8A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, A pril 1, 1999
ollowing the Michigan hockey
team's loss to New Hampshire last
Saturday, patrons filed out of
Scorekeeper's bar on Maynard Street
with their heads down after the
Wolverines were eliminated by the
dreaded overtime goal.
On the way home, a concerned senior
voiced his displeasure.
"Can you believe our defense?" he
asked, fully confident in the answer he
wanted. "I mean, without Blackburn in
goal, we would have gotten killed!"
This one-way banter continued for
most of the walk, with him offering sug-
gestions on how to remedy the failing
basketball and hockey programs and me
nodding along, or off depending on the
comment, as we neared our respective
But his final comment struck a chord.
As he entered his house, he reminded
me, "our Michigan sports career is
It was so routine, just like he was a
player on the teams he cheered for,
expelling generous portions of his soul
- Daily columnist recalls five greatest 'M' memories
Mark My Words
from four years of fandom.
Though the career isn't entirely over
- the baseball and softball teams have
two months to play - his moment of
reflection stirred me to deep thought
about the most memorable Michigan
sports moments of my four years on
(and off) this campus.
Drum roll, please.
5. THE 1997 NCAA ICE HocKEY
SEMIFINAL GAME (BRADLEY CENTER)
-- BOSTON UNIVERSITY 3, MICHIGAN 2
The sting of the hit may be a moment
no one in attendance will ever forget.
Skating down the ice in his sterling
maize jersey, Brendan Morrison provid-
ed as smooth a sight as Michigan fans
had ever known. He was polite, courte-
ous and the best college hockey player
in the nation.
But after BU's Chris Drury leveled
him midway through the first period,
Morrison was licking the ice.
As the brutish power of BU pum-
meled every one of the Wolverines'
offensive stars, the magic of the perfect
team disappeared. The days of question-
ing the score and not the outcome van-
ished and the contemplation of heart-
break revisited the defending champion.
Now, that team is remembered for
what it didn't do - win the NCAA
championship - instead of what it did.
It wasa group of smooth upperclass-
men poised for their destiny. They had
won the title a year earlier, before it was
their turn, all in preparation for their
senior year. They could toy with a
defense and nearly score at will. Posting
eight-goal games was as routine as lac-
ing up their skates.
Watching John Madden break away
for a shorthanded tally or Jason Botterill
punch yet another rebound goal past a
helpless netminder became the norm.
But that all ended in a half-empty
arena on a cold Milwaukee March day.
The best sports team in my four years at
Michigan was the one that didn't win.
4. THE 1996 NCAA REGIONAL SOFT-
BALL FINAL (ALUMNI FIELD) -
MICHIGAN 10, SOUTH CAROLINA 1
Under a sky that bore no clouds but
brought down searing heat, Michigan
Home Opener 3:09 p.m.
0 vs. Central Michi gan
Michigan vs. Illinois
sophomore pitcher Sara Griffin tossed a
gem. Her fearless motion, hard and
deliberate, had the Gamecocks wishing
and hoping for a chance. Griffin never
gave it to them.
Just one day after outdueling All-
America hurler Trinity Johnson, 1-0, in
the first round of the regionals, the two
met again and this time, Griffin had the
bats behind her to match. Johnson's arm
fell flat early in the game and the
Wolverines capitalized, thrusting them-
selves into their second consecutive
berth in the Women's College World
Series and certifying their status as an
elite program, capable of beating the
nation's best team consistently.
While the hundreds who packed the
Alumni Field stands and lined the
chain-link fences will remember first
baseman Traci Conrad's leap of joy after
she made the final putout, I'll recall
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins soaking
in the greatest victory of her career, wit-
nessing her own toughness in her play-
3.1998 BIG TEN MEN'S BASKETBALL
TOURNAMENT FINAL (UNITED CENTER)
- MICHIGAN 76, PURDUE 67
It remains one of the most touching
and frightening moments of my 22
years. Minutes after dominating the
glass, the paint and gumpy Purdue cen-
ter Brad Miller to live up to the billing
he received before his freshman season,
Michigan behemoth, er, center, Robert
Traylor wanted to share the first-ever
Big Ten tournament title with his grand-
mother, Jessie Mae Carter.
