18A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 4, 1997
M' women's volleyball team features errorless Fielder.
6-foot-2 freshman helps lead Wolverines with talent, smarts 4
By Tracy Sandler
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan volleyball team begins
its home schedule today, hosting the
1997 All Sport Volleyball Challenge.
Competitors beware - this year the
Wolverincs are playing the field.
Freshman Joanna Fielder has already
established herself as a key player for the
Wolverines. Last weekend at the
Washington Husky Tournament, the
Southern California native made her col-
legiate debut against Rhode Island. She
tallied 12 kills and 10 digs during the
match, finishing the tournament with 23
"She played at a level that I didn't
think she'd be ready this early for"
Michigan coach Greg Giovanazzi said.
"She's a very good attacker at this level."
Among the most appealing aspects of
Fielder's game is her diversity as a play-
er. She is strong in more than one area.
Senior Linnea Mendoza "is able to get
her the ball really easily," Giovanazzi
said. "(Fielder's) somebody that is very
rangy, because she sets both in front of
the setter and behind the setter.
"She did a very nice job of blocking.
And probably the most pleasant aspect
of her game is that she's able to play all
the way around, so you don't have to sub
her out in the backcourt.
"She's 6-2, so you don't really expect
her to be as agile in the backcourt as she
is. I think she's somebody that we can
put in very comfortably for (middle
blockers) Sarah Jackson or Linsey
Fielder's strong debut not only gave
her teammates and coaches confidence,
but it also gave her the confidence she
needed to be a productive member of the
"It's really reassuring, because at first I
wasn't sure how I would do;" Fielder said.
Physical prowess makes up only half
of a dominating athlete. Intuition is
equally as important. Fielder has the nat-
ural ability to know where she is needed
at all times on the court.
"She has great athleticism;" Mendoza
said. "She's able to move and be at the
right spot at the right time. She just
instinctively knows what to do."
Hard work makes even the best ath-
letes better, and Fielder is no exception.
No matter what, she knows that she can
work harder and improve in all aspects of
"Her work ethic is excellent,"
Giovanazzi said. "It seems like a bane of
some of the athletes here at Michigan is
they're such perfectionists that they drive
themselves crazy. They're so hard on
themselves, and she's one of those.'
Although every coach loves players
that work hard, Giovanazzi thinks
Fielder would benefit from a more
"I'd like to see her ease up on herself a
little bit, enjoy playing, play with a little
more'passion maybe," Giovanazzi said.
According to Fielder, it is rare to be on
a team where there is no dissension
between any of its members, but that is
not the case between her and her mates.
"Usually on a team there's going to be
one or two people that you don't really get
along with or really fit with,' Fielder said.
"Not that there's anything wrong with
them or you. Your personalities don't
mesh well. Every single person on this
team, I really get along with and really
like to be around."
Away from the game, Fielder is more
of a private person. It's not that she does-
n't like to be with people and have a
good time, she just likes to have some
time to herself.
"I'm kind of an independent person,"
Fielder said. "I really like to be alone and
do my own thing and not have to think
about it. I do a lot ofjournal writing, just
to get my mind off everything.'
Should Fielder keep up at her current
pace, a lot of people are going to be writ-
ing about her, and it might be hard to
avoid some attention.
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Freshman volleyball player Joanna Fielder tailed 12 kills and 10 digs against
Rhode Island last week and has given her Michigan teammates, like Alija
Pittenger, a lift early in the season.
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