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October 14, 1999 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-10-14

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

core boardK, i # ;Ng 10Mn m'tRams
as Ciramploriship NHL COLORADO 2. Etdi~mThe Michigan soccer team travels to Minneapolis on
Series DERI , Boston 2 a1lSO
Ae OcaN Dt LOIs 2 EDMONTON 3, Friday to take on Big Ten archrival Minnesota.
Boston Amaem 2 VANCOUVER 3,
NTA4O TORONTO 3, Calgary 3 OT
ATLANTA 4, Floida 2.rsa
New York 3 San Jose 2, 17AgTS
Puma Ies, 20 DALLAS 0 14, 1999

The Daily Grind=
ets prove
"s too soon
give up
ive days ago, Michigan State
ended Michigan's football season.
At least, that's been the attitude
und town this week, where sentiment
its football team quickly turned from
ilation to disinterest.
The transformation took about four
urs on Saturday
non. During Josh
se very same
r hours, hun- Kleinbaum
ds of miles
ay, another
ryunfolded, y
s one not of
naction but res-
Playing for the
ured Mike Apomyps
Todd Pratt Now
a Matt
ntei pitch to center field in the tenth
*ing of Game 4 of the National
e Divisional Series between the
York Mets and the Arizona
amondbacks. Steve Finley, the
amondbacks' center fielder, raced to
wall and leapt, raising his glove over
blue Shea Stadium fence, trying to
the unlikeliest hero on the unlikeli-
of the unlikeliest home run.
d~e catch it? Over 55,000 fans wait-
not sure.
Finley landed on the ground and
ned his glove. Somewhere deep
ide Shea Stadium, just as Finley's
ulders shrugged and his head
ed, someone flipped a switch: In an
bridled display of sheer joy, the New
rk crowd suddenly went berserk. And
id too, celebrating the Mets' first
n the National League
ionship Series in IIyears.
For over thirty minutes, I stood on a
ca Stadium seat, screaming, cheering,
oring. Spartan Stadium was about as
to my mind as the Irish potato
To understand why this victory was
special - and why it's an important
ry for Michigan football fans - you
e to travel back in time.
I id-September, the Mets were
lig, holding tightly onto a four-game
dover the Cincinnati Reds for the
Idcard berth in the playoffs and just
game behind the Atlanta Braves for
N.L. East division title. Barring a
plete and total collapse, the Mets
re a lock for the playoffs. And with
of the last 12 games against the
es, the division title was tantaliz-
ly close.
en, in three games in Atlanta, the
put the Mets in their place,
ceping the series and laying claim to
division that has been theirs for the
k of the decade.
The Mets slumped to Philadelphia,
ere the lowly Phillies kicked them in
gut, sweeping three more games.
ddenly, the reeling Mets had lost six
'ght and were in the thick of a battle
the wildcard, and had to play three
rames with the hated Braves.
Ar the Braves took two of three in
wYork, their third baseman, Chipper
es, said the Mets were dead.

The impossible, the collapse, had
ppened. Three days left in the season
d the Mets trailed the Reds by two
es. And Michigan's football team is
Facing the most adversity, the Mets
ponded with some of their best base-
r of the season. Capped by Pratt's
iun - the biggest Mets hit of the
e - the Mets won seven of their
t eight games, restoring their pulse
d their determination.
College football is obviously different
mn baseball. With just a 10-game sea-
, and some of the best teams in the
untry playing schedules made by
stess, a single loss could cost the
tonal title.
But not necessarily. A one-loss team
n*ke it to the national champi-
ship game (see Florida State last
ar). Yes, it'll take plenty of help from
inkies nationwide, just like the Mets
ded plenty ofhelp from a twinkie in,
iwaukee in the last weekend of the
ason, when the Brewers beat the Reds
ice to force a one-game playoff
tveen the Mets and the Reds last
So tomorrow night, tum on your tele-
ip. Watch the Mets playthe Braves
e 3 of the NLCS. Then close
Jr eyes and imagine what the weather
uld be like in New Orleans in
Will it take a miracle for Michigan to
.y for a national title?Yes (not to
ttion one quarterback, an improved
ining game and a consistent sec-
But Todd Pratt and the Mets have
a that miracles can indeed happen.
-ash Kleibnaum, can be reached via
e-mail atjkbaum@umich.edu

Volleyball continues swoon as Spartans sweep

By Raphael Goodstein
Daily Sports Writer
EAST LANSING - The Michigan
volleyball team had few reasons to feel
good after Michigan State spanked the
Wolverines 15-9, 15-6, 15-5.
The Wolverines (2-5 Big Ten, 10-6
overall) arrived here facing a short-
handed Spartans team without its start-
ing setter, Christine Landry, and a
down after a 1-5 Big Ten record.
One hour and 15 minutes later, the
Spartans were rejoicing in their
biggest win of the year while the
Wolverines were in their lockerroom
for 45 minutes with their coach, Mark
Rosen, who emerged red-faced.
"We didn't execute very well and
they executed very well," Rosen said.

