The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - October 18, 1999 - 3B
'Individuals' bond to spike Northwestern
Volleyball regroups against Wildcats after heartbreaking loss to Michigan State
By Raphael Goodstein
Daily Sports Writer
One year ago this week, the Michigan
volleyball team bounced back from a
sweep against Michigan State to take a
must-win game against Minnesota.
This year, Michigan faced a similar
challenge from Northwestern - and
responded the same way.
The Wolverines pulled out an ugly 15-
13, 11-15, 15-6, 15-13 win.
"We answered some questions"
Michigan coach Mark Rosen said. "In
game four, when it was back and forth,
at 11-12, that was good volleyball. I
thought we showed some good character
there, where we were able to fight hard
and compete well.
"I thought we competed really well at
the end of game four. The last couple of
weeks, in pressure times, we haven't
been able to sustain what we did in game
In game four, the Wolverines (3-5 Big
Ten, 11-6 overall) found themselves
down 11-12 and in danger of going to a
fifth game. Thrice, the Wolverines
thwarted Northwestern's attempts to put
away the point. The 10-kill point finally
ended when sophomore setter Shannon
Melka assisted outside hitter Nicole
Kacor on a kill.
But the Wildcats (0-8, 2-16) weren't
done. They rallied to take a 13-12 lead
before Michigan ran off the final three
"In the key moments, their desire to
not let the ball hit the floor was the dif-
ference in the match," Northwestern
coach Kevin Renshler said.
That, and Michigan's superior talent.
On paper, the two-hour match should not
have been close. Northwestern was
down coming into the match after
Michigan State beat the Wildcats Friday
night, 15-8, 15-2, 15-2. After Michigan
sqlucaked out the first set, it appeared
that the Wildcats would lie down. But
after taking a 10-6 lead in the second
game, they never did.
"I think our focus shifted a little from
earlier (this season)," Rosen said.
"Everybody, from a media standpoint,
was saying, 'Hey, this team is great,'
'They're going to go to the final four,'
'They're going to do these things.'
"I think that shifted our focus and it
hurt us a little bit. We started to think too
much about where we're at. To be hon-
est, we're still trying to become a good
volleyball team. We still need to iron out
all the kinks. Some of the reasons we're
struggling right now is because wer're
playing better teams. A lot of it, too, is
The Wolverines will have to continue
to rebuild their confidence. After losing
their spot in the AVCAIUSA Today Top
25, the Wolverines looked lost and were
playing like "six individuals," Kacor
In Saturday's win, not only did they
put a stop to their streak of five losses in
six matches, but they also resembled the
team that started 9-1 and garnered a No.
Now Michigan will have to build on
this win and beat a tied-for-seventh-place
Indiana team that is 3-5 in the Big Ten.
"I think every match for us now is a
must-win," middle blocker Katrina
Unfamiliar faces cause for M' inconsistency
Thzk you're a sgtorts
lunatic? Take t Lv test
ere is one thing that links all 4) Denying an opportunity with an
* sports together. From highly-pub- attractive member of the opposite sex
licized sports such as football and due to a meaningless regular-season
basketball to lesser-known sports such game: Relationships and sports are a
as curling and jai alai, there is a com- tough mix. When you have a woman
mon link to all these pastimes. (or man) in the fold, it is necessary to
Fans. exert your need to watch sports.
No matter the sport, fans are there But if you choose a Tigers-Twins
to yell for their favorite participant or baseball game in June over a date with
team, yell at the other participants or a blonde model, there is a problem.
teams, or just to have fun and get However, if it's a playoff game, the
drunk. rules all change.
The most radical of these fans 5) Talking in foreign tongues while
invoke laughter, derision, and positive watching a game: Talking trash during
reinforcement from people in society. a game is an acceptable form of con-
While its fun to talk about 45-year old duct in our society. There is a certain
men who paint their bodies, shave thrill that comes with making your fel-
their heads, and talk in a manner that low fans look stupid while watching
would offend Andrew Dice Clay, it the game.
does raise a question. But once you starting talking in
What causes a grown man - or Spanish - or make up Spanish words,
woman - to act like a raving lunatic for that matter - the only person who
on game day? looks stupid is you.
