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October 07, 1997 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-07

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 7, 1997

lcers concerned about


early defensive miscues

By Chris Farah
Daily Sports Writer
The defensive errors were glaring.
Sloppy passes and give-aways in its own zone.
Defensemen getting caught up-ice, permitting multiple
odd-man rushes.
The Michigan hockey team's defensive problems were
obvious in Saturday night's Blue/White game, and it
bothered one pair of eyes in particular - those of
Michigan coach Red Berenson.
"That's a big concern, obviously," Berenson said.
"We're lacking experience, and I think our defensemen
are still looking to find themselves. It's early, we're going
to make some mistakes, and we made some mistakes
One of the primary unknowns is the performance of
the freshmen. Rookies make up a sizable chunk of
Michigan's defensive corps, accounting for four of the
Wolverines' eight blueliners.
As the season gets underway, freshman Mike Van Ryn has
the best chance out of the youngsters to make an early impact,
according to Berenson. Van Ryn said that the freshmen
defensemen are going to have to get used to playing a less
offensive-style of game at the college level.
"A lot of us are more offensive," Van Ryn said. "We
came in being offensive players. Coach (Berenson) has
been helping us along with that, and a lot of the system
is new to us, so it's taking some getting used to. But I'm
sure with another week of practice we'll be all right."
Berenson said he is optimistic about the development
of the freshmen.
"Overall, I thought some of the young players played
pretty well," Berenson said. "Dave Huntzicker has con-
tinued to be a pretty steady player. Van Ryn is going to
be a good defenseman in this league. I hope they all
learned something."

But if the freshmen are to adjust successfully, it's up to
the upperclassmen to show them the way. Berenson said
that players like junior Bubba Berenzweig and sopho*
more Kevin Magnuson are going to have to assume lead-
ership roles.
"Berenzweig - he's a player we expect more from,"
Berenson said. "If he wants to take a leadership role as
one of our upperclassmen on defense, he'll have to real-
ly' improve. As a unit, we're still a long way from being
the defense we want to be."
Mental errors and small, but fundamental mistakes
added up to big problems in the Blue/White game.
"We don't look for a lot of offense from our defense;
we look for a lot of defense, and not turnovers, and no
give-aways, and not getting trapped up the ice and no
getting beat one-on-one," Berenson said. "That's not the
Michigan defense that I want."
Michigan captain Matt Herr said the difficulties would
have to be ironed out, but that they're nothing to panic
about it - at this point in the season, anyway.
"You can definitely see things we need to work on,"
Herr said. "Covering rebounds, picking up your man in
front of the net, breaking the puck out over the glass,
things like that - things that definitely show up that you
don't want.
"We're going to be a team that learns from our mis.
takes, and hopefully down the stretch in the last 15 or 20
games, we'll be right there playing for the national cham-
Berenson said that improving the defense would be a
season-long process, and not something that would be
accomplished in a week or two.
"It's going to take some time," he said. "We'll get bet-
ter every week. We have to try to take the pressure off our
defense. "We got a lot to learn, we got a lot to work on,
and we'll be working on this all year."

The pressure could be mounting for Michigan hockey forwards like Sean Ritchlin. If Saturday's Blue/White intrasquad exhibi-
tion was any indication, the Wolverines' defense might be somewhat suspect this season, due to the abundance of freshmen.

Continued from Page 11
for the victory. Paradzik met fellow
teammate Brook Blain in the finals,
whom he dispatched easily, 6-2, 6-0.
Raiton's road to the finals was the
reverse of Paradzik. He met teammate
John Long in the semifinals before fac-
ing Duke's Ramin Pejan in the finals.
Raiton beat Pejon in two sets, 7-5, 6-4.
Raiton also found success in the dou-
bles draw, teaming up with Wright to
win their bracket. The tandem won four-
straight matches en route the champi-
onship, never really being challenged
until the finals.
The other doubles champion team was
composed of Swan and Blain. After a
bye in the first round, the team won two
tight matches, 9-8 and 9-7, before defeat-
ing the Notre Dame tandem of Sachire
and Miller in a comparatively temperate
match -doubles matches are decided in
a single set of eight games.
"We made a lot of progress this week-
end," Eisner said. "Our performance ver-
ifies the fact that we're a top-level team."
The immediate success of the team
has apparently changed the attitude of
the players.
"This team has pulled a 180 from last
year" Wright said. "Last season, it was
rough getting out of bed for the last day
of these three-day tournaments. We had
the mindset ofjust wanting to go home.
"This year, we understand that we
have a job to do and are ready to go out
and play."
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No. 11 Spartans still
waiting for first test

