
Or call 764-2538 for information.
Cfi.i . . . nlich fk lA fCAll V t1 r,

m

am

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