o y ctober 1 1999 - The Michigan Daily - 3B
Harriers tops in state and ... not satisfied?
By Arun Gopal
Daily Sports Writer
JONESVILLE - Rain and overcast
skies welcomed runners from across the
state to the Michigan Intercollegiate
cross couitr championships in
Jobesville on Friday.
O The Michigan women's team won its
3th team championship in the 14 year
history of the event. Instead of celebra-
tion, the Wolverines' post-race mood
was more like the gloomy weather that
enveloped southeastern Michigan.
"it was an okay performance, but
we've done a lot better in the past,"
Michigan coach Mike McGuire said.
"The weather was bad, but this was typ-
ical cross-country weather, so that's not
an excuse for how we ran."
Once again, the Wolverines were
Continued from Page 1B
focus" Rosen said. "My No. 1 focus is
trying to get this team in the right direc-
tion. As we get better, we'll promote the
leck out of it and would love to pack
the place. But that can't be our focus."
The performance sold big on
qturday in comparison to the bad luck
Michigan encountered against
Minnesota on Friday when "Point
Michigan!" was seldom heard.
Minnesota is currently undefeated in
the Big Ten, tied with No. 2 Penn State
for first place in the conference.
Another factor: the team pieced
together an solid lineup last spring, but
due to unfortunate circumstances, has
t been able to use it just yet.
;he Wolverines lost junior co-cap-
tain Sarah Behnke early in the season to
illness, moving junior outside hitter
Alijah Pittenger to the left side of the
net, leaving sophomore Nicole Kacor in
the middle, and forcing junior middle
blocker Annie Maxwell to the right.
Pittenger sprained her ankle and was
forced to sit on the sidelines against
Wisconsin and Purdue.
Behnke and Pittenger were wel-
*med back this weekend, as they both
gave impressive performances, com-
bining for 54 kills in both matches.
Behnke led the team with 33.
On the plus side, their brief absence
r -PLA YING
THROUGH THE PAlM.
paced by junior Lisa Ouellet. Michigan's
top runner cruised to a second-place fin-
ish overall with a time of 18:30 at the
Mill Race Golf Course. Like her coach,
though, she was not pleased with her
"I'm disappointed with my perfor-
mance" Ouellet said. "Second place is
fine, but it's just the way I ran today. You
can't perfect every race, but I just didn't
have it today."
One ray of sunshine for the
Wolverines was sophomore Jeanne
Spink, who ran the finest race of her
young career and finished fifth. Both
her coach and teammates had high
praise for her strong showing.
"Jeanne Spink really bailed us out
today," McGuire said. "That was the best
race she's ever run."
"Spink ran great today," Oullet
added. "I really think that this could be
her coming-out party"
For her part, Spink was quite modest
about her successful performance,
attributing her results to having a good
mental focus prior to the race.
"I guess I just had the right mind-set
today," Spink said. "This was a tough
course, but I was finally able to run the
way I've been practicing. I'm only hop-
ing to get better as the season contin-
The Intercollegiate provided an
opportunity for some of the smaller
schools in the state to compete with larg-
er Division I programs. For example,
Michigan Tech, a small Division II uni-
versity in the Upper Peninsula town of
Houghton, traveled roughly I11 hours to
compete against teams like Michigan
"Western, Eastern and Central al
competed wel McGuire aid. -This is
a good meet. because lots of high school
coaches from around the arca bring their
teams to watch us run"
With this meet behind them. the
Wolverines are now only three weeks
away from the Big Ten Championships
at Penn State, a fact that McGuire was
well aware of.
"We won this meet, but we didn't
move forward in our progress;' McGuir
said. "Nobody should be patting them-
selves on the back becau w won.
We've got a home meet next weck, and
then we're off for a week before the Big
Ten meet, and we've got a lot of work to
do before we go to State College!
Daiy 0,State News 8
A case for character:
Spik ers fight for split
By Raphael Goodstein
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan's Alija Pittenger attempts the
kill in a losing effort against Minnesota.
has opened up more opportunities for
others, like Lehman, who has been
alternating up front with Maxwell.
Now that Pittenger and Behnke are
back and the team has found more ver-
satility, Michigan is right where it
wants to be.
"If we take each game by each game,
we'll get our bid for sure - and I know
we will," Lehman said.
A positive outlook, of course, only
overlooking one thing: that the Big Ten
is, by far, the toughest conference in all
of collegiate volleyball.
"We know that the Big Ten is where
it's at!' Rosen said. "That's our ticket to
the Tournament. We've taken care of
the (preconference), but the reality is
Michigan volleyball coach Mark
Rosen knew his team could handle suc-
cess well, but he didn't know how it
would handle adversity.
On Saturday, he found out.
After four consecutive Big Ten losses,
the team faced a crucial match with Iowa
that it needed to win if the 23rd-ranked
Wolverines hoped to qualify for the
The Wolverines won, 17-15, 15-4, 15-
After starting the year 9-1, ranked No.
