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March 13, 2000 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-03-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Sports desk: 647-3336
sportsdesk~@umich .edu


....... ......

Women face difficult NCAA bracket

y Raphael Goodstein
and Michael Kern
Daily Sports Writers
After finishing second in the Big Ten
regular season, the No. 25 Michigan
women's basketball team thought it had
earned national respect.
Yesterday, the Wolverines learned
they're still not quite there.
When Michigan's name was finally
*vealed, happiness and relief turned to
frowns and disappointment.
Michigan (13-3 Big Ten, 22-7 over-
all) is going to the NCAA Tournament,

but not with the seed it was hoping for.
As the eight-seed in the West region,
Michigan will have another opportunity
to garner national respect by playing
perennial-power Stanford (20-8).
"I thought we should be a fifth or
sixth (seed)," senior forward Stacey
Thomas said.
The ninth-seeded Cardinal won the
1990 and 1992 national titles and made
four other trips to the Final Four in the
Despite being snubbed, Michigan
appreciates the opportunity to play for
national respect.

"I think this gives us the chance to let
people know who Michigan is," fresh-
man point guard Infini Robinson said.
The Wolverines' tournament bid was
even more bittersweet considering Illi-
nois - who finished fourth in the Big
Ten, and lost to Michigan twice - was
a six seed.
Michigan coach Sue Guevara ques-
tioned the Fighting Ilini's seed since
her Wolverines beat them twice, by a
14-point average.
"We wondered how could Illinois be
ahead of us after we beat them twice,"
Guevara said. "Why do you think?

Respect- or lack of it"
Junior guard Anne Thorius voiced
similar sentiments.
"We think we're a better team than
Illinois and we proved that during the
season," Thorius said.
The Big Ten will also be represented
by second-seeded Penn State in the
Midwest, and No. 4 seed Purdue in the
East, last season's national champion.
The top four seeds in each region get
the opportunity to host the first two
rounds of the tournament. As the No. 1
seed in the West, Georgia hosts the
See SNUB, Page 3B

Postseason update-e~inSycint aeur'el
for either of Mihigan's basketball teams.
WOmet: The WolVenines wiU face -,
ninth-seeded-Staniford in the first;
round on Friday in Athen4, Ga,
Mem Michigan will travel to Notre
Damnefor the NIT. The Wolverines
won the NIT Championship i1997.
lnside tod4y's section:
Full worhen's bracket <-Page 3B
R Midliigan State easily takes Big Ten
Tournament, No. 1 seed -Page 5B
iClip th iaen's bracket and win 10 free
pizzas from Piza House -Page 8B




Blue bucks
Broncos out
Of plavfs
By Chns Grandstaff
Daily Sports Editor
Western Michigan forward Anthony Battaglia
summed up the Broncos playoff series against
Michigan even before it started. The Broncos left
winger, eager to hit the ice in what would be
Western's first CCHA playoff appearance since
1997, promptly fell flat on
his face while entering the CCHA
arena for Friday night's Playoffs
pregame skate.Pa f
In his earnest jaunt to
the frozen surface, the sophomore had forgotten
to remove the protective fabric skate guards from
the blades on his feet, and the result left him reel-
The same proved true for the rest of the Bron-
cos, who were sent reeling just 1:37 into Friday
night's opener on a lightning quick one-timer by
Michigan forward Josh Langfeld - a bolt from
which the Broncos were never able to recover.
Michigan swept the two-game series from
Western Michigan, 4-2 on Friday and 6-2 on Sat-
urday, and will now head to Joe Louis Arena for
next weekend's conference tournament semifinal.
"I thought we played well," Michigan center
Mike Comrie said. "There were lapses that we
still don't want to have, but it's still the first round
of the playoffs and we can still improve on things.
It's exciting, but it's still only the first round."
The two-game sweep did not come as easily as
some may have expected for the Wolverines,
though. After charging ahead 3-0 on Friday night
the Wolverines allowed Western Michigan to pull
within one goal early in the third period.
But Michigan junior Scott Matzka ended the
Broncos bid for an upset by netting a tally with
just 2:45 left to play. Matzka took a pass from

