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February 22, 2001 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-02-22

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 22, 2001- 9A

'M' bounced by Sycamores

MARK
FRANCESCUTTI

By Albert Kim
Daily Sports Writer

Because tennis is such an individual sport,
it's hard to measure the impact of momentum
on a team.
But yesterday, there was no doubting the
importance of momentum, as the No. 35
Michigan men's tennis team fell to No. 29
Indiana State, 5-2, at the Varsity Tennis center.
Michigan was previously unbeaten at home
at 5-0 but found the going tough from the start.
After a quick win from Michigan's No. I
"~u tdoubles team of Chris Shava and Henry Beam,
Michigan looked to take the doubles point, as it
rled in both remaining matches. But the two
remaining Indiana State doubles teams got hot
quickly, while the Wolverines went cold. The
Sycamores built off of each other's shots -
illustrated with a fiery tirade of assorted yells
S-and took both matches. Michigan's Greg
Novak and Danny McCain let one slip away,
losing 9-7, despite leading 7-4 earlier in the
match. No. 3 doubles Ben Cox and Anthony
Jackson also dropped their match for the
Wolverines.
- The contest marked the first time this year
Michigan dropped the doubles point, and it was
devastating. The Wolverines just didn't seem to
have enough energy to fight back in singles
play.
TOM FELDKAMP/Da ly "Losing the doubles point kind of set the
Try as it might, Michigan could not come up with the tide," sophomore Chris Rolf said. "We
goods against Indiana State. The Sycamores won, 5-2. should've won that point."
Wolveies eye BigTen,
So: a over spring break

After that, the Wolverines seemed demoral-
ized, as they dropped three-straight singles
matches. Falling in straight sets were Novak,
Cox, and Jackson.
For Jackson, they were his first singles and
doubles losses of the season.
"Individually, I'm feeling down, but it hurts
even more that the team lost," Jackson said.
McCain was the lone bright spot, posting a
straight-set victory, including an amazing over
the shoulder winner on the run that proved to be
a pivotal point in the second set.
"I thought I played well, but it was surprising
when I got off the court to see that a lot of peo-
ple didn't do as well," McCain said.
Henry Beam also won his singles match, his
team-leading 15th win of the season.
It was a tough loss for Michigan, especially
since the match was winnable.
"We definitely expected to win," McCain
said. "They're a team that if we played 10
times, we'd win nine times."
The team wasn't able to shake off the effects
of last weekend's loss to Northwestern. It will
have to now move past a two-game losing
streak to get back in the win column.
"I think (the Northwestern loss) is definitely
lingering in our memory," McCain said. "But
there's no reason to keep it in our minds."
This weekend No. 32 Minnesota pays a visit
to Ann Arbor, and it will be no small task for
the Wolverines to overcome.
"We have a match this weekend that can turn
it around for us," McCain said.

foreshadows ugly trend

By Seth Klempner
aly Sports Writer

Let the real games begin.
After five nonconfetence matches to open the
season - in which it compiled a 3-2 record -
the Michigan women's tennis team will finally
commence conference play over spring break.

Southern California.
Looking to improve on their stellar play thus
far will be freshmen Kim Plaushines and senior
Szandra Fuzesi who have compiled a 4-1 record
at the No. 2 and 3 doubles spots, respectively,
this season.
Last weekend, against top-ranked Tennessee
and Kentucky, Michigan's only point came from

en you ask sophomore Andy
Hilbert 'the question' he gives
you a quick grin and politely
responds in a quiet, innocent voice.
"Right now I'm not worried about that,
Michigan's top hockey forward says. "I
haven't made my decision"
Hilbert is referring to the rampant
rumors of him forgoing his final two years
as a Wolverine, that as of late, have
engulfed the media and fans surrounding
Michigan hockey.
The Boston Globe reported this week
that "it's all but a certainty that Hilbert will
turn pro when his sophomore season at
Michigan is finished."
The Boston Bruins, who own Hilbert's
rights after taking the 20-year old in the
second round (37th overall) of this past
Junes draft, probably need a bib to absorb
their saliva.
One of the most promising NHIL
prospects in college hockey, Hilbert leads
the CCHA and is second in the nation in
scoring with 21 goals and 33 assists.
If Hilbert bolts for the NHL, it's been
said that he may be able to immediately
step into a third or fourth-line center posi-
tion to cure an ailing crop of forwards in
Boston.
The Bruins smell a bounty and are sure-
ly knocking. on Hilbert's door - with
probably some hot baked beans to boot.
But at the moment, Hilbert is keeping
his hand to himself. And when fans and
media stroll quietly up to him to pop the
question, Hilbert responds with his trained
and prepared answer: "You come to col-
lege to stay for four years - I have two
years to play."
Holding al the cards, he has to say noth-
ing more regarding his announcement to
go pro before the end of the season.
And why would he want to? The last
thing Hilbert wants for his team, currently
playing its most inconsistent hockey of the
season, is to confound unity with an
announcement of his professional inten-
tions.
Hilbert admitted the pro talk bothers him.
"It's a little bit of a distraction," he said.
"I don't want it to be (one)."
Watch Hilbert with linemate Mike
Cammalleri and one can't believe Hilbert
might leave. One look at is bright smile as
he relishes a playful game at the end of the
practice proves he bleeds maize and blue.
He hates to lose so much that when he
misses a shot in practice he slams his stick
against the boards.
No one doubts Hilbert's on-ice inten-
tions - his off-ice ones are what every-
one's worried about.
In the past, some college hockey players
have left quietly for the pros, but nowhere