"They played great defense and were
more consistent. We made too many
errors and you can't win at this level
with that many errors. We made a lot
of attacking errors and servicing errors
and it cost us."
The Wolverines made more than "a
lot of attacking errors." They finished
with a minus .017 attacking percent-
age compared with the Spartans' .283
"We did spiral tonight," Rosen said.
"Mentality wise, once we got frustrat-
ed, we allowed ourselves to focus on
what just happened and not what's
going to happen.
"That's because we're a young team.
I don't want to use immature, but
we're young and without a lot of expe-

The Wolverines will now have to
regroup and prepare for 0-6
Northwestern this Saturday. But after
last night's loss, the Wolverines have to
worry about their side of the ball and
not who they are playing.
"We need to focus more on what's
going on on our side of the court and
worry about every individual on our
side," sophomore outside hitter Nicole
Kacor said. "I think we're worrying,
about everything else."
The deflating loss left the
Wolverines tied for ninth in the Big
Ten and all the non-conference success
that they enjoyed now seems to be
nothing more than a distant memory.
"We played looser, with less to lose

during the non-conference season,"
Rosen said. "Sometimes when you get
into the Big Ten, it becomes a little
more mentally taxing.
"In (non-conference) matches we
were like '(we have) nothing to lose,'
nobody knows if we're good or not,
let's go play hard and let things hap-
"The other thing is our inconsisten-
cy shows up at times and we get in
trouble. Tonight we didn't play at the
level we're capable of playing because
we were inconsistent. Then when we
get like that, we struggle:'
If the Wolverines are to make the
NCAA Tournament and accomplish
their season-long goal, they will have
to start a winning streak. The Big Ten

is expected to land six tournament bids
and a .500 conference record will be
imperative for the Wolverines if they
are to land one of those expected bids.
"It felt like there was no chemistry,"
a near-tears Kacor said. "It was like six
individuals out there. We need to learn
to play as a team again and once we do
that we'll be successful again. That's a
really easy thing to say, but it (is going
to take) every player on the team.
"We need to slap hands when we
come together and get an ace. I think
that we're at the point in the season
where if we don't do that, we 'could
lose the rest of the season."
Inside: Consistency hurts 'M' again
Page 20.

New kids on the block

Ellerbe downplays
heralded frosh class

At yesterday's Michigan media day, Michigan coach Brian Ellerbe shielded his freshmen, including Leland Anderson, from
the media spotlight. Instead, Ellerbe focused on his veteran players

By Jacob Wheeler
Daily Sports Writer
No matter how many LaVell
Blanchard questions a room of
hungry journalists aimed at
Michigan basketball coach Brian
Ellerbe yesterday during Michigan
media day, the third-year coach
bounced them all away as if they
were rubber bullets.
Ellerbe is determined to divert
pressure from his prized freshman
class, which will inevitably fill out
the Robbie-Reid-and-Louis-
Bullock-less back court and one
forward position early this year -
at least until junior forward
Brandon Smith returns from a knee
"It would create animosity if we
split up the team and just talked
about the freshmen," said Ellerbe,
who at one point actually appealed
to the media to take pressure off
Blanchard. "The freshmen are
going to have to earn all the min-
utes they will get. Talent and abili-
ty are one thing, but, at this level,
everyone has talent."
Michigan's preseason press con-
ference was primarily geared
around diverting pressure away
from the freshman class -
Ellerbe's first recruiting class -
which includes winners of the Mr.
Basketball award from three differ-
ent states.
"We feel that they will con-
tribute," Ellerbe said. "But, at this
point, freshmen don't even know
how tough it is to win a basketball
game in this league."
Instead, Ellerbe highlighted the
role of his upperclassmen -
Smith, Josh Asselin, Peter Vignier
and Darius Taylor.
He introduced the veterans in the
press room long before anyone got
a peek at the coveted freshmen:
Blanchard, Kevin Gaines, Jamal
Crawford, Leland Anderson and
Gavin Groninger. After the press
conference, the freshmen walked
on the court for photo shoots.
Blanchard himself - the prized
talent from Ann Arbor Pioneer
High School -- treated yesterday's

