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September 06, 2000 - Image 69

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-06

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Wednesday, September 6, 2000 - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - 7E

*IlA

tennis

rollercoaster

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A millennium ride
Despite the unexpected twists and turns, there were many high-
lights in the first season of the new millennium for both the
men's and women's tennis teams.
Men
- Advanced to second round of NCAA's
- Senior Matt Wright qualified for NCAA Singles
Championship
- Peaked at a No. 18 National ranking
Women
- Advanced to quarterfinals of Big Ten
Tournament
- Senior Brooke Hart earned All-
Big Ten honors along with being
named Big Ten Sportswoman
of the Year
AP PHOTO
E Much like the Millennium
Force rollercoaster at
Cedar Point, the Michi-
gan men's and
women's tennis teams
went on a wild ride
this season, with
many ups and
downs.
K. :v
T v
-C;

The train stops too>
*.soon for men netter

By Jeff Phillips
Daily Sports \\riter

The 2000 season of the Michigan men's ten-
mts team was like a rollercoaster - filled with
highs and lows but it ended sooner than
expected.
The Wolverines fell in the second round of
the NCAA tournament to Texas Christian Uni-
versity. Despite its best finish in four years, the
team was disappointed. A season that began
with so much hope ended well, but not as well
as they wanted.
"We accomplished a lot of our goals, but it is
still disappointing," first-year Michigan coach
Mark Mees said.
Behind the leadership and experience of four
seniors, the Wolverines began the season by
winning seven consecutive dual matches -
including winning the Great Northwest
Shootout in Washington. But a close loss to
Tulane University was a sign of a downfall to
come for Michigan.
The Wolverines endured an uphill battle of a
tough Big Ten schedule, hampered by a back
injury to senior and No. 1 singles Matt Wright
and lingering injuries to most of the team.
The Wolverines finished fifth in the confer-
ence, but returned to form just before the Big
Ten Tournament. Michigan won their final five
matches of the regular season - including a
big victory over Notre Dame at the Varsity
*fennis Center.
Michigan advanced to the semifinals of the
Big Ten Tournament, where they fell to rival
Illinois in one of the closest matches in Michi-
gan history.
"After we lost a couple close matches, we
just thought What if?"' Mees said.
With the end of the season came the end of
the careers of Wright, John Long, Brad Mc Far-
Rowers are
ready for
best season
eROWING
Continued from Page 6E
showed the strength of the Big Ten Con-
ference in rowing.
"It was a big step for the Big Ten."
Michigan coach Mark Rothstein said.
The fifth-place finish for the Wolver-
ines at the national championships was
bittersweet, particularly because it was
the third straight fifth place finish for
0them. Last year the team missed a sure
third place finish by six inches. This
year the Wolverines had their best team
ever, but so did everybody else.
But fifth in the nation is not a bad
season by any stretch of the imagina-
tion, and the last three years have shown
that Michigan is a consistent contender
for the title.
As with last year, depth will again be
the key for the Wolverines in the 2000-
2001 season. The team will lose only
*four seniors, although three are from the
varsity boat. Of those three, the team
will lose coxswain Belinda Koo, who
was an integral part to the success of the
,Wolverines the past three years.
"Belinda leaving will be a big loss to
our team;" Johnson said.
There is a sense of urgency now, par-
ticularly because the junior class is so
large. Another chance like this may not
wome up for a long time, and the soon-
to-be seniors want to leave their mark
on Michigan history.
"The time for building is over, we're
all on our way up," Johnson said.
Tradition is quickly being built, and a
precedent is being set fobr the future oi

lane and Ron
Nano. But
with the depar-
ture of' the
seniors comes the
rise of the younger
Wolverines ready
to step on board.
Six players return
for Michigan, includ

