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October 14, 1999 - Image 19

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-10-14

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Thursday. October 14, 1999 - The Michigan Daily - 19A

A STAR BETWEEN TJ'HE POSTS

Stewart finally running her show
BY DAVID Mossi * DAILY SPORTS WRITER

s the clock ticked down and the Wolverines clung to
a 3-2 lead over Northwestern, Michigan goalie Carissa
$thwart approached a milestone which two years before
iad 'seemed unattainable.
The final whistle signalled Stewart's 27th career victo-
ry, a Michigan record.
When Stewart arrived in Ann Arbor in 1997 she
ppeared to be the victim of a logjam between the posts.
Michigan was entering its fourth season and was return-
ifng the MVP of its 1996 season, goalkeeper Jessica
ones.
ones, a junior, was coming off a stellar campaign and
eared to have the starting job in her back pocket.
Meanwhile, sophomore Lauren Clister looked to be a
iable backup dropping Stewart to third on the depth
hart.
But someone forgot to mention that to Stewart, who
was so impressive during the preseason that she climbed
aver Clister to become the number-two goalie. As the
season progressed, Stewart began to split time with
Jones.
Stewart finished the season as the team leader in vic-
t es, with 10.
he '97 season was not only a smashing success for
Stewart but it was a breakout year for the Wolverines.
Michigan posted an 18-4-1 record, capturing the Big Ten
regular season title.
The Wolverines were now on the map in the soccer
world and Stewart was a big part of it.
"My freshman year was very exciting because I saw a
lot more playing time than I ever expected." Stewart said.
As 1998 rolled around, Michigan had high hopes but
was unable to fully duplicate the success of the previous
Sason.
tewart once again split time with the senior, Jones,
9 departed Michigan as the all-time leader in wins
ith 26. Stewart posted another 10 win season before the
olverines fell to Notre Dame in the second round of the
'A Tournament.
dewart entered the 1999 season with a different
pmoach. Her time had finally come. She was the undis-
ute No. I goalkeeper and no longer would she split
irlWwith anyone.
As exciting a prospect as this seemed to be, it also
ght on added resposibilities. Much of the success or
re of this Michigan team would rest on the Stewart's
.oulders.
T %knew full well that I was going to have to play my
)es" Stewart said. "Especially if we were going to
jeomplish our goals this season."
Ibiis season, Michigan returned a very exciting and tal-
,Oeteam with dreams of a flashback to 1997. But most
star quality appeared to be on the offensive side.

Spearheaded by all-time leading scorer Amber
Berendowky the Wolverines looked dynamic.
The defense, on the other hand, returned one junior
and no seniors. If there was a weak link on this team it
would be at the back.
The one source of stability was Stewart who was need-
ed to serve as the rock for the Wolverines' young defend-
ers.
But could Stewart, who had been the youngster
throughout her career, now serve as the elder statesman?
And could she now handle the day-in, day-out grind of
playing in every game?
Both these questions have been emphatically answered
as Stewart has raised her game to a previously unseen
level, culminating with her record-breaking perfor-
mance. Stewart's play has catapulted the Wolverines to a
national power.
The numbers to this date are staggering. Stewart (10-
3-1) has already matched her career high in wins and
overall has a 1.39 goals against average. As for durabili-
ty Stewart has played in 1,291 of a possible 1,303 min-
utes and has gotten stronger as the season has gone on.
Stewart is making a mockery of the Big Ten this sea-
son. She is 7-0-1 in the conference and has given up five
gols in those eight games.
That's good for a goals against average of .625. Her
save percentage has hovered around the 90-percent
plateau all season.
"Carissa has been simply unbelievable," junior Kacy
Beitel said. "She has been amazingly consistent."
Stewart's premier performance took place in Happy
Valley against the powerful Nittany Lions. The
Wolverines were outplayed, but Stewart heroically stood
on her head as Michigan escaped with a scoreless draw.
"The Penn State game really gave me a confidence
bust because I showed I can play well against the top
teams" said Stewart.
That contest was one of Stewart's three shutouts so far.
The goalie has also come up big in several other games.
With Stewart's help the Wolverines now find them-
selves in a first place tie with the Nittany Lions for the
conference crown. One Big Ten game remains and then
the fun really begins.
The Wolverines are in their sixth season and have
enjoyed a meteoric climb. But the one thing missing has
been a strong run in the NCAA Tournament. There is a
growing feeling around the team that this may be the
year.
"We can have all the firepower in the world," Beitel
said. "But if we are going to go far Carissa needs to come
up big."
Judging from this season and her career to this point,
the odds seem to be in the Wolverines' favor.

ssa Explains it All Facts about the Michigan goalkeeper
;*his season, she went 382 minutes without allowing a goal.
I Hails from Maine
1.2 lifetime in the IINCAA Thurnament
0 Holds Michigan all-time career victories record

MARJORIE MARSHALL/Daily

Michigan goalie Carissa Stewart has become the Wolverines' all-time victories leader with 27. After two years of alternating
with Jessica Jones for the job of starting goaltender, it is now Stewart's turn to run the show.

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Mw

AREYO.U PROMNEPARtED?

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