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November 25, 1996 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-11-25

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The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - November 25, 1996 - 38

N '

spikers grab weekend sweep

Py Sharat Raju
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's volleyball
team knows that it has to win its last
four matches of the seasomr.
After the performances this past
eekend, the Wolverines are half
fy there.
Michigan, (7-11 Big Ten, 12-17
overall) went to Indiana and defeated
both Purdue (5-13, 12-18) and
Indiana (3-15, 9-21).
Everyone who traveled played
and contributed at key times,"
Michigan coach Greg Giovanazzi
",Michigan's sweep was its first of
the Big Ten season.
urdue was Michigan's first vic-
tim. Earlier in the season, the
Boilermakers handed the Wolverines
their most disappointing loss of the
This time, th Wolverines weren't
about to be disappointed, winning
14-16, 15-10, 17-15, 16-14, in a pun-

ishing match featuring record-break-
ing statistics.
"Purdue tightened up and we
relaxed (in game three)," Giovanazzi
said. "That was the difference."
After pulling out a close game three
and going up 2-1 in the match, the
Wolverines fell behind in game four,
13-6. But Michigan didn't buckle
under pressure, going on an 11-1 run
to win the game and the match.
"Karen Chase was on fire in
games two and four," Giovanazzi
said. "Linnea (Mendoza) did an
excellent job of getting the ball to the
players who were hot."
All kinds of team and individual
records were set during the victory.
Mendoza recorded 80 assists to
break Michigan's single-match assist
Chase scored 27 kills, Sarah
Jackson had nine blocks, Shareen
Luze recorded four aces and Linsey
Ebert had eight digs and seven blocks
- all of which were career highs.

Michigan also set team season
highs in kills (93), attempts (210),
assists (88) and total blocks (17).
"This win was won with team
effort," Giovanazzi said.
The Wolverines then traveled to
Bloomington to close out the final
road trip of the season.
Although Michigan eventually
won, 14-16, 15-9, 15-7, 15-4, it was
the loss in game one that set the tone
for the match.
The Wolverines rallied from an I I-
3 deficit to tie the game at 13-13.
After trading points in a short stand-
off, Indiana recorded the final two
points to win the first game.
However, the momentum generat-
ed by the Wolverines carried them to
three straight victories and the
"We just got better as the match
went along," Giovanazzi said.
"Games two, three and four were all
us. There were great performances
from a lot of players."

Chase led the offensive barrage of
76 kills with 19, as the Wolverines
recorded a hitting percentage of
.371. Jackson recorded 18 kills and
Luze had 17 to contribute to
Michigan's victory. Luze also added
three aces.
"Our hitters did a solid job and our
setters ran a well-distributed
offense' Giovanazzi said.
Mendoza, as has been the trend all
season, kept the defense guessing by
running a balanced offense, distrib-
uting the ball to several attackers.
She finished the match with 50
With the weekend's victories, the
Wolverines have distanced them-
selves somewhat from the bottom
half of the division.
Having concluded the final road
trip of the year, the Wolverines have
only two matches remaining. Next
weekend, Iowa and Illinois visit
Cliff Keen Arena to finish up the

Inued from PaV 1B
going to be unhappy, because every-
body has the skills~ and then people
begin to forget about team chem-
Makhtar Ndiaye, who transferred
to North Carolina im July 1995, had
similar thoughts on the talent prob-
"At Michigan, (head coach Steve
Sher) recruits a lot of talent, and
erybody comes in here and thinks
he's a superstar," Nfiaye told The
Michigan Daily two summers ago.
Crawford, who left Michigan for
Rice in 1995, says it -was just this
sort of talent overload that caused
him to head south.
"At Michigan, where they have
other people who are just as good, if
not better than you around, you don't
o a chance to show that," Crawford
says. "I think everybody feels like
they could get a better chance going
to a smaller school where maybe the
talent level isn't that great, where
you have a chance to do more
Another factor that Crawford says
prompted him to transfer to Rice,
which is located in his hometown of
Houston, was a difference in how
ayers coming from other states are
ated compared to those players
from in-state.
"All the alumni who support
Michigan and who go to all their
games, they've followed thie kids
from Michigan throughout their high
school careers," Crawford says.
"When it's time to see them in a
Michigan uniform, of course they're
going to have a little more love for
kids that came from Michigan.
"I'm not saying they don't support
the kids from out of state, but it's just
:going to be different: Stuff liketihat I
found would work to my advantage if
I came back home."
In moving from Michigan to the
much smaller, less-publicized Rice
basketball program, one of the dif-
ferences Crawford has noticed is the
'one between Fisher and his curreint
coach, Willis Wilson.
"(Wilson) emphasizes playing
hard and having tough play ...
because the talent he gets is not as
,good as Michigan's, so he has to get
'more out of the players. He empha-
-sizes playing hard for a reason,"
Crawford says.
"(Fisher) gets more talent. He
'doesn't really have to harp on little
plays like diving after loose balls and
uff like that, whereas over here you
St. Jean says that, having come

