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October 05, 1998 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-05

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

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4cers ground Gryphons in opener, 3-1

By TJ. Berk
Daily Sports Writer
For 20 minutes, the Michigan
hockey team showed the explosive-
ness that was indicative of its nation-
al championship. After taking a 3-0
lead against Guelph, the game was
left to freshman goaltender Josh
And he didn't disappoint.
Blackburn and the Wolverines
opened their schedule Saturday with
a 3-1 victory over the Gryphons.
Blackburn, in his first-ever start,
stopped 21 of 22 shots, giving up
only a third-period power-play goal
by Derek Boyer.
Coupled with a shutout perfor-
mance in the Blue/White game on
4 iday, Blackburn sparkled in his
ening weekend at Michigan.
"I felt comfortable out there,"
Blackburn said. "It was good to get a
few shots. The defense in front of me
s occer
tags Iowa,
falls to
Br Davdm o
the Daily
In a span of 48 hours, the Michigan
soccer team experienced both the thrill
of victory and the agony of defeat.
The Wolverines defeated Iowa, 3-1,
and fell to Minnesota, 1-0, in two crucial
Big Ten games.
Midway through the first half against
Iowa, junior Emily Schmitt received a
perfect cross from Amber Berendowsky,
and netted her third goal of the season.
The goal not only relaxed the
olverines, but forced the Hawkeyes out
of their defensive shell. Numerous
opportunities followed, and Amber
Berendowsky rocketed a ball in the
upper net late in the half.
Midway through the second half,
Scmitt headed in a Laurie Peterson cross
for her second goal of the game.
In the final minute, with the outcome
almost certain, Iowa scored a consola-
n goal.
The 3-1 victory marked the
Wolverines' second Big Ten win of the
"We moved the ball well on them,"
Michigan coach Debbie Belkin said. "It
was a good win."
Yesterday, Minnesota brought the
Wolverines back to earth.
Early on, it became evident that the
Gophers' defense would provide a stern
test for the Wolverines.
Then the Gophers grabbed the lead.
idway through the first half, the
oh were awarded a free kick just
outside the Michigan box. Following a
perfect cross, the Michigan defense was
frozen and a Minnesota defender
pounced on the ball for a goal.
The Wolverines faced an uphill
climb, as the Gophers dropped into an
ultra-defensive mode.
The strategy worked to perfection as
e Wolverines had most of the posses-
n,butnever penetrated the heart ofthe
Gopher defense.
"We had our chances, but could
never take advantage," Becky Kozlick

is very good, so I didn't have many
difficult shots."
The Wolverines gave Guelph
goalie Mark Gowan plenty of diffi-
cult chances, peppering him with 42
shots. Gowan, after giving up the
three first-period goals, was impene-
trable, stopping Michigan's last 26
shots and registering 39 saves for the
Gowan stopped most of the
Michigan shots cold, but he had a
hard time with freshman center Mike
Comrie. Comrie was all over the
place during the first period, feeding
Geoff Koch in front of the net for the
second goal of the game.
Comrie also added a goal of his
own in the last minute of the period,
skating around the Guelph defenders
and shooting on Gowan from the
right side of the net. Gowan deflect-
ed the first shot, but Comrie snuck
the rebound past him for Michigan's

final goal.
"I think Mike is going to be a spe-
cial player," Michigan coach Red
Berenson said. "He can beat you
one-on-one and he uses his wings
very well. He made a great pass on
Koch's goal and he could have had a
couple more of his own."
Comrie also set the tone for the
game in the first few minutes, as he
laid out two Guelph defenders. At
just 5-foot-10 and 172 pounds,
Comrie's hits surprised fans and
players alike.
"As a guy who's not so big, you've
got to dish it out whenever you can,"
Comrie said. "It's just part of the
game. I don't go looking for it but if
its there, I'll take it."
The line of Comrie, Koch and
Sean Ritchlin was taking it to the
Gryphons the entire game, account-
ing for two of the three Michigan
goals and multiple opportunities.

"Obviously you have to like the
combination of Comrie and Koch
with Ritchlin," Berenson said.
"Those three played very well
Berenson also saw some good play
from Greg Crozier and Scott Matzka.
Crozier started the scoring 2:23 into
the game with a power-play goal.
Crozier took a Matzka pass and beat
Gowan stickside from the left faceoff
While the Wolverines showed
flashes of brilliance at times against
Guelph, they were also coaxed into
committing quite a few penalties,
especially in the second period. The
Wolverines found themselves down
two men in power-play situations
twice, helping stunt the offensive
flow they enjoyed in the first period.
"When you are two men short
twice, it takes a lot of players out of
See OPENER, Page 10B

Freshman Josh
stopped 22 of 23
shots Saturday
as the Wolverines
Guelph, 3-1.



