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September 08, 1999 - Image 58

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-08

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8F -New Student Edition - The Michigan Daily -- Wednesday, September 8, 1999

'M' women's

tennis can go
nowhere but up

Underdog men's
tennis ready to be
top dog this season

By Raphael Goodstein
Daily Sports Writer
How do you top a 4-17 record, ninth
place in the Big Ten and a first round exit
from the Big Ten tournament?
Um, how do you not top that kind of
year?
Michigan's womens'tennis team came
in like a lamb and left like one as well this
past year, but there is reason to believe
that they can improve on last year.
All but one player returns from the
young team including their best players:
Brooke Hart, and Big Ten sportswoman
of the year Danielle Lund.
The Wolverines have played together
for a year, so they should be more pre-
pared for the ups-and-downs of the sea-
son as well as used to the grind that is the
Big Ten season.
Also, the team has a lot of pride and
expects to play hard if nothing else
because they are Michigan, and
Michigan rarely has two consecutive
poor seasons. Last year's poor season
might be attributed to the fact that the
teamwas hit hard by injury.
But for the team to improve on last
year, Hart and Lund will need to step up.
A major blow to the team came when
Jen Boylan decided not to use her last
year of eligibility. Boylan graduated, but
because of an injury during her freshman
season she had another year of cligibilty.
"Last year wasn't our best perfor-
mance," Boylan said. "We were affected

by injuries. It'll be a motivating force
next year."
Lund and Hart might be teamed
together at the No. I doubles spot during
this up-coming year. The two are the
Wolverines' best two players, but during
this past year, the doubles lineup never
consistently played together, often cost-
ing the Wolverines the important doubles
point.
Lund finished last year at 14-22 -
most of those matches were played at No.
I singles, where she posted a 2-11 dual-
match record.
Lund brought home some hardware
for the Wolverines when she brought
home the sportswoman of the year
award. This is the second time that a
member of the Michigan women's tennis
team has won the award, as Jamie
Fielding brought the award to Ann Arbor
in 1995. Lund led the team in singles and
doubles victories.
Lund struggled at No. 1 doubles, fin-
ishing the year with a 14-17 mark in dou-
bles.
"We communicate really well as a
doubles team" Lund said of her success
with partner Brooke Hart during the sea-
son.
Hart only had a 5-16 doubles record
but she posted a 1 I wins in singles.
Hart and Lund are both entering their
senior seasons, so both - and possibly
the entire team - could be due for the
big season that avoided them last year.

By Raphael Goodstein
Daily Sports Writer
Last year, the Michigan men's tennis
team went out and played the role of the
underdog to near perfection, finishing
second in the Big Ten regular season and
bringing excitement to a season meant
for rebuilding.
Last year, Michigan lost its head
coach, Brian Eisner to retirement. Eisner
is credited with building the tennis pro-
gram from shambles into a top-notch
performer that won 19 Big Ten titles
during his tenure. Eisner announced his
intentions to retire last season, and his
departure leaves a big question mark on
a team that otherwise seems talented
enough to win another Big en title.
This season, the team is rich in talent,
led by senior Matt Wright and a good
incoming recruiting class.
"All three players will have an impact
in the lineup," Goldberg said.
The class is topped by Zachary Held
and Chris Rolf, but Chris Shaya might
be the darkhorse of the group.
"Held is an up-and-comer. This year
he should be one of the top 30 players in
the country," Goldberg said. "He's an
excellent athlete"
Held made it to the finals of the
national indoor doubles championship,
and with half of the doubles lineup lost
to graduation, Held is a contender to
take one of the three open spots.
Another candidate for a doubles spot
will be Rolf. At 6-3 and 190 lbs., Rolf

