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September 06, 2000 - Image 68

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-06

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6E - New Student Edition - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 6, 2000

WONDEROUS

WOMEN

Women's

basketball

tallies best season ever

On the brink of a
national championship

By Michael Kern
Daily Sports Writer
Last season, the Michigan womens
basketball team rode into the Big Ten
Tournament on the back of an eight-
ame winning streak that had pro-
elled it into the top 25 for the first
time in school history. With a school-
record 22 regular season wins, the sec-
ond seeded Wolverines appeared
, poised to compete for the tournament
4i~tle and possibly make waves in the
NCAA Tournament.
,,,ut almost as quickly as it started,
the Michigan train derailed. The
Wolverines lost in the semifinals to the
defending national champion and No.
3 seed Purdue. Then. after receiving a
disheartening No. h seed in the NCAA
Jbprnament, Michigan lost in over-
-A jne to ninth-seeded Stanford to end
theseason, 81-74.
The key factor in the disappointing
finish for the Wolverines may have
been experience, or lack thereof. Only
two Wolverines -- co-captains Stacey
Thomas and Anne Thorius had ever
Rowers
strive to
By Albert Kim
,Daity Sports Writer
The first thing that comes to mind
en someone mentions Michigan
.qp!en's crew is history. The women
made history this season as they won
the inaugural Big Ten Championship,
and repeated as Central Regional
champions.
The Wolverines also received their
third straight NCAA championship
berth, and finished in fifth place for the
third straight year.
In making history the Wolverines
were able to overcome a disappointing
fifth-place finish at the San Diego
Crew Classic, and a loss to Michigan
State.
The loss to Michigan State was par-
, ticularly bitter, because the Spartans

played in an NCAA Tournament
game.
"If there is anything we learned
from last year it is that we can com-
pete with some of the top teams in the
country," Michigan coach Sue Guevara
said. "But we have to be consistent."
This season, Michigan hopes that
the experience of last year will enable
the team to move to the next level.
Despite the loss of Big Ten defensive
player of the year Thomas, the Wolver-
ines return three starters as well as
sophomore LeeAnn Bies, who as a
freshman last season averaged 10.1
points and six rebounds per game as
the team's first player off the bench.
Along with its eight returning play-
ers, Michigan welcomes four new
faces in freshmen Stephanie Gandy
Michaela Leary, Christie Shurnacher
and Jennifer Smith.
Besides adding depth, Giiuevara
hopes that the freshmen will give the
Wolverines a more versatile lineup.
Smith's 6-3 frame adds size to the
Michigan frontzourt. When combined
See CAGERS, Page 9E

'I)

SOFTBALL
A staple in the
top programs
nationally for
the past ten
years, coach
Carol Hutchins
had the Wolver-
ines once
again creeping
near the World
Series, but
Michigan fell
one shy
against Depaul
at regionals.

Here's the scoop on how the
women's teams at Michigan
soared to new levels in the
past season:
WOMEN'S SOCCER
A program only a few years
old, the Wolverines reached
the second round of the
*NCAA Tournament thanks to
the superb play of senior
record breaker Amber Beren-
dowsky and freshman power-
house Abby Crumpton.
FIELD HOCKEY
The Wolverines, in their best
season ever, climbed all the
way to the championship
game before falling to Mary-
land 2-1.
ROWING
Finished fifth in the nation,
matching the Wolverines'
best season ever. Also
etched the inaugural Big Ten
Championship.

WOMEN'S GYMNASTICS
Thanks to another strong
recruiting class, coach
Bev Plocki and senior
Sarah Cain (above) guid-
ed Michigan to a No. 1
ranking, before falling off
the balance beam to
sixth at the NCAA Cham-
pionships. Cain was the
runner up in the all-
around.

WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY
Fighting off two ranked teams,
the Wolverines stole a runner-up
finish at the Big Tens and
advanced to the NCAA Champi-
onships where they took 15th.

