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October 07, 1996 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-07

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The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - October 7, 1996 - 38

"'M' spikers split
weekend set

SO eS e.y

By Kevin Kasiborski
Daily Sports Writer
EAST LANSING - It is usually
g)ot a good idea to wake a sleeping
giant.
The Michigan women's volleyball
team found that out firsthand on
Friday in a 3-1 loss to No. 9 Michigan
State.
The Wolverines (1-3 Big Ten, 6-9
overall) won the first game, 15-10,
largely on the strength of five service
-aces by five different players.
But Michigan State (4-0, 10-4)
came to life in the second game, blitz-
ing Michigan, 15-3, and the Spartans
played well enough to win games
three and four, by scores of 15-6 and
15-11, respectively.
"We won game one simply because
they made a lot of errors," Michigan
coach Greg Giovanazzi said. "As
aways, Michigan State is a very good
- ocking team, and I think that was
pobably the difference in the match."
Sophomore Linsey Ebert was the
Wolverines leading attacker with i 1
kills.
"(Spartan blockers) are good with
their eyes," she said. "A lot of times
When we were up in the middle, they
had two big solid blockers up.
"I think we could have been more
effective had we tipped more and tried
some deep tipping."
Despite the win, Michigan State
coach Chuck Erbe was concerned
about his team's inconsistency on
offense.
"It was a 'W', but it wasn't pretty,'
Erbe said. "R ieht now. we're not a
pretty team. The important thing is we
scored more points than they did."
Most of those points were scored by
sophomore Jenna Wrobel and junior

Veronica Morales. Wrobel had 20
kills, and Morales 17.
According to Erbe, for Michigan
State to get an offensive rhythm, it
must play a fast-paced match, and the
Wolverines didn't allow them to do
that.
"Michigan used a lot of delay tac-
tics to slow the match down," Erbe
said. "Obviously, all these teams know
that if they play fast, they play right
into us, because we like to play fast.
"I saw more shoelaces untied, wet
spots wiped up, and first tosses (on
serve) hit the floor in a four-game
match than I have seen all month."
Two players came off the bench to
give Michigan a lift. Senior Kristen
Ruschiensky had ten kills, and sopho-
more Anne Poglits had four kills and
four block assists.
Ruschiensky suffered a season-end-
ing knee injury in a match against
Michigan State on Oct. 25th last year.
"Kristen is slowly getting back to
the form that had her among the top-
20 attackers in the nation last year,"
Giovanazzi said.
Poglits, who also plays for the
Michigan women's basketball team, is
playing her first season of college vol-
leyball.
"Anne is just starting to get a real
good grasp on the game," Giovanazzi
said. "I think she is somebody who is
going to be a future power in this con-
ference."
On Saturday, Michigan-got its first
conference victory, recording a 15-1 1,
16-14, 15-13 sweep of Northwestern
(0-4. 9-8).
"It is good to finally get a 'W',"
Giovanazzi said. "But the Big Ten
doesn't get any easier."
Junior Linnea Mendoza's 12th

JOE WESTRATE/Daily
Michigan didn't have enough against Michigan State Friday night. The Wolverines
grabbed the first game, 15-10, before the Spartans took the next three games to
seal the match. The Wolverines fared better Saturday night, beating Northwestern.

assist of the match uave her 2.620 for
her career, moving her past Tarnisha
Thompson and into first place in the
Michigan record book. Mendoza fin-
ished the night with 43 assists.

Sonhomore Karen Chase was the
beneficiary of most of those assists
with 17 kills. Jeanine Szczesniak, also
a sophomore, had a career-best eight
block assists and four aces.

