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September 26, 1997 - Image 14

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-09-26

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14 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 26, 1997

'M' soccer shoots for sixth straight.

By Joe Reubens
For the Daily
What a difference a year makes.
After compiling a ghastly 6-15 Big Ten
record the past three years, Michigan is
coming into this weekend undefeated in the
conference (2-0). But the Wolverines have
a rough time ahead of them.
Michigan, 7-1 overall faces the dual chal-
lenge of conference rivals Wisconsin and
Northwestern this weekend to keep its pris-
tine mark intact.
Wisconsin - Michigan's opponent at 3
p.m. today on Michigan Soccer Field - has
been Michigan's Achilles' heel since the
women's soccer team was formed four years
ago.
In their five meetings, the Wolverines
have wound up on the short end of the stick
every time.
"We have played Wisconsin five times,
twice in the playoffs, and we have never
beaten them," Michigan coach Debbie
Belkin said. "We have tied them once and
came close a few times, but we have never
won."
Nevertheless, the Wolverines are opti-
mistic. Despite Michigan's lackluster histo-
ry against the Badgers, the Wolverines were

in high spirits at yesterday's practice, eager-
ly awaiting today's first contest. Ranked
15th in the country and having home field
advantage, the Wolverines are the likely
favorites this time around, riding a team-
record five-game winning streak.
For once, it appears the shoe is on the
other foot.
"We are taking it easy," freshman goalie
Carissa Stewart said. "We feel real strong
and confident right now and we are looking
forward to this weekend's games.
"Wisconsin and Northwestern are some
of the better teams we are going to face this
year, but we're just as good and we know
we can get the job done."
After facing the Badgers today, the
Wolverines will have their hands full with
Northwestern (0-2 Big Ten, 4-3 overall) at
2 p.m. at Michigan Soccer Field.
Northwestern has had difficulty beating Big
Ten teams, though, succumbing to
Minnesota and Penn State
Michigan has had good luck with
Northwestern in the past, taming the
Wildcats in two out of the three times they
have faced each other.
The Wolverines are still riding high after
their 4-1 romp of conference rival Ohio

"We have played
Wisconsin five times
ME ad we have
never beaten then. 3
- Debbie Belkin
Michigan soccer coach
State last Saturday. The Wolverines
crushed the Buckeyes, holding them scote-
less until the final minutes of play last
Sunday.
Sophomore phenom Amber Berendowsky
is already setting records in her short tenure
as a Wolverine. With her next goal or assist,
Berendowsky will break her own single-sea-
son point record, which she set last year as
a freshman with 19 points.
"This year she is more physical and more
comfortable," Belkin said of her star player.
"After being quiet as a freshman, she is
communicating more."
Berendowsky has scored 19 points this
season in eight games, twice as fast as she
did last season.

Carrie Brady and
the Michigan
soccer team are
riding a team-
record five-game
win streak. The
Wolverines host
conference foes
Wisconsin and
Northwestern this
weekend, start-
ing with the
Badgers at 3 p.m
today.
JOHN KRAFT/Daiy

FILE PHOTO
Jeanine Szczesniak and Sarah Jackson open the Big Ten season in Minnesota
and Iowa this weekend. Today, the Wolverines take on the 10-1 Gophers.
Real season set to
start for 'M' spikers

By T.. Berka
Daily Sports Writer
Forget everything you have seen and
read about the Michigan volleyball
team. Think of the past four weeks as
though they never happened, because
starting this weekend, the games really
count for something.
After a 7-4 preseason dress rehearsal,
the Wolverines begin their conference
season this weekend, with matches at
Minnesota (10-1) tonight and at Iowa (7-
4) tomorrow night.
Traditionally, this is the point of the
season where the Wolverines have the
most trouble. Since 1982, the
Wolverines are 3-12 in their Big Ten
openers, with their last conference-open-
ing victory in 1995.
"One of our goals this year was to
start out strong in-conference, because
we have started out slow during the past
few years," Michigan coach Greg
Giovanazzi said. "We have barely
missed the tournament the past few
years, a lot of it due to slow starts in Big
Ten play."
The road to a strong conference start
isn't easy, however, as the Wolverines
have to play Minnesota. The Gophers
have owned the Wolverines, posting a
26-4 record against Michigan since
1979. The Wolverines are looking to
build on last year's trip to Minneapolis,
in which they defeated the Gophers in
three consecutive games.
"(The Gophers) have a lot of person-
nel returning from last year," Giovanazzi
said. "Their building is a tough place to
play, but we have a lot of confidence
from winning there last year."
Minnesota also presents a different
look for the Wolverines. The Gophers
employ an attack in which two players
pass during an offensive set, as opposed
to the regular attack, in which one play-
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er sets up another for a kill.
After the Minneapolis trip, the
Wolverines travel a few hours south to
Iowa City to face the Hawkeyes. While
Iowa was rated only ninth in the presea-
son Big Ten coaches poll, the'
Wolverines are very wary of tlO
Hawkeyes and their star outside hitter,
Jennifer Bell, the only senior on the
team.
"They moved (Bell) up front, trying
to get her more involved this year;'
Giovanazzi said. "We are looking to
direct many of our sets toward her."
During the preseason, Giovanazzi
expressed concern about the confidence
level of the Wolverines and was worried
that their insecurity might carry into tl
conference schedule.
Those worries are of no relevance
now, however, thanks to a sweep of
Duke and North Carolina last weekend.,
"Last weekend was a perfect anti
dote," Giovanazzi said. "We reverse4
what we did the first weekend of the seat
son, and now our spirits are high and we
are looking forward to the start of the
Big Ten season."
Unfortunately for the Wolverine
junior outside hitter Karen Chase wi,
not be starting her Big Ten season this
weekend, due to a disc problem in her
back. Chase was injured during the All=
Sport Challenge three weeks ago.
Chase "started practicing again
Tuesday, but only lightly," Giovanazzi
said. "We are keeping her home this
weekend. but we hope to have on the
bench for our home matches next week."
Several Wolverines have shown th
ability to pick up Chase's slack, led1
senior middle blocker Sarah Jackson,
who is assured of having her own cheer-
ing section against the Gophers. The
middle blocker is a native of Alexandria,
Minn
Pick up -R
Football SaturdaywY
tomorrow on the *
way to the game.
U'S Records
&U.sed d

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