12A - Th n".chigan Daily - Thursday, January 21, 1999
Women gymnasts head east
The Michigan hockey team hasn't lost to Notre Dame yet this season, but they haven't blown them out either. The Wolverines
beat the Irish at Yost Ice Arena, 1-0, Nov. 21and played them to a 2-2 tie a week earlier in South Bend.
Ice formng on Golden Dhombe
Notre Dame hockey enjoying a breakthrough season
By Vaughn R. Kug
Daily Sports Writer
Despite the ebb and flow of a
young season already marked by an
exhilarating victory over then-No. 2
Florida and a devastating defeat at
the hands of then-No. 7 Minnesota
last Friday, the Michigan women's
gymnastics team is as stable as ever.
While noting that the loss to the
Golden Gophers may have humbled
her squad, coach Bev Plocki does not
feel the team is dwelling on the
"I reassured the team that Friday
had nothing to do with a lack of tal-
ent or ability," Plocki said. "While
possibly a little embarrassed, the
team has not lost their confidence."
Seventh-ranked Michigan has a
prime opportunity to bounce back in
a big way when they journey to face
unranked Massachusetts this
The Wolverines have defeated the
Minutewomen in each of their recent
meetings, two of which were in
Massachusetts coach Dave
Kuzara is an ex-assistant of Plocki,
and she relayed Kuzara's feelings
that "his team is really struggling
"Two of his top athletes are strug-
gling with illness," Plocki said.
One such gymnast is All-
American Jill Fisher, who is hoping
to overcome her bout with mono by
In preparing for Massachusetts,
Plocki feels practice is progressing
well thanks to the extra efforts of her
team this week.
"I can see the extra bit of effort
this week," Plocki said.' The team is
open to the changes that are neces-
sary to prevent what happened
Tri-captain Sarah Cain echoed
the views of Plocki.
"We have had a great week of
By T.J. Berka
Daily Sports Writer
There are many images that come to mind when think-
inig about Notre Dame.
Knute Rockne. George Gipp. Golden football helmets.
Rudy. Maybe the image of little green leprechauns danc-
ing about on a football field as the Fighting Irish use luck
to deflate hopes of opposing football teams,
If you are thinking really hard, you might even wonder
why a school with a French name, like Notre Dame, has
the Fighting Irish as a mascot. Doesn't seem to make
But put those images and thoughts away. While Notre
Dame is known for little green creatures, Touchdown
Jesus, and successful football teams, the Fighting Irish
are adding another thing to their list of well-knowns -
good ice hockey.
Good ice hockey? In South Bend, Indiana?
Although Indiana is better known for rickety basket-
ball hoops in corn-filled farmlands, the Notre Dame
hockey team has quietly made itself into a national con-
The eighth-ranked Fighting Irish passed Ferris State
and Ohio State for third place in the CCHA this weekend
with a sweep of Alaska-Fairbanks.
Notre Dame didn't just beat the Nanooks, it stomped
and pulverized them twice, 6-2 and 6-1, in front of its
Not that Notre Dame taking care of business on its
home ice is unusual. In fact, it has become the norm this
The Fighting Irish are undefeated at the Joyce Center
this season, posting an 8-0-1 mark. A 2-2 tie to No. 5
Michigan is the only blemish on Notre Dame's home
With the national ranking and an undefeated home
record, the Fighting Irish are closing in on virgin territo-
ry. Notre Dame has not made the NCAA regional playoff
round since it reinstated its hockey program in 1967.
The Fighting Irish haven't had a winning season since
1990-91 - two years before they joined the CCHA. In
fact, last year's 18-19-4 record and seventh-place finish
was Notre Dame's best since joining the conference. As
recent as the 1996-97 season, the Fighting Irish only won
So what the hell has happened in the land of
Notre Dame's rise in the conference didn't start this
year; it actually started last March in the CCHA playoffs,
when Notre Dame took eventual national champion
Michigan to the brink of elimination.
The Fighting Irish started off the best-of-three series
by whipping the Wolverines, 4-2. Michigan snuck by the
Irish in overtime in the second game and was forced to
rally from a two-goal deficit to win the third and final
While Notre Dame fell short last March, the competi-
tiveness with which they played has carried over to this
The Irish started the season 9-1-2, including a tie with
preseason-No.1 and last year's runner-up Boston
A loss to Michigan started a five-game skid, including
an 8-1 rout by top-ranked North Dakota. At that point of
the season, it looked as if the Irish would fall back to old
But Notre Dame beat the Fighting Sioux, who still
hold the nation's top ranking. The Irish haven't lost since.