Irish host
in NIT
first round
By Mark Francescuti
Daily Sports Editor
Despite finishing eighth in the Big
Ten with a 6-10 record, Michigan will
still enjoy the fruits of postseason play.
Michigan (15-13 overall) will battle
Notre Dame (18-14) in South Bend,
Wednesday at 9 p.m. in a first-round
National Invitation Tournament
The winner of the Notre Dame-
Michigan contest will battle the winner
of the Marquette-
Xavier matchup NIT
for a second- First round
round battle at a
later date, to be
determined by the NIT committee.
The Wolverines lead the overall
series, 12-6, and have won the past four
times. Michigan is 15-4 in NIT play.
South Bend may not be the favorite
vacation spot for the Michigan football
team, but it does hold some.favorable
basketball memories.
Michigan's Fab Five played for the
first time together in the starting lineup
at Notre Dame in the 1990-91 season.
South Bend was also the stop on the
Wolverines' cruise through the 1997
NIT, when Michigan beat the Irish, 67-
66 at the Joyce Center in a third-round
game en route to the championship.
The Wolverines beat the Irish in New
York to win the 1984 NIT crown.
Michigan's circumstances entering the
NIT are quite different than in the 1997
campaign. Postseason play comes as a
blessing to this young Wolverine squad,
which can use the the next week to prac-
tice and continue to hone its skills.
Battling a team like Notre Dame,
which upset the likes of Connecticut,
Syracuse and Ohio State, gives Michi-
gan another good test before next sea-
The Irish have some big guns, the
biggest in the form of sophomore Troy
Murphy, the Big East player of the year,
who averages 22 points and 11
rebounds per game.
The postseason play also allows
freshman guard Jamal Crawford to
serve at least one more game of his
eight-game suspension for violating an
NBA draft rule. Crawford has already
served five games.
Michigan coach Brian Ellerbe is cur-
rently on a recruiting trip in New Jersey
and could not be reached for comment
late last night.
Tickets are set to go on sale tomor-
row at 10 a.m. at the Michigan Ticket
Office. According to Notre Dame sports
information, tickets will cost $18
(loge), $15 (lower arena) and $8
(bleacher) for the game.

Michigan freshman Jed Ortmeyer gets a good look at Western Michigan goalie, Jeff Reynaert, on this scoring attempt. Reynaert gave up 10 goals in
the CCHA first-round series. With the sweep, the Wolverines have advanced to the CCHA semifinals at Joe Louis Arena on Friday.

linemate Josh Langfeld, and, after patiently sizing
up Western Michigan goaltender Jeff Reynaert,
fired a wrister off his stick side shoulder and into
the back of the net.
Michigan closed out its home schedule with
one of its best performances of the season in
front of a raucous Yost Ice Arena crowd. The old
barn sent senior Sean Peach off in style - rock-
ing with each of the Wolverines' six goals and
the crowd-involving cheers of the Michigan pep
"Our crowd was outstanding tonight through-
out the game, and that's why you play for home
ice advantage all year," Michigan coach Red
Berenson said. "When you get into these type of

games you appreciate home ice and you appreci-
ate your fans. Western played hard, and they
played very well. We earned this though and it
was a good feeling tonight."
Especially for Peach who played his last game
at Yost on Saturday night. After the game Peach
slowly glided off the ice, facemask open, visibly
emotional, and obviously reluctant to leave the
ice that he has called home for the last three and a
half years.
"It was a good way to go out for me," Peach
said. "We played a pretty solid game, a lot better
than last night. I wouldn't have been pleased if
we had played like we did (Friday) night."
Matzka got the Wolverines on the board first

on Saturday with a shorthanded goal. Matzka
took a pass from Geoff Koch near center ice with
a defender right on his heels. With a burst of
speed Matzka quickly outdistanced his defender
and he - along with the rest of the Wolverines
- never looked back.
Matzka tallied another shorthanded goal in the
second period and added an assist in the third to
bring his weekend point total to five.
Not to be outdone Comrie, Michigan's leading
scorer, tallied his 19th and 20th goals of the sea-
son in the game.
The Wolverines will now await the winner of
Tuesday's "play-in" playoff game between Bowl-
ing Green and Nebraska-Omaha.

