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March 12, 1998 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-03-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ITA rankings
By Drew Beaver
Daily Sports Writer
Heading into spring break, the Michigan women's tennis
team had a record of 4-1, with its only loss coming at the
hands of 12th-ranked Tennessee.
"We're looking forward to improving our national rank-
ng," Michigan junior Jen Boylan _________
said. .
Boylan, along with every other Tennis
member of her team, is very con- Commentary
scious of where her team is ranked in
the national polls because, unfortu-
nately, the polls, not the teams themselves, are the major
factor in deciding who are the top tennis teams in the coun-
Michigan is currently ranked 24th in the national polls.
This low ranking kept them from competing in the ITA
ational Team Indoor Tournament in Madison the last full
Seniors to be ho
women's gymna
Vaughn R. Klug Wolverine draws to
Sor the Daily "I've seen a real
The seniors on the No. 4 Michigan has really been ma
women's gymnastics team will com- remaining time,"
pete in the last home meet of their Plocki said. "Sh
careers when they face No. 30 things lately that I
Massachusetts at Cliff Keen Arena on since she arrived as

The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 12, 1998 - 19A
leave 'M' women's tennis out of tourney

weekend in February.
Only the top 16 teams in the country are invited to this
prestigious tournament, and Michigan is 24th. But wait a
second - the Wolverines finished last season ranked 16th
in the country. They won the Big Ten Tournament and the
Southeast Regional Tournament. They were ranked No. I
in the Midwest Region at the conclusion of the season.
This apparently is not enough to get an invite from the
Intercollegiate Tennis Association though. The ITA consid-
ers preseason ranking as well as last season's finish when
considering who will be invited to one of the best tourna-
ments in college tennis, and apparently Michigan did not
measure up.
At the beginning of the season, individuals play in four
different tournaments, and from the results of these tourna-
ments, individual rankings are established. Unfortunately
for Michigan, team rankings are also determined from the
results of these tournaments.
nored in final
stics home meet

"That's not really an accurate picture of what a team does
on the court," said Michigan coach Bitsy Ritt. Herein lies
the problem.
For example, Notre Dame has two players ranked in the
top 30 in the country, Jennifer Hall and Michelle Dasso. As
a team, Notre Dame is ranked 15th in the country. based
mainly on the strength of these two players.
In team play, however, these two players can only earn
one point each. In college tennis, each match is worth one
point. That means that the match at No. 6 singles is every bit
as important to the team score as the match at No. I singles.
For this reason, the ITA preseason ranking system is
ineffective. It can be argued that there is no other way to
establish which teams are the best 16 in the country at the
time the ITA Team Indoor Tournament is played than to use
preseason rankings. This is not true.
Aside from the fact that Michigan should have earned a
spot simply by finishing in the top 16 last year, why can't

the ITA rank the teams after the beginning of team play?
The rankings should be based on record, strength of
schedule, and other factors that measure a team by its depth
- not by the top individuals. Depth is the most important
factor in team tennis.
Michigan did not expect an invitation to this tournament
because of its ranking. "We know there's always some kind
of biased way of selecting teams for these tournaments,"
Boylan said.
Michigan coach Bitsy Ritt expressed her regret as well.
"It would have been a great tournament to participate in,'
Ritt said. "We would have loved to have played."
The Wolverines should have been invited to play in
Madison. Their performance last year should have been
enough to garner an invitation.
By the way, that regional championship team was ranked
69th at the start of the season.
So much for preseason rankings.


a close.
spark in Lauren, she
king the most of her
Michigan coach Bev
he has been trying
haven't seen her do
s a freshman"

Appropriately, seniors Heather
Kabnick and Lauren LaBranche will be
recognized for their contributions to the
University by both the women's gym-
Iastics program and the athletic depart-
ment prior to the 2 p.m. meet.
LaBranche and co-captain Kabnick
have compiled impressive resumes dur-
ing their time at Michigan - an NCAA
Central Regional Championship, a Big
Ten Championship and NCAA 'Super
6' invitations which recognize the top
six teams in the nation, in each of their
four seasons.
LaBranche has been training espe-
Oially hard lately, as her career as a

As a result of the hard work
LeBranche has been showing, she
recently scored a career-best 9.925 on
the balance beam against Michigan
Also, as a team Michigan has been
performing exceptionally well lately -
even by its own high standards. The
Wolverines are coming off a monumen-
tal win over intrastate rival Michigan
State on March 6, in which the team's
overall score of 197.550 was the sec-
ond-highest score in Michigan history.
It was also only the sixth time in pro-
gram history that the team has scored
197 or better.
Riding the wave of fine recent per-

"We want to
make sure we're
rested and
- Bev Plocki
Michigan women's
gymnastics coach
formances versus the Spartans, the
Wolverines hope to continue their per-
fect record against the Minutewomen.
The meet marks the fourth meeting
between Massachusetts and Michigan.
Michigan will adhere to its normal
practice schedule in the days leading up
to the duel with Massachusetts.
"We've been doing the same prepara-
tion, maybe tapering down a little bit,"
said Plocki. "We want to make sure
we're rested and feeling good."









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