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February 15, 2001 - Image 12

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-02-15

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12A The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 15, 2001

i

Rested and prepared,
softball opens season

By Kristen Fidh
Daily Sports Writer

The long offseason is finally over.
After spending months indoors, train-
ing on fake grass instead of a field, the
Michigan softball team is anxious for
competition.
"We are looking forward to it,"
Hutchins said. "Bring them on."
Last season, the Wolverines enjoyed a
Big Ten championship but lost in the
regional final to DePaul, ending their sea-
son with an overall record of 45-16-1.
This time around, Michigan returns
with three four-year starters - outfielder
Melissa Taylor, shortstop Rebecca Tune
and pitcher Marie Barda - as well as All-
Americans Stefanie Volpe, Kelsey Kollen
and Marissa Young to keep the team
focused and enthusiastic. A much-antici-
pated freshman class also joins the roster.
"I am most impressed with this fresh-

man class because Ithink they are really a
together class - they add a lot to the team
in a lot of ways," Hutchins said.
"Unfortunately, we don't even know what
they have added physically because they
haven't played yet."
After graduating four seniors in 2000,
the catcher and third-base positions were
left open for the upcoming season. Volpe,
senior Kim Bugel and freshman Monica
Schock will split duties behind the plate
while freshman Angie Churchill and Volpe
have been preparing for third-base duties.
But Michigan's depth extends to all
parts of the field. Tune and Kollen arm
shortstop and second-base respectively,
while Young and Melinda Moulden will
share first-base duties.
The pitcher's mound is well-equipped
with Barda, who ended last season with a
17-7 record and a 0.79 ERA. Young, a
sophomore, also gives the Wolverines
pitching talent, achieving 165 strikeouts

Volpe swap
Junior Stefanie Volpe trained in the
offseason to fill the shoes of departed
senior third baseman Pam Kosanke.
Shared catching duties in 2000.
Compiled .363 batting average.
Tallied 57 hits in 61 games.
in her freshman year. Coming off an
injury, co-captain Kate Eiland will also
add to the battery.
Also returning from an injury, sopho-
more Megan Doe is one of the talented
youths who will battle for playing time
with returning outfielders Chrissy Garza,
Mary Conner, and Taylor, a co-captain.
"There's no question that the lineups
will shuffle because we've got a number of
outfielders and we want to give them all
time,' Hutchins said. "I've said all along,
whoever hits the ball gets to play, so you've
got to give them all a shot to hit the ball"
No. I1 Michigan begins its season
today against No. 15 Stanford.
"Obviously we are at a huge disadvan-
tage with the fact that we haven't been on
dirt yet," Hutchins said. "We haven't seen
a live ball off of a live bat because we are
in cages and we aren't on the field. That's
huge - it's like preparing for a basketball
game without ever playing full-court."

OFFEN
Continued from Page 10A
happened to him in Oregon did not
take place on the field. His job with
the team rekindled his relationship
with Amber more than 30 years after
they last saw each other. A surprise

run-in with her brother brought the -
two back together to fulfill the love
of his life. And now, in his 94th year,
Taylor remembers Oregon State not
only for defeating the Ducks, but also
for bringing him back together with
the one woman that he truly loved.
Three years ago, Taylor asked his
grandchildren what they wanted for

Michigan maing run for tourney

Christmas. They told him they want-
ed an autobiography of his life. In it
he wrote, "Life is like football; both
are team activities; none of us reach
great success without the help of oth-
ers."
Stephanie Offen can be reached at
soffen@umich.edu.

By Benjamin Singer
Daily Sports Writer

Spring break is approaching, but the
Michigan women's basketball team isn't
daydreaming about an upcoming rest. If
it wants to make the NCAA Tournament,
a strong finish is necessary
"We're a bubble team, there's no doubt

ance. Michigan is already in very good
position for at least the WNIT, which it
reached two years ago, and has a shot at
the NCAAs in which it suffered a first-
round loss to Stanford last season.
Michigan's chances have improved
thanks to outside factors. Wisconsin,
Iowa and Washington entered the AP
Top 25 since having beaten Michigan.

about it," Michigan coach
Sue Guevara said. "So
every game is big for us."
The Wolverines are cur-
rently 8-5 in the Big Ten
and 15-9 overall. Guevara
has estimated that 18 wins
will give them a good

CRISLER ARENA
Who: Michigan (&5 Big
Ten, 15-9 overall) vs. No.
25 Iowa (9-3, 148)
When: 7 p.m.

The teams are currently at
No. 22, No. 23 and No. 25
respectively.
The Hawkeyes and
Huskies are making their
first appearances in the poll
this season. Michigan's RPI
ranking of 51 will be

ning for first place, Michigan, has the
potential to rise as high as second -
especially with games against Iowa and
Penn State, which are tied for second
place at a game-and-a-half ahead of
Michigan.
While still taking the season one game
at a time, the long-term goal of making
the tournament has never been too far
from the Wolverines' thoughts.
"We've been talking about it ever
since January rolled around," Thorinus
said. "We had some key losses and we
had some key wins. We keep talking
about it and everyone knows what it's
going to take"
BIG TEN STANDINGS

chance to be in the tournament.
Michigan must face two ranked teams in
its remaining three games, including No.
25 Iowa at Crisler tonight for senior
night. Following that, the team travels to
Indiana and No. 17 Penn State.
"We know we need to win the rest of
our conference games," senior co-cap-
tain Anne Thorius said after Sunday's
74-60 win over Illinois. "We had a good
game today, so we're going to be fired
up."
The Wolverines will likely make their
third consecutive postseason appear-

helped once the recent success of its past
opponents is factored into the
Wolverines' strength of schedule next
week.
The Big Ten Tournament will also
help determine Michigan's chances of
reaching the field of 64. A win in the
championship game would give the
Wolverines an automatic bid. Michigan
is at least in need of a strong showing. A
first-round bye given to the top five
seeds.
Michigan is currently fifth in the Big
Ten standings. Though out of the run-

Conference
Team W L
Purdue 12 1
Iowa 9 3
Penn State 9 3
Wisconsin 9 4
Michigan 8 5
Illinois 7 5
Indiana 7 5
Ohio State 4 8
Michigan State 2 10
M innesota 1 11
Northwestern 0 13

Overall
W L
22 4
14 8
17 6
15 8
15 9
12 12
16 7
14 8
8 15
8 15
4 19

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