plays an aggressive serve-and-volley
game that is ideal for doubles play.
"Chris is a tremendous talent, he's a
big kid with an outstanding chance to be
in the doubles lineup," Goldberg said.
Shaya is not as well known as RoWf
and Held, however, Shaya might sneak
in and snatch the sole singles spot open-
ing. Shaya is not as well-known as Held
and Rolf because he spent most of the
past year playing on the Satellite to
tennis' version of a minor league s
tem.
"Shaya is the darkhorse of the class,"
Goldberg said. "He has a huge serve and
is a heavy hitter. He plays with a big
game.
"We've got three guys that will help
the program," Goldberg said.
Last year's freshman class of Danny
McCain, Henry Beam, and Ben Cox
exceeded expectations and was as bi
reason as any for Michigan's success'
"We've got five out of six singles
players returning so we will certainly be
considered a Big Ten contender. I think
that we can be a Top-15 team," Goldberg
said. "We should be one of the favorites
depending on how the team develops
over the year.
"All of these guys are highly motivat,
ed and a close-knit group."
Regardless of who leads the
Wolverines into next season, the.teo
should be loaded with talent and ready
to challenge for the first Big Ten title of
the post-Eisner era.

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DHANI JONES/Daily
Michigan's Matt Wright and the Wolverines are ready for others to look at his .
team in a different way this season.
Water polo will be
it
varlsity Ia year

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By Arun Gopal
Daily Sports Writer
What comes to mind when you'
think of water polo? Anything at all?
Chances are, you don't really
know a whole lot about this sport.
You might've seen it in the Olympics
once or twice, in between Kerri
Strug highlights and Dream Team
blowouts. Other than that, your
knowledge of water polo is probably
pretty minimal.
The Michigan Athletic
Department approved the promotion
of two club sports to varsity status,
and, lo and behold, one of them is
women's water polo (along with
men's soccer). The promotion to var-
sity level is a landmark moment for
the team.
"It's a terrific feeling to be
upgraded to varsity status,"
Michigan coach Scott Russell said.
"We've been actively pursuing this
for 8 years, and it's a well-deserved
reward for the girls on the team."
Michigan joins Indiana as the only
Big Ten schools with varsity
women's water polo. As a result, the
league doesn't have an- official Big
Ten championship. But for the last
10 years, there has been an unofficial
conference tournament played. The
Wolverines have won every single
title.
"Michigan is a top school, and that
attracts lots of people," Russell said.
"The biggest key is that for a long
time, the players have approached

this as if it were a varsity sport. They
train year-round like varsity ath-
letes."
In a sport dominated by schools
from the West Coast (at one point
this year, 13 of the top 14 teams were
from either California or Hawaii),
the Wolverines have managed to
carve out a niche as one of the top
teams in the nation. The highest-ever
rank for Michigan was 5th, in 1995;
currently, the team is ranked 14th.
The move to varsity status will only
enhance she program's standing,
according to Russell.
"All of the other schools out there
know that Michigan will be one of
the best very soon," Russell said.
"We've been competitive for several
years, but with more Division I pro-
grams now, the competition is only
getting tougher. Other programs, like
Stanford and UCLA, are lots
stronger at this point, but we're get-
ting better each year."
Michigan has a young team this
year, with only one senior and two
juniors. The squad is led by a pair of
sophomores, forward Melissa
Carjala, who leads the team in goals
and steals, and goaltender Katy
Armstrong.
The two of them, along with team
captain Rachel Nytin, provide lead-
ership for the newer members of the
team.
"We graduated a large senior class
last year, and we have a large fresh-
man class this year," Russell said.

"The freshmen are talented, though."
One would think that without
scholarships, the Wolverines
would've been at a tremendous dis-
advantage against varsity teams like
Massachusetts and Southern Cal all
these years. While that may have
been the case, Russell doesn't see
club status as necessarily a bad
thing.
"We've actually had some advan-
tages being a club sport," Russell
said.
"One of the advantages is that we
don't have to follow NCAA rules to
the letter. If we want to start training
a little early, for example in
September, we are free to do so."
However, Russell admitted that the

Michigan's water
polo team will
soon gain varsity
status - and all
the extras that
go along with it.
CHRIS CAMPERNEL/'
varsity teams do have some distinct
advantages.
"One of the big drawbacks is that
we don't have any trainers," Ru-ssell
said. "Water polo is a physical sport,
but when we have injuries, we're on
our own. Another thing is that varsi-
ty teams can fly all over the country
to compete, while we may have to
pack 15 kids in a van and drive to
Madison for a match.
"However, we look at these thi
as challenges, not obstacles. Whop
we go in against top programs, we're
still going to give it a good fight."
The top two teams will qualify for
the national championships, to be
held at the University of California-
Davis.

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