The Wolverines will open up
their Big Ten season against
Illinois and Northwestern --
two of the top teams in the Big
Ten -before going out west to
San Diego to face the Toreros.
"This trip is primarily busi-
ness," Michigan coach Bitsv
Ritt said. "It is pleasure in that

ANN ARBOR/SAN DIEGo

doubles. As a result,
Plaushines now has 10 dou-
bles wins - the most
among any member of the
team.

Who: Michigarvs. Ili
at San Diego
When: Feb. 24-25 -
Tennis Center
Feb. 28 -1:3

inois, Northwestern,

i. is fun to spend a week improving your game
and not have to worry about academics, but itris
not your typical spring break for a collage stu-
dent. We will still play tennis everyday and
twice on some days and work on fitness and
training."
The Wolverines will spend the beginning of
next week preparing to play San Diego and then
will work on conditioning, something Ritt has
stressed all season as a way to improve individ-
ual play and reduce iniurv. The Wolve;ines will
also get a chance to play outdoors, something
they will have to do during the Big Ten season
.but in conference play, the conditions won't
be as favorable as the Acadia-like atmosphere of

11 a.m., varsity Her aggressive mindset
allows her to rush the net
30 p.m., San Diego and force other players to
volley with her. This gives
her an advantage in doubles play, where many
points are won at the net.
"Aggression is really important, especially in
doubles," Plaushines said. "We have to go for
our shots and play aggressive in doubles points
- that is how we will win."
Aggressive play is something Ritt has been
stressing since the two losses earlier this month.
When Plaushines combines her aggression with
her boundless energy, it makes her one of the
fastest-rising players on the team.
"Kim has made a big jump since last fall and
improved a lot during the first two weeks of the
season," Ritt said. "Now I think she is making
another jump."

near the magnitude that could affect the
Wolverines this season.
In addition to Hilbert, junior defeise-
man Jeff Jillson is also likely to leave at the-
end of the season for the San Jose Sharks.
And rumors of goaltender Josh
Blackburn's early exit rose up this past.
summer. ,
The Wolverines already lost two players
in the past two years to pro hockey =
defenseman Mike Van Ryn and center
Mike Comrie.
Three early exits after this season would
border on the dangerously ridiculous.
This isn't the basketball team is it?
No, it's college hockey and unlike bas.
ketball today, some past hockey players-
have dealt with their professional prospects
a little differently.
"I had to decide the same thing with
me'" Michigan coach Red Berenson said
"Every season (the NHL) wanted me"
Scouts laughed at Berenson when he
stayed at Michigan for four years. Butthe
legendary player and coach came togceool
not only to develop his talents on teiCe,
but to ensure himself a life after togkpy
with a business degree. , ;ae :
His ideology of education and dtop-
ment in college molded severa reat
Michigan student athletes that thati m
every day.
One thankful Berenson prodigy was
Brendan Morrison, who like Hilbertswas at
the top of the nation in scoring his sopho-
more year. Morrison turned down NHL
cash for two years, and won a national
championship and a Hobey Baker Award
as a result. He is now a star playmaker with
the Vancouver Canucks.
"When he left he was ready to make the
next step," Berenson said. "And he had his
degree (to fall back on)"
Hilbert could follow the Morrison
model as well. Hilbert is an excelleNp-
dent and with two more years of matiity,
could enter the NHL in the best possible
position, diploma in hand.
But with the current opening of.the
floodgates to the NHIL, Hilbert and therest
may choose otherwise. When the pros are
begging for you, it's sometimes'to hard to
say no.
Berenson has been applauded for making
Michigan hockey a four-year institution.
But the future doesn't look like it's going to
echo the coach's strongest principles.
Will Berenson's battle end in failure
when players like Hilbert and Jillson start
leaving in droves?
For Michigan's sake, I hope that doesn't
happen.
Alark Francescutti can he reached at
mnfiacesicwnutich. edi.
Invite in
Texas on
Blue's tap
By Jim Weber
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's golf team had
little time to savor its victory after win-
ning the Lady Aztec Invitational last
week. Tomorrow through Sunday, the
Wolverines will compete in the Midwest
Classic in Dallas, Texas, which will
include six teams ranked in the top 25.
"It's going to be a ver competitive
field," Michigan coach Kathv Teichert
said. "All the teams are in our region.
Teichert also wants to build on the
team's performance from last week.
"Every round, we are trying to get bet-
ter' she said.
This might be tough considering
Michigan's first-place finish.

