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October 12, 1998 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-12

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October 12, 1998 - SportsMonday - The Michigan Daiy - 36

Penn State proves
too much for 'M'

JIM
ROSE

I

By Dan Dingerson
Daily Sports Writer
The No. 11 Michigan field hockey
*m entered this weekend atop the Big
Ten. To stay there, it needed to defeat the
two teams competing for the distnction
-- No. 8 Ohio State and No. 6 Penn
State.
Their 1-0 victory over Ohio State, and
4-2 loss to Penn State left the Wolverines
in a tie with the Buckeyes and Lions for
the Big Ten lead.
Penn State was not willing to accept
another heart-breaking loss this early in
e Big Ten season. The thought of a two
e deficit to the Wolverines pushed
the Lions to a decisive victory at Ocker
field.
The two teams came out aggressively.
With 22:50 left in the first half, Penn
State was able to grab its first lead of the
game on a goal by forward Maegan
Galie.
Eight minutes later, Michigan forward
Jessie Veith scored her sixth goal of the
W r on a pass from Catherine Foreman.
connection between the two fresh-
men tied the game at one. Veith's goal
also set the record for most goals by a
freshman at Michigan.
The effort to tie the game seemed to
expend too much of Michigan's energy.
After the goal, Michigan looked tired,
and Penn State was ready to capitalize.
Penn State's Traci Anselmo fired a shot
past Kati Oakes with 2:30 to go, giving
the Lions the edge at the half.
Both teams came out strong after the
a f, but two early goals by the Lions
knocked Michigan out. Midfielder
Dawn Lummey and Galie each scored in
the first six minutes of the second half,
lifting Penn State to a 4-1 lead.
The deficit proved too,much for the

Wolverines to overcome.
The Wolverines raised their spirits and
their play, becoming more aggressive as
the game progressed. With 20:31 left in
the game, Kelli Gannon, Michigan's
leading scorer, had an opportunity to
close the gap to two with a penalty shot.
The result, however, was a sign that it
would not be Michigan's day, as Gannon
couldn't beat Lions' goalie Jamie Smith.
Foreman scored 3 1/2 minutes later, to
make the score 4-2.
Michigan pressed for the rest of the
game, and had many opportunities to
catch Penn State. The Wolverines could-
n't connect, though, and ended up two
goals short.
"They capitalized on their chances, we
had the same chances' Pankratz said.
"They just outplayed us today, hopefully
we can learn from it."
But the weekend was not a total loss
for the team. Friday they defeated No. 8
Ohio State, to take a momentary lead in
the conference standings.
The game was a defensive struggle -
the only goal to find the net was scored
by Gannon.
Seven minutes into the second half,
she took control of the ball and took over
the field.
"It was one of the times I kept com-
posed instead of blasting it," Gannon
said "I just dribbled it around, and was
able to put it in."
The score was kept close mainly by
the play of Ohio State goalkeeper Anna
Schwartz. The sophomore made 25
saves, giving the Buckeyes' offense a
chance to win the game.
The Wolverines' defense would not
allow Ohio State to put together an
offensive threat. The Michigan defense
once again showed that it is the strength

FILE PHOTO
Loveita Wilkinson keeps the ball away from an opponent, and the Michigan field
hockey team did the same to Ohio State on Friday, allowing just four shots.

of the team, allowing just four shots.
Oakes made two saves to record another
shutout.
The play of the game was made by
Ashley Reichenbach less than a minute
after Michigan had taken the lead. Ohio
State was on a breakaway, threatening to
tie the game, when Reichenbach dove
from behind to knock away the ball from
the charging Buckeye.

"It's a team effort, they really play
great together," Pankratz said. "The
defense is really a unit"
The result of the weekend was not
ideal, but it left Michigan in a good posi-
tion.
"We played great against Ohio State,
we're still leading the Big Ten," Pankratz
said. "I'm happy, I hope we can play well
the next game"