18 in the country and beating four top 25
teams, the Wolverines looked like they
might meet their goal of finishing in the
top three in the Big Ten.
They looked like a lock for the NCAA
tournament, and even looked like a dark-
horse for the NCAA final four.
Then the team that was picked to fin-
ish in 10th place in the Big Ten pre-sea-
son coaches poll, resembled a 10th place
Shellackings by No. I Penn State and
No. 18 Wisconsin, a loss to unranked
Purdue and another sweep at the hands
of unranked Minnesota left the
Wolverines in 10th place in the RPI's
toughest ranked conference. At that
point, they were on the bubble to even
make the Tournament.
Saturday night the young Wolverines
showed that they were not going to let a
few setbacks ruin their season as they
bounced back to sweep Iowa for their
sixth sweep of the season.
"I don't think we've ever sat back and
said 'hey, we're in a good position to
make the tournament,"' Rosen said.
"We've taken care of what we could take
care of during the pre-season. The reali-
ty is, now we have to take care of the Big
Ten, and that's tough to do."
With the Wolverines nearing the
halfway point in their Big Ten season,
Saturday's victory may have been the
start of a winning streak. This week, the
Wolverines will play Michigan State and
Northwestern who are a combined 1-7 in
the Big Ten.
"We could beat all these teams again
and then we would get our (NCAA
Tournament) bid for sure," freshman
middle blocker Katrina Lehman said.
Saturday's win over Iowa, and last
Tuesday's non-conference win over
Notre Dame, should go a long way in
preserving the Wolverines hopes of
landing a bid.
"I feel like right now we could go on
a big roll right now with wins," junior
outside hitter Nicole Kacor said. "We
played Ohio State, Wisconsin,
Minnesota, Penn State all the top teams
and now the other teams play them. I feel
like I'm excited to get in there and play
the other teams."
Ihate to say it. but M gn State has
ha Mchiga' number in the year of
I can hear the jokes starting about how
the Spartans cuuldn 't beat the
Wolverines until the last year of the
milennium, but you can't dispute the fact
that Sparty has had his wVay with
Michigan this year
In hockey, the Spartans came back to
tie the Wolveriies in Last Lansing and
beat Michigan outright at Joe Louis
Arena. State also went to the Frozen
Four while Michigan lost in the region-
als ifr the first time in five years.
In basketal, not only did Michigan
State crush the Wolverines in both
games, it clinched the Big Ten title at
Crisler Arena. The Spartans went to the
Final Four, whil Michigan went 12-19.
As for football, do I really have to talk
But there is one thing that Michigan
State could not beat Michigan at in 1999
- touch foot ball .
On Friday evening. the night before
the real footbal teans went to battle, the
State News played The Michigan Daily
in the annual and highly competitive
game of two-handed touch football.
Played on the muddy quagmire of
Mun n Field, the Daily pulled off its third
consecutive victory over the State News,
beaing the Spartan newspaper, 10
touchdowns to eight.
lunior wide receiv er'sports editor
Ch ris Duprey, ater killing the State
News all day with key receptions over
the middle, caught a three-yard touch-
down pass from senior
quarterback/sports writer Rick Harpster
to seal the Daily's victory.
After falling behind the Spartans by
two touchdowns early in the game,
Harpster and the Wolverines stepped it
up. Harpster kept the Spartans off bal-
ance with his strong arm and fleet feet.
Receiving some bone-jarring block-
in up front by senior lineman/sports
wrer Jon Nails" /.emke who also
bad a touchdown while nursing a knee
injury l1arpster spread the ball even-
Ia to his cadre of wide receivers.
Sophomore sports writer Roh t Bhave
started the Daily comeback with a
touchdown reception to cut the Daily's
deficit to one point.
After a clutch unassisted tackle by
junior editorial writer Emily Achenbaum
to stop a Spartan touchdown at the goal
line, Harpster scrambled 50 yards down
the sideline to tie the game up.
The State News quickly retook the
lead, but the Daily's work wasjust begin-
ning. After a few catches by sports editor
Andy Latack to put the Wolverines in
range, the Wolverines tied the game
again when Harpster found news writer
Adam Cohen in the end zone.
The defense, led by sports writer Dati
Dingerson and hard-hitting news editor
Katie Plona, stiffened, leaving enough
room for the Daily to continue their
reign of dominance over the State News.
Harpster picked apart the Spartans
with ease, tossing touchdown passes to
sports writer Kevin Rosenfield and man-
aging sports editor Rick Freeman to give
the Daily a cushion it would never relin-
quish - although Freeeman's touch-
down dance left a little to be desired.
So the Daily did its part to keep
Michigan athletic pride alive. Who
knows, perhaps Lloyd Carr might have a
spot for the likes of Duprey, Harpster,
Latack, Plona and Zemke.
GREATEST GAME OF THE CENTURY:
After a whopping four emails in
response to the Friday Focus, the stu-
dents have decided that Saturday's game
wasn't the greatest ever.
- T Berka had three tackles in the
spanking, but spent the postgame press
canference at a local East Lansing bar
He can be reached at
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