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February 19, 2001 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-02-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Sports desk: 763-2459


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"Our main goal is still to win
a national championship."
- Andy Burnes


"There's a lot to play for and
a lot of hockey left.

Michigan defenseman

- Billy Powers
Michigan assistant coach



lichigan won its 13th Big Ten title in the last 15 years. The
Wolverines would soon take their celebration to the pool.
*year ends with
Big Ten title

'M' again
By Ryan C. Moloney
D~aily Sports Writer



By James Mercier
Daily Sports Writer
When it was over, Jim Richardson couldn't resist tak-
ing a plunge into the pool.
It's customary for the swimmers and coaches on a
Big Ten championship team to leap into the water after
the award ceremony, but Richardson hadn't always been
so respectful of tradition.
"When we won the conference my freshman year, he
didn't go in the pool," senior Missy Sugar said. "I'm
0lad we were able to get him in this time."
For the Michigan women's swimming team, it was an
appropriate way to wrap up a season that for so long
had threatened to go into the tank.
In their previous weekend of competition, the
Wolverines suffered consecutive defeats at Notre Dame
and Northwestern, which dropped the team's overall
dual record to 4-5.
Three weeks later, the team holds the 2001 Big Ten
title. In a performance that seemed to mirror their
entire season, the Wolverines surged into first place
early on, slipped behind Penn State on the second
*vening, and then rallied to outlast the Nittany Lions,
"Sometimes you may not be dealt a winning hand,
but if you play it well, amazing things can happen," a
jubilant - and wet - Richardson said following the
meet. "This team has a spiritual depth to it."
Heading into the final event, the 400-yard freestyle
relay, the conference crown remained undecided, as the
Wolverines clung to a scant nine-point edge.
But the Michigan team of Samantha Arsenault, Jen-
ifer Crisman, Sugar and Annie Weilbacher finally
clinched the title, taking first place in the event with a
pool record time of 3:19.61.
"There was a lot of pressure," Arsenault said after
swimming the final leg of the relay. "But I felt calm
knowing that I had three girls going in the relay with
me. I wasn't as nervous for this one as I was for my
individual races."
The relay capped an up-and-down meet for the
On Thursday evening, Michigan seized an early 28-
point lead, aided by a win in the 400-yard medley relay
y Crisman, Traci Valasco, Weilbacher and Arsenault.
he group set Big Ten meet and pool records with a
time of 3:38.76 -just one of 14 events in which a pool
record was set.

DETROIT - As the final horn
sounded Saturday night at Joe Louis
Arena, a dejected Scott Matzka simply
couldn't take it any longer.
As he skated by two Michigan State
fans holding up a banner that read "Go
State," the senior delivered a wicked
two-hander that shook the glass divider
and startled the would-be celebraters.
It was the most anyone could do -
for the Spartans, once again, got Michi-
gan's goat. The Wolverines fell to
Michigan State 4-2 on Saturday night
after tying the CCHA's then-last-place
team, Notre Dame, the prior night at
Yost Ice Arena, 4-4.
It was Michigan's second loss in three
tries against Michigan State this season,
and the timing couldn't have been
worse. The Wolverines are all but elimi-
nated in their quest to;usurp the Spar-
tans for the CCHA regular season title.
Afterward, Matzka was asked if it
was the worst loss of the season.

Like Michigan's CCHA regular-season title hopes, Craig Murray was flattened by a tenacious Michigan State defense en route to a 4-2 loss
Saturday night at Joe Louis Alna.

Pressure sets in and rips icers rom CC-A race

DETROIT - It was one of the most
somber celebrations these Wolver-
ines have ever given a goal. Particu-
larly one against the hated Spartans.
With 21 seconds left in Saturday night's
game, Michigan's Scott Matzka wristed the
puck past Michigan State's goaltender Ryan
Miller to cut the score to 4-2 in favor of the
The Wolverines skated
over to the bench and
pumped fists with their
teammates. No hugs, no
wide-eyed glee
exchanged with line-
The response - or
lack thereof - was fit- JON
ting considering the way S(WARTZ
that the weekend went.
Excellent chances turned The Schwartz
into blown opportunities. Authority
And the actual hockey
was secondary.
On Friday night, No. 1 Michigan State
lost to Western Michigan in Kalamazoo,
resuming the fight with Michigan for the
CCHA regular-season title.
How did Michigan respond to the pressure
that resurfaced with the race resuming? Piti-
fully. The Wolverines tied Notre Dame Fri-
day night - the same Notre Dame team that
they beat 9-0 in January - and lost 4-2 to
State in Detroit on Saturday night.
Today, Michigan is essentially out of the
running for the CCHA title. It would take a

collapse of titanic proportions for Michigan
State - now six points up with three games
to play - to lose the race.
So when the Michigan pep band cracked
into the Billy Joel song "Pressure" with 6:55
to play on Saturday night, the choice
couldn't have been more fitting.
"But here you are in the ninth, two men
out and three men on, nowhere to look but
inside, where we all respond to pressure."
Pressure has not been a friend to these
Wolverines. They spent five days in Novem-
ber as the top-ranked team in the country
before losing to the Spartans and subse-
quently, losing the ranking.
The team has lost winnable game after
winnable game, but still was in a position to
end on top.
Until Saturday night.
"It's been a long season and this is our
chance to make a run for the CCHA title,
and basically, it's out of reach now," Matzka
said. "You're disappointed playing that
many games and now not even having an
opportunity to get it."
Michigan has made a season out of losses
to sub-par teams. In very few cases has the
team looked as bad as it did against Ohio
State in January. But the Wolverines were
still in it.
Since the game ended Saturday night, I've
been enjoying thinking that choosing to play
the Billy Joel song was a conscious decision
to comment on the way that the Wolverines
blew the opportunity of opportunities. It just

Crisman added to

her success on Friday night, cap-

Scott Matzka can offer little defense as Adam Hall raises his arms in jubilation
after scoring the game-winner in Michigan State's 4-2 victory over Michigan.

Complacent cagers fail to Minnesota
By Dan Williams ing off. It's disappointing, but we have a lot Many of Minnesota's open looks we]
Daily Sports Editor of immature kids, and they have to grow created by penetrating off the dribble an
up. then kicking the ball out to open shooters -



Demonstrating a disturbing pattern of
behavior, the Michigan men's basketball
was bombarded from the 3-point line by
another under- MINNESOTA 93
sized squad. The
Wolverines were MICHIGAN 75
dominated in the
second half, succumbing 93-75 to the
unranked Golden Gophers.
"We had a good practice yesterday, and
then we have had some guys that have just
really had a hard time getting the idea that

"We're going to make some guys grow
up pretty quickly and finish this season up
with some pride and some character."
The ill-prepared Wolverines allowed
Minnesota (5-8 Big Ten, 17-9 overall) -
which had just seven scholarship players
available and no starters taller than 6-foot-7
- to connect on 14-of-24 3-pointers.
"We were aggressive and able to swing
the ball," Minnesota coach Dan Monson
said. "We can't win games if shots don't go
in from the perimeter. We don't have an
inside game really."

a different path to defeat than when Wiscon-
sin used screens and motion two weeks ago.
"They just created a lot of tough defen-
sive situations for us," Ellerbe said. "They
broke us down off the dribble. That's the
formula for getting wide open looks."
The visitors rode the hot hand of streaky
guard Terrance Simmons, the game's lead-
ing scorer with 30 points. Simmons started
out torridly from behind the arc, and he fin-
ished the game shooting 5-for-8 on threes.
Bolstered by the success, he began mak-
ing fadeaway jumpshots, and when he

Samantha Arsenault won an Olvmnic

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