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February 27, 1996 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-27

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Women's basketball seeds announced
The 10th-seeded Michigan women's basketball team will face No. 7 seed
Northwestern in the first round of the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament at
approximately 6 p.m. Friday in Indianapolis. The winner of the four-day tournament
at Butler University's Hinkle Fieldhouse earns an automatic bidto the NCAA
tournament. The Wolverines (1-15 Big Ten, 7-19 overall) have already fallen to the
Wildcats (8-8, 17-9) twice this season, most recently Feb. 16 by a score of 90-79.
See more pre-tournament coverage later this week in Daily Sports.

11

Tuesday
February 27, 1996

.4

Women
gynmasts
snag 2nd
lace in
By Kevin Kasiborski
Daily Sports Writer
The only potential problem with a
record-breaking performance is that it
is often hard to match in the next con-
test.
0 This Sunday, a week and a day after
their most impressive outing of the sea-
son, the Michigan women's gymnas-
tics team could manage only 193.2
points and a second-place finish in the
Masters Classic at Nebraska.
Host Nebraska won the meet, scoring
193.800 points to Michigan's 193.200.
Washington was third with 190.125
points, followed by Ball State's last-
place score of 188.900.
In their most recent meet, the Wol-
rines scored a season-high 196.575
points in a win over defending na-
tional champion Utah on Feb. 17. They
also recorded season-high team scores
on the uneven bars and the floor exer-
cise, and their score of 49.350 on the
balance beam was the highest in team
history.
The Michigan record book was safe
this weekend, though, as the team did
tt approach any of those marks. The
Wolverines were unable to score above
49 points in any event. Their best show-
ing was 48.550 in the vault, and their
beam score dipped to 48.400. The Wol-
verines' current record is 10-3.
Afterward the team was not con-
cerned by the second-place finish or
even the drop in their point total be-
cause they said the scoring was tough in
this meet.
"We were happy with how our per-
rmance went," Michigan freshman
Beth Amelkovich said. "We were con-
sistent with last week. We still hit like
we did last week. The scores weren't as
high down there."
Michigan gymnasts did take four of
the top five places in the all-around
competition. Junior Andrea McDonald
was second with 38.775 points, senior
Wendy Marshall came in third with
.625, andtwo freshmen, Amelkovich
We did the best
we could don We
hit all our routines
like we needed
ton"
- Beth Amelkovic
Michigan gymnast
and Kathy Burke, finished in a tie for
fourth, each scoring 38.600.
As usual, Marshall was the best on
the vault, scoring a 9.900.
McDonald and Amelkovich tied for
the top spot in the beam event with
identical scores of 9.875. Amelkovich
iso was third on the bars.
"We did the best we could do. We hit
all our routines like we needed to,"
Amelkovich said.

A third Michigan freshman, Lisa
Simes, also made a strong showing.
In her second meet since returning
from an injury that had kept her out
most of the year, Simes finished sec-
ond in the bars and took third in the
vault.
The Wolverines competed without
*e services of sophomore Heather
Kabnick, who was out, probably due to
a stress fracture. Although she has been
bothered by the injury for more than
month, this is only the second time she
was kept out of the lineup.
Michigan returns to action this Fri-
day in the Shanico Invitational, hosted
by Oregon State. Two other Big Ten
teams, Ohio State and Penn State, will
so be competing. Michigan defeated
O)hio State in a dual meet on February
10.
During Spring Break on March 9, the
Wolverines will host the team currently
ranked No. 1 in the country, the Geor-
gia Bulldogs.
Michigan will use these meets to pre-

NCAAhopes on the

line against Spartans

.. 3.

By Paul Barger
Daily Sports Writer
Here we go again.
In the recurring theme of the century, the Michi-
gan men's basketball team (7-7 Big Ten, 17-10
overall) is in a must-win situation tonight.
If the Wolverines want to have a good chance of
getting a bid to the NCAA Tournament, they have
to win at least two and maybe three more games.
You've heard this all before.
Every game becomes important when a team
loses six times in eight games during the heart of
the conference season.
"We have to play hard and win the rest of our
games,"
sophomore Michigan vs. Michigan State
M a u r i c e Today, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Taylor said. Crisler Arena
"We control
our destiny.
(The NCAA
Tourna -
ment) is the
only thing I
know."
Michigan
h o s t s
archrival
Michigan
State (8-7, 14-13) at 7:30 p.m. The Spartans are in
a must-win situation as well, and are in the midst
of a disappointing downfall of their own.
Two weeks ago Michigan State was in aposition
to challenge for the Big Ten title. Now they are in
jeopardy of an overall record below .500. A team
must win half of its games to get a bid to the NIT.
The Spartans have basically played their way
out of a shot at the NCAA Tournament, but could
get consideration if they win their last three games.
That would give them only 17 wins overall, but 11
wins in the conference.
No Big Ten team that has gone 11-7 in confer-
ence play has been kept out of the NCAA Tourna-
ment.
Michigan has had a great deal oftrouble keeping
games close early, and has lacked emotion through-
out the first half of many contests. With the Spar-
tans coming to town, the team expects to be fired
up tonight.
"We've got to come out and play hard against
Michigan State," freshman Louis Bullock said.
"(This) game is very important."
One of the Wolverines' biggest problems of late
has been Bullock's play. After the Indiana game
Jan. 23, the guard looked like the leading candi-
date for Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors.
That award is not out of reach, but Bullock's
chances have been greatly jeopardized by his cold
streak. Over the past five games, Bullock has shot
12-of-50 from the field.
Last year's Big Ten Freshman of the Year,
Maurice Taylor, is having similar troubles. Taylor
has nine points in his last two games and went 2-
of-12 from the field against Minnesota.
Tonight's game is even more important for the
Wolverines, considering the difficulty of the task
that lies ahead. Sunday Michigan travels to
Champaign to take on the Illini. Illinois is tough to
beat at home, and Michigan is easy to beat on the
road.
The Wolverines have compiled five conference
road losses this season and have only two wins.
Ironically, one of those wins came against

