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September 24, 1999 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-24

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16 -The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 24, 1999

Field hockey guards
against big letdown

Spikers confident*
against tough foes

By Michael Kern
Daily Sports Write
Often when a team scores an emo-
tionally charged victory like the
Michigan field hockey team's 1-0
win against in-state rival Michigan
State on the road Wednesday, there
is the possibility of a letdown the
next game.
That can be especially true if the
team's next opponent is not as mean-
ingful, as is the case this weekend
for the 12th-ranked Wolverines as
they play their final two non-confer-
ence games at Ocker Field against
Ohio and California.
For Michigan. the focus all week
has been on starting the Big Ten sea-
son on a good note with a victory
over the Spartans.
But now the Wolverines must shift
that focus to two nonconference
opponents, and maintain the intensi-
ty and aggression they employed in
their dominating victory over
Michigan State.
"(Ohio and California) are quite
strong, and they are both having
good seasons," Michigan coach
Marcia Pankratz said. "Ohio beat
Kent State which is normally quite a
strong team in the MAC. We tied
them last spring, so we are certainly
looking for them to play really well.

'lt will be tough because our
focus has been on the Big Ten sea-
son and the Michigan State game.
We only have two days to jump into
those next two matches and pre-
pare."
But Michigan is not making any
excuses for a possible letdown this
weekend.
The Wolverines are confident that
they can channel the emotion from
their victory and maintain rather
than lose intensity.
"I think it helps the intensity
because we know how we feel now,
and we want to carry it over to this
weekend," junior midfielder
Courtney Reid said.
Pankratz agreed with the senti-
ment of her players, explaining that
the Wolverines could use the energy
the got from the Michigan State in
the two games this weekend.
"The momentum is a positive,"
Pankratz said. "(The players) feel
good about their play. They feel
more confident, so I think that that
will carry over positively into the
weekend."
Besides having only a short
amount of time to prepare for this
weekend, Michigan also will be
shorthanded on the sideline.
Assistant coaches Tracey Fuchs and

DAVID ROCHKIND/DaiN
Michigan's Courtney Reid thinks the Wolverines will avoid a letdown this
weekend, despite playing two nonconference opponents.

By Emily Mitchell
For the Daily
The Michigan volleyball team has
two huge Big Ten matches this week-
end in Cliff Keen Arena. Tonight, the
Wolverines face No. 18 Ohio State,
and tomorrow night, they face No. 2
Penn State.
With 10 out of 11 players return-
ing, the Wolverines' experience and
seniority could contribute to the
game. Michigan coach Mark Rosen,
is confident in his team's ability to
rise to the challenge.
"Alija (Pittenger) is a huge defen-
sive player," Rosen said.
Rosen is confident in his team's
physical ability, as well as its mental
state and spirit.
"Annie Maxwell is a spark plug to
our personality side. She has a cer-
tain finesse in her ball control,"
Rosen said.
Recently, Pittenger reached 300
career digs. She was accompanied in
her excellence by Maxwell who
recently reached 50 blocks and 100
kills. Dana Chapman, recovering
from an earlier ankle injury, has been
practicing at full strength and is
expected to make an appearance in
the game as well. Rosen added that
he is "very comfortable with Nicole
and Alija's performances."
The Wolverines' assistant coach,
ex-Buckeye Leisa Rosen is comfort-
able with her new allegiance, even
facing her old coach.
While playing for the Buckeyes,
she racked up two Big Ten titles.
"I'm excited about a friendly rival-
ry," Leisa Rosen said.

"We are looking forward to playing
Michigan tomorrow night," said Ohio
State coach Jim Stone. "I know M ark
and Leisa very well. Of course, Leisa
played for me and I know she is a
very intense competitor. I am
she is passing this trait along tolier
players."
Approximately 21 hours later, the
Wolverines will face another moun-
tain to climb.
The defending Big Ten champion
Nittany Lions are led by Lauren
Cacciamani, Carrie Schonveld, aind
Amanda Rome.
These three women have been key
players in their last five matchups,
dishing out plenty of digs, kills,ed
blocks.
Since the beginning of its season,
Penn State has shut down No: 8
Virginia, No.3 Nebraska, Akron,
Bradley, Maryland, West Virginia,
UNC-Charlotte, Toledo, Kansas State
and Texas, but was defeated in its
season opener by then-No. 8 Florida.
That leaves Penn State's record at
10-1 with an upcoming match against
Michigan State tonight.
With tomorrow's upcoming ma1dh,
the Michigan coaches have high
hopes for their team.
"This is a really good test for us to
see how we do against such a strong
team," said Leisa Rosen.
Michigan's strategy for this week-
end is "focusing on our side and what
we're doing," she added.
"We know what we are up against.
They are going to be as good t
everyone expects them to be," IV
Rosen said.

Peggy Storrar will be competing for
the U.S. national team over the next
few weeks in Australia and South
Africa, leaving the Wolverines with
just Pankratz and assistant Nancy
Cox to prepare the team for the bulk
of the Big Ten season.
"We'll miss them, but we are
going to hang on," Pankratz said.
"They told us we need to be unde-
feated until they get back, so we're
trying."

Pankratz said the the two would be
missed the most "to bounce ideas off
of, but Nancy is certainly a fantastic
coach and we really bounce ideas off
of each other during the game."
For now, tho Wolverines just keep
plugging away.
"I think we are going to go into
this weekend exactly the way we
went into (Wednesday)," sophomore
forward Jessie Veith said. "We'll just
keep on firing at them until we win."

t

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