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April 14, 2000 - Image 22

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-04-14

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22 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, April 14, 2000

Women's netters start preparations for BTT

with road trip

By Joe Smith
Daily Sports Nritr
It's crunch time.
With the end of the conference season
rapidly approaching. and the top six
teams within one victory of each other .
it's time to separate the women from the
girls.
For most teams, oiiur matches remain
on their schedule - four opportunities to
improve their seed for the Big Ten
Tournament, and make their case to the
NCAA selection committee regarding
their position in tennis' "May Madness."
The eighth-placed Wolverines (1-5 Big
Ten, 7-9 overall) are coming off two
heartbreaking 4-3 losses to conference
foes this past weekend, and are hungry to
get back on the winning track.
With most of the Big Ten elite battling
each other in the next few weeks, the

Wolverines have a shot at sneaking up in
the standings and snatching one of the
ever-important first-round byes in the
conference tournament.
Michigan will host the Big Ten
Tournament from April 27-30, with the
top five teams receiving a free trip into
the second round.
"It is important for us to get the bye;"
freshman Jen Duprez said.
"Playing on Friday will give us a
chance for an much-needed extra day's
rest."
Michigan has been hampered by
injuries and illnesses all season, with
Duprez just getting clearance this past
Thursday to play after being sick for a
couple of weeks. Sophomore Jen
Vaughn has been sidelined with a nag-
ging hip injury since early March, and
her presence has been missed at No. 5
singles and also in doubles.

Senior Erryn Weggenman has been
missing in action since March 6, spend-
ing the last month in Portland, Ore., with
her family following her brother's death.
But she returned to practice last week and
could possibly be ready to go for this
weekend.
The Wolverines could definitely use
Weggenman's .750 winning percentage
in doubles - Michigan has struggled
with the important doubles point this
year. Her experience at No. 6 singles will
give her team the added depth it sorely
needs as the Wolverines attempt to turn
things around.
Michigan isn't the only Big Ten team
having aches and pains, as the entire con-
ference has went through nagging
injuries - which can have a huge effect
in tennis. One player can indeed make
the difference.
"All teams are just one player away

from being average,' Indiana head coach
Lin Loring said. "Whoever can put six
healthy players out on the court will be
the ones who come out on top."
Case in point: No. 15 Northwestern.
The defending Big Ten champions
jumped out to an impressive 4-0 start in
the conference. But a key injury at the top
of their lineup has left them vulnerable,
and the Wildcats lost their last two
matches.
Even without the injuries, every team
in the conference is so competitive - no
easy wins.
"Seven or eight of us can beat each
other on any given day," Iowa coach Paul
Wardlaw said. Wardlaw's squad has been
one of the only teams in the conference to
avoid the injury bug thus far. Actually,
Iowa hasn't had a player niiss action in
three years.
The Hawkeyes (4-2, 7-10) will be one
of Michigan's next opponents this
upcoming weekend, as the Wolverines
will travel to Iowa City to face a red-hot
squad. Iowa has won four of its last five,
and will be hosting the Wolverines on
Senior day with two Hawkeyes bidding
their last farewell.
"It will definitely be emotional for our
seniors," Wardlaw said.
This matchup might also contain a sis-
ter-sister showdown, with Michigan
junior Alison Sinclair possibly facing off
against her younger sister Jennifer at No.
6 singles.
But the Wolverines can't look ahead to
the family reunion quite yet, as they have
face Wisconsin (1-5, 6-12) on Saturday.
The two teams are tied for eighth place,
with the hosting Badgers having lost five

Up for grabs
It's ntO w or never for the Wolverines, who are currently in eighth place in the Big Ten.
With four matches remaining, Michigan needs to make up some ground if it has any
hopes of receiving a bye in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament which it will host
on April 27-30. The top five teams at the end of conference will receive a bye, but com-
petition is heated as the top six teams are separated by just one match.

Team
Minnesota (37)
Ohio State (40)
Illinois (28)
Northwestern (15)
Indiana

Conference
5-
5-1
5-1
5-2
5-2

Overall
13-3
12-6
9-10
15-4
12-8
7-10
9-10
7-9
6-2
7-6
7-6

Iowa 4-2
Purdue 3-4
Michigan 1-5
Wisconsin 1-5
Penn State 0-6
Michigan State 0-6
(*) National ranking as of April 10, 2000

owl x
4.00
42.

MICHIGAN REMAINING SCHEDULE:
Saturday April 15 at Wisconsin
Sunday, April 16 at Iowa
Saturday, April 22 vs Penn State
Sunday, April 23 vs Ohio State
April 27-30 Big Ten Championships (Varsity Tennis Center)

JU

_ _ _

of their last six - including being
blanked by first-place Minnesota last
weekend.
But Wisconsin won't be easy prey for
the Wolverines, with its No. 49-ranked
doubles tandem of April Habler and Lara
Vojnor, which could give Michigan fits in
doubles competition.
"We need to pull out just one match,
and then the rest should follow along
with it' Duprez said.

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Fortunately for the Wolverines, t it
last two matches of the season will be
back in the friendly confines of the
Varsity Tennis Center, as they face both
Penn State and No. 40 Ohio State from
April 22-23.
The Nittany Lions (0-6, 7-6) will be
looking desperately for their first confer-
ence victory in two years. But this streak
is misleading, for Penn State has fought
every foe to the end this year, including
tight 4-3 losses to both No.
Northwestern and No. 40 Ohio State
After attempting to tame the Nittany
Lions, Michigan will volley it up with the
Buckeyes (5-1, 12-6), who are currently
in a three-way tie for first place. Hosting
Ohio State gives the Wolverines a much
better shot, for the Buckeyes have been
perfect at home with a 9-0 record.
"The conference is wide open right
now" Ohio State coach Ch
Merzbacher said. "It'll come do
who wants it the most"
For senior co-captains Brooke Hart
and Danielle Lund, along with fellow
senior Weggenman, this will be the last
hurrah for a class that has definitely
made its mark in Michigan tennis his-
tory.
-Our goal is to win everything;' Hart
said.
Although the Wolverines are in eighth
place, their goal is definitely a possibi
Michigan is using the 1998 India
squad as inspiration.
Those Hoosiers were a No. 6 seed in
the conference tournament that year, but
See NETTERS Page 26

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