SportsMonday, November 8, 1999 - The Michigan Daily - 38
Michigan basketball off to showbiz start
By Chris Duprey
Daily Sports Editor
It might have been just a basketball scrimmage, but it
sure looked like showbiz.
Lights, cameras - and for the fans, most important-
ly, action - were all part of the first annual Maize and
Blue Scrimmage, the Wolverines' first appearance of
t -sason this past Saturday.
il1< with all the excitement generated by giveaways,
promotions, and the team itself, the game featured quite
a Hollywood atmosphere.
Injured forward Brandon Smith was escorted to cen-
ter court like a prizefighter by two dance team mem-
bers, where he unveiled Michigan's new-style jerseys.
And the refereeing was more WWF-style - there for
necessity, not. function - as contact was allowed
beyond what would normally be called.
Fans did get an up-close look at everyone on the ros-
ter, with the exception of Smith. Freshmen guards
in Gaines (16 points) and Jamal Crawford were
pa ed together on the Blue team, while veteran posts
Peter Vignier and Josh Asselin (18 points, 5 rebounds)
led the Maize squad to victory against them.
Michigan coach Brian Ellerbe said that there was no
method to this 'madness', though.
"We just broke them up," Ellerbe said. "You can't
read into it" - another way of saying that the rosters for
Saturday's scrimmage are no indication of who will
start. That question will be answered, at least in part, on
Wednesday in Michigan's first exhibition game against
the Double Pump All-Stars.
Both sides had their moments in a high-scoring, token-
defense affair. Because of the excitement involved for all
the players, adrenaline was flying high, and this con-
tributed to a full-scale introduction of the running game
plan that Michigan has in store for the upcoming season.
"For a lot of the guys, this was their first time out
here in front of the fans, with all the lights on,"Vignier
said. "If my adrenaline was going, I can only imagine
what theirs was like."
Perhaps the Wolverines will have an easier game on
Wednesday night than they did Saturday. It's much
tougher to fool a teammate with a move he's seen in
practice a hundred times than it is to work against an
unfamiliar opponent. Also, with both sides knowing the
same plays, it was difficult to work from a set offense.
"We all know each other and what we like to do,"
Crawford said. "It'll be good to test out what we've
learned against other teams."
At the very least, the players got an intense workout
from the scrimmage. But they weren't finished when
the final horn sounded. Rather than leaving the floor
after the two 10-minute halves, both the coaching staff
and the players stayed, signing team schedule posters,
Teeing Of f
Field hockey and soccer
Kevin Gaines scored 16 points in his first-ever game
in a Michigan uniform.
taking Polaroid pictures with fans of all ages, and giv-
ing people a reason to look forward to wintertime.
The inaugural event was well-attended, with the
lower bowl almost entirely filled.
"We'd like to build it every year, maybe by piggy-
backing off a football game," Ellerbe said.
olleyball comebacks fall short
t f By Ricard Haddad~
Anne Thorius helped lead Michigan to a
90-75 victory over Athletes in Action.
By Arun Gopal
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's basketball
teg tipped off its 1999-2000 campaign
on Friday night with an exhibition
against Athletes in Action. In front of a
small, yet enthusiastic, crowd the
Wolverines triumphed, 90-75, in what
they hope is the first step on the road
back to the NCAA Tournament.
Athletes in Action is a team of former
college and professional players who
travel across the country playing exhibi-
tior games against Division I schools.
T( team was expected to provide a
strong opening test for the Wolverines
and did not disappoint.
"I had watched film of Athletes in
Action, and I knew that they were a team
that liked to run and shoot three-point-
ers," Michigan coach Sue Guevara said.
While the Wolverines received strong
performances from a number of players,
senior forward and team captain Stacey
Thomas was clearly the star on the
nigjt Thomas, who was passed over for
p ason first-team all-conference
recognition, made a statement against
the Athletes by pouring in 32 points and
grabbing 14 rebounds.
"I was just having fun out there,"
Thomas said. "We've been conditioning
all summer long for this season, and we
knew that we just needed to come out
tonight and execute.
"It was a challenge for me to put up
b numbers out there because got up
down pretty good, but I was just try-
ing to be more aggressive, and it worked
,One of the keys for Michigan all sea-
son, will be its half-court execution.
Friday, the Wolverines were able to
maintain a strong halfourt offense,
thanks to the play of senior centerAlison
Miller (15 points), sophomore forward
Ruth Kipping (10 points) and freshman
center LeeAnn Bies (10 points).
Miller did a good job on the boards
a was able to score inside for us,"
Guevara said. "Bies also played well, as
did our bench.
"There was a period early in the sec-
ond half when our shots weren't falling
and we started playing too much one-
on-one, but other than that, we did a
Not everything went well for the
Wolverines, though. With 4:44 remaining
ile first half, forward Raina Goodlow
colapsed to the floor, clutching her left
leg and screaming in pain. Goodlow, who
is expected to be one of the team leaders,
had to be helped off the court and later
reappeared walking on crutches.
