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October 14, 1997 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-14

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10- The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 14, 1997
1M iers grew up against Gophers

Y i V

By Chris Farah
Daily Sports Writer
The Wolverines had heard it all
From the media, from the fans and
probably from within themselves.
The questions. The uncertainty. The
The fear.
How good would the Michigan hock-
ey team be without Morrison, without
Botterill - without the backbone upon
which it had relied for four years? The
Wolverines were
young; they werel
they didn't know
the system yet,
and it would ~
probably take
time for them to
develop a win-!
ning chemistry.
How much
time, nobody
really knew. But most people thought it
would take longer than two weeks of
practice and one intra-squad scrimmage.
Most people thought the ninth-ranked
Wolverines wouldn't be ready to face
No. 4 Minnesota last Friday.
And for the first 15 minutes of the
game against the Golden Gophers, it
seemed the Wolverines didn't think they
were ready. It seemed they had heard all
the talk and all the questions and had
started to believe it themselves.
The Wolverines looked nervous and
disorganized, like they hadn't practiced a
day together. They had problems clear-
ing the puck, were missing passes and
weren't getting back on defense.
They looked scared -like they didn't

deserve to be on the same ice as
M innesota. The result? The Gophers
took a quick 2-0 lead over a disheveled
Michigan squad, and the Minnesota
crowd responded.
They responded to the confidence
shown by the Gophers and the lack of
confidence shown by the Wolverines.
They could smell the fear, and they
cheered, thinking that their team would
finally triumph over Michigan.
But then something happened.
Michigan scored. The goal came on a
great play from Justin Clark at 16:31 in
the first period, but who scored the goal
wasn't as important as the goal itself.
In an instant, it took the crowd out of
the game. In an instant, it proved that
Michigan deserved to be on the same ice
as Minnesota - that it could play with
Minnesota and even succeed.
In an instant, Michigan went from
being a group of freshmen who didn't
know what they were doing and a bunch
of seniors who weren't quite sure they
could lead, to being Michigan. To know-
ing that they were Michigan, and not just
some impersonators trying to fill the
impossibly large shoes of last year's
senior class.
"I think when we scored our first goal,
that really helped," Michigan coach Red
Berenson said. "We're down, 2-0, and
our team, I felt, still played with a lot of
poise. And then when we scored the first
goal, that was the hardest goal."
It's true; Michigan did show a lot of
poise. The Wolverines had been playing
scared, but they kept playing - kept
fighting to overcome that initial ner-
vousness and apprehension. Most teams
would have never recovered.
For the first 15 minutes, the

Josh Langfd, Justin Clark and the young Michigan hockey team silenced its critics over the weekend by knocking off
Minnesota, 3.2, on Friday night and Toronto, 9-2, on Sunday afternoon.
The University of Michigan
Auditions will consist of scales and sight-reading.
Rehearsals for the Men's and Women's Basketball Bands
will be on Tuesday evenings.
Positions open for:
Drum Set
Alto Saxophone
Tenor Saxophone
Electric BaSS
Sign up at Revelli Hall anytime between 2 and 6 pm.
For more information call 764-0582 after 1 pm.
**Those selected for Women's Basketball Band will receive an honorarium**

Wolverines may have allowed
Minnesota and the tempo of the game to
control them, but the Wolverines fought
their way out of the funk. They played
until they forgot that they were supposed
to be young and inexperienced and just
played the way they knew -deep down
- they could play.
Even in the third period, when the
Gophers threatened to tie the game, hit-
ting goaltender Marty Turco with a bar*
rage of shots in a span of four minutes,
Michigan refused to revert to the chaos
indicative of most of the first period.
The Wolverines may not have been
playing extremely good defense during
that time in the third period, but they did-
n't play scared. They were calm, and they
played with the mentality of winners.
They took control of the game, of
Minnesota and - as corny as it sounds
- their destiny. 9
Even the crowd could sense it. They
got back into the game, but the
Minnesota fans never really exuded that
confidence again. They knew they were
playing Michigan - the real Michigan.
No, even when Michigan wasn't play-
ing perfectly, after its first goal, it no
longer played afraid. The Wolverines had
the confidence.
It may have only been one game. I
may have only been an exhibition game9
But now Michigan knows it's
Michigan. It knows it can win, and it
knows it should win. A lot of the ques-
tions may remain, but now the
Wolverines know they have the answers.
And no matter what their talent level
and no matter what their organization
and experience, a mentality like that can
only make the Wolverines winners for
the rest of the season.
for stickers
"Our defense is solid and very experi-
enced," she said. "We gave up four goals
to Penn State, but they're the No. 4 team
in the nation. They're no pushover."
Another factor that may play into the
Wolverines' favor is their home-field
advantage. The team is 6-1 at Ocker
Field and finishes the season with thre*
home games. If it can grab one victo
out of the two road games this weekend,
Michigan will be in good shape.
But, that's easier said than done. The
Wolverines beat Northwestern and Iowa
earlier in the season, but only by a single
goal each time.
"They're going to be out for us,"
junior Lindsay Babbitt said of the
upcoming opponents. "But our team has
a lot of confidence against those tw
teams. We know lot about them, an
we've beaten them. I think that's a men-
tal edge we have"

Tough opponents ahead

By Evan Braunstein
Daily Sports Writer
Before the weekend of Oct. 4, the
Michigan field hockey team was sitting
pretty. The Wolverines were 9-2, unde-
feated in conference play and in first
place in the Big Ten.

One week later, a lot has changed.
Three straight losses to conference
opponents will do that. On the road, the
Wolverines dropped games to Michigan
State, Ohio State and Penn State.
Now, the Wolverines (2-3 Big Ten, 10-
5 overall) have five straight games
against Big Ten opponents. They travel
to Northwestern and Iowa this weekend
before returning home to finish up the
season against Penn State, Ohio State
and Michigan State.
"Going into the Big Ten season, we
knew it was going to be a battle every
game, Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz
In the three losses, the Wolverines'
solid defense has faltered slightly. The
team gave up an average of three goals
per game in those losses, compared to
only one in its previous Big Ten matches.
Still, Pankratz is not worried.



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