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October 22, 1998 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-22

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12A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 22, 1998
Badgers, Hawkeyes lurk at end of tunnel for 'M' spikers.
Weekend series crucial for postseason tournament

By Uma Subramanian
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan volleyball team is
looking for the light at the end of the
tunnel - the tunnel of consecutive
losses, that is. Perhaps this weekend
it'll come into view.
But, the predictions indicate that it
probably won't happen tomorrow
when Wisconsin strolls into Cliff
Keen Arena.
The Wolverines (2-6 Big Ten, 10-8
overall) are coming off a rough road
trip which earned them fewer votes
from the pollsters than in past weeks.
On the other hand, the Badgers are
enjoying a 17-2 record and a No. 5
ranking in the USA Today/AVCA top
25 coaches poll.
That isn't the only difference
between the two teams, though.
Michigan has faced seven ranked
opponents and been victorious only
once. In contrast, the Badgers have
defeated all but one ranked opponent.
But, though Wisconsin is heavily
favored in tomorrow's match,
Michigan coach Greg Giovanazzi is
still optimistic.
"I think Wisconsin has the look of a
final four team," Giovanazzi said.
"But, I think we're fully capable of
taking two matches this weekend.
We're going to have to play some
great ball."
The biggest obstacle for the
Wolverines in the match is 6-foot-4,
reigning Big Ten player of the week,
Kelly Kennedy. The junior has been a
thorn in Michigan's side for the past

two years.
And time has only made her better.
Kennedy "is one of the most over-
powering players in the country,"
Giovanazzi said. "It's so tough to stuff
her. It's not her talent alone that
makes her so good; she and their set-
ter have clicked really well.
"Of the premier players in the con-
ference, Kelly is the one that has
come the furthest."
While the accolades for Kennedy
are boundless, the Wolverines must
not let her dominate the game.
It has become a must-win situation
for Michigan, and true to the name,
the team must win both this game and
Saturday's game against Iowa to have
any chance of returning to the NCAA
The team is confident that it can
play with the toughest competition.
"We're going into the weekend very
positive," freshman Nicole Kacor
said. "This is going to show everyone
that we're a lot better than they think
we are."
But the pressure still exists..
Regardless, Giovanazzi is still
excited to face the Badgers. His con-
nections with Wisconsin run deep.
Both Giovanazzi and Wisconsin
coach John Cook were assistant vol-
leyball coaches at the 1992 Summer
Olympics in Barcelona. Giovanazzi
was the women's assistant, while
Cook was the men's.
"We used to practice in the same
gym during the Olympics,"
Giovanazzi said. "Then we both

entered the collegiate arena the same
year. I think we're dead even as far as
coaching goes. It's fun to play him."
Though the Badgers will be to
biggest test of the weekend, the
Wolverines must also face Iowa (0-8,
6-11). This is a rebuilding year for the
Hawkeyes, who finished last season
with a 9-22 record.
"I'm excited to see Iowa because
they have a new coach (Rita Crockett)
who was an all-world player,"
Giovanazzi said. "They're up a whole
notch from last year. That happens
often with first-year coaches. We'
not overlooking them."
The match against Iowa ends the
first half of the season. The
Wolverines play every conference
team twice during the regular season
and then, if they qualify, selected
teams in the postseason.
For the Wolverines, the first half
has come to a disappointing close. At
the start of the year, the team was
expected to finish at the top of t*
conference, but now Michigan finds
itself residing closer to the bottom.
While the results have been below
expectations, Giovanazzi is not anx-
ious for the first half of the season to
come to a close.
"It's the end of the first round, but
I'm not too eager for the second one,"
Giovanazzi said. "I love coaching this
team. They're a great group to coach
and a lot of fun.
"It's a team that has many differe
faces. This weekend we're looking for
the upbeat, loose one to step up."

Karen Chase and her fellow seniors will lead the Michigan volleyball team against No. 2 Wisconsin and unranked Iowa this
weekend. The Wolverines are in a must-win situation as they approach the end of the first half of the Big Ten season.

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Southern Cal heads to Ducks' pond

By Ron Ognar
Daily Trojan (Southern Cal)
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (U-WIRE) - For several weeks, Southern Cal football-
coach Paul Hackett has called Oregon the best team in the Pacific 10 Conference.
And despite the Ducks' loss to UCLA on Saturday, Hackett said at his weekly foot-
ball luncheon that he hasn't changed his mind.
"I sat in a hotel room and watched a game where a team turned the ball over and
over again and lost in overtime," Hackett said about why he thought Oregon was the
conference leader. "Their offense is so in sync and playing so well. I just think they're
as hot as a firecracker."
Is Hackett worried he might be giving the Bruins some early bulletin-board mate-
rial with those comments?
"The UCLA/USC game is its own event," Hackett said. "It is its own separate
thing. I don't think anything can be put on a bulletin board to affect that."
Whether or not that is true, the UCLA game is the furthest thing from the Trojans'
minds this week. Right now, all USC is thinking about is a Ducks team that leads the

Pac-10 in scoring offense, rushing offense, total offense, passing efficiency, fi*
downs, field goals and fourth-down conversions.
To do that, the Trojans will have to build on the strong effort they displayed against
Washington State.
"I think it was a good win for us," Hackett said. "It was a good bounce-back after
that debacle against Cal."
Hackett was especially pleased with the defensive effort from his team. Southern
Cal held the Cougars to just 300 total yards of offense and allowed just two third-
down conversions in 15 tries.
"Let's face it," Hackett said. "With the exception of the Cal game, our defense has
been superb in the second half all year long."
On the offensive side of the ball, Hackett said Mike Van Raaphorst, who bea
ill during the Washington State game after receiving a hard hit, will remain the start
Van Raaphorst also felt nauseated during the Purdue and Florida State games.
"Mike Van Raaphorst is the starter," Hackett said. "He's fine. I don't know what's
wrong with him. We did a set of tests on Monday and we did another set today. We'll
know tomorrow."
Van Raaphorst, who was able to practice today, said he is not sure what condition
he is suffering from.
"I definitely think something more is there,' he said. "I think it might be a virus or
something like that, but I'm in no position to say.
"It hasn't happened before each game, so I know it's not nerves."
As for Carson Palmer, Hackett continues to be impressed by the freshman qu
terback's development.
"I think he played as well as he's played all year against Washington State," Hackett
said. "Maybe not statistically, but in terms of handling the team."
At running back, junior tailback Chad Morton said his back is feeling fine, but he
still needs to improve his conditioning after missing so many practice days.
"I feel a little bit tired," Morton said after Tuesday's practice. "I can always be in
better shape, but I think I definitely will be ready by the Oregon game."
In the Oregon injury picture, the Ducks learned Sunday that starting tailback
Reuben Droughns will miss the rest of the season. Droughns suffered a fractured
fibula in his right ankle and ligament damage. He underwent surgery Monday.Dom
Droughns has rushed for 824 yards in five games to lead the Pac-lO.
"It's tough to lose him not just because of his physical contributions, but al
because of his emotional ones," Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said.

I wK. f


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