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February 28, 1996 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

12- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 28, 1996

Poor singles play dooms Michigan
women netters in loss to Wildcats

By Jiten Ghelani
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's tennis team
came out of the gate with a solid start
Sunday. The Wolverines began by
winning all three of their doubles
matches, but they eventually lost the
match in singles play, 4-3.
During the week, Michigan coach
Bitsy Ritt put the team through an im-
portant drill. The players rotated and
played against each other in short 20-
minute matches, concentrating on be-
ing fired up right from the start.
Everything didn't go according to
plan against No. 26 Northwestern,
though.
The young No. 3 doubles team of
sophomore Sibyl Smith and freshman
Tumeka Harris were down 5-1 before
they knew it. Ritt's game plan seemed
to be headed out the door. Smith and
Harris, however, patiently overcame
their deficit to come out on top, 8-6,
against the Wildcat tandem of Robyn
Porter and Laura Guignon.
The other two doubles teams were
also victorious. Seniors Angie Popek
and Tara Graff won their No. 2 doubles
match, 8-2.
The match was their first together
since freshman year. They showedpoise
and clicked after practicing against the
No. I doubles duo, junior Sarah

We did a great
job with the
doubles. We were
optimistic going
into singles, but
we didn't match up
wells."
- Bitsy Ritt
Michigan tennis coach.
Cyganiak and sophomore Sora Moon.
Cyganiak and Moon were 8-6 win-
ners.
Ritt said she was not surprised by
Popek's and Graff's performance.
"They are good doubles players," Ritt
said.
With the new scoring format, the
Wolverines were only up 1-0 in the
match after doubles play. The team that
wins the best out of three doubles series
receives one point, instead of three as
in the old system.
The new scoring system places a lot
of emphasis on the six singles matches.
Michigan's singles players weren't up

to the challenge. Instead, they all fell
behind early, which led to the doom of
the Wolverines.
"(It is) how we start off in a match,"
Graff said. "(The) first 15 minutes we
were all down. We need to come out
more aggressive."
Cyganiak came back after losing her
first set and won her No. 1 singles
match against Northwestern's Siri
Eklund, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Popek also ground out a three-set
victory for the Wolverines against
Marybeth Novak. Popek also lost her
first set, but Novak couldn't finish off
Popek. Popek pulled through in her, 1-
6, 6-4, 6-4, win at No. 5 singles.
The rest ofthe Michigan singles squad
was defeated in straight sets. In the No.
4 singles match, Guignon beat Graff, 6-
2, 6-2.
Graff said she let Guignon control
the style of the game. The match ended
up beingplayed from the baseline, Graff
said, instead of at the net. She preferred
to attack the net, but her lack of aggres-
siveness from the get-go enabled
Guignon to win with many
groundstrokes and points.
With the knee injury to freshman
Jenn Boylan, the Wolverines used new
doubles teams for No. 2 and No. 3 and
they both prevailed.
"We did a great job with the doubles,
came out and played really well," Ritt
said. "We were optimistic going into
singles, but did not match up well."
No. 34 Michigan (I-I Big Ten, 2-1
overall) lost its first true test of the new
season after sweeping Penn State and
Western Michigan.
"We have to get off to a better start
(in singles)," Ritt said. "The more
matches we play, the better we will be.
We really didn't play our best tennis,
but there were more positives than nega-
tives."

Michigan State Isn't the only school making it tough on Bill Lacure and Michigan this season. Every Big Ten team is ranked.
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11

#
" '
*
.: " '

Read it
before
class, at
home and
online.
The
Michigan
Daily's
Internet
address:
http:m//
www.pub
umichkedu

By Jennifer Hodulik
Daily Sports Writer
The score is tied as a wrestling
meet featuring No. 9 Indiana and No.
13 Michigan draws to a close.
One wrestler to go - a heavy-
weight.
A win is needed to secure a dual
meet victory.
No, this is not an exceptional down-
to-the-wire dramatic finish. It is the
finale ofjust another exciting Big Ten
conference meet.
The Hoosiers came to Cliff Keen
Arena sporting a 14-1 record and an
unblemished 5-0 Big Ten record Sat-
urday. Yet the Wolverines pulled off
an upset in the final match.
Anything can happen in Big Ten
wrestling..
Michigan (11-5-1) is just one of I l
examples.
The Wolverines have not won or
lost a Big Ten conference dual meet
by a margin of more than four points,
with the exception of an early season
22-14 loss to Penn State.
SaidMichigan coach Dale Bahr,
Michigan's close finishes are repre-
sentative of the entire conference.
"Wrestling in the Big Ten is at a
high level, and it's really well bal-

anced," Bahr said. "I look at other
scores of other teams, and they're
doing the exact same thing."
After dropping a two-point deci-
sion to No. 4 Michigan State Jan. 31,
Michigan went on to win its final five
Big Ten matches. Every win was over
a ranked opponent, three of those over
opponents ranked higher than the Wol-
verines.
Bahr noted that the high quality of
Big Ten competition adds to its drama.
"That's Big Ten wrestling," Bahr
said. "With 11 teams ranked in the top
25 in the country, you're wrestling a
ranked opponent every weekend. But
Iowa is a cut above everybody else."
The No. 1 Hawkeyes are a perfect
17-0 on the season, and they feature
six wrestlers ranked in the top five in
their respective weights.
Michigan'sscheduledidnot include
a match-up with the nation's highest
ranked team.
In boastinga record of 124-2-1 against
the Big Ten during the past 20 years,
Iowa has certainly captured the Big
Ten's spotlight. However, it appears
that other conference challengers are
making a move to narrow the gap.
Bahr added that while the Big Ten

is generally considered the nation'
best conference, it will only continue
to grow in strength and prestige.
"It's commonly known that the Big
Ten is the premier conference in the
country," Bahr said. "And it's getting
better because all the top high school
wrestlers want to get to the Big Ten to
compete, because that's where they
get their notoriety."
Because of the structure of the dual
meets, Michigan sophomore heav*
weight Airron Richardson has been
called on for clutch performances
throughout the season. He has ad-
justed well to this role.
"Last year, it was difficult having
all that pressure on me," Richardson
said. "But I'm used to it now, and I
understand that it's my role. I like
having pressure on me now."
And after helping to pull out an-
other close dual meet victory ov
Indiana, Richardson made further re -
erence to the strength of his confer-
ence.
"That just shows how strong the
Big Ten is," Richardson said. "It
doesn't matter if the team is ranked
No. 6 or No. 23. In the Big Ten, you
have to be ready to wrestle."

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