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September 22, 1998 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-22

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14 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 22, 1998
. Volleyball confident after strong start

By Allison Zatorski,
Michael Shafrir
and Erin Mays
For ihe Daily
The women of the Michigan volleyball
team are hoping that this Friday's game
against Purdue will allow them to shed their
reputation as ati up-and-coming team and
help begin their ascent to a national top 20
power.
The team heads into its conference
schedule with an 8-2 record, highlighted by
convincing wins over Maryland,
Georgetown and North Carolina.
Friday is the start of Michigan's Big Ten
season.
After taking on Purdue, the Wolverines
face No. 24 Illinois before traveling to
Northwestern and Indiana.
Of the I I teams in the Big Ten, six of
them are ranked in the top 25, including
top-ranked Penn State, seventh-ranked
Wisconsin and No. 14 Michigan State.
Rankings this week place Michigan just
outside the top 25.
Michigan returns 14 letterwinners from

its 1997 team. Seniors Linsey Ebert and
Karen Chase are joined by junior Anne
Poglits, sophomore Joanna Fielder and
freshman Shannon Melka.
Chase leads the team with 172 kills in the
first 10 games, closely followed by Poglits,
who has registered 107 kills. Ebert has a
team-high 30 blocks, followed by Fielder's
25.
"Joanna led us at the net and played a
fine all-around game," head coach Greg
Giovanazzi said in a statement released
after a win over New Mexico. "1Her block-
ing was definitely a big factor in the out-
come.
Melka and freshman Nicole Kacor, new
additions to the team, have gotten their
careers off to a good start. Melka had a
Michigan season-high 41 assists in the loss
to San Diego at the Domino's Pizza Classic
this past Saturday. Kacor, in a victory over
Kent, had match-highs with four service
aces and 15 digs.
"Last weekend was her best weekend,"
Giovanazzi said of Melka. "She played pri-
mary setting position. Her position is the

hardest to come in and play as a freshman."
Giovanazzi was also impressed with
Kaeor's performance.
"Nicole had her first start on Saturday
and was the MVP of the team for that
match," Giovanazzi said. "There is a lot of
competition for her position coming from
the veterans, but she's getting more time tqO
play."
This year marks Giovanazzi's seventh
season at the helm of the Michigan solley-
ball program.
Last year, he coached the team to a 21-12
record, a best-ever third-place finish in the
Big Ten and its first-ever spot in the NCAA
tournament. Giovanazzi hopes to continue
the tradition this year and in the future.
"We have such a veteran team,"
Giovanazzi said. "Last year was a standard
we have to surpass.
"I feel very positive about this group. WO
have a great blend of leadership from the
seniors and juniors, as well as a talented
group of sophomores and freshmen. There
is a lot of experience and energy on this
team. We are ready."

The Michigan vol-
Je yball team has
blocked almost
everything in its
path en route to
an 8-2 start. The
Wolverines start
the Big Ten sea-
son Friday when
they face Purdue.
FILr PHOaTO

0'

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