EAST LANSING (AP) - Michigan
State will be favored to rack up its fifth-
straight victory this weekend when it
plays Indiana.
But the Spartans won't know how
good they are until they face a top-
ranked opponent.
Oh, there are hints. You don't outscore
your foes, 147-48, unless you're pretty
good, no matter how weak they are.
But only when 11 th-ranked
Michigan State plays Michigan and
Ohio State and even Northwestern will
the Spartans get an accurate assess-
ment. While upsets are always possi-
ble, Indiana, 1-4 for the year, doesn't
figure to be much of a test.
But even with Michigan State's 4-0
start, the first time that's happened since
1966, Spartan coach Nick Saban still has
some things he'd like to see his team do
"At times I think we've played very
well. At other times, we see things we
need to improve on," Saban said yester-
day. "We have a ways to go in improving
as a team to play with more consistency
and be able to do it for 60 minutes in a

Despite Indiana's poor record, Saban
is not taking the Hoosiers for grantedO
He knows any Big Ten team can rise up
to embarrass an overconfident opponent
- or one looking ahead to the big teams
on their schedule.
"Indiana has a young team that's play-
ing hard and aggressive," he said.
"They're very well coached. I think
they've probably played as tough a
schedule as anyone in the country to this
The Hoosiers have only a win ove*
Ball State to show against losses to
North Carolina, Kentucky, Wisconsin
and Michigan. But Saban doesn't down-
play Indiana's talent.
"This is a capable team,' Saban said.
"They play hard on defense," and offen-
sively sophomore Jay Rodgers is devel-
oping into ad quarterback.
Spartan players have adopted Saban's
focus-on-the-next-game approach. "The
first thing you do is establish a wor4
ethic,' he said. With Indiana on the
schedule Saturday, Michigan and Ohio
State can wait.

UCLA improves,
focuses on 'basic stuff'

Sedrick Irvin and his Michigan State teammates have outscored their opponents, 147-48, enroute to their first 4-0 start since
1966. The Spartans are still awaiting their first real test, and will play 1-4 Indiana this weekend.

coming Monday.

some kind of a roll, having scored 172
points in its last three games - the most
in any three-game span in school history
- while allowing only 40.
What's the secret?
Nothing startling, UCLA coach Bob
Toledo said yesterday. Just basic stuff,
like added experience, improved execu-
tion because of the added experience and
plenty of hard work in practice.
It's obviously helped that a ball-hawk-
ing defense has forced 24 turnovers -
the most in the country - while the
offense has committed only five. The 3.8
turnover margin also leads the nation.
Individually, quarterback Cade
McNown has become one of the nation's
most efficient quarterbacks; tailback
Skip Hicks leads the country in scoring
with his 15 touchdowns; and other
Bruins are doing their jobs, too.
It's been some run. But Toledo knows
nothing can be taken for granted.
"We've got to keep a level head," he

said. "We've got six very tough Pac-10
games coming up. I hate to use an old
cliche, but we've got to take them one at
a time.
"We're not the finished product.We're
tightening the screws all the time. We're
not going to be complacent, we're not
going to be content.'
Toledo believes the 18th-ranked
Bruins (1-1 Pac 10, 3-2 overall) can't
afford another loss if they hope to
contend for the conference champi-
onship - something that should keep
them from becoming complacent or
Among their final six opponents are
No. 10 Washington, No. 16 Stanford and
cross-town rival Southern California.
But first things first. And first is a trip
to the Pacific Northwest to face Oregon
(1-2, 3-2) on Saturday.
"They're an improving defensive teamW
and an explosive offensive team"Toledo
said of the Ducks, who lost to UCLA,
41-22, in Eugene, Ore., last year.

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