So Traylor led what was believed to
be the first off-court celebration of a
tournament title. The only problem was,
he had to get off the court. Instead of
choosing the path most traveled, the 6-
foot-8, 310-pound MVP chose the path
of least resistance - over press row and
my fragile-as-a-twig body. As I assumed
a crash position, he shook the table and
hurdled over me to reach his destina-
Thankfully, there were no casualties,
his teammates joined him in the stands
with their families - "We'll follow him
anywhere" one remarked - and Traylor
once again proved that in big-as-they-
come contests, no one played bigger.
2. 1998 NCAA ICE HOCKEY
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (FLEETCENTER)
- MICHIGAN 3, BOSTON COLLEGE 2
The Boston experience provided
Michigan hockey fans with an unusual
paradox. In a city filled with some of
the nation's greatest history, the Puritan
town slept easily, believing the home-
town Boston College Eagles would
coast to the championship against a
lucky-to-be-alive Michigan squad. In
town famous for the RED Sox and its
RED Boston University team, the
Bostonians forgot to recall the refrain.
They remembered on Saturday night,
when Michigan freshman Josh Langfeld
scored the championship-winning goal
in overtime to certify Michigan's RED
Berenson as the toast of the town. He
took a severely depleted team to a an
unimaginable level, reaching a peak
completely opposite the valley he sat in
12 months before.
There's an unwritten rule that sports-
writers aren't supposed to bias them-
selves for or against either side when
covering a game. But on that night,
when Langfeld's biscuit tagged the back
of the title basket, it was high fives all
around and cheap hotel wine to cele-
brate the underdogs.
1. 1997 OHIO STATE GAME
(MICHIGAN STADIUM) - MICHIGAN
21, OHIO STATE 14 /1998 ROSE BOW:
(ROSE BowL) - MICHIGAN 20,
WASHINGTON STATE 16 (TIE)
In a season that everyone ever associ-
ated with the University will recall for
eternity, two sterling moments remain
Against Ohio State it was the mad
rush to the field following the game as
the masses embraced every player on
the Michigan squad, cheering them on
and joining in a celebration that was
years overdue. The usually quiet-as-a-@
feather Stadium echoed on nearly every
possession as the energy of hope and
heroics merged into a 100,000 fan force
Though the Rose Bowl took place
thousands of miles from the Michigan
campus, fans around the word knew the
importance of the game and remained
riveted to its every moment. From
Heisman Trophy winner Charles
Woodson's cradling of Washington
State's dream in the first quarter to
Brian Griese's gritty first-down scram-
ble in the fourth, this was a moment for
Wolverines everywhere. January 1,
1998 will be remembered as the day
Michigan and its fans achieved the sta-
tus they'd always claimed as a birthright.
- Mark Snyder can be reached via e-
mail at email@example.com.
Friday, April 2nd
Saturday, April 3rd (DH)
Sunday, April 4th
U-M Students, Faculty and Staff are admitted free of charge!
"Autograph Day" Saturday, April 3rd. Free schedule posters.
Play "Baseball Bingo" for prizes Sunday, April 4th.
Register to win great prizes at all Michigan home games!
Men's Tennis vs. Ohio State Saturday, April 3rd / vs. Penn State Sunday, April 4th
Toth matches begin at 1:00 p.m at the Varsity Tennis Center Free Admission.
For additional U-M Athletics info. visit mgoblue.com
B _ _ W I
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Continued fromPage 5A
the case, Russell doesn't see club sta-
tus as necessarily a bad thing.
"We've actually had some advan-
tages being a club sport," Russell
Isaid. "One of the advantages is that
we don't have to follow NCAA rules
to the letter. If we want to start train-
ing a little early, for example in
September, we are free to do so."
But Russell said the varsity teams
do have some distinct advantages.
"One of the big drawbacks is that
we don't have any trainers," Russell
said. "Water polo is a physical sport,
but when we have injuries, we're on
Another thing is that varsity teams
can fly all over the country to com-
pete, while we may have to pack 15
kids in a van and drive to Madison for
"However, we look at these things
as challenges, not obstacles. When
we go in against top programs, we'#
still going to give it a good fight."
The next home match for Michigan
will be May 7-9, when it hosts the
NCAA Midwest Regional. The top
two teams will qualify for the nation-
al championships, to be held at the
University of California-Davis.
Katy Armstrong and the Michigan water polo team have been paying their dues -
and all will see the program elevated to varsity status come 2001.
A A A
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