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September 08, 1999 - Image 21

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-08

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Wednesday, September 8, 1999 - The Michigan Daily - 21A

Volleyball exceeds own
expectations in Outback

By Jon Zemke
Daily Sports Writer
With aspirations of a 2-1 record and a good
fight against the top teams, Michigan went
above and beyond, winning the Outback
Steakhouse Tournament in Athens, Ga.
The Wolverines won every match, including
a sweep of No.7 Brigham Young in their first
match, 15-13, 15-10, 15-13. The win was the
first for Mark Rosen as Michigan coach.
"It was really good for us," Rosen said. "We
saw the potential for our team."
The highlight of the match came with
Michigan down 7-1 in the third game against
Brigham Young. The Wolverines showed their
resilience with a solid sideout game brought
about by tremendous setting from sophomore
Shannon Melka.
"It took 20-30 minutes to come back,"
Rosen said. "It was really a hard run until we
got the lead at 9-8."
Sophomore Annie Maxwell led the attack in
the third game, hitting an impressive .350.
After taking the lead, Michigan never let go,
winning the third and final game 15-13 for
one of the biggest comeback wins in the pro-
gram's history.
Junior outside hitter Alija Pittenger kept the
Wolverines in the lead for the first game mak-
ing some athletic digs including the one that
led to the game one winner. Pittenger led
Michigan with 14 digs for the game and
played very well Rosen said.
In the second game, sophomore outside hit-
ter Nicole Kacor led the attack. She had a
career high 15 kills for the match to lead
Michigan. Junior middle blocker Joanna
Fielder, the tournament MVP, had a .310
attacking percentage. Fielder also teamed up

with Maxwell for five blocks apiece as the
Wolverines outblocked the Cougars. 1-6.
Toledo was the next team on the docket for
Michigan. The Rockets didn't pose much of a
threat to the Wolverines. Rosen admitted a few
days before the match that the Rockets should-
n't be that much of a problem f or his team.
They weren't, as the Wolverines put them
away in a three-game sweep, 15-5, 15-2, 15-5.
The win, Michigan's second, came about from
contributions of several players. Fielder led
the way with 10 kills and three blocks. Again,
Kacor stepped up with nine digs and three
aces, and Pittenger also had nine kills and
seven digs.
To finish off the first tournament champi-
onship in Rosen's Michigan career, the
Wolverines handled host Georgia in quick
fashion, once again sweeping all three games
of the match.
Kacor took control of the match this time
notching 19 kills, her second career high of
the tournament. She hit .366 for the match.
As they had in the previous three games,
Michigan out-blocked the Bulldogs at the net
11-4. Blocking, which had been a problem for
Michigan last season, was led by Maxwell
with six blocks to lead both teams. It was also
a career high for the sophomore.
S'hannon Melka also solidified herself as
Michigan's first string setter with a match-
high 42 assists. She also had a career-high
four block assists against Georgia.
Michigan will host the All-Sport Volleyball
Challenge at Cliff Keen Arena Sept. 10-11.
No. 12 Pepperdine, No. 20 Arkansas and
unranked Syracuse will be trying to deal the
Wolverines their first loss of the season
September 10th and I11th.

While tournament MVP Junior middle blocker Joanna Fielder led Michigan in blocks, her teammates weren't too shabby either. The Michigan volley-
ball team, under first-year coach Mark Rosen, went 3-0 in the Outback Steakhouse Tournament last weekend in Athens, Ga.

Rosen wants to take' 'back to glory


BJon Zemke
Sports Writer
There is a reason they call them the
last lazy days of summer. They are the
last few days of August, when the heat
of the day isn't all day. It's the students
last chance to sleep until noon and not
Waory about the fall.
Well maybe not all students. The
women of the Michigan volleyball team
don't have that luxury. Early Monday
morning at 9 a.m:.- early by late
ust standards - these women are
p and working while most us are hit-
ing the snooze button.
Inside Cliff Keen Arena, first-year
oach Mark Rosen and his wife Leisa
re presiding over a team meeting in the
an Arbor room. It's a small cubicle-
ke room next to the refreshment stand
n Keen. There are pictures of past
ichigan greats in action - such as
arfn Chase - dotting the walls.
Oder these photos are the players of
his year's team sitting in a half-circle.
hey're scrunched close together, try-
tito get as much space as possible on
tie tables to take notes as their coach
oes through the team meeting. They
/awn, stretch and look like they just
olled out of bed, dressed in sweats or
oirts with their hair tied back.
"As Mark finishes his briefing, he
eaves his chair and gives the floor to
.isa - who doubles an his assistant
7 h - before the team starts to
atch tape. Stepping outside of the
'o'om, Rosen explains that he and Leisa
hink it might not be in the best interests
f the players to have non-team person-
ie' at a film session.
Mark explained that his players
ight be embarrassed to be critiqued in
ront of an outsider. He didn't want to
t the team in a position that compro-
Sd before the season.
m sorry to drag you all the way
own here but we didn't have your
Shone number," Mark Rosen explains
o the reporter.
But Mark Rosen doesn't drag his
layers anywhere. They're willing fol-
,vfrs in his goal to rebuild Michigan's
rogram into one of the best. The hard
ork is a shared task.
The Rosen philosophy is a laid back

version of helping his players achieve
their potential. Practices aren't focused
on practicing as hard as possible but on
being as perfect as possible. It's not how
hard you try, but how fundamentally
well you do the drill.
Rosen will pace around his players as
they perform their drills, pulling them
aside one at a time to point out what
isn't being done right and showing how
it should be done. Then he'll pace
around some more before he puts a ball
in front of his face to talk to Leisa about
their team.
Often Mark will divide his team into
groups in order to have more one-on-
one coaching. He'll work on a player's
position when receiving a serve and
finish the drill when his players have
done it correctly the specified number
of times. Meanwhile, Leisa will have
her middle blockers shredding toilet
paper - arms raised and hands flailing
quickly to improve their wrist speed.
But when Mark picks his blue plan-
ner with the indented block M' on the
front, his players know the drill is about
to change. Before he can open it, he is
already saying what the next drill is and
throwing his practice planner on the
floor again. He paces away from it, ana-
lyzing every move of the closest player.
But when the three hours of practice
are over, nothing negative has been
said. Practice might not have been as
intense as in the past, but individual
improvement and fundamentals have
been stressed more.
While his players sit on Cliff Keen's
stands - accidentally knocking over
their lime green water bottles - Mark
is still coaching. Behnke, who is still
recovering from illness, makes running
leaps at a pole, knocking white prongs
back to measure how high she's
jumped. She's lost several inches in her
leap, which means a lot to an attacker
like her, so Rosen spends the extra five
minutes pointing out how to improve
her technique.
The Rosens still make team speech-
es, but the individual attention that each
player gets to improve their skills is the
first priority in practice. Judging by
Michigan's perfect 3-0 record, it might
be what the team needed.

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