tonight's opponent. In fact, Michigan surprised
many that day, blowing out the Spartans 76-54. At
that time, both teams were perched high in the
conference standings. A lot has changed since
then.
Although this game conjures up a great deal oV'
interest within the state, ESPN is probably less
than delighted to be televising a clash of unranked,
mid-pack Big Ten teams to a national audience:
After Sunday's game, which will be televised
by CBS, the Wolverines have two battles remain-
ing - March 6 at Northwestern and March 9at
home against Wisconsin. The NCAATournament
committee will announce its selections March 10.

MARK FRIEDMAN/Daily
Michigan's Travis Conlan takes the ball to the hole at Penn State Thursday, The Wolverines take on
Michigan State tonight in a game that will affect both teams' NCAA tourney hopes.
Roster dCtates spikers' success
'M' men greatly improved due to recent personnel shifts

Above: Maceo Baston finds the Nittany Lions to.
be rude hosts Thursday In the Wolverines' loss.
Below: Michigan coach Steve Fisher pleads his
case with an official at Penn State.
Photos by MARK FRIEDMAN/Daify

By Mark Snyder
Daily Sports Writer
Success in a team sport is often based on the fact
that everyone plays well, and that is never more
true than in volleyball. But that also depends on
who is playing.
The Michigan men's volleyball team has had
varying waves of success and failure this season,
most of which have depended upon the health of
the team members and who is on the roster.
Middle .blocker Suresh Pothiraj was laid up
with mononucleosis for a month, and without
Pothiraj, the team was devoid of experience in the
middle. His return was eagerly anticipated, but
when it came, the chain of bad luck was trans-
ferred to another starter.
Outside hitter Andy Spitser was the team's
energetic leader - not to mention its fiercest
spiker. Whenever Spitser rose above the net, op-
ponents feared the monster spike.
His competitive spirit set a standard for the
team, and whenever they were on a roll, it was
Spitser leading the high fives. But Spitser's thumb
broke before his energy did, and he is now doing
his cheering from the sidelines.
So for the next two to three weeks, Ted Skolarus
has moved into the starting lineup, replacing
Spitser's fierce play and powerful put-aways.
And he has served more than admirably in his
expanded role in the matches.
"Ted has played really, really well (recently),"
captain Jamie Reynolds said.
Because of the club nature of the sport, the
roster for the team has undergone a number of
fluctuations, with the most recent additions hav-
ing the most impact.
Chad Stilstra played for Michigan throughout
his undergraduate career and had resigned himself
to serving as a coach at Michigan while helping
out in practice. But then the itch to compete
returned, and, with Stilstra beginning to take more

classes on the Ann Arbor campus, he was added to
the active roster.
Also making his return is Ernesto Rodriguez,
whom Reynolds believes is the team's best player.
Rodriguez has played volleyball for his entire life
and that experience, combined with his remark-
able talent, makes a huge difference in the team's
fortunes.
Instantly, the team has gone from inexperienced
and lacking direction to being one of the most
competitive in the area.
This past weekend, at the North-South Tourna-
ment, the team played to the level of its competi-
tion. This has been a recurring theme throughout
this season as the Wolverines have staggered
against inferior foes, like they did in pool play this
weekend.
Their weak initial showing was redeemed as
they played Florida in the quarterfinals. Michigan
pushed the Gators, the nation's No.2 squad, to the
brink of disaster in the playoff round, before
succumbing 15-13, 15-13.
Florida's national prominence showed the young
Wolverines how a talented team can be defeated.
"We put it together in the playoff round and
played Florida tough," Reynolds said.
Finally, the team is beginning to find its groove
and settling into place as the roster solidifies.
The starting lineup, which Reynolds thinks is
permanent, is made up of Pothiraj and Stilstra in
the middle, anchoring the team. Michigan's out-
side hitters are Skolarus and Rodriguez, with
Reynolds and Justin Biebel rounding out the
starters.
Reynolds sees this season as a positive learning
experience, but thinks the team needs to continue
competing at a high level.
"We are one of the most improved teams that I
have seen in the country," he said.
But that statement depends on who is playing
for the Wolverines on any given day.

T

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