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October 08, 1997 - Image 10

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-08

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MAJOR LEAGUE
BASEBALL
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10
PRO
HOCKEY
Dallas 4.
BUFFALO 2

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Wednesday
October 8, 1997

10

10.

soccer relies on
what-ifs after losses
Wolverines no longer control their own
destiny in hunt for a conference title

By Jacob R. Wheeler
Daily Sports Writer
The results of just one disappointing
weekend put the Michigan women's
soccer team's season into a whole new
perspective.
Michigan's fate is no longer entirely
it its own hands after the Wolverines
failed to beat the top two teams in the
conference in head-to-head play last
weekend.
Winning the Big Ten will be very dif-
ficult now because of Friday's 4-3 loss
at Minnesota and Sunday's 0-0 tie
against Penn State. Both matches went
into a second overtime. The Gophers
(6-0 Big Ten, 10-1-1 overall) now hold
sole possession of first place while the
Nittany Lions (5-0-1, 9-2-1) and
Wolverines (4-1-1, 9-2-1) have to play
catch-up.
"We would like to be regular-season
Big Ten champions," Michigan coach
Debbie Belkin said. "But now it's in the
hands of someone else. We have no
control over it. We'll be praying for peo-
pie to knock (Minnesota and Penn
State) off."
But that is easier said than done. The
Gophers have outscored Big Ten oppo-
nents a whopping 20-4 this season.
Each Big Ten team has three confer-
ence games remaining, which means
that the Gophers can eliminate the
Wolverines from the title race with two
wins or one win and a Michigan loss.
The Wolverines will watch
Minnesota and Penn State's games
closely this weekend because both
teams would have to fall for Michigan
to have any shot at winning a Big Ten
championship.
If Indiana ties or beats Minnesota on
Friday, beats Penn State on Sunday and
7Schedule
Today
No events scheduled
Tomorrow
No events scheduled
Friday
Soccer vs. Wright State, Michigan
Soccer Field, 4 p.m.

the Nittany Lions turn around and beat
the Gophers on Oct. 17, the Wolverines
could find themselves in another three-
way tie for first place if Michigan wins
its remaining three Big Ten games
against Illinois, Iowa and Michigan
State.
Michigan is very capable of winning
its games because the three opponents
have a combined conference record of
4-11. With the exception of the
Minnesota game, the Wolverines have
outscored conference opponents, 16-4.
What remains to be seen, however, is
if anybody can beat Minnesota.
Belkin has Oct. 17 circled on her cal-
endar, and not necessarily because of
Michigan's match against Illinois on
that day. Oct. 17 is when Penn State
travels to Minneapolis to take on the
Gophers - a match that should deter-
mine the Big Ten champion.
Penn State would have to beat
Minnesota and each of those teams
would have to lose one of its remaining
two conference matches for the
Wolverines to have a shot at first place.
The Lions and Gophers will both
face Ohio State and Indiana this week-
end in Bloomington. Minnesota takes
on the Hoosiers on Friday and the
Buckeyes on Sunday. Penn State faces
the same two in reversed order.
Of those three, Penn State and
Indiana (3-2, 8-4) are the more likely
candidates to play spoiler against
Minnesota. But the Hoosiers are weath-
ering an up-and-down season in which
they haven't mustered up much consis-
tency. Indiana fell to Michigan, 1-0, on
Sept. 19.
"Indiana is a little inconsistent,"
Belkin said. "But Indiana at its best can
match up with anybody, the same with

, 1
JONATHAN KRAFT/Daisy
Senior forward Ruth Poulin had Ohio State players chasing her, but it was the Michigan soccer team that now must catch up
to conference leaders Minnesota and Penn State in order for the Wolverines to win the Big Ten title.

Penn State. So anything can happen, but
if anybody is good enough to knock off
Minnesota, it would be Indiana or Penn
State."
No one wants the season to come
down to what-if scenarios, but the
Wolverines are forced to depend on
that. If the unlikely what-if scenario
works in Michigan's favor, the
Wolverines will find themselves in a
three-way tie for the conference lead.