Although I am a psychology major, 6) Misusing mother or sister jokes:
I am not quite qualified to offer a While we are on the subject of trash
intelligent, well-thought out hypothesis talk, a common subject are mothers
by using the scientific method. But I and sisters of the smack-receiving sb-
do realize that when a person wears a ject. These are good for a laugh or
hockey jersey to bed and refuses to two, nothing more.
wash themselves before a sporting But sometimes these jokes are mis-
event, something is awry. used by the trash-talker. When the
But what is the line between a fan talker slips up and says something bad
and a fanatic? After many years of about his own mother, help is advised.
research - actually, about 15 minutes 7) Self-inflicted physical abuse: If
of incoherent babbling - I have come your team loses a game, sometimes
up with 10 symptoms of obsessive- people beat up the supporters of the
compulsive cheering disorder, or in team that won. While that isn't the
layman's terms, being a loony sports nicest thing to do, it can be pardoned
idiot. in some instances.
So here are the 10 symptoms. Keep But some fans decide to take their
in mind that they are in no specific frustration out on themselves in the
order. form of tearing out their hair, chewing
1) Waking up and drinking a 40 the their fingernails, or punching brick "
morning of a game: Alcohol and walls. I really don't get that. If you are
sports have a very strong link - the going to punch something, make it
more alcohol you drink, the more you another person.
think that you should be playing in the 8) Rolling up into the fetal position
game. So drinking before a game leads and sucking your thumb after a loss:
to oodles of fun. Instead of beating the heck out of
But drinking a 40-ounce beverage somebody after a loss, these fans go to
on gameday is a bit much. While a the opposite extreme, acting like three
bottle of Old English or Colt 45 is year old kids during the first day of :
quite tasty, these malt liquors lead to preschool.
certain undesirable behaviors such as Any sort of discussion with these
cursing, debauchery, or vomiting. fans leads to yelling, crying, or them
2) Covering your body in spray burying their faces in a pillow. It really
paint: When one goes to a game, it is isn't pretty.
very important to wear the colors of 9) Collecting mountains of memora-
the team you are supporting. But this bilia: Like I said before, its cool to buy
can be done by donning a t-shirt, jack- T-shirts, jackets, and hats supporting
et, or baseball cap. your team. But once you get into buy-:
Once you get into changing your ing underwear, flip-flops, or dishwash
skin color or body piercing to support er towels with your team's logo on it,
your team, you have gone too far. things have got to change.
3) Throwing appliances off bal- 10) Getting autographs in weird
conies after a defeat: In the moments places: Having your favorite players
after your team suffers a humiliating sign baseball cards, notebooks, or T-
loss, emotions such as anger, hate, and shirts is a normal everyday event at
disgust are bound to surface. sporting events.
There is nothing wrong with those But some fans go way to far. They..
emotions. In fact, the best way to deal have players sign underwear, body
with a loss is with a primal scream or parts, or even pets. That just should-
with the disposal of trash onto your not be allowed in decent society. ;
street. You are a raving lunatic sports farrnf
But there is a fine line to what is you have four or more of these sym
acceptable and what is not. Once you toms. I know I am.
start throwing couches, televisions, or - TJ Berka has broken lawn chcars
washing machines out of your apart- after Michigan football losses. He zani
ment window, you need help. be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
what was nearly a five-game match.
"The reality is that some of the rea-
sons we're not playing well now are
because we're playing better teams;'
-It's true that the Big Ten is the best
conference in the nation with four
ranked teams, including No. 1 Penn
,State. And in the second weekend of Big
Ten play the Wolverines lost Alija
Pittenger, their best defensive player,
Rosen said. So the excuses are there.
In the nonconference part of the sea-
sMi, the Wolverines took the program to
places it had never been before. They
had beaten several top 25 teams, and had
oroke into the top 20 for the first time in
e program's history.
Michigan had a solid lineup through-
out the non-conference schedule --
-Pittenger, Joanna Fielder, Nicole Kacor,
Annie Maxwell, Shannon Melka and
Anne Poglits. It was a lineup of predom-
tely frontcourt players with three out-
j side hitters, two middle hitters and a set-
blocking team to a digging team.
They've only outblocked four of their
last nine opponents. In its three Big Ten
wins thus far, Michigan has outblocked
its opponents 33-22. But in five confer-
ence losses, the Wolverines have been
Maxwell and Poglits have been
replaced in the lineup by the smaller
Cooper and Katrina Lehman.
"A lot of it too is our confidence at
times wanes a little bit," Rosen said.
"Part of that is focusing too much on
what has happened to us."
But Michigan has kept the same line-
up its last three matches, and gone 2-1.
This was in contrast from the early part
of the conference schedule when the
Wolverines stumbled early changing
their lineup four times - resulting in
Perhaps this new consistency in the
lineup will allow Michigan to start a
winning streak in the Big Ten. Then the
fans might be able to attach some names
to the faces of those volleyball players
During Big Ten play, the Michigan volleyball team has seen many changes in its,
lineup, which is a cause of the Wolverines' inconsistent play.
IT'S GOOD FOR YOU*
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