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November 10, 1997 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-11-10

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The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - November 10, 1997 - 3

Spikers lose to Badgers, edge Ilni

By T.J. Berke
:Daily spots Witer
The measure of a good team is one
that beats teams they are supposed to
lcat. Some say the measure of a great
team is a team that occasionally beats
teams it's not supposed to.
The Michigan women's volleyball
team has not quite made it into the great
tegory yet, as the Wolverines (9-5 Big
Ten, 16-9 overall) split games this week-
nid. Michigan defeated Illinois (4-9, 13-
,WO) on Friday, 15-9, 15-13, 5-15,13-15,
:15-13 and fell to No. 5 Wisconsin (13-
1, 22-2) on Saturday, 15-7, 15-13, 13-
15, 15-4.
The split marked the fourth-consecu-
tive weekend in which Michigan only
took one of its two games. This streak of
up-and-down weekends leaves the
Solverines in a fourth-place tie with
ichigan State in the Big Ten with six
games to play.
"When you are playing top 25 teams
every week, it's hard to get a sweep,"
Michigan coach Greg Giovanazzi said.
Wisconsin, with their No 5 ranking,
definitely qualifies as a top team. The
Badgers played like it in the first and
last game, blitzing the Wolverines to
help get their first win at Cliff Keen
*rena since 1991.
In the second and third games,
Michigan looked more like the team that
had a five-game home winning streak
over the Badgers. After the Badgers won
game one, 15-7, they jumped out to a
12-5 lead over the Wolverines in the sec-
:ond game. But Michigan fought back,
:scoring seven consecutive points to tie
'the game.
Michigan eventually fell in the sec-
nd game, but used the momentum
om that game to jump out to a 7-3 lead
in the third game. Senior Sarah Jackson,
"who led the team with 20 kills, nailed
four of them during the rally.
"Linnea (Mendoza) and I were work-
ing on setting the one in transition and
that shot was open a lot," Jackson said.
- Wisconsin fought back to deadlock
the game at 13, but Michigan used a
Jeanine Szczesniak ace and a net viola-
ion to get the victory.
t "Michigan's game three victory just
slowed the Badgers down, as Wisconsin
trashed the Wolverines in the final
LIONS
Continued from Page 1B
and defensively, seemed to be near every
loose ball on the field. Other Michigan
defenders played with similar intensity.
frustrating the Buckeyes all day, allow-
ig only three shots in the second half.
While some defenders needed to lay
out their bodies to stymie the Buckeyes,
sophomore Ashley Reichenbach was
able to deny an Ohio State scoring
chance late in the first half with an out-
stretched foot.
.With 6:45 left, soon after Michigan's
first goal of the game by Loveita
Wilkinson, Ohio State's Camilla
Robinson broke through the Michigan
efense at the top of the circle. Her eyes
lit up for the shot, but it was too late as
Reichenbach darted over and stole the
YbalI.
"It's just stuff that we practice,"
Reichenbach said.
Michigan has made good condition-
ing one of its goals this season, and it
seems to have paid off in strenuous
matches.
"I think that we did lose our legs a lit-
e bit towards the end," said Ohio State
oach Anne Wilkinson said, pointing out
ohm this was the Buckeyes' first set of
Sk-to-back games this year. "But
ve got to be fit, everybody's got to
t ' ble to do that"
1ichigan has played in back-to-back
es four times this year, including the

min State game.
ti'he title game yesterday had all the
takings of any good tithe game. It was
c, it was physical and it was an all-
"T war between the two best teams in
a conference.
. It was exciting, and that's the way a
'akey final should be," Pankratz said.
ccording to both coaches, the offici-
Zdisg was loose in what was an unusual-
ggressive game.
It was called a lot looser than the
yrevious day, but that's a final and you
have to battle it,' Pankratz said.
Michigan's defense has been its foun-
aton all year, and the defense didn't
t'mble this weekend. But despite the
Volverines' takeaways and blocked
ses, the Lions got the better of them
ttce when they fought their way
_1aough creases in the tenacious
.1.ihigan defense.
?enn State's two goals did not come
from defensive breakdowns by the
Wolverines so much as they were simply
vidence of the Lions' dominance.
"My defense played outstanding,"
Helber said.
And so did Penn State's defense.
- All afternoon, the Lions picked off
Michigan passes, stopped its charges
eand frustrated its attack. Penn State
-goqlkeeper Jaime Smith also saw few
shots. Smith played well when facing

