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September 18, 2000 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-18

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September 18, 2000 - The Michigan Daily -- SportsMonday - 3B

'M' steadily turning 'corner'


By David Horn
Daily Sports Writer
As former Detroit Titans basketball coach Dick
.Vitale might say, freshman Kevin Taylor is a "dia-
per dandy." The forward, already heralded by his
teammates as a strong, young supporter to an
eclectic team, scored the game-winning goal in the
90th minute against Detroit yesterday. For the
Wolverines, Taylor was a "prime-time player."
But Taylor's goal, which came on a disputed
penalty kick, was the only tally that a plethora of
restarts could yield in Michigan's 1-0 victory.
Corner kicks, taken primarily by freshman mid-
fielder Ian Hirschfield and senior forward Ryan
Yoder, provided multiple opportunities for the
Michigan offense. But not one corner found its way
into the back of the Titans' net.
"We had a lot of chances, but just couldn't con-
vert," senior midfielder Jack Stead said. "The ser-
vices werie on, we just couldn't get the finishes."
On another day, the blame for the failure to fin-
ish might fall on the shoulders of Taylor - who
stands a commanding 6-foot-4 in front of the goal
on corners, and is on the receiving end of most cor-
ner kicks. But the freshman's late heroics from the
12-yard hash overshadowed the team's disappoint-
ment in not converting restart opportunities.
"We wanted to get a goal on corner kicks:"
Michigan coach Steve Burns said. "We worked on
that in practice this week. We tried some new align-
ments -- because we've got that weapon in the
middle in Tavlor. But that'll all come."
The Wolverines stumbled a bit in other restart
situations. Forward Kevin Robinson could not con-
trol a number of through balls late in the first half
and early in the second from midfielders
Hirschfield and freshman Mike White.
"We're a little off on the timing," Stead said.
"But we're working on that in practice every day,
and you're going to start seeing us scoring a lot

more of those."
After last week's game against Loyola (Ill.) and
the exhibition against Schoolcraft College, Burns
wanted to improve his team's interaction between
the middle and front third of the field. His concern
was that there were too many touches, and that
these touches were symptomatic of a passive
Yesterday Michigan forced the quick touch, and
relied on the speed of forwards Robinson and
sophomore Robert Turpin to chase down the long
passes. But the Wolverines were timid from
between 15 and 25 yards out, and took shots a sec-
ond or two too late.
"When you get in that part of the field, your
space is constricted, and you have very little time to
work with," Burns said. "We've just got to be
cleaner technically so we can get the ball down,
then either slot the next player in or find a strike on
net - take our half-chances."
After a week of' working on creating offensive
opportunity - particularly with restarts - it was
ironic that the difference in a game of failed con-
versions was a well-placed penalty kick at the zero
The win improves the Wolverines' record to 3-2,
and gives them some confidence as they prepare
for next week's Big Ten opener against Penn State,
ranked No. 2 nationally.
"All we've heard all season is about Indiana and
Penn State," said Tavlor. "I'm coming in as a fresh-
man and I just can't wait."
Michigan will take the next week to continue
fine-tuning their offtensive game in anticipation of
the most challenging competition in their young
The Wolverines will also make use of the
time off by nursing injuries to senior Will
Purdy., who did not play yesterday, and Yoder.
who left the game late in the second half after
re-aggravating his calf.

Coast to coast -
worth the risk?

Midfielder Ian Hirschfield bears much of the responsibility for
controlling the play in the middle third of the field.
Penalty kckgrants
Blue 'ugy win'
Continued from Page 11B
But as frustrating as it was for Michigan as finishing
woes hindered such a dominating performance, it was a
great relief for the Wolverines to finally win the game in
"A win is a win," Burns said. "I like ugly wins a lot.
For a young team, to be able to win ugly, as you contin-
ue to build, you'll witi some pretty games, but you still
have to win the ugly games."

"Alum Eisen returns to help relive Classic

L OS ANGFLES -YoI've got to
come down tromt the Rose Bowl.
In altitude, that is. The trip from
Pasadena to the hotels in Santa Monica
and West L.A. is a winding, downward
spiral to sea level. A trek that begins in
the harsh afternoon heat of the moun-
tains slowly descends into the smog
banks and cool evening breeze of the
Maybe this was all by design.
Because you've got to come down from
the Rose Bowl emotionally, too. In that
sense, the drive down the
San Diego Freeway
closely parallels the stan- AD Bill
dard emotions after a e
game in the world- estima
fanious stadium. Heated Of the
passions, no matter how on
well masked, give way to Snt
cooler heads as the
mountains grow smaller 30,00
in the rear-view ,mirroir.
The tattering wind onM i
an oustretched, slighlty fait
sunburned forearm
mixed with a smooth jam
from a local station works to soothe
the nerves. And lettin0g your- head reSt
softly oin the scatback, vou take a deep)
breath (it doesn t scene polluted), you
exhale, and you start to think.
Why does Michigan schedule games
like this?
Is it really worth the risk?
And why was everybody chiding
Michigan on the cupcake slate the week
before? It seems like the Wolverines arc
caught in a "'damned if you do, damned
if you don't" scenario. Play Rice, and
evervone cries that you're ducking the
tough ies. Lose to UCL.A, and people
ask, "What's the point?"
With a new athletic director on the
scene and Carr just "playing them as
they schedule them," nobodv's reallv
"responsible" for this year's slate. Or at
least nobody's claimiing responsibility.
Had he his druthers, 13o
Schemnbechler said Ile probably would-
n't play games such as these with
the potential to knock a team out of
BC'S contention early.
Of course. Bo's not a tan of the BCS,
nor the idea of a national playoff- lie
liked the conference-bowl agreements
that landed his Wolverines in the Rose


