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September 10, 1999 - Image 14

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-10

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Scoreb oard-- e oo
MAJOR LEAGUE Cincinnati 5,
BASEBALL CHiCAGO CUBS 3
TAMPA BAY 5, SAN DIEGO 10,
Detroit 3 Montreal 3
Baltimore 6, N-v. Mets 3,
MINNESOTA 5 LOS ANGELES ?
Houston 3,
PHILADELPHIA 1
MILWAUKEE 9,
Arizona 8

Ulbe Ski jgm 1ailg

Tracking 'M' tournaments
After wolfing down the Outback Steakhouse tourney
title, the Michigan volleyball team will try to wash it
down with another championship as it hosts the All-
Sport Challenge this weekend at Cliff Keen Arena.

Friday
10, 1999

14

September

Stickers gear up for 'historic' weekend

By Ryan C. Moloney
Daily Sports Writer
When you hear the names Virginia and
James Madison, what comes to mind?
Chances are, the first state of the union and
an ex-president are the extent of your knowl-
edge and/or interest.
But if you are a fan of field hockey, Virginia
and James Madison are synonymous with
speed, aggressiveness, talent, winning seasons
and above all, top 10 rankings.
Did James Madison play a mean game of
field hockey?
No, but James Madison University does and,
along with Virginia, both teams will provide
the Michigan field hockey team with their
stiffest challenge of the season this weekend as
the Wolverines travel to Charlottesville, Va.
In terms of the national rankings, the sev-
enth-ranked Wolverines can ill afford to bring
anything less than the effort used in demolish-
ing Northeastern this past weekend. The Dukes
are ranked fifth in the nation, the Cavaliers
eighth.

Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz doesn't put
as much stock in the nonconference schedule
as she does against the Big Ten slate, but good
performances against James Madison and
Virginia could ensure a positive reputation
come tournament selection time.
"Those are two really, really difficult teams
to play," said Pankratz. "The level of play will
need to be high because both schools are top
10 teams"
Though Michigan brings offensive firepow-
er with players such as Jessica Rose, Kelli
Gannon, and Courtney Reid, the defense could
be the deciding factor in the upcoming match-
es.
Team captains Ashley Reichenbach and
Erica Widder will need to maintain their expert
play and voracious intensity at the defensive
positions in order to stop two of the quickest
offensive attacks they've faced.
"Both teams (Virginia and James Madison)
arc very fast and aggressive," said Pankratz,
citing in particular James Madison which "has
always been known to be aggressive and emo-

tional."
Nobody doubts the ability of the Wolverines
to match Virginia and James Madison in those
areas. The question is, can the Wolverines
maintain that type of all-out attitude through
the 35-minute halves in both games ?
"In practice we're working on staying relent-
less," forward Jocelyn LaFace said. "We're
doing really well in maintaining that attitude"
Pankratz hopes the week of focus will pay
off in the form of two great performances.
"That's always the battle - to bring the A'
game," Pankratz said. "We have the talent and
the team cohesion . .. we're up there in the
rankings and this should be a great weekend of
hockey."
Ideally, the Wolverines would not be enter-
ing into such an intense weekend of matches
on the heels of the first week of the semester.
But Pankratz is not concerned.
"Everybody is busy," she said. "The fresh-
men are the only ones who haven't been
through it before, but they can handle it - that's
why they are Division I athletes."

I

LOUIS BROWN/Da
The Michigan field hockey team's top 10 ranking will be challenged this weekend when it travels to
Virginia to take one powerhouses James Madison and Virginia.

