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September 03, 1996 - Image 71

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-09-03

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The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - September 3, 1996 - 5F

Women 's
Ihoops
struggles
By m Rose
Dai4ySports Writer
h 1996, each women's basketball
te in the Big Ten eventually saw its
season end in a loss. In that respect,
Mtphigan was like the rest of the con-
fereice. But the similarities between the
yerines and the rest of their league
end there.
The Big Ten is perennially among the
tog women's basketball conferences in
the country - no thanks to Michigan.
Witt just 12 league victories over the past
sxseasons, the Wolverines have become
a fixture among Big Ten doormats.
Last year the Wolverines were 1-15 in
the Big Ten, 7-20 overall.
The injury bug has bitten Michigan
ch Trish Roberts' teams hard in the
Xt few years, and the unfortunate tra-
dition continued in 1996. Freshman
Ann Lemire suffered a torn anterior cru-
ciate ligament just seven games into the
season, the fourth Wolverine to suffer a
season-ending injury in as many years.
Lemire was averaging 10 points per
game when she got hurt.
Michigan was led by sophomore cen-
terPollyanna Johns, who paced the team
in scoring (14.5 per game) and rebound-
(9.9 per game). After missing most
o her freshman season due to an ACL
tear, the 6-foot-3 Johns' athleticism
opened eyes around the Big Ten in-her
first full season.
The Wolverines' lone senior in '96, co-
captain Jennifer Brzezinski, finished her
Michigan career with a strong second
half of the season. "Breeze," as her team-
mates called her, provided quiet leader-
ship for the young squad, averaging more
(On seven points and five rebounds per
game. Her departure brought Johns to
tears after the final home game.
''m gonna iniss her," Johns said. "She
helped me through (my knee injury), and
she'q always been there for me."
Jennifer Kiefer and Akisha Franklin
shared point guard duties throughout the
season. Kiefer - listed generously at 5-
foot,7 in the Wolverines' media guide -
led the team in assists and minutes, and

Soccer returns starting
squad, looks to improve

* Big Ten women's
competition getting
tougher as well
By Donald Adamok
Daily Sports Writer
If the Michigan's women's soccer team wants to improve on
its 1995 season, it should have one goal - to score more goals.
Last season the Wolverines were 7-11-2, and only 1-5-1 in
the Big Ten, finishing in last place. Head coach Debbie Belkin
expected to see a better performance out of the team, and will
be looking for the improvement again this year.
Women's soccer has only been a varsity sport for two years
at Michigan, after a long history as a club sport. In the team's
first season it compiled an 11-7-1 record, but had most of its
wins against easy non-conference opponents. In its second sea-
son, the team returned 13 players, including its top five scorers.
"I will go into this year," Belkin said before the 1995 season,
"with the same expectations as last year, with a little higher
expectations on the close games we lost last year."
It didn't happen. Playing a much tougher slate than the pre-
vious season, the Wolverines matched their loss total from
their rookie campaign halfway through the season.
The reason for the losses was lack of offense. While hold-
ing opponents to only 1.65 goals a game, Michigan failed to
score enough to win. The Wolverines did average slightly more
than their opponents (1.85 goals a game), but that figure does
not accurately represent the season.
Michigan scored 13 of its 37 goals in a weekend sweep of

cream puffs Creighton and Valparaiso.
The Wolverines' offensive threat came mostly in two
juniors, midfielder Debbie Flaherty and forward Ruth Poulin.
Flaherty set the school record for goals in a season last year,
with 17. She also became the first Michigan player selected to
the first team All-Big Ten. Her play is characterized by a con-
trolled aggressiveness that, combined with good speed, helps
her get many loose balls.
Poulin fell one short of the school record for goals in a sea-
son, with seven. She probably would have topped Kim Phillips'
record had she remained healthy. However, an ankle injury
forced her to miss eight games, and slowed her in others.
Wolverine soccer should improve this year - every starter
returns from the team that started six freshmen all season.
The record may not. Women's soccer is new to the Big Ten,
added the same year Michigan's club gained varsity status.
Only one senior made last season's first team All-Big Ten.
roster, and no club had more than four seniors start. Severar
schools added women's soccer the same year Michigan did,
and have rosters just as young as the Wolverines. Fans should
see improvement across the Big Ten, as well as at Michigan.
And fans do see. Last season the Wolverines opened a new
field, Michigan Soccer Stadium, located on South State Street
south of Yost Ice Arena. Despite chilly weather for most of the
home games, Michigan drew 4,407 fans, 19th best in the nation.
The Wolverines will first see action in a scrimmage against
Notre Dame on Aug. 26. Five days later will be the first offi-
cial game of the year, at Butler University. Michigan Soccer
Stadium will not see action until Sept. 17, when the Universi-
ty of Toledo comes for Michigan's home opener.

KRISTEN SCHAEFER/Daily
Pollyanna Johns grabs a rebound in a game last season. Johns was one of the team
leaders in scoring and rebounding in her first full season.

