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September 28, 1999 - Image 12

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-28

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Scoreboard RrdTracking 'M' teams
NATIONAL AMERICAN Ch. White Sox 3, Check out the Michigan hockey team this weekend
LEAGUE LEAGUE MINNESOTA 1 when it opens its season with a pair of exhibition
CINCINNATI 9, DETROIT 8, NFL games - an intersquad matchup on Friday and a con-
ST. LOUIS 7 Kansas City 2 FOOTBALL ts ihWlrdLuirO audy
MONTREAL8, BOSTON 5, San Francsco a test with Wilfred Laurier on Saturday.
Fioria 4 Baltimore 3Arizona, imc
Colorado at Tampa Bay 10,
Atiooa inc. XSN.Y. 3,YANKEES 6 KOTSTuesday
TXAES September 28, 1999
Seattle 2

Purdue aerial attack awaits 'M' defense*

By T.J. Berka
Daily Sports Editor
When No. I1 Purdue enters
Michigan Stadium on Saturday after-
noon, it will bring with it something
the Wolverines haven't seen in a few
years.
The spread offense.
Michigan has seen its share of run-
ning attacks throughout the first
month of the season.
From the option trickery of Notre
Dame and Syracuse, the smash-
mouth thuggery of Wisconsin and the
pitch-and-fall down offense of Rice,
the Wolverines have the run covered.
But the Boilermakers don't run.
They put the ball in the air with great
frequency, and Michigan realizes that
it will be hard to prepare for them.
"Two weeks couldn't fully prepare
us for this offense," safety DeWayne
Patmon joked.
To help prepare for the aerial
assault that quarterback Drew Brees
will unleash on the Wolverines this
weekend, Michigan will look to the
final game of the 1997 national
championship season for assistance
in containing the Boilermakers.
Purdue "is a huge difference from
who we - have been playing,"
Michigan safety Tommy Hendricks
said. "We haven't seen an offense like
this since Washington State and Ryan
Leaf."
While the spread offense is more
familiar in the western reaches of the
United States, its presence in West
Lafayette shouldn't be a shocker.
Purdue coach Joe Tiller - who
coached Wyoming in the pass-happy
Western Athletic Conference before
arriving in West Lafayette three sea-
sons ago - was an assistant under
current Washington State coach Mike
Price in the early '90's.
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr knows
that the Michigan defense, while
solid thus far, has its work cut out for
itself against the Purdue passing
attack.
The Wolverines concede that per-
haps even their best efforts might not
totally bottle up the Boilermakers.
"I don't know if you can stop (the
aerial attack) fully," Carr said. "Our
goal is to contain it. You could have a
perfect ballgame on defense and even
then I don't know if you could stop
it."
Predictably, there will be a lot of
attention on the secondary this week.
The most maligned part of the
Michigan defense, the secondary
knows that this will be a defining
moment in gauging its skill.
"We know that Drew Brees is a
Heisman Trophy candidate." Patmon

The Michigan volleyball team is ranked among the nation's Top 25 teams for the
first time ever in the program's history.
Attitude dries 'M'
voleyball 1nto Top 25

By Jon Zemke
Daily Sports Writer
The number of lessons this year's
Michigan volleyball team learned
from last season's disappointing per-
formance will determine how well
they play this year.
After a 7-1 non-conference record
and a split in the first weekend series
of Big Ten play, a repeat of last year
is a lingering possibility.
The Wolverines stumbled early in
the '98 Big Ten season and never
regained their composure.
They managed only four wins in
16 conference matches to finish sec-
ond to last in the nation's best vol-
leyball conference.
Last year the Wolverines only lost
twice in non-conference play, but
started off the Big Ten 0-2 by drop-
ping two games to Purdue.
This weekend Michigan will face
the Boilermakers again as it travels
to No. 15 Wisconsin and Purdue.
But this isn't the same team that
took the court last season.
First off, the coaching staff has
changed. Rookie coach Mark Rosen
has surprised critics who thought
this would be a rebuilding year for
Michigan.
Also, last year five seniors - the
core of that team - graduated.
Prior to the season, Rosen said he
thought the team was a few years
away from returning to the NCAA
tournament, which they haven't
played in since 1997.
But in retrospect, the coaching
change couldn't have come at a bet-
ter time.
The team that Rosen has taken
over is young. These former bench

warmers have had an easier time
adapting than a veteran senior led
team would have.
Sophomore Shannon Melka said
this year's game plan has a faster
tempo which is easier to adjust to.
While the offense has consistent-
ly run smoothly this season, last year
it often had a hard time getting start-
ed.
The consistency can be attributed
in part to Melka. She's become the
primary setter after platooning with
junior Alija Pittenger last year.
The move has allowed Pittenger to
become one of the team's best and
most versatile players. The outside
hitter is among the team's leaders in
kills and digs.
Pittenger and sophomore Nicole
Kacor have taken turns leading
Michigan in both categories this sea-
son. They've also made their pres-
ence felt blocking at the net.
Blocking, one of Michigan's
weaker points last year, has turned
into one of its fortes. Led by Joanna
Fielder, Annie Maxwell and Anne
Poglits, the Wolverines have blocked
well.
In last Friday's win over No. 18
Ohio State, Michigan out-blocked
the Buckeyes 15-6.
Michigan has played against some
of the top teams in the country and
won three times so far this season,
which is two more than last year.
In '98 the only ranked team the
Wolverines beat was No. 22
Minnesota in Michigan's annual
Rock the House match.
This season the Wolverines have
beaten No. 18 Ohio State, No. 16
See LESSONS, Page 14

