September 18, 2000 - SportsMonday - The Michigan Daily -- 58
Stickers stick it to
'M' set for Big Ten after tournament title
By David Roth
Daily Sports Writer
Abe wouldn't have been proud.
This weekend the Michigan field
ockey team didn't live up to its
Lincolnesque goal of treating all
Michigan beat a pair of patsies this
weekend: Ball State 7-2 on Friday
and Rutgers 2-0 on Saturday. Victory
and satisfaction, however, didn't
mean the same thing for the
"I didn't really like that game,"
Michigan forward Molly Powers said
ar the Rutgers game. "It took the
To'le first half for us to get into the
game. We didn't meet our expecta-
tion of playing each team equally. We
played down to them. We expected
less and we played like it."
Even though Michigan blew away
Ball State, the defense lost sight of
its goals. The Wolverines had hoped
to shut out the Cardinals on Friday,
but. instead allowed two sloppy
"We need to be stronger mentally
on defense," defender Jeanne Shin
said. "We expect a lot of ourselves,
and even though we win, we expect
'the defense found itself in trouble
early again against Rutgers.
The Scarlet Knights put a shot on
cage only 37 seconds into the game.
But freshman keeper Molly Maloney
'nie up with a huge save to keep the
lverines out of trouble.
After fighting off offensive pres-
sure from Rutgers, the Wolverines
got the ball to their opponents' side
of t-he field, where Jessica Rose took
a Kristi Gannon pass and slid it by
godlie Stacy Gaenzle with 26:18 left
in the first half to put Michigan on
But Rose's goal was all the offen-
* production the Wolverines could
muster in a lackluster first half.
The second half fared better.
Powers netted her eighth goal in eight
games to put her two goals ahead of
last season's total. Still, she wasn't
pleased with her individual perfor-
mance. And only one second-half
goal made a close game out of one
that shouldn't have been.
"\We made some adjustments
Lecause we were a little bit sloppy."
chigan coach Marcia Pankratz
said. "At halftime we turned things
around and got more intensely into
With so few games under its belt,
Michigan uses other top-ranked
teams as a benchmark to check their
status amongst the nation's best. Old
Dominion, ranked third in the nation,
walloped Rutgers 1 1-0 this past
Sunday, hinting that the Wolverines
might not be the caliber of team they
hope to be.
Despite losing the match, Rutgers
coach Ann Petracco was elated to
play respectably and not be humiliat-
ed by a top-five powerhouse like the
"I thought we gave them a game,"
Petracco said. "After coming off an
11-0 loss to Old Dominion, coming
back out here and knowing that
Michigan finished second last year in
the national tournament and was
ranked in the top five, I thought,
'What have I done!"'
The Wolverines certainly know that
their five-game homestand against
unranked opponents will be the last
time where consistent mistakes don't
automatically equal losses.
"We did win the game," Shin said.
"But we didn't really play our tempo
and our game. There are a lot of
aspects of the game that we need to
step up if we want to take teams like
Penn State, North Carolina and Wake
By Richard Haddad
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan volleyball team begins
Big Ten play in two days. This weekend,
Michigan moved further toward a suc-
At the Arkansas Bank of Fayetteville
Invitational this weekend, Michigan
ended its nonconference season tri-
umphantly, defeating Houston, Virginia
and Arkansas (3-2, 3-0 and 3-0) to win its
second consecutive tournament.
The title is "something for this team to
be proud of because we needed to beat
three good volleyball teams to do it,"
Michigan coach Mark Rosen said. "This
will give us the confidence we need head-
ing into the Big Ten schedule."
Going into the invitational, Rosen
expected Houston (4-3) to pose the
biggest challenge for the Wolverines.
Accordingly, the only games Michigan
dropped in Arkansas were at the hands of
the Cougars in Friday's opener, as the
Wolverines came back from a 2-1 deficit
to emerge victorious in their first five-
game match of the season (6-15, 15-7, 14-
16, 15-8, 15-13).
Michigan's struggles attacking in the
opening-game loss prompted Rosen to
bring senior co-captain Sarah Behnke into
action for the first time this season.
Behnke had been out with an injured
. shoulder all season, but her debut sparked
the Michigan attack.
"Behnke did a great job" Rosen said.
"She pretty much saved us herself against
Houston. Sarah's leadership is so huge for
us and I thought that helped us, especially
when we fell behind"
Outside hitters Nicole Kacor and Alija
Pittenger each collected career bests in
digs, registering 29 and 36, respectively,
to lead the team. Junior setter Shannon
Melka tallied a career-best 85 assists.
Noting that the team had not played a
five-game match this season, Rosen
remarked that "a coach learns a lot about
the character and competitiveness of his
team in these types of matches and I
learned that this team is going to fight
everybody to the last point"
Arkansas suffered the same fate. The
Wolverines didn't bother to put their
brooms away in between matches, and the
Razorbacks were swept aside (15-5, 15-
1I, 15-9). Once again, Kacor, Behnke,
Melka, Lehman and Pittenger led the
effort, and middle blocker Joanna Fielder
continued her return from injury.
Pittenger and Behnke were each named
to the all-tournament team, and such a
prosperous return by Behnke bodes well.
"It was a good weekend to get our line--
up set for the Big Ten,' Rosen said, with
Behnke's and Fielder's strong comebacks
in mind. "Having everyone healthy gives
us options, depth, and balance; we're able
to use more players in our offense."
Michigan now has the Big Ten opener
in East Lansing on Wednesday to look
forward to. After going 8-1 so far, the
Wolverines are ready.
"Arkansas and Houston were both big,
physical, Big Ten-type teams," Rosen
said. "Thev took our middles out and
made our outsides carry the load," Rosen
said, "and then they took out our outsides
and forced our middles to step up."
Against the tougher competition of the
Big Ten, the ability to make adjustments
will be critical, and Michigan will have
that much more confidence based on the
proficiency they have exhibited.
Michigan's nonconference record is
identical to the one that earned them a bid
to the NCAA tournament last season after
finishing eighth in the Big Ten.
"We haven't beaten any highly-ranked
teams" Rosen said, "but we took care of
business in the preseason. It'll come down:
to the Big Ten - a top-five finish will
guarantee us a place in the NCA As, and
sixth place will give us a good chance."
Michigan State, and the rest of the Big
Ten, will be more difficult than anything
Michigan has encountered. But with suc-
cess and experience under its belt
Michigan is ready to earn that invitation.
r e renanm .
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Monday, September 18, 2000
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