from overseas, he wasn't as familiar
with U.S. college basketball and the
particulars of a large program as he
would have liked to have been.
Because of that, he says he some-
times tended to lose sight of his
"If you get thrown in a big-time
basketball program like that, there
are a lot of things that you will miss
and that you will not think about,"
St. Jean says.
"You're so blinded by what you do
that you lose the most important rea-
son you're in school, which is to get
an education."
For Crawford, it was the glamour
of the Michigan experience that he
says blinded him to its downsides.
"You see everybody wearing
Michigan jerseys or Michigan gear,"
he says. "You look at that, and you
hear everybody talking about
Michigan, and you see them on TV
all the time.
"When you have a chance to go
and be a part of that, you tend to
overlook a lot of other things."
In recent years, the NCAA has
instituted rules drastically reducing
the amount of contact coaches can
have with recruits.
As a result, incoming players may
not know as much as they should
about the programs they're entering,
and coaches may not know as much
about their sew charges.
Penn State assistant coach Mike
Boyd, who was head coach at
Cleveland State and an assistant at
Michigan before taking his current
job, believes the new rules are
responsible for some of the prob-
"It's very hard to read that some-
times because the NCAA has taken
us (as coaches) completely out of the
loop," Boyd says. "It's very hard to
get to know a kid with the opportuni-
ty of only calling him once a week
and only getting to watch him play
four times."
"When I was at Michigan, I had
the opportunity to get to know those
kids. You can always pick up some
things by having the opportunity to
know the kids you're recruiting," he
Fisher agrees with Boyd's assess-
"You don't get a chance to know
(the recruits) quite as well, because
of the shrinkage in the time you can
recruit off campus, and, more impor-
tantly, the limited number of contacts
and evaluations you can have with
the kids," Fisher says. "Even though
you try to do your research as best
you- can, you don't, nor do (the
recruits), get to know you quite as

Sollenberger in Paradise
Blue volleyball sufers
from lack of tradition
its not easy to build a program, much less a dynasty. Just ask Greg Giovanazzi,
the Michigan volleyball coach."When I got here four years ago, I expected we'd
be further along by this point," Giovanazzi said. "I believe that was the perspec-
tive of a pretty naive first-time head coach coming from extremely successful pro-
When Giovanazzi arrived in Ann Arbor, he had great expectations for Michigan.
And why not?
Success had followed him everywhere in the volleyball world. As a player, he
was part of a national-championship team at UCLA in 1976. Then he was a three-
time All-America selection as part of the 1977 USA Junior National team and both
the 1983 Pan American and World University Games teams.
After his playing days were through, he enjoyed a two-year stint as the top assis-
tant coach for the women's United States National team. In fact, he stepped onto
the Michigan court directly from that team's trip to the 1992 Olympic Games in
Barcelona, Spain.
So why wouldn't his first head-coaching job mirror the successes of his volley-
ball career?
Well, for whatever reason, it hasn't.
This season, with two games remaining on the schedule, the Wolverines are 12-
17, meaning they will finish with a losing record for the third time in Giovanazzi's
five years at Michigan.
The current record is unacceptable to the Wolverines, considering they are part
of one of the nation's most successful athletic departments.
"That's something nobody is satisfied with, not the coaching staff or the players
Giovanazzi said.
While the answers to the Wolverines' problems are elusive, there are three obvi-
ous areas in which they need help - recruiting, scheduling and confidence.
Simply stated, Michigan does not have the talent to play with the Michigan
States and Penn States of the Big Ten. And this begins and ends with recruiting.
"We decided to go after the nation's best prep players," Giovanazzi said. "And
every year we've gotten down to a couple of them between us and Stanford, us and
UCLA, us and Penn State, and lost those."
Michigan could also use some help from the schedule makers. The Wolverines
are constantly ravaged by the nation's top nonconference competition. Prior to the
start of the Big Ten season this year, Michigan dropped matches to five ranked
teams, including then-No. I Hawaii and then-No. 6 UCLA.
"That's really hurt our record over the years," Giovanazzi said. "You know, we
could come in and play the MAC schools over and over again. But we've sched-
uled the Stanfords, UCLAs and Hawaiis."
The murderous nonconference schedules haven't exactly done wonders for
Michigan's confidence. The Wolverines began the Big Ten season this year by
dropping a pair of matches at Iowa and Illinois, after leading each match, 2-1.
"That's a confidence thing when you're up, 2-1," Giovanazzi said. "We need to
come in and be confident when the Big Ten starts. I don't think we were confident
heading into the Big Ten (this season)."
So where do Michigan and Giovanazzi go from here? Can the Wolverines turn
things around? Is a coaching change in order?
Giovanazzi is a popular guy. He is popular with his players. He is popular with
the media. He answers most questions with an appreciated frankness, and he will
tell you, point blank, if he does not want to answer a particular question. He is not'
evasive. And in the day of the evasive coach, his honesty is welcomed.
But he hasn't been alle to win at Michigan, either. The Wolverines haven't been
to the NCAA tournament under Giovanazzi, and they won't receive a bid this year.


Many players, like former Wolverine Olivier St. Jean, have found life on the basket-
ball court a lot less confusing after transferring out of the Michigan program.

well as you used to."
But Fisher says this has nothing to
do with the Wolverines' rash of
"if you look around the country,
you can go into any program you
want ... it's everywhere," he says.
"Nobody wants to have it happen,
but unfortunately that also comes
with the territory when minutes and
playing time are critical."
Michigan certainly is not in a
unique situation when it comes to
players leaving the program.

If there are too many players in
any program, playing time will be an
issue, particularly if the players are
of the caliber that a school like
Michigan attracts.
The opinion among coaches is that
players leaving programs is neither
unusual nor unique to Michigan.
Former Wolverines, however, are
of different minds about why players
seem to be constantly leaking out of
the program.
Whatever the reason, it is a trend
that continues.

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Dialogues among different groups.
-- People of Color & White People


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