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September 11, 2000 - Image 17

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-11

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youngsters dominate -
stickers' homestand

The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - September 11, 2000 - B
'M' team speed leaves
opponents baffled

David Roth
_ ily Sports \\ritcr
6As a Michigan freshman, there's
-only one thing you can do to get
ecognition.
Score.
'April Fronzoni could quickly
ecome a household name as she
tabbed four goals this weekend, a hat
,ick yesterday against Ohio and
another goal versus American to lead
the Michigan field hockey team to a
air of 6-1 victo-
ries in its home MI
cpeners.m
"It's a really
neat start for my
ollegiate career,"
ronzoni said. "I
&nted to come
at strong for the
_i"st home opener -
ad show this Powers
4Lvn what we're
aiabout. The freshman class is here
o;,help out and we're running for a
" ational championship."
I9-Sophomore Molly Powers ",as also
.-.dommant force - scoring her fifth
g'oal in five games in the home open-
- r.
Yesterday she shared the riches,
-illying two assists, and also shared
ate credit, attributing her success to
playing at Ocker Field, Michigan's
Ome turf.
p-;"There's nothing like playing on
.his field," Powers said. "It's my
*fVorite turf in the country, and we
-play in front of the greatest fans. It's
se awesome how everyone comes and
jeers us on. It psyches me up like
-"oother."
'p'syched like no other, Powers
began the barrage on Ohio goalie
Tra Elliot. Powers eluded a pair of
defenders, carrying the ball into the
arc and dishing off to sophomore
Jessica Rose, who tapped the ball in
*with 15:06 left in the first half.
Five minutes later, on a penalty
corner. Jeanne Shin set up a
Courtney Reid shot that was deflect-
ed to and hut in by Kelli Gannon.
The Wolverines came out hungr\y
in the second half and scored two

goals in the first four minutes.
Fronzoni blasted a shot in with 33:03
left in the game, and Powers made a
diving pass to set up Fronzoni again
with 31:15 left in the game.
Despite Michigan's four-goal lead,
Ohio got a second wind and threat-
ened a comeback, setting up a penal-
ty corner opportunity with 20:40 left
in the game.
But Michigan defender Laura
Stinson had different plans and stole
the ball away, sending it to Rose, who
found herself with Fronzoni and no
defenders in sight. Rose dished it off
to Fronzoni, who scored her third
goal in 13 minutes with 20:15 left in
the game.
Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz
was thrilled with her young forward's
play. Pankratz described Fronzoni as
dangerous, dynamic and exciting.
"Our whole attack is that way,"
Pankratz said. "She typifies what our
whole attack is about - which is
danger. Speed is so dangerous and
she has it."
With young players like Fronzoni
contributing, Pankratz is freed up to
utilize all her players and keep a
fresh rotation on the field at all
times.
"We're very deep and very versa-
tile," Pankratz said. "In games like
this we had everyone in rotating
around and practicing positions for
later in the season."
The Ohio game gave freshman
goaltender Molly Maloney invaluable
experience, as the youngster got -to
play the entire game.
Maloney, like Fronzoni, showed
that being young doesn't mean being
inferior. Maloney came up with
seven big saves, many within a circle
crowded by Bobcats on penalty cor-
ners.
The games this weekend were the
first in a five-game homestand
auainst unranked opponents. With a
tough Big Ten conference slate later
in the season. these games are great
confidence builders for the team.
"By the middle of the season.
we're going to be unbelievable and
unstoppable;" Fronzoni said.

By Sarah Ensor
Daily Sports wrter
There are some things that even the
best coach can't teach.
Luckily for Marcia Pankratz, the No.
4 Michigan field hockey team already
has at least one key intangible down pat
- speed.
In their two 6-1 victories over
American and Ohio this weekend, the
Wolverines literally ran down the com-
petition, beating opposing players to
almost every loose ball, and creating
numerous fast-break opportunities with
their paralyzing speed.
"Speed is what we capitalize on,"
junior midfielder Jeanne Shin said. "A
lot of teams might play more laterally,
but we like to dump the ball and run onto
it. It works well for us."
There is almost no ball that is out of
reach of the Wolverines' sticks.
Michigan's front line of junior Jessie
Veith, sophomores Molly Powers and
Jessica Rose and freshman April
Fronzoni is among the quickest in the
country.
Even when the ball is surrounded by
the opposing team, it is not uncommon
to see a Michigan player emerge from 20
yards downfield to break up the play.
"Our forward line is one of the fastest
in the nation," Powers said. "When we're
in a top sprint in a dead heat, the defense
usually can't catch up. If anything, our
stick skills are slower than our feet are."

The sticks and feet were in perfect
sync at one point during yesterday I
game. Midway through the second half,
junior forward Laura Stinson passed the
ball the length of the field, creating a
two-on-one opportunity for Fronzoni
and Rose. When Fronzoni's shot flew
past Ohio goalie Tara Elliot, it proved the
Wolverines' domination in the quickness
category.
Field hockey is "a running game."
Pankratz said. "The field is 100 yards
long. You have to have speed, you have to
have endurance. Speed is really difficult,
as in any sport, to control and defend"
Michigan's opponents have definitely
learned that lesson the hard way. Even
the most well conditioned teams can't
keep up with Michigan's speed fOr an
entire game, and find themselves
exhausted and demoralized when the
final whistle blows.
"It's definitely tough (to defend)
against anyone" with speed, Ohio coach
Shelly Morris said. "A coupl6 of
Michigan's players are really fast. h's
hard to keep up with that and to sustain
it for 70 minutes."
Perhaps it was Fronzoni who put it
best, prophetically hinting about the
fruits to be reaped by Michigan's speed.
"We have the speed of God knows
what," Fronzoni said. "We have a quick
forward line and we're going to useit to
our advantage to beat the defenses
around the country."

BRAD QUINN/Daily
Despite the pouring rain on Sunday, Ali Balmer (left) and her Michigan teammates
crushed the opposition this weekend in the Wolverines' home openers.

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