"Right now, they're calling it a sprain
of her left knee" Guevara said.
Daily Sports Writer
You could call it a moral victory.
Just don't let the Michigan volleyball
team hear you.
The Wolverines produced two valiant
efforts, but fell just short twice. After
two weekends away from home, fans at
Cliff Keen Arena were treated to con-
secutive nights of exciting volleyball, as
Michigan lasted the full five games
against both Purdue and Wisconsin.
Still, as the team was quick to point
out, the final results counted only in the
loss column. In falling to Wisconsin (4-
15, 11-15, 15-10, 15-8, 9-15), the
Wolverines fared better than they did
last month, when the Badgers swept
them. But that does not provide much
"We aren't looking for moral victo-
ries, we're playing to win," coach Mark
Rosen said. "We don't take comfort in
the fact that we almost won, because we
didn't win, and that's always our goal."
In what has become a trend, the
Wolverines struggled early on in drop-
ping the first two games. The Badgers
dominated the opener, but the second
game was a different story. Michigan
came out on a roll, outhustling the
Badgers to jump to a 9-2 lead as fresh-
man Sarah McGuire was given her first
start of the season. But the Badgers
immediately rattled off ten unanswered
Rosen credited the losses to a lack of
execution and Wisconsin's sheer talent.
"They just had some amazing athletes,
and we couldn't overcome that at
times," Rosen said.
The Wolverines managed a spirited
comeback in games three and four to
extend the match, playing nearly flaw-
lessly, in Rosen's opinion. The fourth
game almost went the way of the sec-
ond, as Michigan raced ahead, but was
unable to put away the Badgers. Junior
Joanna Fielder eliminated that possibil-
ity in closing the game out with a
smash, one of her seven kills recorded
in a game that she owned. In the pivotal
rally game, Michigan couldn't execute
again, tallying a miserable attack per-
centage of .034. Overall, the
Wolverines were outhit .153 to .222.
"That just shows you how tough the
Big Ten is," Rosen said. "We made a lot
of progress since the last time we
played them, but the result was the
Friday night played out almost iden-
tically to Saturday. The Wolverines
dropped the first two games, came back
to win games three and four, but lost at
the end, falling to evenly-matched
Purdue in a fashion reminiscent of their
earlier meeting in West Lafayette (7-15,
11-15, 15-3, 19-17, 12-15).
"I love the fight and the character of
this team because they just keep com-
ing back. All we need to do is find a
way to start out better and we can win
these tight matches," Rosen said.
Michigan's heart and resiliency were
epitomized by sophomore Nicole
Kacor's play in the final three games
against the Boilermakers, including the
emotionally and physically draining
marathon game four. With a look of
determination chiseled on her face, her
teeth clenched, Kacor drilled kill after
kill, hanging in the air before crushing
the ball. Unfortunately, hers and her
teammates' considerable efforts were
The underclassmen-laden team, now
4-10 in the Big Ten, 12-11 overall,
refuses to take solace in hopes for the
future. "I'm too impatient to say 'there's
always next year' I want to win now,
and the rest of the team- feels the same
way," Kacor said.
en Title IX was adopted 27
years ago, there was a lot of
questions being asked. There
were questions regarding how athletic
women were and how well they would
take to the pressure of intercollegiate
This weekend, both the Michigan
soccer and field hockey teams
answered those questions definitively,
winning their respective Big Ten tour-
With these victories, both the soccer
team and the field hockey team locked
up automatic berths in their respective
NCAA Tournaments which start later
in the week.
For the field hockey team, that
NCAA invitation is the culmination of
a journey which took 26 years to make.
Most of those 27 seasons have seen the
Wolverines wallow in mediocrity, as
they could manage only one top-three
finish in the Big Ten between 1982 and
The past two seasons had seen a bit
of a revival under Marcia Pankratz.
Michigan surged to a first-place tie
with national power Penn State in 1997
and finished second to the Nittany
Lions last season.
But the regular season success didn't
translate to the conference tournament,
as the Wolverines watched as other
teams took the conference crown.
After that, Michigan proceeded to
watch the NCAA selection committee
overlook them. While field hockey
players from other schools saw their
seasons extend well into November,
Michigan could do nothing but watch.
As the Wolverines headed toward
Columbus for the Big Ten tournament,
it looked as if the 27th season would
end the same as the previous 26.
Michigan came into the Big Tens as a
No. 3 seed, meaning that it would prob-
ably have to win the tournament to cap-
ture the elusive NCAA bid.
Winning the tournament meant three
games in three days - a tough task for
a team in any sport. After a first-round
victory over Northwestern, the
Wolverines had to face their nemesis,
Penn State, in a semifinal Saturday.
After battle to a tie in regulation and
in the first overtime, the Wolverines
could have easily have been satisfied
for giving a good effort.