event less like a masquerade and
more like a walk across the street,
even though he was swarmed by
reporters as soon as he set foot on
the court.
"This is a total shock," said the
modest, 6-7 forward, referring to
everyone around him as 'sir.' "It's
an honor that everyone wants to
talk to me. Right now I'm just try-
ing to learn how to play in this
But with the Big Ten the
strongest it's been in years,
Blanchard and the rest of the fresh-
men will have to adjust quickly.
Michigan State and Ohio State
reached the Final Four last year
and both teams return stellar back-
courts which could easily have its
way with a couple of freshman
"We're the best league in the
country," Ellerbe said. "It's going
to be brutal."
The coach hasn't named any of
the freshmen to the starting lineup,
but thinks either Gaines or
Crawford could handle point guard
"Both of them can handle the
ball, but Kevin may have a little
better understanding of getting
everyone involved," Ellerbe said.
"He could be a triple-double play-
One thing is for sure: The
Wolverines will utilize lots of dif-
ferent guards to speed up the
game's tempo due to their lack of
bone-breaking strength in the front
During the press conference
Ellerbe played up Michigan's depth
this season compared to last.
He has at least 10 bodies from
which to choose: five players who
saw significant playing time last
season and the five freshmen, com-
pared to the eight-man rotation he
used throughout much of last sea-
"This year we've got competi-
tion among positions," Ellerbe
said. "It's good for you to look over
your shoulder. Fear is a good moti-


Ouellet trades hoops
for runnmg shoes

By David Horn
Daily Sports Writer
It may surprise some Michigan
women's cross country fans to know
that their team's that number one
runner is not really a runner. She is a
basketball player.
"I'm a basketball fanatic,"
Michigan junior Lisa Ouellet said.
A native of Sudbury, Ont., Ouellet
is quick to admit where her athletic
passions lay in high school.
At LaSalle Secondary School,
Ouellet found her way to the cross
country course only by what she
describes as a fluke.
"My basketball coach didn't want
me running because they were the
same season," Ouellet said. "The
first race I ran I was wearing my bas-
ketball shorts, basketball shoes, my
socks pulled all the way up.
"But I won. Everyone just thought
'OK, it's a fluke,' but I kept going
out and kept getting better."
Running, both cross country and

track, are not popular in Ontario.
Athletic scholarships do not exist
in Canada, so Ouellet was caught by
surprise when she began receiving
letters, phone calls and recruiting
visits from American coaches for
both basketball and cross country.
"The first letter I got was from
West Georgia College, and I'm like...
'What the heck? My running! Oh
God!', Ouellet said. "But I was actu-
ally torn between running and bas-
ketball. The basketball schools were
small, but to me it was big."
Because of the absence of athletic
scholarships in Canada, student-ath-
letes tend to be more focused on aca-
demics. Her prioritizing helped lead
Ouellet to Michigan.
"I was on a recruiting trip to
Arkansas, and at the end of listening
to the coach talk for a half hour I
asked if I could see some material on
some of the courses I could take,"
Ouellet said.
See OUELLET, Page 20A

'Grinding' golf
course looms
for Wolverine s
By Ryan C. Moloney
Daily Sporis Writer
Few people, if any, would say that the Michigan golf
course is easy. In fact, many regard it as one of the hard-
est courses in the nation.
And that's just for golf.
The object for most cross country teams in this
Sunday's Wolverine Interregional will not be to con-
queror the monstrously hilly eight-kilometer course, but
merely to survive it.
"Some of the teams say 'holy ...' when they see i*
Michigan men's cross country coach Ron Warhurs said.
"It's a tough course and it will grind you all day."
Heading in to the meet, Michigan's stiffest test will
come from James Madison - a team which handed the
Wolverines an early season defeat. The Bulldogs come
with perhaps the greatest intangible against the maniacal
course - experience.
"The course is deceiving when you first jog it the night
before because you don't realize how much you'll be
running hard," senior co-captain Jay Cantin said. "You
See COURSE, Page 20A
4 r

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