slips and
slides past
Iowa, 12-9
By Mark Snyder
Daily Sports Editor
IOWA CITY After a game lit-
tered with penalties, miscues and
confusion, it was only fitting that
Saturday's game ended with a mis-
Kahlil Hill, Iowa's kick returner
extraordinaire, fielded a punt on the
five yard line and, while trying to
break the big play, was tackled by a
swarm of Michigan defenders in the
end zone for a safety, securing
Michigan's 12-9 victory over Iowa
(1-I Big Ten, 2-3 overall). The victo-
ry gave Michigan (2-0, 3-2) its first
overall winning record since
The game, played before 70.397
hearty souls in the Iowa rain, lasted
just three hours, but to anyone
watching, it hardly went that fast.
Because every game must end
with a winner, Michigan got credit
for a victory, though few would con-
tend it was a masterpiece.
A sloppy day - "rainy and driz-
zling," as the Iowa announcer
described - found a game to match.
"I'm very proud of this football
team;' Michigan coach Lloyd Carr
said. "A lot of people will talk about
how ugly it was. I think it's a won-
derfill win at a hard place to play and
There were 19 penalties and eight
turnovers between the two teams,
and yet the game was so sloppy that
capitalizing on the mistakes was just
as difficult as playing mistake-free.
But it was the final sequence that
symbolized the entire messy after-
Michigan's defensive hold with
just less than six minutes to play
earned the Wolverines a chance to
pad their 10-9 lead, but after a face
mask penalty on the punt return, the
final drive remained an uphill battle,
beginning at their own 11 yard line.
Backfield workhorse Anthony
Thomas received the bulk of the
final carries, but failed to earn the
crucial yards, leaving the fateful
final punt to Jason Vinson. Vinson,
whose kicks varied in distance
throughout the day, nailed the final
punt as he never has before, placing
it inside the five yard-line in the left
corner - a textbook kick.
The boot would have pinned Iowa
into a difficult position - traveling
60 yards into field goal range - but
Hill rendered all that meaningless.
Mistakes proved to be the day
theme on both sides of the ball.
Unfortunately for punt returner

Iowa fullback Trevor Boilers Is tackled by a slew of Wolverines on a sloppy, mud-slicked field In a sloppy, mistake-ridden game at Kinnick Stadium. The Wolverines held
on to beat the Hawkeyes, 12-9, on the strength of a last-minute safety. Anthony Jordan (28), Josh Williams (91) and Sam Sword (93) drag Boilers down as Rob Renes
(58) finishes him off.
Comedy of errors somehow leaves Blue in Brg Ten race

OWA CITY - Anybody wanna return punts?
Better yet, does anyone have some Super
The final, fitting exclamation point to
Saturday's nonstop comedy of errors came on a
boneheaded safety, of all things, sealing a 12-9
Michigan victory and putting an end to one of
the most laughable games in recent memory. It
was a ridiculous ending to a ridiculous game, on
a play Iowa coach Hayden Fry said deserved "an
A-plus for effort, and a zero for decision-mak-
Fry's comment
summed up the whole
afternoon, which started,
proceeded and ended
with mistake after rain-
induced mistake.
"Ugly" doesn't do this
game justice. "Comical" JIM
comes close. ROSE
In all fairness, it was Rose
wet and cold and windy Beef
and slippery, so you
couldn't expect mistake-
free football.
In fact, with Michigan and Iowa, in early
October, you'd expect it to be sloppy. But this
was way beyond sloppy. This was hilarious.
This game induced more laughter than a
Woody Allen movie.

If it wasn't James Whitley fumbling a punt, it
was James Whitley fielding a punt, running five
yards and then fumbling.
And if it wasn't Whitley, it was David Terrell.
Tai Streets did the best job, and he just
backpedaled out of the way.
Lloyd Carr said his team tried to prepare for
the inclement weather, even practicing with a
wet ball - yes, a wet football - in the days
leading up to the game.
Well, the practice showed.
And apparently, it worked - because the
Wolverines, come Saturday, did an extra good
job of losing control of the wet ball. Much better
than Iowa, at least.
The Wolverines fumbled five times and threw
two interceptions. They racked up nearly an
entire field's worth of penalties, with 94 yards in
losses on 12 separate flags.
There was one sequence, late in the third quar-
ter, when the two teams were literally throwing
the ball at each other.
Whitley fumbled a punt away. Four minutes
later, Iowa's Ladell Betts fumbled it back to the
Not to be outdone, Clarence Williams fumbled
it back to the Hawkeyes six seconds later.
Both defenses were exhausted just from run-
ning on and off the field.
By the end of the exchange, the pro scouts
were laughing so hard they had to leave.

Is this really the team that was ranked in the
top 10 a month ago?
Nobody's expecting perfection, but come on!
If there isn't one single person on the Michigan
football roster who can do a better job returning
punts than James Whitley, then maybe Carr
should get back there himself. At this point,
opponents should just start punting on first
down, with the intention of recovering the ball
40 yards downfield (OK, maybe 25 yards down-
field). If this team can't field a punt, it shouldn't
be in the race for the Big Ten title.
But it is! That's the amazing thing, and really,
that's why Saturday's game can ultimately be
seen as, well;just plain funny. Had Michigan
lost, it might be different. It might be upsetting.
But the Wolverines, despite their best efforts
to the contrary, were simply unable to remove
themselves from the Big Ten race. Try as they
might, they simply could not blow it.
And so they're still alive, undefeated in the
league and sitting pretty for the next few weeks.
With two whole weeks to get ready for
Northwestern, and then Indiana, and then
Minnesota ... who knows? But we're getting
ahead of ourselves. Tell Carr to go get that wet
football again. And pray for rain against
Northwestern. If nothing else, it's good enter-

Made Spamcarotella and the rest of the
WV~fhmUna nrmsiUDa * wpi iiMewwlwkm-

- Jim Rose can be

reached via e-mail at

wwvannes eamee a spn rnes vreeKena. I

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