But Ashley Reichenbach wouldn't
let that happen. The senior defender
scored on a penalty shot with 12 min-
utes left in the second overtime, send-
ing Michigan to the final game and
eventually, its first-ever NCAA
With Reichenbach's semifinal goal
and the 2-1 victory over Iowa, the
Wolverines took the decision out of the
selection committee's hands and made
it their own.
While field hockey had to endure a
quarter-decade of futility, soccer has
had it much easier. Michigan has only
had a varsity program for six years, but
the Wolverines are veterans when it
comes to the NCAA-Tournament.
With the 4-2 win over Penn State in
yesterday's championship game -
which wrapped up a pretty shoddy
weekend for Penn State athletics - the
Wolverines won their second Big Ten
Tournament in three years and clinched
a bid for the third consecutive year.
The soccer team would have made
the NCAA Tournament no matter what
it did this week. Unlike the field hock-
ey team, the Big Ten tournament was-
n't a life-or-death struggle to continue
But that doesn't make the soccer
team's feat any less remarkable. The
No. 2-seed Wolverines didn't follow
the straightest path to success this sea-
Michigan started off slowly in the
early going, as the Wolverines lost to
unranked Missouri on the road and
were shocked by Arizona State at
Michigan seemed to have righted its
ship through the middle of October,
going undefeated in its first nine con-
ference games. A loss to perennial
national powerhouse Notre Dame was
the only blemish on Michigan's sched-
ule during this streak.
Thanks to their tear between Sept. 12
and Oct. 15, the Wolverines were tied
with the Nittany Lions for the regular
season conference lead going into their
final game against Wisconsin.
But Michigan lost to Wisconsin and
in the process, lost a regular-season
Big Ten championship. The Wolverines
also dropped their last game of the sea-
son to Kentucky in overtime.
So Michigan wasn't exactly riding a
huge wave going into Bloomington this
It barely escaped the first round as
well, as the Wolverines needed to go to
double overtime to get past a pesky
Michigan State squad.
But as has been the custom for the,
season, Michigan regrouped and
surged into the final, where they -
like the field hockey team - had to.
beat rival Penn State.
Piece of cake.
Kacy Beitel and Abby Crumpton
ruled the day as the Wolverines
bombed the Nittany Lions, 4-2, break-
ing Penn State's 15-game unbeaten
With their second Big Ten tourna-
ment title in three years, the Michigan
soccer team capped a historic day.
On this fall day, the Wolverines cap- ;
tured two Big Ten titles. But there were
no male athletes involved.
Yesterday was female power day and:.
Michigan proved, at least for a day, that
its female athletes are the best in the.
Somewhere, the inventors of Title 1l
are smiling down on both the field
hockey team and the soccer team.
- Ti Berka can be reached via email
M' missing it' in Big Ten play
By Jon Zemke
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan volleyball team is miss-
ing something. But the Wolverines never
had what they're missing, so it isn't real-
ly lost - they just can't find the key to
winning in the Big Ten.
Michigan volleyball coach Ma-rk
Rosen doesn't know what that missing
piece is. Neither does his team.
"If we knew that, this would be an
easy thing," Rosen said. "The unfortu-
nate thing with athletics is that it's not
always that clear ... If we knew it we'd be
The Wolverines aren't a bad team.
They can play with just about anybody
outside of the Big Ten. Their 9-1 non-
conference record proves it.
But when it comes to the Big Ten, the
best volleyball conference in the nation,
Michigan is mediocre at best.
"A lot of us are really, really impatient
people"setter Shannon Melka said. "A lot
of us have to realize that becoming a great
team competing with so many offenses in
the Big Ten is a long and slow process."
The Wolverines can play with eight of
the other 10 teams in the Big Ten.
They've been swept by Illinois and Penn
State, which is No. 1.
This weekend Michigan took Purdue
and then Wisconsin, both upper tier
teams in the Big Ten, to five games
before losing closely in each final game.
In both matches Michigan lost the ini-
tial two games before making tremen-
dous comebacks to bring the match
down to the wire. But lately, every time
it comes down to the wire, Michigan has
come up short.
"It really makes me proud for them to
put it on the line like that," Rosen said. "I
thought they did a great job of that. Yeah
I'd like to have them win, and yeah it's
one that got away that we're frustrated
with, but I am nothing but proud of how
they played tonight."
Starting out slow has been a trend for
Michigan this season. The Wolverines
haven't won the first game in any of the
last seven matches they've lost.
"I don't think we know why," Melka
said. "We don't go out there with the
intention of starting slow. We go out
there thinking we're going to start out
hard and get a string of points.' It just
doesn't go that way."
That leaves a lot of questions to be
answered for this team, the Wolverines
say they don't have the answers. They're
just taking the rest of this year game by
game, seeing how they can improve, just
like they had been doing since the begin-
ning of the season.
"We're still looking for it," Rosen said.
"I thought tonight was a big step in that.
I think we played better tonight than we
have in three or four weeks."
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