PHOTOS BY SAM HOLLENSHEAD AND MARJORIE MARSHALL/Daily

Softball falls short of
World Series berth

By Jon Schwartz
Daily Sports Writer
Losing is tough.
Losing in the playoffs is tougher.
Losing in the playoffs on your
home field is just painful.
Such was the fate of the softball
team this year. They won when they
had to, and they fell to MAC teams
when the cameras were turned off.
But two losses to DePaul in the
NCAA Regional Tournament at
Alumni Field sent the team packing
and waiting for next year.
"There's only one team in the
country that doesn't end its season
on a loss," senior co-captain Melissa
Gentile said. "But it's really tough."
Nevertheless, with a lot of hurdles
to overcome, the Wolverines still put
together an impressive season, an
effort that brought them within one
game of the Women's College World

Series in Oklahoma City.
The biggest hurdle of all was the
introduction of a new cheerleader for
the team - a fan that was expected
to be the team's star before the sea-
son, and for the first half, was. But
when Gentile re-injured her back
midway through the season, the team
looked elsewhere for leadership.
The group found its heroes and
leaders in both expected and unex-
pected places. Senior Pam Kosanke,
who started all but one game at third
base and finished second on the
team in average, ending her Wolver-
ine career with a .352 effort at the
plate.
Also Stefanie Volpe and Marie
Barda, designated player and pitch-
er, respectively, were solid all year.
Volpe led the team at the plate, both
in average and homers, making her a
third-team All-American, while
See SOFTBALL, Page 8E

BRAD QUINN/Dady
The good times for rowing aren't over yet. Michigan loses a few, but has enough
experience to improve on its best-ever fifth-place national finish next year.

mouthed off after their win, posting
messailes on the internet that called
the Wolverines "overrated," among
other things.
The Wolverines came back and
avenged their loss, beating the Spartans

at the Big Ten, Regional, and National
Championships. The Spartans finished
a distant eighth at Nationals.
This eighth-place fiiish, alon with
the ninth place finish of Ohio State,
See ROWING, Page 7E

The onl
ting left
for women:,
Wrn ft all -
M y freshman year was the-
greatest year of my lifes
far. I had the freedom thaT
comes with life on my own and met
the people who will probably be my
best friends until we are too old to
remember each other's names-And
Michigan gave me one other wiel-
coming gift that I will never forget.
This university welcomed my
classmates and me with football-and
hockey national championships.
These were not the most talent
football or hockey teams that this
school has ever seen. A walk-on
quarterback and a freshman winger
led the Wolverines to the mostpres-
tigious level of college athletids
But they had the right mix of talent
that knew how to get the job don.
Both of those teams knew what it
meant and what it took to become a
national champion.
And one fed off the other. The
hockey team wanted what the fooe
ball team achieved four months ar-
iier and achieved just that.
And while each and every student
in the class of 2001 may be fully
satisfied heading into their final
year with memories of that Rose
Bowl victory or Josh Langfeld's
overtime goal, there is one thing
that we --- and every class before us
-lack
We lack a piece of history that is
27 years in the making.
We lack a women's national
championship.
Ever since the integration of
women's sports into Michigan ath-
letics with the passage of Title IX in
1973, no female team at this Uni
versity has been crowned a national
champion.
This may make you question
prestige of Michigan athletics
Schools like Stanford and UCLA
have earned a plethora of womens
titles. Why can't the Wolverines'
And the answer is a lot simpler ihan
one may think.
Michigan is still prestigious
across the board in athletics. Even
on the women's side the Wolverines
are national powers in swimming
and diving, gymnastics, softball, *
field hockey, soccer, softball, crew,
etc.
The swimming and diving, gym-
nastics and cross country teams
have all come in second place but
none of them have been able to put
their names on that trophy that
labels them as No. 1.
The reason that Michigan hasn't
won women's national champi-
onships is just that -- because qo
team has been able to win the fis
one. National championships ar
like George Foreman grills. Oncde
one person has one, everyone else
wants one too.
Each team can feed off the suc-
cess of the first national champi-
onship, learning what it needs to do
to win one of its own.
The prestige of a national title
helps recruit the kind of playerth
yearns for and knows how to
achieve that national championship

It puts the name of Michigan
women's athletics out there to the
best female athletes in the nation.
But even without the national.
recognition of its female athletics
that schools like Stanford receive,
Michigan has its fair share of
female talent.
The Wolverines have won indi
vidual female national champi-
onships in cross country and
gymnastics, just to name a couple.
It is simply the team title that
eludes them.
And an answer to how to get that
first team title eludes me. I thought
it would come with field hockey
this season or gymnastics the sea
son before, but each time the °''
Wolverines are just one step away
from that moment in history. -
It seems that each year I gettlos-
er to graduation, the Michigan'
women's teams get closer to that
title.
And what that means is it will
probably happen for you. You are

CHECK OUT MORE WOMEN'S SPORTS STORIES
PAGE 8E

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