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September 14, 1998 - Image 19

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-14

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - September 14, 1998 - 58
-Spi~pker*'s drink up succs a l Sport

By Jon Zemke
Daily Sports Writer
Focus. It's a requirement for any
successful team.
Without focus, a team's goals can
not come into view or even become
recognizable.
The Michigan volleyball (6-1)
team has had its focus so far this sea-
son, demonstrated as it hosted the
All Sport Volleyball Challenge
Friday and Saturday at Cliff Keen
Arena.
The Wolverines were busy staring
down their sixth victim out of six
opponents in this fledgling season by
putting Louisiana State (5-4 overall)
away in four games.
Michigan took complete control of
the fourth and final match to defeat
the Tigers, 15-4. Michigan senior
Jane Stevens served seven points in a
row at the beginning of the game to
give Michigan a commanding 7-2
advantage.
"There were a couple of people
who got into really good hot streaks
serving," Michigan coach Greg
Giovanazzi said. LSU was "breaking
down in serve receiving. We were
very focused. I don't think we were

LOUIS BROWN/Daily
Junior Jeanine Szczesniak goes up for the spike. The Wolverines lost their first
match of the young season, but still ran their record to an impressive 6-1.

Sagarin,
volleyball
,serve up
new poll
y Datsd DenHerder
n iy "sports WnterT
Mathematician Jeff Sagarin added
to the confusion of college football in
1985 when his complicated "Power
*ating" system was first published in
USAToday.
As of this year, collegiate volley-
ball has also entered the realm of
computer rankings.
SRelying on Sagarin's calculations,
the American Volleyball Coaches
Association will produce a new week-
lY ranking system - the
AVCA/Sagarin Division I Women's
Volleyball Power Rating.
The new system "takes into account
Oespecial nature of volleyball scor-
ing,' according to an AVCA state-
ment.
The equation considers factors such
as game scores, match scores, match
venues and strength of schedules.
First published on Sept. 6, the
Power Rating slotted Michigan (then
3-0) at No. 19. After bettering their
record to 6-1 last weekend, the
olverines will likely advance in this
week's ratings, which will be released
later today. Despite its flawless start,
the team was left out of the USA
Today/AVCA Coaches Poll.
Michigan coach Greg Giovanazzi
expressed his support for the comput-
er system.
"I think factoring in things like
scoring and strength of schedule are
very important," Giovanazzi said. "It
also gives a really different look, away
:om the prejudices of the coaches."
Giovanazzi does not currently vote
in the coaches poll, but has served on
that committee in the past. The vot-
ing committee is rotates every few
years.
Sagarin also developed a national
composite schedule for the AVCA, an
independent schedule rating for each
team, and a formula for predicting the
,utcome of upcoming matches.
He has developed ratings formulas
for many other college sports, includ-
ing football, basketball, soccer and
golf; as well as systems for all major
professional sports.
Though enthusiastic about adopting
Sagarin's techniques, the AVCA will
not abandon its traditional coaches
poll, which also is released weekly.
The NCAA does not have a weekly
polling system, nor will it consider
ither of the AVCA systems when
electing the postseason tournament
draw.
At season's end, the NCAA will
once again rely on its Rating
-Percentage Index, which is not
released to the public. This year's
postseason field will also be expand-
ed from 56 to 64 teams.
Michigan was eliminated by Texas
&M in the second round of last
ear's NCAA tournament.

going to let that match go."
Michigan beat LSU in four games
taking the first and second, 15-11
and 15-10, respectively. The third
match slipped away to the Tigers, 15-
10, before the fourth match was deci-,
sively won by the Wolverines.
Jeanine Szczesniak, a senior, led
the way for Michigan with three aces
and four blocks against the Tigers.
Seniors Linsey Ebert chipped in 14
digs and Karen Chase led Michigan
in kills with 18.
The win was Michigan's sixth in a
row before the streak was broken
later that night against Texas A&M.
The Aggies were the team that oust-
ed the Wolverines from the second
round of the NCAA tournament last
year.
"It's going to be a battle,"
Giovanazzi said before the match
against Texas A&M. "I think for us
to win it we're going to have to be
really sharp and extended."
The Wolverines were not as sharp
as they wanted to be - losing to the
Aggies in four matches. The loss was
Michigan's first of the season and
lowered the team's record to 6-1
overall. Texas A&M is also 6-1.
<Sarah Behnke
willahave to finish
off a lot more
spikes like these
for Michigan to
have a successful
1998 season.
FILE PHOTO

The first match was closely decid-
ed, 16-14, by a four-point Texas
A&M comeback. The second match
was again intensely fought only this
time the Wolverines came back to
win, 17-15. This match took every-
thing out of the Wolverines, dropped
the next two matches, 15-5 and 15-8,
respectively.
Michigan's seniors once again led
the team with Chase's 19 kills,
Stevens 18 digs and Ebert's three
serving aces. Anne Poglits, a junior,
added two blocks and sophomore
Alija Pittenger led the Wolverines
with 35 assists.
On Friday the Wolverines started
off the tournament by defeating
Bowling Green. It was Michigan's
fourth win in season home openers at
Cliff Keen Arena.
The Falcons surrendered in three
straight games 15-7, 15-7 and 15-6.
Stevens had a career best in attack-
ing percentage at .647. She also had
three serving aces. Other Wolverines
leading the way were Chase with 16
kills and Pittenger with 28 assists
and 13 digs. Ebert added five blocks
in the winning effort.
Later on Friday night, Michigan

faced North -Carolina, which
returned five starters from last year's
squad. But this was not a factor in
the game; the Wolverines swept their
opponents for the second time Friday
to extend the winning streak to five.
After putting the first game away,
15-10, the second match was harder
fought by the Tar Heels, but the
Wolverines pulled away, 15-12. The
third game was handily won by
Michigan, 15-6, to close out the vic-
tory.
"I think we would get ahead and
they would come back to playing like
they were," Giovanazzi said. "It's
early so there are some ball handlIng
errors going on, but they were a pret-
ty big physical team. They got onto
hot streaks themselves and we made
some errors. It's a real momentum
game."
Michigan will fly down to
Albuquerque, N.M. for the New
Mexico Tournament on Sept. 18 and
19 to take on New Mexico, San
Diego and Kent.
"We've got some veterans and
some young players that are all
focused on seeing this program go to
the next level," Giovanazzi said.

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THROUGH THE YEARS

JW*

4
c
, F
-
i

'M' Volleyball under Coach Greg Giovanazzi

Year
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997

W
19

L

Pct.

Notable

11

13 .594 Giovanazzi took his first two
State Pride matches.
18 .379 Career kills, digs marks
established.
23 .258 Youn roster and tough
sche ule doom '.

8

19 15 .559 Made NationaliInvitational
Volleyball Tournament.
14 17 .452 Struggled after loss of
Shannon Brownlee.
21 12 .677 Made NCAA tournament
for 1st time ever.

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