Injuries slow pace of
women's cross country

remains Michigan's all-time percentage
leader from 3-point range, shooting
.404 from behind the arc for her career.
Franklin, who led the Wolverines in
steals, turned her game up a notch in the
second half of the season and wound up
averaging 10.8 points per game.
Forward Amy Johnson saw less play-
ing time, but still showed flashes of bril-
liance on offense. Johnson's 93 3-point-
ers - in just three seasons - are good
enough to make her Michigan's all-time
career leader from downtown.
Silver Shellman, Tiffany Willard and
Catherine DiGiacinto combined to pro-
vide muscle in the paint for the Wolver-
ines. Shellman's hustle showed in the
steal department, where she was third
best on the team - despite spending
most of her minutes in the low post. The
energetic DiGiacinto, despite spending
much of the season in a state of near-

mummification to ease her sore legs,
sparked the squad with her hustle on
more than one occasion.
Michigan got off to a strong start last
season, winning six of nine non-confer-
ence games. But once the Big Ten season
hit full stride, the Wolverines found
themselves outmanned. The only win
Michigan managed in the last 18 games
came against lowly Minnesota. The sea-
son ended, mercifully, in an 89-79 loss to
Northwestern in the Big Ten tournament.
Things look to improve for Michigan
in coming seasons - and not only
because they can't get any worse. The
team lost only Brzezinski to graduation,
and a healthy Lemire will make her
return in 1996-97. With nine of their top
10 players returning, the Wolverines will
make the transition from a young team
to an experienced one - and maybe,
with a little luck, even a healthy one.

McGregor places 8th
at Big Tens, wins
Freshman of the Year
By Nancy Berger
Daily Sports Writer
The beginning of Michigan's 1995
cross-country season seemed to pick up
where the successful 1994 campaign
concluded.
The Wolverines were ranked third
nationally and opened their season with
impressive showings at Miami Univer-
sity (Ohio) and Boston College.
After the Boston College meet,
Michigan was like a deflated tire, as if
all the air was let out when the team
crossed unkind terrain.
Michigan headed west to confront
opponents in Montana and Washington.
The Wolverines' departure coincided
with a decline in their national ranking,
and a run of injuries.
Senior co-captain Courtney Babcock
was sidelined with a back injury after
competing at Boston College.
The veteran eventually returned to
action at the Big Ten championships,
more than a month later.
Probably the biggest injury setback
was to sophomore All-American
Pauline Arnill, who fell to a lower back
injury.

Arnill - Michigan's most consistent
performer - was unable to compete at
Big Tens in Minneapolis, Minn. Her
injury was all the more disappointing
for the squad because it came just as
Babcock returned to the lineup.
Indeed, injuries would ultimately hin-
der Michigan's chances of capturing its
fourth consecutive Big Ten title.
Babcock never really regained her
early-season form, as the No. 14
Wolverines relinquished the conference
title to Wisconsin.
Michigan also had to fend off some
tough competition from Penn State,
which hung tough in head-to-head races
with the Wolverines.
The highlight of Michigan's appear-
ance at Big Tens was freshman Katie
McGregor.
Placing eighth overall, McGregor
was the top Wolverine runner and first
among Big Ten freshmen. The perfor-
mance earned McGregor Big Ten Fresh-
man of the Year honors.
McGregor - the only freshman in
the regular lineup - evolved into a sea-
soned veteran, competing in seven of
Michigan's eight meets.

When the Wolverines traveled to the
District IV championships at Purdue,
they found themselves in a much less
favorable position than the one they had
been in the previous season, when they
entered with a No. 4 ranking.
Prior to the 1995 district meet, Michi-
gan was No. 12, and just looking to gain
ground on the Badgers while attempting
to qualify for the NCAA Champi-
onships.
With Arnill and Babcock both in the
lineup for the first time since Boston
College, the Wolverines closed the gap
with Wisconsin.
Michigan beat the Badgers by five
points, winning the district title for the
third consecutive year and earning an
automatic bid to the NCAAs.
The victory pushed the Wolverines to
No. 7 in the national polls heading into
the national meet at Iowa State.
Michigan's 199-point effort it
NCAAs placed them exactly as the poll-
sters had expected, in the seventh spot.
Wolverines Arnill and Michelle
Slater gained All-American status by
finishing No. 23 and No. 35, respec-
tively.

Men's golf returns 9 starters

By Will McCahil
Daily Sports Writer
No matter how the 1995-96 season
turned out for the Michigan men's golf
,team, there is one thing one can say
;out the squad.
The future is bright.
-The team lost only one player from the
group that finished in a fourth-place tie at
Big Ten championships. Although that
player was senior captain Chris Brock-
way, Wolverine coach Jim Carras said he
b)elieves he can count on his returning
layers to fill Brockway's spikes.
"I not only expect us to be better, I'm
going to make sure of it," Carras said.
t if they don't come back ready to play,
Oy won't be on the team."
The highlight of the fall season,
according to Carras, was the Big Ten
championships.
"I saw a determination to be better, to
Olay better," Carras said. "Things went
the way they should have been going all
season. The guys looked like they had a
sincere interest in trying to be the best."
Michigan's best fall showing was at
tober's Florida Atlantic Invitational,
here the squad finished fifth in a field

"I not only expect
us to be better,
I'm going to make
sure of it"I
-- Jim Carras
Men's golf coach
of 18 teams. Junior David Jasper led the
Wolverines, carding a three-round total
of 228 to finish tied for sixth place in the
final event of the autumn schedule.
Unfortunately for Carras and the team,
the momentum from that tournament
couldn't carry through the long winter
layoff. Michigan did not finish its first
tournament of the new year, and then
placed No. 11 out of 14 at the Dr. Pepper
Invitational on March 30-31. Jasper was
again the top Wolverine finisher, tying
for the No. 16 spot with a 226.
April, however, started out well for the
team. Michigan came out of the Marshall
Invitational with a ninth-place showing.

May's Big Ten championships brought
junior Brent Idalski to the fore. Idalski's
opening round of 71 helped him to the
ninth-place spot , Michigan's top finisher.
As a team, the Wolverines finished 22
shots behind the Buckeyes, who won the
conference tournament for the second
consecutive season.
"I thought it was a very disappointing
season," Carras said. "My expectations
were obviously very high, and I don't
think they materialized, frankly."

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