'fop-ranked gymnasts barrel into postseason pressure

Women rip up Florida, Bowling Green

By Sarah Ensor
zily Sports Writer
The No. I Michigan women's gymnastics
team began its final home meet of the season on
Saturday night with a tribute to its past. By the
time the final routines were completed, the
attention had turned to the brightness of the
Wolverines' future.
Before the meet, Sarah Cain, Kate Nellans
and Sarah-Elizabeth Langford were honored in
senior night festivities, and distinguished alum-
ni of the Michigan gymnastics program joined
e current Wolverines on the floor. But once
e competition began, Michigan proved that it
would much rather look ahead than behind.
The Wolverines scored a 197.05 to defeat No.
13 Florida and Bowling Green in Crisler Arena.
The Gators took second with a 194.5, while the
Falcons came in last with a 192.175.
"I'm pleased," Michigan coach Bev Plocki
said. "We had a good meet - we didn't have a
great meet. It was a great way to end the season
r the seniors, though."
It was indeed the seniors who captured the
headlines in their last hurrah in front of the
home crowd. Tri-captain Cain won the all-
around competition with a 39.55, while Lang-
ford scored the first perfect 10 of her career on
the vault en route to a first-place finish in the

happen on senior night is that much more spe-
Langford agreed.
"It was so amazing," Langford said. "I hope
that my team can continue this momentum and
excitement into the upcoming meets."
Other top Michigan performers included
freshman Cami Singer, who stood atop the podi-
um after scoring a career-high 9.95 on balance
beam, and junior tri-captain Bridget Knaeble,
who took first-place honors in the uneven bars
with a 9.95. The Wolverines finished 1-2-3 in
the vault, uneven bars and balance beam, and
freshman Janessa Grieco took second in the
floor exercise.
The meet marked the last regular-season
competition for the Wolverines, who head into
the Big Ten Championships at Penn State this
weekend. Michigan appeared ready to success-
fully forge on with its season, as it demonstrated
a high level of confidence in its performances
and seemed to strongly believe in its chances for
While Saturday's performance was not the
Wolverines' most consistent of the season, they
proved their ability to achieve top scores even
when not hitting on all cylinders.
"I think if we consider a 197 one of our not-
best meets, that's a great start for the postsea-
son," junior Christine Michaud said. "We're
confident, we have some good meets under our

Men conquer State,
seal season sweep
By Rohit Bhave
Daily Sports Writer
EAST LANSING - While lesser teams may view a nar-
row 229.5-229.25 victory over No. 4 Michigan State in a posi-
tive light, the No. 1 Michigan men's gymnastics team is not
satisfied with the sloppy win.
Ahead 154.575-153.275 before the high bar - its fifth
rotation - Michigan appeared to be on pace to score above
231 points for the meet. The Wolverines then nearly gave
away the meet with an ugly 36.1 performance on the high bar
that included four disastrous falls.
Down 191.425-190.675, Michigan's resolve powered it to a
38.825 parallel bar performance on its last rotation. Having
finished their last event, the Wolverines nervously watched as
Michigan State finished on the high bar. With the meet on the
line, the Spartans blew the victory with a low 37.825 score,
after a Michigan State gymnast fell flat on his face.
Scott Vetere's outstanding 9.95 on the parallel bars com-
bined with solid scores from Lalo Haro, Daniel Diaz-Luong
and Kevin Roulston to overcome the 191.425-190.675 deficit.
On the other side of the mat, Michigan State coach Rick
Atkinson claimed a moral victory in his team's tussle with the
top-ranked Wolverines.
The meet "showed that we're young, and that we're good -
we just do not believe in ourselves yet. But we are ready for
the Big Ten championships," Atkinson said.
Unlike the upbeat Atkinson, Michigan coach Kurt Golder
was irked by the Wolverine's staggering inconsistency.
The falls "are isolated incidences of something going



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