*Seventh player becomes asset for Spartans

BARRY
SOLLENBERGER
Sollenberger in Paradise
Carras an example for
coaches nationwide
Jim Carras doesn't lie about the status of the Michigan men's golf program.
He won't tell you that his team equals other Michigan athletic programs. He
also knows his team isn't a national power, and he's not afraid to say so. He
knows his team doesn't normally contend in the Big Ten, and he has no problems
with admitting that, either.
"We're not going to win the national championship" Carras said. "Our caliber
of player isn't that strong. Realistically, we haven't won the Big Ten in 50 years
How the hell are we going to win the national championship if we can't win the
Big Ten?"
What!!?? A Michigan coach admitting that his team can't compete for a Big
Ten title, let alone the national title? Blasphemy! After all, isn't this Michigan,
home of the leaders and the best?
Sure.
The Wolverines have one of the top athletic programs in the country: Fans,
coaches and players alike expect Michigan to have success in major as well as
minor sports.
Carras expects victories, too. It's just that golf isn't his top priority.
"My basic philosophy - and I've said this a 1,000 times - is you come to
Michigan, first and foremost, to get your degree" he said. "And secondly, to play
collegiate golf. That's the order we always keep it in."
Imagine that? A coach who honestly believes that academics are more impor
tant than athletics.
"That's his philosophy," said senior Kyle Dobbs, Michigan's No. I golfer. "You
can also argue that's why we're not in competition for the Big Ten and the nation-
al title."
People often think that since Michigan has such an esteemed athletic reputa-
tion, every team automatically has an advantage over other, lesser schools.
Therefore, if the Wolverines aren't a power in a certain sport, it must be the
coach's fault. It could never be due to a lack of talent. After all, why would top
recruits ever want to go anywhere elses?
In actuality, it's much more complicated than that.
Just because Michigan has one of the top athletic programs in the nation does-
n't mean that all of its sports teams are excellent.
The Michigan men's golf program is a prime example.
Over the years, Carras has coached his share of solid golfers, but the
Wolverines have never had the talent to compete with the powerhouses in the
South and on the West Coast. Carras doesn't even recruit the nation's best high
school golfers.
"Michigan being Michigan, you are going to have terrible weather conditions,"
he said. "You are not going to recruit the best athletes in the nation. It's just com-
mon sense. They're going to go where they can play everyday. They're going to
go into programs that can give them more exposure than we can give them."
This "terrible weather" excuse is older than the Egyptian pyramids. But that
doesn't make it any less applicable to Michigan. The NCAA allows collegiate
golf teams to choose from three different schedules in preparation for the NCAA
championships in June. Most warm weather schools start the season later than
Michigan and play straight through May.
The Wolverines can't do that.
Each year, their schedule is completely broken up by the weather. Michigan
has to play a slate of tournaments in the fall and then take a few months off
before resuming play in the spring.
"When we go on our spring trip, it's generally going to be the first time we're
going to put a ball on the grass since the previous fall," Carras said. "It's a world
of difference trying to get ready in two weeks as opposed to playing all year
round. But where are we going to play in January and February?"
Imagine if the football team couldn't practice during the summer months. I '
would be rusty until mid-October ever year.
But all of these issues don't necessarily explain why Carras and his team don't
regularly contend in the conference.
The Wolverines haven't won the Big Ten or gone to the NCAA tournament
since 1952, and they've only reached the NCAA central regional once in school
history. Until Carras is willing to change his philosophy, the Wolverines aren't
likely to achieve significant success on the course.
But that hardly means he doesn't care if his team never wins another tourna-
ment.
"Absolutely, he's a competitive coach," Dobbs said. "But the talent that comes
to Michigan isn't as good. But I'm 100 percent behind him pushing education.
With most coaches, it's vice-versa. He's absolutely right that education is No. "'
Michigan's overall athletic success is virtually unparalleled, but it could use
more coaches like Carras, too.
Coaches who recruit student-athletes who actually attend class. Coaches who
have the right philosophy about college - first academics, ther hletics.
Come to think of it, Michigan isn't the only school who could use more coacr-
es like Jim Carras.
Every school could.
- Barry Sollenberger can be reached over email atjsol@umich.edu

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Student Rates Daily after 6pm
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By Sharat Raju
Daily Sports Writer
EAST LANSING - The sign hang-
ing from the balcony of Michigan
State's Jenison Fieldhouse says, "Don't
worry, 7th player is here."
Actually, there were 3,121 "seventh"
players when Michigan lost to the
*Spartans on Saturday. If you've ever
been in the old, spacious fieldhouse
where basketball games featuring Magic
Johnson were once played, this size
crowd may not seem that impressive.
But look at this figure more closely.
Cliff Keen Arena holds 1,800 - less
than half as much as Saturday's crowd.
The largest Michigan crowd ever was
2,137, still about a thousand less.
Saturday's crowd was the fifth largest to
Over watch Michigan State volleyball.
Pretty remarkable.
But it wasn't the size of the crowd that
mattered as much as the energy of the
fans.
There were face-painters, including
one individual completely painted in
green except for a gigantic white "S"
painted on each side of his body.
Countless fog-horn blasts and thunder-
ous music were accompanied by almost
as many standing ovations as a
residential address to Congress. Not to
mention the mini-blimp floating around,
similar to the ones in basketball venues
across the nation.
Top that off with a Big Ten ring cere-
mony before the match, recognizing
Michigan State as last season's confer-
ence champion.