Bowl on New Ydar's Day more often
than not.
But Schembechler, who was here
Saturday, saVs he can understand why
these early season series come to pass.
And whether anybody is "responsi-
ble: there are several conceivable rea-
sons for Michigan to schedule these
First, Michigan's alumni base is
impressively vast. Athletic Director Bill
Martin estimated that of the 88,044 or
hand at the Rose Bowl Saturday, 30,000
were Michigan faithful.
Playing high-profile
M artin games on the West
a Coast attracts alumni
dth from that area, andthot
8,044 sequetitly attracts aluti
and Ili money.
Second, Michigan
rdayrecrtits players nation-
) were ally. This season's rost,.-
contains nine
igan Califorias -- the
i. uI third-most represented
state behind Michigan
and Ohio. Games like
this on! bring Michigan's name to an
audience that otnerewise knows of it
only from television.
Whether these games must be against
top programs lke UCLA - addingithe
potential for disaster - is a fuzzier,
issue. While traditional early matchups
with the likes of Notre Dame are
accepted and appreciated, Martin men-
tioned teams like Cal-Berkelev --tusu-
ally less powerful - as future promot-
crs of the Maize and Blue.
Indeed, Cal has already agreed to a
home-and-home series with the
Wolverines. But you can never get too
comfortable. The Golden Bears played
a similar game with Illinois Saturday,
and came within a two-point conversion
of overtime.
Carr said last week that if you lostto
an unranked, nonconference team, "you
have an unforgettable experience."
But beat those teams, and you have a
completely forgettable experience
I remember the UCLA-Michigani
score from 198-.
Can anybodv remember the Rice
score from last year'? Do you care?
- David Den Herder can be reached a

By Benjamin Singer
Daily Spoits Writer
Dominick's hosted what was proba-
blv the biggest pre-game party on cam-
pus Saturdav, and ESPN Classic broad-
casted it nationwide.
A cool morning and small crowd
soon turned into a warm day and festive
atmosphere as the garden area in the
back of Dominick's filled up with a siz-
able number of the Wolverines' faithful,
who came to watch Michigan- alum
Rich Eisen (class of 1990) interview
Mark Messner, Robert Traylor, Jimmy
King and Stev e Fisher live.
Over at Harpers in East Lansing,
ESPN anchor Gary Miller was with
Michigan State fans and Spartan leg-
ends Bubba Smith, Eric Snow, Jud
Heathcote and Tom Izzo. The show
went back-and-forth between . Ann
Arbor and East Lansing, reliv inc old
moments of the rivalrv.
The more beer consumed b- the

crowd, the louder it became, requiring
less prodding from the stage manager to
cheer whenever Ann Arbor was being
Some of the loudest cheers of the day
were for former basketball coach Steve
Fisher, who was making his first
appearance back on Michigan's campus
since his bitter departure.
Fisher responded to the friendly
crowd with smiles and waves and
walked out among the students for a
few minutes after his segment of the
show ended.
"They're good Michigan fans,"
Fisher said of his greeting.
Messner, who sat with the crowd for
the remainder of the program after his
interview, was pleased to see the -eturn
of Fisher.
"He was an absolute class act and his
players loved him:' Messner said. "It
was an honor to be asked to share the
stage with him."
Former Fab Fixer Jimmv Kin g was

excited to reunite with his old coach.
"It was great," King said. "It made
me feel good to see him again, the man
that brought ne to this. lie was one of
the reasons that I came here."
Fisher had no opinion to share about
the state of Michigan's current basket-
ball program, saying "My program (at
San Diego State) is my only concern"
Eisen refrained from asking Fisher
any specific questions dealing with the
end 'of' his Michigan career, other than
asking if lie had any regrets.
"The circumstances of his depa-ture
were not ideal," Eisen said after the
show. "You either think Fisher got
jobbed or his just desserts. Bottom line
is, Steve Fisher still did win the 1989
Championship. It's ESPN Classic.
We're not talking about cake boxes full
of money. We're reliving past glories:'
The crowd did its part in attempting
to create the same atmosphere that the
school had during the championship
Season. Many sentences froimi tie talent

on the stage were drowned out by the
cheers or boos of the students, depend-
ing on what was the subject of the dis-
"If the basketball games are like the
crowd out there today. I think it'll be
one ofthose things where they'll have a
great yea,''Travlor said. "The crowd
sometimes helps a lot. That crowd right
now is marvelous."
Messner learned something new
about what he didn't notice when he
played football.
"It's a lot quieter than the Big
House," Messner said. "When you play
in the games you really don't hear -
you don't feel this kind of enthusiasm.
You're separated from it. This is fun.
As for Eisen, this homecoming held
special meaning, as he was able to
relive his own moments at Michigan.
"It's truly bizarre coming back to
Dominick s and doing a program where
I had many "Classic' moments mvself:'
lie said.

Second chance
There is still one more mass
meeting open to students who
would like to join any of The
Michigan Daily's staffs.
Tonight at 7 pm. in the
Student Publications Building,
the Daily is holding its final
mass meeting of the fall term.
The sports section is looking
for writers and cartoonists.
Stop by and check it out.

I .1

The Chevrolet Soccer Festival is coming to
The University of Michigan
September 22, 2000 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
Come to the North Campus Diag next to the Dow Bldg.
And join the fun !
Admission is free!
All are welcome!
Featuring: radar speed kick, virtual reality goal kick,
inflatable kick wall, memorablia showcase, history wall,
video kiosk of soccer highlights, plus prizes and giveaways.




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