For the first time this season, safety Cato Jui
being labeled the weak link in the Wolverines

said. "So if we shut him down, people
will say that we are a good secondary.
"But a secondary is only as good as
its front seven and likewise, a front
seven is only as good as its sec-
ondary."
As most coaches do, Carr is well
aware of the public's perception of
his secondary. Carr also knows how
to push his defensive backs' buttons
as well.
"I ask the secondary to describe
themselves and they talk about how
they are a skilled, hard-hitting sec-
ondary," Carr said. "Then I ask them

1
1
1
1
1
7

~iiC
LOIS BON/aiy
ne (2) and the rest of the Michigan defense will face a pass-odented offense. After
defense, Michigan's secondary will get a chance to prove otherwise against Purdue.
if they want to know what I think of fourth quarter, Brady had one of his
them and they say 'Sure' better games in a Michigan uniform,
"I tell them that they are suspect, completing 17 of 27 passes for 217
because that's what everyone has yards and two touchdowns - his
called them. They are the Suspects" first two touchdown passes of this
BEHIND CENTER: Despite a brutal season.
hit from Wisconsin linebacker Chris With yesterday's announcement of
Ghidorzi that knocked him out of Brady's status, questions soon arose
Saturday's game, Michigan quarter- about what the quarterback rotation
back Tom Brady should be ready and would be.
able to start against Purdue. When asked if the rotation o'
"I think he's fine," Carr said. "He Brady in the first quarter and Henson
took a real shot on the turf but he in the second quarter would be the
should be ready to go." plan again, Carr simply nodded his
Before being sidelined in the head and smiled.
Twist of fate pays off
l V e
for Gannon, Michigan.
By Sarah Ensor years later, Gannon was named the
For the Daily county and league Player of the Year.
Kelli Gannon has become a crucial The following season, an outstanding
cog in the Michigan field hockey team's rookie campaign at Michigan eaned
powerful offense. But if it weren't for a her Big Ten Freshman of the Year hon-
fortuitous twist of fate, Gannon could ors.
have easily been tearing up tennis courts Michigan's players, coaches and fans
instead of field hockey fields. are grateful that Gannon decided to
In fact, Gannon had never heard of stick to the sport. 0
field hockey before her freshman year at "She's a really special player,'
San Pasqual High School (Escondido, Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz said.
Calif.) and she was so unsure of her "She's the field general of our team. She
interest in the game that she tried out for has a lot of natural skills that you can't
the school's tennis team at the same teach players and reads the field really
time, well"
Her frustration with the complexities Opposing teams may not share the
of field hockey convinced her to quit the same sentiments. Recently, Gannon has
team and focus her attentions on tennis. single-handedly ruined several teams'
But after informing her coach that she days.
was quitting the team, her sister's car The junior forward/midfielder'
broke down and she had no way to get game-winning goal against Michiga
home. State last Wednesday destroyed the
She decided to stay for one more Spartans' hope for an undefeated Big
practice, had a great time and stuck to Ten campaign.
field hockey. Her dominating performances against
Fate works in mysterious ways. Three Ohio and California last weekend elim-
inated all hopes those teams had of
upsetting No. 12 Michigan,
By scoring four goals in Michigan's
last three games, Gannon has proven
Don't let your that she is a force to be reckoned with
She currently leads the Wolverines
money yn goals, points, shots and game-wining
00 k goals and is among the leaders in
, .,a assists.
go oWn , I Last season, after leading the team in
. .- goals, she was named an
the drain, AstroTurf/NFHA second team All-
American.
Save on Copies! This year she is a nominee for All-
_ % hAerieca honors, and if she continues
her stellar play, the first-team award is a
distinct possibility.
' u Teammates agree that Gannon's role
on the team is a crucial one.
D#Ws * I "Kelli is a great team player with
o e ~ incredible offensive and defensive

-WfB;l8.l x1 0not 2/30/99 skills," senior captain Ashley
. . -- r Reichenbach said. "The team feeds off
her determination and relentlessness-
she s a key player."
Although modest about her accom-
C C P Y N G See GANNON, Page 1
611 Church Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 665-9200." (fax) 930-2800

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Michigan forward Kelli Gannonhas been running circles around opposing teams
this year notching the winning goal in two recent contests.

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