A "
Abu mp ride
for Blue tennis
By Joe Smith
Deily Sports Writer
For the Michigan women's tennis team, this past
season had more ups and downs than the new roller-
coaster, Millennium Force, at Cedar Point.
Expectations were high as the season began, with
three talented and experienced seniors returning.
This trio of veterans led Michigan to its first ever Big
Ten Championship their freshman year, and com-
bined with two impressive recruits, the Wolverines
were optimistic that another title was just beyond the
horizon.
But they had to hold on tight, because it was going
to be a wild ride.
Easily cruising down the first hill, the Wolverines
raced to a 4-0 start, beating up on nonconference
opponents while reaping the benefits of the return of
senior Erryn Weggenman. Weggenman had been
sidelined for 15 months with a severe wrist injury,
but her comeback solidified Michigan's doubles
tandems and her No. 6 singles slot.
But, as always, what goes up must eventually
come down.
The Wolverines made the quick turn to their con-
ference schedule feeling a little queasy. Losing their
next three matches to top-notch opponents, Michigan
bowed down to the defending Big Ten Champions,
No. 18 Northwestern and Illinois after being hum-
bled by SEC powerhouse Kentucky.
Then, reaching the top of another hill was head
coach Bitsy Ritt, as she notched her 200th victory
over spring break at San Diego State. This milestone
looked to turn the momentum of the Wolverines'
season.
But, another intimidating hill was staring the
Wolverines in the eye, as two top 20 teams visited the
Varsity Tennis Center.
An unexpected 180 degree turn of events jolted
not only the bodies, but the hearts of the Maize and
Blue.
News arrived that Weggenman. had to face adversi-
ty once again, as her brother, Ryan, was killed in a
car accident in Palm Desert, CA.
Instead of focusing on their next two matches,
senior co-captains Danielle Lund and Brooke Hart
made the 2,000 mile trek to Portland, Ore. along with
coach Ritt to support their teammate and friend.
"We were glad we went," Ritt said shortly there-
after. "We just wanted to show our support and how
much we care.,.
The rest of the team had to handle the sudden twist
of events, while going through an emotional roller-
coaster of their own.
Things didn't get easier, as more bad news was on
the way.
This rocky turn also brought about the seriousness
of sophomore Jen Vaughn's hip injury, which side-
lined her for the rest of the year. This doubles player
was not the only Wolverine to suffer from aches and
pains this past season, as Lund, freshman Jen Duprez

Three Stars
From top to bottom: Daily
Sportswriter Joe Smith's
picks for Players of the
Year rank from rookies to
veterans.
Senior Brooke Hart:
Hart saved her best for last,
as she netted 23 victories at
the No. 1 singles slot in her h
final campaign - earning All
Big-Ten honors and the award
for Big Ten Sportswoman of the Year.
Freshmen Jen Duprez and Joanne Musgrove:
"Thrown into the fire" right away, these rookies handled
themselves well. Duprez notched the clinching victory in
the first round of the Big Ten Tournament and ended the
season on a five match winning streak, while Musgrove
notched 19 wins of her own at the No. 4 singles spot.
and junior Szandra Fuzesi all missed significant
action due to injuries.
"Every team in the conference is just one iijury
away from being average," said Ohio State head
coach Chuck Merzbacher, whose Buckeyes remained
injury-free most of the season en route to a Big Ten
title.
After two straight home losses, the Wolverines
found salvation on the road as they dominated their
rival Spartans, 7-0 for their first Big Ten victory.
But the final straightaway of the season made the
Wolverines want the ride to end. They lost six of
their last nine conference matches, including two by
a score of 4-3. Every match was a struggle for the
Wolverines, but they still had to prepare for the con-
ference tournament that they were going to host in
late April.
"Nothing came easily for this team," Ritt said.
"Nothing."
They were around .500, and needed a few ranked
wins in order to make their case for the NCAA selec-
tion committee, which was going to decide on May
5th who would be dancing in tennis' "May Mad-
ness.
Weggenman muade her return for the tearm's last
few matches, and the Wolverines gained some speed
and momentuy1 going into the final hill.
But, losing the doubles point in their first rtnd
match against No. 9 seed Wisconsin, Michigan's
hopes were slowly diminishing. In every tiatch
played in the conference format, the team that won
the doubles point went on to win the match.
Except one.
In mid-April, the Wolverines fell behind 1-0 totle
same Badger team beforL roaring back to win four of
six singles matches and take the victory.
Deja vu occurred once again as freshman standout
Duprez came back to win a three-set thriller over
Wisconsin's lone senior at No. 5 singles to clinch the
win.
Michigan's ride wasn't over yet.
The Wolverines ran into Big Ten champion Ohio
State in the quarterfinals, and losing the doubles
point once again proved too much to overcome,
thanks to the almost automatic No. 1-4 Buckeye sin-
gles players, who hit the brakes and put Michigan
away for good.
That instant, the four year ride of the three seniors
was finished.
"I hoped it would never end," said senior co-cap-
tain Brooke Hart, who went on to be selected to the
All-Conference team along with being named Big
Ten Sportswoman of the Year in her final campaign.
But for the rest of the Wolverines, much like all of
the Millennium Force riders, they can get back up
and have a chance to ride again. _

ing junior Henry
Beam, who tied Matt
Wright for most singles
victories. Juniors Bent
Cox, Danny McCain and
sophomore Zach Held also
return to the team after gain-
ing experience during their
last ride.
"We want to make sure we
improve during the summer,
Mees said. "It is important to play
in tournaments in the off-season."
Two sophomores will look to
contribute in their second season
for Michigan. Chris Rolf and Chris $
Shaya saw limited action last season,
but Mees has high expectations.
"Both players are very talented, but
lack experience," Mees said. "But both
are very capable .of coming back ready
to contribute."
Freshman Anthony Jackson will be
expected to compete soon after his arrival
to Ann Arbor.
"I think he will be a great addition to the
team, and he will fit right in.' Mees said.
With no seiors on the team, juniors
Beam, Cox and McCain will be expected to
lead the Wolverines on the uphill climb of
the 2000-2001 season.

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