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September 08, 1997 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-09-08

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VOLLEYBALL

The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - September 8, 1997 -- 5B

Chase, Wolverines wake up to win two

By Jacob R. Wheeler
Daily Sports Writer
One good night of sleep made all the
difference for the Michigan women's
volleyball team Saturday in the second
annual All Sport Volleyball Challenge.
The Wolverines woke up on the right
side of the bed, sweeping matches from
Eastern Michigan and Montana, after
bowing to Florida State in four games
the night before.
Outside hitter Karen Chase led
Michigan's turnaround with 32 kills
Saturday and a hitting percentage of
.391. The junior looked like an entirely
different person than on Friday night,
when she recorded eight errors in the
loss to the Seminoles. Michigan outside
hitters erred a whopping 21 times in the
{ season's home opener on Friday.
But the Wolverines didn't have any
trouble getting up for their return to
Cliff Keen Arena. Michigan opened the
- weekend with a 15-7 thrashing of the
Seminoles behind the strength of a six-
point run early in the game. Florida
State dominated thereafter, capturing
the next three games and the match, 15-
5, 15-6, 15-12.
"We looked like two different teams,"
JOE WESTRATE/Daily Michigan coach Greg Giovanazzi said.
y, thanks in part to the blocking of "After losing two tough ones (the week
before) I thought we'd be hungry to pull
- but now is an Eagle

the match out."
The Wolverines must have skipped
the team breakfast Saturday morning,
because they appeared extremely hun-
gry against Eastern. Michigan con-
trolled their cross-county rivals the
entire match and disposed of the Eagles
in only 64 minutes, 15-3, 15-8, 15-3.
The day's success continued into the
evening for the Wolverines. Michigan
defeated Montana, 16-14, 15-11, 15-7,
in a series of nailbiters. The victory was
especially sweet for Giovanazzi, who
played under the tutelage of Grizzlies
coach Dick Scott on the U.S. national
team 20 years ago.
Friday night "after the disappointing
loss, coach (Aimee) Smith laid out a
challenge," Giovanazzi said. "Unless we
started playing more ambitious defense,
we were not going to have a successful
season."
"If one thing can be said about both
matches (Saturday), we played really
hard-nosed defense."
That improved defense also trans-
formed Michigan's ailing offense,
resulting in wins in six straight games.
Chase led the charge against Eastern,
hitting .478. But another big factor in
Saturday's turnaround was freshman
Joanna Fielder.
Giovanazzi didn't use Fielder in

Friday night's match and regretted it
afterwards. The middle blocker played
an integral part in Saturday's victories,
hitting .400 in the first match.
"I didn't use Joanna and I probably
should have," the sixth-year coach said.
"Last weekend (middle blocker Linsey)
Ebert was everything for us. I kept hop-
ing she'd catch on Friday but she's
streaky."
Ebert struggled against Florida State,
committing seven errors while hitting

only .087. In fact, the only Wolverines
who had decent performances against
the Seminoles were senior Sarah.
Jackson, who hit .308 with 13 kills, and
Linnea Mendoza.
Mendoza, the team's iron horse setter
recorded 11 I assists over the weekend,
giving her a career total of 3,662 - far
and away the best in Michigan history.
Mendoza was named to her second-con-
secutive All Sport tournament team
along with Chase.

Hui

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The Wolverines won two matches on Saturda
Jeanine Szczesniak, left, and Sarah Jackson.

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I

Cox returns
By Kim Hart
Daily Sports Writer
In 1993, Ramona Cox realized a
*ream when she walked on to the
Michigan women's volleyball team. As
a freshman she never played in a match,
but she bonded with her teammates and
the coaching staff and became a moti-
vator for the team.
She continued to practice and work
out for two more seasons, and in 1995,
as a junior, she made her collegiate
debut. She had two kills and one dig in
match against Toledo.
Coach Greg Giovanazzi labeled her a
model player, and she won the
Coaches' Award in 1995, but her desire
for more playing time prompted her to
leave the team in September 1996.
"I love Ramona to death and I think
she is one of the greatest people I ever
coached," Giovanazzi said. "It was hard
for us to see her go,"
Down the road at Eastern Michigan,
a new head coach was building a pro-
*ram and was looking for some players
to add to her roster. Even though she
would have to sit out a season, Cox saw
an opportunity she could not refuse.
She enrolled at Eastern and played
her first match against her former team-
mates on Saturday morning at Cliff
Keen Arena, in the All Sport Volleyball
Challenge.
"It's exciting to be back," Cox said.
"I've been out for a while and I played
1 a different position, so I was concen-
trating on what I was doing but there is
no tension between us. It was hard to
leave but I had to play so I took advan-
tage of the option to go."
Against the Wolverines, Cox played
in all three games, recording one kill,

Hey

There!

one assist and five digs.
Michigan volunteer coach Shannon
Brownlee, also a former Wolverine
player and captain of the 1995 team, is
happy for her former teammate and
respects the decision she made.
"It's really nice to see that she is play-
ing," Brownlee said. "She worked her
butt off here for so long, and she did
what she was supposed to all the time.
But she really didn't get any reward, so
it's really nice to see that she is getting
it in her last year."
Cox is a player with fierce determi-
nation, and she will do whatever it takes
to play because she simply loves the
game. She not only faced the challenge
of transferring schools, but she had to
learn about a new team and earn a spot
on a roster with people who had been
there all along.
It would take a strong person to come

in, make friends and earn the respect of
the Eagles' team - but that is the kind
of person Cox is.
"I give that girl a lot of credit because
it's tough," Eastern Michigan coach
Kim Berrington said. "When I talked
with the coaches at the University of
Michigan, I said it's got to be a special
kid that can handle the pressure, and
they said she could do it because she's a
great kid.
She came in, she listened, she
learned, she worked her butt off and
made some sound points. My team has
accepted her instantly because of her
work ethic."
Berrington brings Cox in off the
bench because she "makes a spark"
when the team needs a turnaround.
"I can depend on her for a big kill, a
big block or a big dig. I know she is
See COX, Page 12B

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