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September 21, 1998 - Image 14

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-21

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4B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - September 21, 1998

'M' volleyball earns its pizza at Domino's Classic

By Jon Zemke
Daily Sports Wri er
Thus far this season, the Michigan volleyball
team has won 80 percent of its matches. Half of the
time the Wolverines haven't allowed their opponent
to win a game. And in their only two losses,
Michigan took at least one game from a top-20-
ranked opponent.
If the nonconference season is any indicator of
how the Wolverines will fare in the Big Ten, the per-
centages are in their favor.
"I think this weekend prepared us very well for
the Big Ten season," Giovanazzi said. "We are play-

ing better against top-20 competition, and the Big
Ten has five or six potential top-20 teams."
Michigan traveled to Albuquerque, New Mex., for
the Domino's Pizza Classic on Saturday, Sept. 19th.
The four-team tournament was hosted by New
Mexico and included No. 20 San Diego and Kent.
Michigan opened the tournament against New
Mexico and its loud home crowd in 'The Pit.' The
Wolverines put the Lobos away in four games
behind the strong performance of sophomore Joanna
Fielder. Fielder set career highs with six blocks and
led Michigan with a .455 attack percentage.
Senior Linsey Ebert led the Wolverines in digs

(13) and service aces (3). Karen Chase, also a
senior, posted a team-high 16 kills, and true fresh-
man Shannon Melka lead the team with 24 assists.
An impressive .391 attack percentage was turned in
by Anne Poglits, a junior.
The win gave Michigan a 1-0 advantage in itsfirst
meeting against the Lobos.
The Wolverines then faced their second top-20
opponent in a week by taking on San Diego. The
Toreros dominated the first two games - 15-5 and
15-11 respectively -- before Michigan came back
and took the next two, 15-13 and 15-8. The
See DOMINO'S, Page 10B

Spikers need seasoning

FILEPHugO
Chereena Tennis and the Michigan volleyball team want to be a national force. They'll
have a chance starting this weekend with the beginning of the conference season.
Seeking a summer internship in
Washington, DC?

By Jon Zemke
Daily Sports Wrnter
The Michigan volleyball team has
been stuck with the moniker of an up-
and-coming program for the past couple
of seasons. Steadily improving, the
Wolverines have ------------------
been trying to Volleyball
catch up to the
Big Ten and Commentary
national power----------------
houses Penn State (preseason No. I
nationally), Wisconsin (7), Ohio State
(13) and Michigan State (17). If the
Wolverines hope to establish themselves
as a power in the Big Ten and national
rankings, they need to do it this season.
Michigan's '97 volleyball season was
the best in team history., posting a 13-7
Big Ten record and 21-12 mark. The
Wolverines finished third in the Big Ten
and made their first trip to the NCAA
tournament, where they made it to the
second round before being ousted by
Texas A&M.
These past accomplishments were
overlooked by voters in preseason polls,
who picked Michigan to finish seventh
in the Big Ten.

Coach Greg Giovanazzi's squad has
done much to rid itself of the "up-and-
comer" label by going 8-2 in the '98
non-conference schedule. Michigan has
handily put less-talented teams away -
often sweeping them. In Michigan's two
losses, which came to opponents in the
top 20, it has played close, including tak-
ing No. 20 San Diego to the wire in five
games.
Michigan has everything it needs to
establish itself as a power this season. It
has a veteran core of players led by
Karen Chase, Jane Stevens and Jeanine
Szczesniak. Most important, Giovanazzi
has replaced graduated setter Linnea
Mendoza by platooning sophomore Alija
Pittenger and freshman Shannon Melka.
Both have stepped up their play nicely.
The Wolverines have one weakness:
They don't have the killer instinct to put
their opponents away. Michigan has had
its opportunities to defeat the two ranked
opponents it has faced this season, but
has failed to cash in on them.
Until Michigan learns how to finish
off its tough opponents, it will remain an
up-and-coming program - not the
established one it could be.

ss ,r"

Career Planning & Placement
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FILE PK

Sarah Behnke has helped Michigan bump its way into the rankings. The
Wolverines finished their non-conference schedule with an 8-2 record.

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