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April 02, 1996 - Image 10

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-04-02

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday,_April 2, 1996

Smith, Michigan hope to catch Penn State in Happy Valley

By Mark Snyder
Daily Sports Writer
Home plate is where the heart is -
at least for the Michigan softball team.
Catcher Jennifer Smith is one player
that is important to the Wolverines'
success and has made the difference
for Michigan in the young Big Ten
season.
Smith, a junior, leads the Wolver-
ines to Happy Valley this afternoon
as Michigan takes on Penn State in a
doubleheader.
Her clutch performance in this
weekend's series against Iowa estab-
lished her as a threat in pressure situ-
ations. Smith had the game-winning
RBI in Sunday's come-from-behind
victory over the Hawkeyes.

With one out in the sixth inning,
and the Wolverines unable to mount
any offense, Smith knocked in Kellyn
Tate and Traci Conrad with a sharp
hit over second base.
Instantly, Michigan went from
down a run and facing a heartbreak-
ing defeat, to a lead that the Wolver-
ines maintained to the end.
The catcher was the hero, and her
coach was ecstatic.
"I'm so pleased for (Jennifer),"
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said.
"It's so important that when you get
the hit once or twice, you keep (hit-
ting)."
And so Smith leads the Wolver-
ines' charge to Penn State with confi-
dence in herself as well as in the team.

Michigan took two out of three
from Iowa for the first time in eight
years and will travel to State College
with a 2-1 mark in conference play.
Smith has her own history against
the Lady Lions. Last season, she
went 3-for-6 with four RBI against
Penn State in a doubleheader.
This season, Hutchins is counting
on Smith to produce in the fifth spot
in the batting order so that clean-up
hitter Sarah Griffin isn't always in-
tentionally walked.
Case in point. Sunday, Iowa twice
pitched around Griffin to face Smith.
But Smith capitalized on the second
free pass and laced a base-hit to ad-
vance runners on base.
Hutchins would like this pattern to

continue.
"(To avoid the walks) the person
behind (Griffin) needs to hit,"
Hutchins said.
The "tools of ignorance" do not
apply to this catcher, however. Her
defense has always been her strong
suit. Smith has been a starter for three
years, handling pitching staffs for
much longer.
She started 57 games behind the
plate as a freshman and garnered
Michigan rookie of the year honors.
And now Smith catches one of the
top pitching duos in the nation. Grif-
fin and Kelly Holmes have combined
to post 24 victories, with Smith serv-
ing as their steady hand behind the
plate.

This season, Smith has caught one
perfect game and two no-hitters. Her
presence is essential to the success of
the defense. She has a perfect fielding
percentage.
But as much as Smith is an impor-
tant piece of the puzzle, clutch hits
must be spread around for a team to
keep winning.
To Hutchins, the success of the
Iowa series was no more significant
than are today's games.
"The key to winning the Big Ten is
being consistent," Hutchins said.
"(Iowa) isn't the biggest series. The
biggest series is the next one you're
playing."
And for Michigan, the next one is
today.

...,_

Men's tennis*
splits, blanks
By Richard Shin
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan men's tennis team spig
last weekend's matches, losing to Penn
State, 4-3, Saturday before rebounding
to blank Wisconsin, 7-0, Sunday.
Against Penn State, the doubles point
determined the match as the Nittany
Lions and the Wolverines split the six
singles matches. Michigan, led by No.
22 Peter Pusztai, won at first, second
and third singles while Penn State took
the fourth through sixth singles
matches.. After Sunday, Pusztai stands
at 3-10 on the season.
The doubles point went to the Lions
as they swept all three doubles matches,
including a 8-5 upset at first doubles
over Pusztai and John Costanzo, the
No. 17 tandem in the nation.
With the win, Penn State improves to
3-1 in the Big Ten and 14-2 overall.
Sunday, against Wisconsinthe Wol-
verines went undefeated, winning all
six singles points while sweeping tl
doubles matches.
Michigan dominated the match, los-
ing only one set as a team. No. 5 singles
player William Farah bounced back
from a three-set defeat to Penn State, to
a 6-0, 6-0, blanking of Jeff Malik of
Wisconsin. Farah improves to 15-7 on
the season.
With the defeat, the Badgers drop to
1-4 in the Big Ten and 5-10 overall. The
Wolverines up their mark to 3-1 in the
Big Ten and 8-7 overall.
This week, Michigan takes oirPurdue,.
April 6 and Illinois April 7 at the Lib-
erty Sports Complex in Ann Arbor.

Women's
tennis swept
in Florida

0

By Jiten Ghelani
Daily Sports Writer
Warm weather-something students
all long for.
The Michigan women's tennis team,
however, may not be eagerly awaiting
early hints ofsummerjust yet. The team
continued its slide, losing twice over
the weekend.
The Wolverines have had a toughs:
time recently than Mother Nature has
had trying to defrost Ann Arbor for the
rest of the season.
Michigan dropped in the Sunshine
State with the current of chilled north-
ern winds but could not thaw out in the
blistering sun.
Unfortunately for Michigan, the
weather in Florida was not the only
thing that was red-hot. Coach Bits
Ritt's squad fell to South Florida anu
Miami, 7-2, 5-1, respectively. South
Florida, No. 39 in the nation, came into
the match riding a six-match win streak,
while the Hurricanes were looking to
make it four straight.
The Wolverines were defeated quite
handily by South Florida. The Bulls,
led by sophomore Alicia Ke-styn,
showed their incredible depth by taking
five of the six singles matches. Michi-
gan, considered to be stronger at tll
top, claimed victories in the top singles
and doubles matches.
Junior Sarah Cyganiak was a bright
spot for the Wolverines. She came
through at No. 1 singles, 6-3, 7-6 (3).
Cyganiak also led Michigan to its lone
doubles victory with partnerSora Moon.
In No. 2 singles, Kerstyn defeated
Moon, 6-2, 6-2. Kerstyn teamed with
senior Paige Powell, beating Tumeki
Harris and Sibyl Smith, 8-5.
South Florida displayed its depth at
the bottom of the lineup. Bulls senior
Danielle Hose won her eighth in a row,
topping Jodi Brewer, 6-1, 6-0, at No. 6.
Sibyl Smith, playing up a spot at No. 5,
lost to Jacqueline Bunting, 6-2, 6-0.
At No. 2 doubles, Michigan pitted
Brewer with roommate Tara Graff
against Lisa Woodbridge and Bunting.
Graff and Brewer could not pull out the
win, falling 8-5.
Sunday, the Wolverines, hoping to
turn the tide on the Hurricanes, were
similarly thwarted, 5-1. Miami,coming
off of an upset over No. 15 Alabama,
dropped Michigan to 2-2 Big Ten, 3-8
overall.
The match of theday was at No. I
singles. After defeating No. 34 Bali
Camino of Alabama, unranked junior
Caroline Hora was looking for an upse
once again. She won for the fourth tim
in five matches, ousting Cyganiak in a
three-set victory, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.
Cyganiak, down 3-1 in the third set, lost
a close game, and Hora was able to
close out the match.
Freshman Tumeka Harris claimed the

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