When talking about the CCHA, Michigan and
Michigan State are the teams most mentioned. But both
perennial CCHA powers have to make a trip to South
Bend before the end of the season. With that being said,
overlooking the little leprechauns from Notre Dame
could be a fatal mistake.
Sarah Cain and the rest of the Michigan women's gymnastics team are doing
backflips over the prospect of traveling to Amherst, Mass. this weekend.
practice," Cain said. "And we are
excited to have a good, solid meet
this weekend where we hit 6-for-6 in
One event the Wolverines hope to
excel in is the floor exercise, which
hindered Michigan against
"Despite our problems against
Minnesota, the floor exercise, is our
most consistent event in practice,"
"We absolutely rock the floor in
practice. In fact, I don't think Cain or
Lisa Simes have made a mistake with
their floor routine in practice since
As usual, Plocki is simply hoping
that her team takes the upcomin.
meet one exercise at a time an
achieves high scores instead of
focusing solely on winning or losing.
"If we hit our routines the wins
should follow," Plocki said. "Since
the ranking are based upon scorings
instead of just wins and losses, if we
score well this weekend we can hop
back up to the top of the rankings."
Women's track stays at home
By Joe Michelotti
For the Daily
The Michigan women's track team
continues its recent homestand by host-
ing the 18th annual Red Simmons
Invitational on Saturday in the Indoor
Track Building, their third home contest
in as many weeks.
Notre Dame, Toledo and Western
Michigan, along with a number of other
"unattached" athletes, are scheduled to
compete this weekend.
Unattached athletes are individuals
who are not affiliated with any of the
participating universities. Often they are
alumni of the host school or runners
competing in nearby semi-pro leagues.
This weekend, former Michigan runners
Karen Harvey and Don McClean are
registered for appearances in the Red
Simmons Invitational. Competing and
enjoying success against unattached ath-
letes is usually a sign of strength in a
"This invitational will provide some
good competition for us, with a lot of
schools present, and with the unattached
athletes," injured distance runner Katy
The women hope to continue the
momentum generated from a strong per-
formance in last week's Michigan
"Last week we had a total team
effort, everybody contributed,"
Radkewich said. This week "we would
like to see some more (personal
If the Wolverines continue to com-
Olive Ikeh and the Michigan women's track team will be raring to go this weekend
at the Red Simmons Invitational to be held in the indoor Track Building.
pete at last week's level, personal records
may not be the'only records that will fall.
At the Quadrangle, Brandi Bentley set a
Michigan team and Indoor Track
Building record by leaping 20-feet-I
inch, eclipsing the old 20-feet-1/2-inch
mark set in 1997 by former Wolverine
As upperclassmen such as long
jumper Brandi Bentley, distance runner
Katie McGregor and high jumper Nicole
Forrester continue to lead, the Wolvennes
realize that for future success, it is neces*.
sary to nurture the young talent.
"We have people now like Katy
Radkewich," McGregor said in a pre-
season Trackwire on-line interview.
"She just transferred from Providence,
and she was just phenomenal, just awe-
some in high school. Now she is injured
and hopefully she's going to come back
and do great things again."
Tennis hosts home opener today
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By Nick Felzen
Daily Sports Writer
Thus far this season, large multi-
team tournaments have been the pri-
mary obstacles for the Michigan
men's tennis team. After succesfully
competing in these tournaments,
next up for the team is a dual match
against William and Mary at 3 p.m.
today at the Varsity Tennis Center.
This past weekend, the team com-
peted in the Big Ten Tournament,
which was held in Madison. Six of
the eight Michigan players who
made the trip to Madison were invit-
ed into the main draw, while the
remaining two played in the 7- and 8-
This tournament was an extreme-
ly competitive one. Five teams in the
tournament were ranked in the top 20
Michigan coach Brian Eisner was
pleased with the team's play in the
tournament, as all the players won at
least two matches.
"When we lost, we lost to higher
seeds. We did better at the Big Tens
than we did at the Rolex Regionals,"
Jake Raiton and Matt Wright
played especially well this past
weekend, as Raiton got to the finals
of the 7- and 8- position draw, and
Wright was coasting through his
draw until he met up with the No. 1-
seeded player in the tournament from
, This will be the team's first dual
match of the season, which means it
will be the first matchup in which
the Wolverines will not be participat-
ing in a large tournament, but rather
in a head-to-head matchup against
one opponent. This will also be the
team's first home match of the sea-
"This will be a new experience
for the freshman," Eisner said.
In last season's match against
William and Mary, "we beat them 6-
1 on the road, but they have everyone
back so it should be tougher," Eisner
To prepare for the match, Eisner
has had the team practice doubles
primarily because the team did not
have a chance to do so in the Big Te*
singles championship, which fea-
tured only singles play.
Falcons swoop into Yost tonight