Field hockey youth movement paying off

Get our skivskhiedu
u stick ofJulyFut&
L auren Oppenlander's dad has always enjoyed waterskiing. The rest of
the family likes it, too. But, living out near Kalamazoo, there never
were marry spots suitable for practicing. The closest place was a good
45 minutes away, and the water there tended to be choppy, anyway.
So, he decided to build his own lake.
In his back yard.
Actually, it's not really a full-blown lake - more like a large pond, real-
ly. But it's big enough to waterski on. Big enough, in fact, to host entire
waterskiing competitions. Michigan State actually holds a tournament there
every year.
In the Oppenlanders' back yard.
It's where Lauren Oppenlander, a senior on Michigan's waterskiing team,
has honed her considerable skills in a sport most people don't try more than
once or twice each summer - and even then, for most it's just a recreation-
al thing. But Oppenlander's different. After the Midwest waterskiing
regional in Syracuse, Ind., it can be said that she's the best female waterski-
er in the midwest. Dan Smallidge, Michigan's top male performer, bears the
same title: Best of the Midwest.
So does the whole team, really. The two standouts were each just a part
of Michigan's regional championship, which earned the team a trip to
Louisiana for this weekend's college nationals.
According to Jeff Sawka, the club's treasurer, the team doesn't exactly
expect to take the tournament by storm, since most of the other teams will
be varsity clubs from practice-friendly, warm, climates, "We'll literally get
blown out of the water," he said.
But no matter. The Michigan team is one of two midwest squads going to
nationals. Purdue is the other. Sixteen other schools weren't good enough to
advance past the regional tournament.
How exactly do these tournaments work, you ask? Simple. There are
three categories, consisting of jumping, slalom and tricks. Each team has
five performers in each area, and points are accumulated largely based on
degree of difficulty.
Consider the slalom category: Skiers are dragged behind the boat, which
pulls straight through the course. Each skier has to zigzag in and out of six
buoys, while the boat cruises ahead at a set speed. Sounds simple enough,
right? At first, maybe.
But after mastering the first go-through, it gets a little bit tougher.
Tougher, as in, the boat starts speeding up. Same drill, in and out of the
buoys, just faster. And then, if you eventually master the course at the max-
imum speed, the rope connecting the skier to the boat gets shorter. This
goes on and on, until even the best skiers can navigate just a couple of the
markers before spilling.
The trick category, Smallidge's favorite, also awards points for degree of
difficulty. Tricks range from the 'surf 90-degree turn' - "the easiest,"
Smallidge says - to the 'wake double-flip,' which consists, well, of two
flips. At the same time.
In the air. On skis.
Smallidge hasn't perfected that one, just yet. "I just do regular backflips
and reverse backflips," he says. Oh, is that all?
The jumping category might be the wildest of all.
"It's definitely the biggest spectator sport" of the three, Oppenlander
says, "because there are a lot of crashes."
Basically, it works like this: The boat drives up alongside a ramp, and the
skier launches off of it.
Beginners just let the boat drive them right up to the ramp. More experi-
enced daredevils, however, use the boat as a slingshot, propelling them-
selves to the ramp so they hit it at full speed. The jumps are sometimes
spectacular; and the landings are often more spectacular.
This is where, you might say, collegiate waterskiing is missing the boat
(so to speak). With many beginners making their very first jumps in colle-
giate tournaments, the potential entertainment value of this sport is practi-
cally unlimited. Think splash, and you get the idea.
Ann Arbor's "Waterski House," as team members affectionately call it, is
home to a large portion of the team's competitors, including Stacie Hosner,
the club president. The vice president, Tim Sherman, also lives there, and
he says that most of the team members "really just love to ski. But most of
them have never really seen the competitive side of the sport until they join
the team."
You want someone who has, though, you talk to Oppenlander. Or, better
yet, go to her house. You can ski there, remember.
Ricci Oppenlander is also on Michigan's team. Her brother and father
both set records in waterski competitions - this past weekend. Dad's
record was eventually broken again by somebody else, but that's OK - it's
incentive to keep getting better. Her mom even gets into it - "she's the
boat driver," Lauren says.
Lauren Oppenlander has actually qualified to compete nationally next
year, after her collegiate career is over. So she's got that to look forward to.
But for now, she has just one more tournament left as a Wolverine. And
then, of course, comes the onset of the one and only unfortunate thing that
keeps Oppenlander, Smallidge and the rest of Michigan's team from being
out on the water absolutely all of the time - winter.
- Jim Rose can be reached at jwrose@umich.edu

By Dan Dingerson
Daily Sports Writer
Youth is an attribute that has haunt-
ed many teams in collegiate athletics.
Often youth is used as an excuse for
younger players making mistakes, or
as a sign for the future. Michigan's
field hockey team doesn't use youth
as an excuse, instead it uses it to win
games.
Michigan starts five underclass-
men, and two more get significant
playing time. Amongst the roster of
23, there are only four juniors, and
four seniors.
The lack of older players means that
for the team to be successful, the
younger players have to step up.
They have.
The youth movement has been led
by sophomore forward Kelli Gannon.
After a season in which Gannon won
Freshman of the Year honors in the
Big Ten, big things might have been
expected. Adding to the pressure of
following up her impressive freshman
year, Gannon was moved to a new
position - forward.
She has responded in a manner that
would have been unfair to expect,
leading the team in goals scored and
points. She added to her totals this
weekend by scoring the game-win-
ning goal against Ohio State.
That goal came a week after she
scored three goals and had two assists
in two Michigan wins. Gannon also
netted a game winning goal against
Michigan State in the previous game.
Gannon's recent surge has led
Michigan to the top of the Big Ten
standings, and earned her the praise of
her coach.
"We have her playing somewhere

she's not used to, so there was a tran-
sition for the first couple games,"
Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz said.
"I think she's made the adjustment,
she's been playing great."
Gannon has not been working
alone. Freshmen Jessie Veith and
Catherine Foreman have also made a
great impact on the team.
Veith scored her sixth goal of the
year yesterday against Penn State, giv-
ing her the new freshman record. This
weekend she received some additional
playing time because of an injury to
captain Amy Philbrook. Although she
seems to have had no problems, there
was a transition.
"Definitely it is different - the
level of play, the turf. I had never even
seen turf until I came here," Veith
said.
Foreman also stood out against
Penn State, netting a goal and an
assist. Coming here from Australia,
the freshman might have had the
greatest adjustment to make of anyone
on the team.
"We use more fast passes there, but
I'm starting to pick up the way things
are done here," said Foreman. "I don't
notice the difference anymore."
The Wolverines do not have to
make excuses for their youth because
they are helping to lead the team to
victory, not holding them back. They
also don't have to look to the future,
success is happening now, and cham-
pionships are a real possibility.
Despite their great success, the
young players are not getting egotisti-
cal. "We all know where are place is
on this team," said Gannon.
Halfway through the Big Ten sea-
son, their place is atop the conference.

FILE PHOTO
Michigan's field hockey team fought and scrambled to a Big Ten split this week-
end - and wound up in a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten standings.

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