The field at the tournament is tough
but so are the Wolverines, currently
ranked 29th in the nation. Teichert
emphasized that Michigan is not content
with its current status.
"We are looking for good perfor-
mances in each tournament, and wherev-
er we are ranked, 'we are ranked,"
Teichert said.
The Wolverines will be counting on
strong performances from junior
Courtney Reno and sophomore Kim
Benedict. Last week, Reno shot a team-
low 74 in the single round of the Lady
Aztec Invitational and ended up tied for
second. Meanwhile, Benedict shot a 76,
which was good for fourth-place.
The Wolverines are also taking Misia
Lemanski, LeAnna Wicks and Bess
Bowers to the ,Midwest Classic. The top

While most students are partying during spring break, the
women's tennis team will begin Big Ten play.

No more excuses for polo: Calif. awaits

By J. Brady McColiough
Daily Sports Writer

. The first few months of college are more
like summer camp than an academic experi-
ce. If you don't do well on the first few
exams, so what -- you're a first-semester col-
lege freshman. You're homesick, you're mak-
ing new friends and you
spend more time eating
pizza than going to class. CALIFORNIA
The Michigan women's
The Mchign woen's What: No. 9 Michigan (4
water polo team is the col- 1) plays in the CalSanta
lege freshman of the water Barbara Tournament and
polo world. In the first two the Southern Divisions
eeks of its season. Tourney
ichigan didn't feel too Latest: The Wolverines
much pressure as the new head west for the first ti
kids on the block. But the this year. 'M' is winless
Wolverines can't use their versus western teams.

poll. The Wolverines are the top-ranked
Eastern Conference team and are the only non-
Western team in the top 10.
"People are definitely going to be looking
out for us," Sonda said. "Every other school in
the Eastern Conference is saying that they have
to beat Michigan."
Assistant-coach Bernice Orwig feels that it's
great for the team's confidence to be
ranked so high early in the season, but is
hesitant to put a lot of emphasis on rank-
3 ings.
"We've told them that rankings will
go up and down throughout the season."
Orwig said. "We shouldn't think too
much of it."
Even if Michigan isn't worried about
me its ranking, the poll was important
enough to be posted on the lockerroom
door.
"I think everyone is really excited
about it,' Sonda said. "We also know that the
rankings don't necessarily mean anything. We
still have to prove it."
Proving it - the Michigan women's water
polo team responded to that request in its first
two weeks of varsity action.
The Wolverines dismantled Eastern
Conference foes Massachusetts and Princeton
during their first invite two weekends ago, and
fought back to tie lone Big Ten rival Indiana
this past Sunday at Canham Natatorium.

Next week, Michigan heads to California for
a crucial stretch of games against some of the
top teams in the country, including No. 3
Southern California and No. 7 Long Beach
State.
"Even though we came out strong in the first
two weekends, this will be a real test," Orwig
said. "This is a long trip. We play about a game
per day, and that is pretty tiring. It will give us
an idea of where the girls are physically and
mentallv"
All three of Michigan's losses have been
against two top teams from the West coast -
Stanford and Hawaii - which makes this
week a potential turning point for the season.
Sonda is confident that the Wolverines will
find success.
"I think our team is going to solidify this
week," Sonda said. "We're going to learn a lot
about each other and about ourselves. Against
teams like Stanford and UCLA, we aren't
going to win, but we're definitely going to
improve.
Make no mistake - Michigan is not travel-
ing thousands of miles just to improve or enjoy
the scenery.
"We might not necessarily win against the
great teams, but we don't want them to have to
put their third string in on us, Sonda said. "We
don't want them to pity us, and we don't want
people to write us off as just another Midwest
team."

inexperience as an excuse
any longer.
"It was like 'oh, it's the

first tournament,'

and it was the same for the second tourna-
ment," junior captain Delia Sonda said. "But
once you get past the first two, you can't play
that game anymore. We have to perform. If we
ve a bad game, we have a bad game - we
n't hide behind anything."
It will be much tougher for Michigan to hide
from its opponents after being ranked No. 9 in
the first Collegiate Water Polo Association

PETER coRNUE/Daily
Captain Melissa Karjala gets ready to attack the goal. No. 9
Michigan faces off against No. 15 Loyola-Marymount today.

Big Ten meet looms for Blue runners

CH: \\PIO\NII$-
MEN'S TRACK STATE COLLEGE
By Shawn Kemp
Daily Sports Writer

Still, Michigan isn't looking forward to
nationals just yet. While coach Ron Warhurst
said the team will realistically finish in the lower
half of the Big Ten, some athletes have their
sights set on individual conference titles.
Seniors Charles DeWildt and Steve Lawrence
will bath enter the meet as
last year's runners-up in'
their respective events. STATE Cc

the 200-meter dash last year, is still a top con-
tender in that event and the 60-meter dash.
Okenwa has already provisionally qualified for
the NCAA meet in the 200-meter dash.
In addition to concerning themselves with
individual titles, the athletes attempting to win at
the conference meet are also
concentrating on the team's
LEGE overall finish.

I

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