SPORTSMonday Column
JOHN
LEROI
Out of Bounds
WilyM'should be No.1
ndot/er sports tragedes
pfTollsters can be so capricious. Especially those who are coaches. Since USA
oday joined up with CNN and invented a coaches poll in 1991, those who
lead on the field have proven they are idiots off of it.
This week the coaches' poll - now a joint venture between USA Today and
ESPN - has Florida State ranked No. i and Michigan at No. 2 --- an abomination to
those who follow college football.
The Wolverines deserve to be No. 1. They play a more difficult schedule than
Florida State who hasn't beaten anybody good all season. And Michigan's 34-8
demolition of previously unbeaten Penn State was far more impressive than the
Florida State's victory over the overrated Tar Heels.
But coaches are stupid. They are human after all. They have friends, just like you
and me. So when Bobby Bowden, who's been at Florida State about 80 years longer
than Lloyd Carr's been coaching Michigan, they give him the benefit of the doubt.
And it's easy to rank Florida State higher than Michigan. The Seminoles have been
in the national championship hunt during the last four years, something you can't say
about Michigan.
But that doesn't mean the Wolverines don't deserve a No. I ranking if they are the,
best team in the country, a claim that neither Nebraska nor Florida State should make,
But the biggest problem with the coaches poll is that the coaches aren't even vot-
ing. Often, a school's sports information director or athletic director will place the
coach's vote for him, a practice that totally defeats the purpose of having a coaches
poll.
Coaches like to say that their poll is more accurate because college coaches know
the game far better than sports writers. That may be true, but the Associated Press
only gives votes for their poll to those who truly deserve it, and the media generally
ranks teams on merit alone, not nepotism and history.
A kick in the face
It came as no surprise, but this week, Dane Fife, a high school basketball star from'
Clarkston, passed up Michigan and made an oral commitment to Indiana. This is just'
the latest in a string of events that proves the Michigan basketball program is losing
respect.
For the second time in as many years, another school has waltzed in and stolen the
state of Michigan's best basketball player. And, Fife, like Detroit Country Day's Shan
Battier the year before, is one of the best prep players in the country.
If Michigan can't win the recruiting battle in its own state, how does it expect to
win any recruiting wars? The Wolverines' last two freshman classes have been hor-
rendous, and this one is off to a terrible start. As bad as Michigan will be this year,
next season will be 10 times worse.
What makes Fife's choice of schools even more painful is that his brother, Dugan,
and his father, Dan, were captains of the Michigan basketball team. Dane visited
Michigan, but only gave it serious consideration when his father was mentioned in a
newspaper article as a possible candidate to replace Steve Fisher.
Speaking of programs changing directions
Four years ago, the Michigan soccer team didn't even exist. Yesterday, Amber
Berendowsky's second-half goal netted the Wolverines their first Big Ten title. For a
program that is just 4-years old, that accomplishment is absolutely incredible.
Michigan coach Debbie Belkin deserves a lot of the credit for leading a team with
really just two seniors to the conference championship
Michigan field hockey coach Marcia Pankratz garnered Big Ten coach of the year
honors on Thursday, and her team made it to the Big Ten title game yesterday in Iowa
City before falling to Penn State.
With so much attention being paid to the football team, non-revenue sports have
been more overshadowed than usual. But, as usual, some of the best stories in
Michigan athletics aren't written in Michigan Stadium or in Crisler Arena. These ath
letes deserve more of our support.
- John Leroi can be reached via e-mail at jrlei@umnich.edu.

Sarah Behnke and the Michigan volleyball team split this weekend's series against Illinois and Wisconsin. The Wolverines
have split the past four weekends against conference opponents, and are currently in a fourth-place tie with Michigan State.

game. After starting the game tied at
four, the Badgers scored I I consecutive
points to finish things oft.
"When you are playing the No. S
team in the nation, its tough,"
Giovanazzi said. "They are very good at
getting runs."
The Wolverines started the weekend
by beating Illinois in a game that went
down to the last play. Michigan started
off hot against the Illini, taking the first
two games.
A seemingly different Michigan team
played in the third and fourth games, as

Illinois smacked the Wolverines in the
third game and outlasted them in the
f'ourt h.
"It was a mental breakdown on our
part," senior setter Linnea Mendoza
said. "This is something that would hap-
pen to us three years ago. but hadn't
happened to us this year.
"It was a lesson for us. Nobody wants
to come out like that again."
Illinois could not keep the momen-
tum going, as they fell into a pattern of
hitting and service errors. The Illini
compiled eight errors in the final game,

including the final two points.
"They played with aggressiveness,
and we played tentatively" Illinois
coach Don I lardin said. "They just had
the con fidence because they had been in
this situation a lot in the past.
Another thing the Wolverines had that
Illinois didn't was junior outside hitter
Karen Chase. who peppered the Illini
with 23 kills and a .319 hitting percent-
aae.
"I think I match up really well with
their block," Chase said. "They gave me
a lot of line, and that is my favorite shot."
'M' field hockey all-
tourney selections

Name
Julie Flachs
Meredith Weinstein
Amy Helber

Position
Midfielder
Forward
Goaltender

Flachs was awarded the Big Tenwd
offensive player of the year award-

I I

The University of Michigan
Department of Recreational Sports
INTRAMURAL SPORTS PROGRAM

WHAT'S
HAPPENING

Intramural Broomball
Officials Needed!!

The Michigan field hockey team came within one goal of winning its first ever Big
Ten title. Top-seeded Penn State defeated the Wolverines, 2-2, yesterday, and cap-
tured its third-consecutive Big Ten tournament.

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