Deja-vu? Michigan was in the middle
of a three-way tie before last weekend
and that's why the loss at Minnesota
was so crucial. That game probably
could be the deciding factor if
Michigan fails to win the conference.
Big games in Minneapolis seem to be
a common theme this season. In addi-
tion to hosting the Wolverines and Penn
State, the Big Ten tournament will be
played Nov. 7-9 on Minnesota's home

turf. If nothing else, that weekend could
be Michigan's shot at redemption.
"We'd like to go play them tomorrow
if we could," Michigan midfielder
Emily Schmitt said. The sophomore
sent Friday's game into overtime when
she knotted the game at three with only
nine minutes remaining. "We could
have won the games. We know that
we're capable of playing with any teams
on our schedule."

Women's cross country at Michigan
Intercollegiate, Kalamazoo, 4 p.m.
Field Hockey at Ohio State, 4 p.m.
Ice Hockey at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Women's Golf at Lady Kat invitatio-
al, All day
Volleyball at Wisconsin, 8 p.m.

M spikers 4-0 Big Ten start
not receving attention in polls

Coaches on
camus: a
si n0
Can you imagine Lloyd Car .
coach of the Michigan football
team, descending from the ivory
tower of Schembechler Hall once a
week to sit in some fraternity house
and talk football? No way. About the
only time he's seen off South Campus *
- with the notable exception of a pep
rally or two at Alpha Delta Phi fraterni-
ty on State Street - is when he's
checking on his players in classes.
But at Illinois,
where first-year
coach Ron Turner
is trying to get stu-
dents more ,
involved, coach-
student mingling
happens every
Monday night NICHOLAS J.
between 7 and 8
p.m., when Turner COTSONIKA
does his radio The Greek
show. This week, it Speaks
was broadcast
from a sorority. Other times, it's been at
the student union, a fraternity house or
a dorm.
Turner, of course, doesn't have
100,000 fans at every game or
unprecedented ticket demand, as Carr
does. His program is also not of the
high profile of Carr's right now, and
the pressure on him to succeed isn't
nearly as great, making it easier to do
what he's doing.
But at a time when University
President Lee Bollinger wants the
Athletic Department to seem more con-
nected to academics by holding press
conferences and meetings on campus
- such as the one in which lie
announced the hiring of new Athletic
Director Tom Goss at the Union last
month - maybe Lloyd should listen to
this.
Being on a first-name basis with
Carr could be the first step toward stu-
dents turning Michigan Stadium, the
Quiet House, into a more spirited, loud
place to play. It would show them that
buying clothes and attending games is
not enough - that they are Wolverines,
too, and they must.participate if
Michigan is to be successful.
"We want our students to feel a part
of the program' said Turner, whoalso
moved his bench to the east side of
Illinois's stadium, where the students
sit, for the first time in 17 years. "We
want them involved."
LINEBACKERS LOOMING: Andy
Katzenmoyer is so ferocious at line. *
backer for Ohio State, he held the
nation's leading rusher, Iowa's Tavian
Banks, to just 84 yards rushing last
week almost personally.
"From sideline to sideline, he's prob-
ably got as good range as any line-*
backer I have ever seen," Iowa coach
Hayden Fry said of Katzenmoyer, who
had I 1 tackles and an interception.
But here's the scary part:
Katzenmoyer wasn't the game's leading
tackler. Iowa's Matt Hughes was with
12 tackles, and Michigan faces him in
less than two short weeks.
PURPLE PEOPLE PANSIES: I said it

last year - and literally received death
threats for it-- and I'll say it again-this
year: There is no way that the tradition-
laden, mighty Michigan Wolverines can
have any self-respect at all if they lose
again to the Northwestern Wildcats, a
team that wears purple pants.
Once was bad enough. Twice was a
crime. But three times in a row? Ugh.
Northwestern students - who threw
me some ridiculous garbage aboutpur-
ple being the color of royalty and
Michigan's pants being the color of
urine -- don't have enough experience
as football fans to realize how foolish
their team looks.
Maize and blue, the winged helmet,
the block 'M', those are classics.
Purple and black? Those are the colors
of bruises, of pansies in the dark, of
The Artist Formerly Known as Prince
at night.
Some Wildcats are so embarrassed,
they can't approach members of the
opposite sex. In Northwestern's media
guide. sonhomore olacekicker Tim