Imagine having to bring your team to
face that, not to mention the highest
ranked team in the Big Ten. It's certain-
ly intimidating.
"(The crowd) brings a whole new
dimension to the competition,"
Michigan State coach Chuck Erbe said.
"It's a carnival, and basically the center-
piece of it is the volleyball competition,
which happens to be very good."
Michigan State's program has seen a
turnaround over the last several years,
highlighted by an NCAA semifinal
berth last season. Volleyball fever has hit
East Lansing.
"Even when we're off the court and in
the community, people recognize us and
give us support," Michigan State's Val
Sterk said. "It's really important (for
us)."
So why the sudden interest in volley-
ball?
"Just about everywhere we go in the
Big Ten, we're getting these great
crowds," Michigan coach Greg
Giovanazzi said. "The fans, compared
to a year or two ago, understand the
game better."
But why hasn't that volleyball fever
transferred to the Michigan crowd? If
Michigan State can draw 1,995, why
can't the Michigan faithful fill Cliff
Keen Arena's 1,800?
"I think it's winning" Erbe said. "If
you don't win, people don't come.
There's no real rocket science to it.
Whether you win ugly, whether you
dominate or you don't, if the end result
is you beat your opponent, people get

excited.
"It creates a feel good environment
- you come, you watch your local
sports team play, they win, you feel
good and all's well with the world in that
particular period in time."
There are several possible reasons for
the difference between the two schools
- the distance to Cliff Keen Arena, the
amount of work or just a general lack of
interest.
But while the Spartans don't have a
high-tech scoreboard with cute little
graphics, a new arena or even a wood
floor like the Wolverines do, the stu-
dents still fill the venue to the brim,
making it seem like a party atmosphere.
"I don't think anyone really has any
idea of the immense value of having
community support for your program,"
Erbe said.
Although the crowd isn't solely
responsible for wins and losses, it can
help. Having stolen game one of the
match, the Wolverines found out that the
Spartans were not an unbeatable power-
house. The Wolverines lost the match,
maybe because the crowd managed to
boost the Spartans to prevent a
Michigan upset.
"Playing in front of these great
crowds ... if you're an athlete, it makes
you better," Giovanazzi said. "The
atmosphere is exactly what a coach
wants to coach in and what a player
wants to play in."
East Lansing has caught volleyball
fever - maybe Ann Arbor can catch it,
too.

Key match stats
Michigan Michigan St.
Kills 50 65
Errors 32 25
Aces 6 7
Digs 64 68
Blocks 12 22
Sets 44 58
Hitting Pct. .105 .244
IMI schedule
Home games In hold
Date Team Time
Oct. 11 Wisconsin 7 p.m. *
Oct. 12 Minnesota 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 Ohio State 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 19 Penn State 7:30 p.m.
*"Rock the House V" The first five
hundred fans that arrive at the Oct.
11 Michigan-Wisconsin game at
Cliff Keen Arena will receive a free
T-shirt commemorating the night's
match.

M' women tankers swim in intrasquad meet

By Nancy Berger
Daily Sports Writer
There usually isn't much school
spirit and cheer on Michigan's cam-
pus at 9:30 on a Saturday morning.
Most students are tucked away in
their beds recuperating from a long
eek of classes or recovering from a
ig night on the town.
Despite the lack of peppiness, there
were some wide-eyed, early risers on
Saturday who could be heard making
-some noise down on South campus.
At Canham Natatorium, the
Michigan women's swimming team
clapped and shouted for each other at
their intrasquad meet.
The crowd on hand to watch the
aize team defeat the Blue team,
"119-109, was small, but they joined in
the wave and sung a couple of verses
of Happy Birthday to swimmer Jen
Eberwein.
"(Head coach) Jim (Richardson)
and I were pleased," assistant coach

"They swam a lot of off events
today," Hill said. "The times were
good considering that they have only
been in the water for two weeks of
hard training."
Some of the best swims of the day
came from senior Jodi Navta and
freshman standout Shannon
Shakespeare.
Navta, who is one of four co-cap-
tains, blew away her teammates in
both the 100 and 200-meter breast-
stroke.
In the 100 breaststroke, Navta
touched the wall almost six seconds
ahead of the next Wolverine.
In the 200 breaststroke, Navta won
by almost more than 11 seconds.
Shakespeare is the Canadian
national record holder in the 100 and
U g

50 free.
At the meet, the 1996 Olympian
was just half a second off the pool
record in the 100 meter freestyle.
Shakespeare's time of 58.51 was
almost four seconds ahead of Kim
Johnson.

"A lot of freshmen are still adjust-
ing and they don't have the experi-
ence that Shannon does. They are still
trying to find themselves," Hill said.
"They all want to excel and want to
prove something. Sometimes they try
to over-excel early."

44
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