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September 28, 1998 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-28

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4B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - September 28, 1998
Volleyball touches off Big Ten season on sour note, drops two V

By Jon Zemke
Daily Sports Writer
A second season is a chance for a team to
correct whatever has been troubling it in the
beginning of the season and start anew. It's
a team's chance to forget the whippings it
may have endured and concentrate fresh on
the upcoming opponent.
"We are in a second season, and we are
rediscovering who we are the hard way
right now," Michigan volleyball coach Greg
Giovanazzi said.
"We are really having a tough time. We
had a lot of teams at the start of the season
that we played better against, who have
rolled over in the final game similar to what
we've done the last two games. We've been
pushed and haven't really responded in the
final games."
Illinois gave the Wolverines their worst
defeat of the young season Saturday.
The first game was back and forth, as
both teams streaked ahead of each other
and traded points until they were tied at 15.
Michigan lost its poise, and the game to
Illinois, as the Wolverines allowed the
Fighting Illini to serve out the next two
points.
It was all downhill from there as
Michigan lost its composure, allowing
Illinois to race out to 10-1 lead. The
Wolverines sputtered on to a 15-3 loss in

the second game.
The third showed slight improvement, but
Michigan still dropped, 15-4.
The Wolverines put up an attack percent-
age of .136, 200 points lower than the
Fighting Illini's attack percentage. Chase
led the way with 14 kills and Ebert chipped
in nine digs. Freshman Shannon Melka also
contributed 16 assists to lead the team.
"I'd say they've lost confidence,"
Giovanazzi said. "The focus part is defi-
nitely lost. I want to know the root of that,
and my observations tell me that there's a
crisis of conflict because of all the different
people being used. People have been under-
performing and I think it just creates a
dynamic out there that isn't very confi-
dent."
Friday night, the Wolverines opened the
Big Ten season against Purdue in Cliff Keen
Arena.
Michigan put on a clinic for the
Boilermakers in the first game, handily
putting them away, 15-6. But it was all
downhill from there for the Wolverines, as
they were dropped in the next three games,
12-15, 8-15 and 8-15, respectively.
"Tough," Giovanazzi said. "Really tough
match. They did a great job of supporting
their weaknesses. There were a lot of rallies
that they kept alive with just pure hustle
and great coverage after one of their players

got blocked. I really thought that was the
difference - the hustle."
The Wolverines fell behind early in the
middle two games, 8-4 and 10-3, respec-
tively, before they embarked on a short-
lived comeback.
Michigan kept it close at the beginning of
the fourth game, trading points with Purdue
until the teams were tied at five po
apiece. Michigan let go after Purdue rais d
its level of play, putting the Wolverines
away to end the match, 3-1.
Sophomore Alija Pittenger led the way
for Michigan in the loss with 33 assists and
13 digs.
Senior Karen Chase again led the team in
kills with 21, while fellow senior Linsey
Ebert contributed two serving aces.
Giovanazzi also credited Chereena Tennis
with doing a nice job in the back row defen-
sively.
"I see us physically in a comparable
tion, talent-wise. I don't see us in the same
echelon as (Purdue is) right now,"
Giovanazzi said. "That may go out as a bil
of challenge to the team, but they heard that
challenge all week. I'm concerned in thai
area. I'd like to see a more direct approach
to matches. I think that is the number one
biggest concern with this team."
Michigan travels to Evanston totake n
Northwestern this Friday.

The Michigan spikers lost to Purdue and were swept by Illinois this past weekend as they kicked off
their Big Ten campaign.

Wanted: team leader for 'M' spikers
1 Giovanazzi looking for 'that person' to step up, take play to next level

By Jon Zemke
Daily Sports Writer
A Michigan volleyball coach Greg
iovanazzi issued a challenge to his team
'Saturday night.
The challenge was for a team member to
itep up and make this her team.
"t'm really waiting for that person to step
up," Giovanazzi said.
R. 'fight now I don't know who it's going
.0o be. But I think by the ---- ------
nd of this 'Weekend Volleyball
somebody is going to
make a move. They're COfmentaiy
oing to change their -- - -
world a little bit, even if it's just one. That's
all it takes."
One is all it would take. One is all the
!i-lverines needed on Friday and Saturday
> avoid embarrassing losses to upstart
,urdue and No. 29 Illinois.
instead, Michigan's spikers (0-2 Big Ten,
;$-4 overall) looked lost and confused at
,imes against both teams.
'Against Purdue, Michigan came out
:strong in the first game, but after that it fell
apart, dropping the next three games.
'-No one stepped up to lead the team
Be fea

vocally, or more importantly, make plays in
order to pick up the rest of the team's per-
formance.
The match against Illinois was much
worse, as the Wolverines dropped a close
first game, 17-15.
Michigan never regained what little poise
it had.
The last two matches were a rag-tag con-
glomerate of unorganized chaos.
Finding the team leader shouldn't be this
challenging.
In fact, finding the team leader is some-
thing that should have been solved in the
first or second match.
Instead, it has turned into a major prob-
lem that has gotten a very talented and
hardworking team off to a terrible start in
the conference.
There are five seniors on this year's team.
Two of them are in their fifth year.
But not one of them has stepped forward
to make this her team.
Once that happens, not only will
Michigan be back to its winning ways, as it
was during the nonconference part of the
schedule, but the team will also have its
playmaker - which is essential to main-

Michigan statistical leaders
Kills
Karen Chase 207; Anne Poglits 124
Aces
Lindsey Ebert 17; Jenny Szczesniak 13
Assists
Alija Pittenger 305; Shannon Melka 252
Digs
Alija Pittenger 118; Jane Stevens 105
Blocks
Lindsey Ebert 39; Joanna Fielder 36
taining the poise to put away tough teams
when it counts.
But, if a leader doesn't step up, the Big
Ten grinder will turn this promising team
into an underachieving one.
The conference is too tough this season,
with eight teams ranked in the top 30,
including the No. I team in the nation. As
was proven this weekend, upstarts of the
conference, like Purdue, can .beat the
Wolverines, and good teams like Illinois
will make mincemeat of Michigan.

0

WARREN ZINN/Daily
Jane Stevens and
the rest of the
Michigan volley-
ball team will
need to step up
their play If they
are to climb
of an 0-2 Big Ten
hole.

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t 3

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