eel

19

I

He

Triple option
won't baffle Blue
By Josh Kleinbaum
Daily Sports Editor
Wipe the thought from your mind right now. Don't lie, it's
there, somewhere deep in your brain, mixed in with random
names from the Name Game on the first day of section, room
numbers in the MLB and when - gasp! - you're final exam
Is.
You're worried Michigan is going to have a let-down.
Don't.
No, this isn't Notre Dame. No, the Wolverines won't be as
emotional as they were a week ago. But they don't need to be.
Lloyd Carr knows it, the Wolverines know it and you
should too.
Y This isn't the Irish, this is the Owls, the one cupcake on
Michigan's schedule. The Owls, who lost last week to The
Houston School of the Football Challenged, 28-3.
Let down? Short of The Great Michigan Football Collapse
of 1999, which would go down in history as the greatest blun-
dors of all-time next to Napoleon invading Asian Russia,
Michigan won't lose this game.
A letdown means Michigan only wins by 20. Onto the
riatchups.
MICHIGAN RUSHING OFFENSE VS. RICE RUSHING DEFENSE:
Last week, Anthony Thomas rushed for 138 yards against
an Irish defense that prides itself on stopping the run. So he
should rush for 200 easy against Rice, which was ranked 88th
in the nation in that category last year, right? Wrong.
It's not that Thomas can't, because he can, especially with
the offensive line opening holes. He just won't get the oppor-
tunity. After carrying the ball a career-high 32 times last week,
most of this game should be a breather for Thomas, a chance
to rest his tired legs and gear up for Syracuse next week. So
expect sophomore Walter Cross and freshman B.J. Askew to
get plenty of playing time.
It won't matter, though. Cross and Askew will get the job
done.
:Linebacker Don Dawson leads the Rice front seven - he
had 15 tackles against Houston -- but the Owls will all be
doing plenty of chasing throughout the game.
Advantage: Michigan
MICHIGAN PASSING OFFENSE VS. RICE PASSING DEFENSE:
To placate Carr and his alternate quarterback system, here
is a quarter-by-quarter breakdown of this matchup.
First quarter: After an impressive game last week, Tom
Brady is looking to keep the starting quarterback job, for good,
fpr the whole game. Against Rice, Brady shouldn't have too
much of a problem. The Owls were regularly beat in the sec-
ondary, allowing over 170 passing yards against a weak
Houston team.
Second quarter: After an impressive game last week,
Drew Henson is looking to wrestle the starting quarterback job
from Brady. Against Rice, Brady shouldn't have too much of a
problem. The Owls were regularly beat in the secondary,
allowing over 170 passing yards against a weak Houston team.
See MATCHUPS, Page 18

Rice not anothet
bland opponent
By Rick Freeman
Daily Sports Editor
Quick, name one player from Rice? Didja know they call
themselves the Owls? Rice? Who?
Rice (which is in Houston, by the way) used to play in
the old Southwest conference, back before Texas, Texas
A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor bolted for the Big Bland
Twelve.
Their offense still looks like it belongs in the SWC of the
'70s and '80s.
"It's one of the few pure triple options left," Michigan
coach Lloyd Carr said.'0
Michigan's defense is the kind of defense that option-lov-
ing offense coordinators salivate over. They blitz, they pursue.
The option is an offense that takes those qualities in a defense.
and neutralizes them. It turns agressiveness back on itself.
That said, Rice - no matter what kind offense the Owls
use - is the kind of oppponent most programs salivate over.
The Owls coughed up the ball eight times last week against,'
Houston - and they weren't even playing the Phi Slamma
Jamma Cougars.
The Wolverines were careful not to say anything to inflame '
the Owls this week.
Why? Well, they are an option team. They're also a sub-par
opponent. And those have given Michigan more trouble than"
top-ten opponents in the past four years.
As long as Lloyd Carr has been coach, the Wolverines have
gone 9-1 against top-five teams and 13-2 in September.
But they've also lost to Northwestern twice. Although
Northwestern went to Pasadena that year, the Wildcats were
still finding their form at that point in the season, and the
game had been within Michigan's grasp.
There was no such excuse for the loss to Purdue in 1996,
which cost the Wolverines a shot at the Big Ten title. All those'
losses came in game like tomorrow's. Games Michigan
should have won.
Even last season, Michigan struggled with some subpar
opponents. At Iowa, the Wolverines needed a safety on a kick-
off following the field goal that put them ahead 10-9 in the
fourth quarter to secure a victory. The very next week, anoth-
er safety secured a soggy 12-6 win at Northwestern. The
Hawkeyes and the Wildcats went a combined 2-14 in the Big
Ten last year.
Two years ago, Michigan had no problems with subpar
opponents. Tomato cans such as Baylor and Indiana were
appropriately made into marinara sauce.
Subpar opponents might show what a team is made of far
better than big games do. Even the California kids on
Michigan's and Ohio State's teams get up for the yearly
November grudge}match.
But Rice? Even the Wolverines who originally hail from the
Lone Star state seem to have no different feelings toward Rice
the football team than they do toward rice, the starchy, bland
side dish.
That's what makes tomorrow's game such a test. The
See RICE, Page 19

DAVID ROCHKIND/Daily
Freshman B.J. Askew, seen here making a tackle on special teams last week against Notre Dame, may get a chance to play
his usual position at running back tomorrow, assuming Michigan avoids a letdown of colossal proportions.

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