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By T.J. Berka
Daily Sports Writer
The Penn State women's volleyball
team is 15-0 this season and is the
undisputed No. 1 team in the latest USA
Today/AVCA poll. The Nittany Lions
have won three Big Ten championships
and are coming off a four-set upset win
over the U.S. National Team. Needless
to say, the Lions are in first place in the
Big Ten at this time with a 4-0 record.
The Michigan volleyball team has
had losing sea-
sons three of the
last four years.
The Wolverines 0
last won the con- .4 e e ce tte i
ference title in
1981, and their
next best finish in
the conference
was a fourth- Y2I
place showing all r
the way back in
1983. The
Wolverines are not to be found in the
national rankings, but they can be found
on top of the Big Ten standings with a 4-
0 record and an 11-4 record overall.
The Wolverines, who were picked to
finish seventh in the Big Ten preseason
coaches poll, have been the surprise so
far this season, beating Minnesota,
Iowa, Northwestern and No. 19
Michigan State.
Michigan's volleyball resurgence,
which involves its current eight-game
winning streak, hasn't been reflected in
the polls, as Michigan is ranked behind

five other Big Ten teams in the latest
poll.
Along with the Lions, the Wolverines
find themselves behind No. 10
Wisconsin (3-1 in the Big Ten), the
Spartans (2-2), and No. 25 Illinois (3-1).
While not ranked, the Golden Gophers
(2-2) have 61 votes in the latest poll to
Michigan's 39.
While the media may be a little slow
in putting the Wolverines behind two
teams they have already beaten,
Michigan has a chance to claim nation-
al respect this weekend with road games
against the Badgers and the Fighting
Illini.
The Wolverines aren't concerned
with national respect however. This
year's Michigan club is more concerned
with taking things one game at a time, as
evidenced by spirited training this
spring.
"The spring was key," senior setter
Linnea Mendoza said. "We all stayed
around here this summer and played,
and we've gotten stronger because of it."
Mendoza is a key factor in
Michigan's revival this year, as she's the
Wolverines' all-time assist leader. In its
last game, a four-set victory over
Michigan State, Mendoza became the
17th player in Big Ten history to have
4,125 assists.
However, Mendoza shouldn't take all
the credit for the change of fortune that.
has accompanied Michigan this season.
Middle blockers Linsey Ebert, Sarah
Jackson, along with outside hitters
Jeanine Szczesniak, Sarah Behnke and

Anna Poglits, have consistently turned
Mendoza's sets into kills.
"They are very big," Northwestern
coach Kevin Renshler said after being
swept by the Wolverines last
Wednesday. "They play with tenacity
and they are committed to not letting the
ball cross into their side."
Michigan has also showed they can
overcome adversity. After a 3-3 start,
star outside hitter Karen Chase went
down with a bulging disc in her back.
Aside from a cameo appearance against
the Wildcats, Chase has been sitting on
the sidelines during the tear.
Much of Michigan's recent success
can be attributed to Behnke, a 5-foot-10
freshman from Baroda. While Behnke
was expected to contribute this year,
Chase's injury has thrown her further
into the fray. Behnke has responded
well, leading the Wolverines in kills in
four of their last six games.
Behnke's clutch play is indicative of a
new-found confidence that exists for the
Wolverines this year. While head coach
Greg Giovanazzi was concerned with
the confidence of his players in August,
Michigan's early success has alleviated
that possible problem.
"Last year we lost our first two five-
set games, while we won our first two
five-set games," Mendoza said. "That
really helped our confidence."
Another thing that would help
Michigan's confidence would be victo-
ries over Wisconsin and Illinois this
weekend. That might also help the
Wolverines crack into the rankings, too.

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