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March 14, 2001 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-03-14

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 14, 2001 -1

'M'ready
to use new
By Seth Klempner
Da ports Writer
Over a month ago, the Michigan
women's tennis team started a stretch
during which it would face its hardest
non-conference opponents of the sea-
son, play outdoors for the first time
since fall and play two of the best teams
in the Big Ten.
Over that stretch, Michigan has lost
all six of its matches. The Wolverines

Seniors set for their final bow

By Naweod Sikora
Daily Sports Writer
This past weekend's meet with UCLA would have
been an excellent time for the Michigan women's
gymnastics team's regular season to end. Although
they lost, the Wolverines seemed to be in postseason
form, notching an overall team score of 197.125 -
their second highest of the season - and a balance

beam score of 49.125, their
highest of the season.
Plus, with UCLA in town,
it was a matchup between
two teams that would most
certainly meet again in
Georgia at the NCA A
finals.
But the regular season is
not over yet. Sandwiched
between UCLA and the Big
Ten Championship on Mar.
24 is this Saturday's meet

C RISLER ARENA
Who: Michigan (30 Big
Ten, &7 overall) vs. West
Virginia (13-2)
When: 7 p.m.
Latest: Bridget Knaeble's
back is injured, but she
will compete on Saturday.
This will be the final
regular season meet.

were shut out
ira. four of
thand won
just- seven of
te51 mathes
p a~d.
toing into
th..stretch
cimbh Bitsy
Rit wanted

"Senior night has always been very special for me
and the team, Plocki said. "We always have someone
who puts up a great performance on senior night, so
I expect our team to be excited."
This Saturday's meet will also give Michigan an
opportunity to continue its adjustment to Crisler
Arena before they host Big Tens and NCAA
Regionals there. Although the meet with UCLA was
the first time they had competed in Crisler this sea-
son, the team seemed to welcome the'- change of
scenery.
"It's a lot of fun, I love competing here," Michigan
senior Christine Michaud said. "We had a big crowd
and they were pretty enthusiastic. Everybody was
pretty excited to be here tonight, and I am glad that
we are going to be here for a few more meets."~
.The only thing that isn't going Michigan's way
right now is the health status of K~naeble. Knaeble's
back, which had been bothering her all season,
seems to have gotten worse over the past week.
"Bridget was feelinig a lot of pain during the
UCLA meet," Plocki said. "Her back issues have
been something that we have had to manage since
the start of the season. It seems to have gotten worse
recently, so she has been going to a physical thera-
pist to improve the condition."
Despite the injury, Plocki expects Knaeble to be'in
the lineup Saturday night as usual.
Once again, the Wolverines seem primed and
ready to take on the best in the nation. But before
they get another crack at the national title, they mdXst
finish the regular season against West Virginia on~a
high note.

VARSITY TENNIS CENTER
Who: Michigan (0-2 Big
Wetrn Michigan (45)
When: 6 p.m.
Latest: After a 3-0 start to
the year, Michigan has
dropped six straight
meets.,

her team to gain experience by facing
to~ competition. It would be a chance
fie team to learn from top players
aidncrease its learning curve.
:lMichigan is a young team with three
stiting freshmen - two of whom occu-
pjrte top spots in the lineup - plus one
sotpiomore in starting singles and anoth-
et-WJio starts in doubles. The experience
gaied over that stretch will be invalu-
ab]e once the Wolverines get into the
he :t of their Big Ten schedule.
Itt has been a tough season," fresh-
nImd No. 1 starter Kavitha Tipirneni
sa'We are a young team and we have
a bof taent. We have learned to come
together at times like this."'
9Qming together now is crucial if
theire to stop the losing streak. Over
the iiext week the Wolverines will be
faciig weaker teams they are expected
to beat as well as teams of equal talent.
But Michigan must be careful not to
und estimate its opponents. Western
Migan has already beaten a Big Ten
teamf this season in Purdue, which beat
Miigan last year.
'1We can't come in with the attitude
that Western Michigan is a gimme," Ritt
said.~"We are going to be ready to play.
They are one of the most talented teams
in the MAC and capable of upsetting
people."
The good news for Michigan through
this stretch has been the health of the
ter d their ability to avoid injuries.
e team received stretching help
from a track coach which was meant to
help loosen up the muscles and prevent
muscle strains and pulls which have
been disastrous in previous seasons.
In addition to avoiding needless
injuries the Wolverines are also getting
previously injured players back into the
lineup. Sophomore Jen Duprez has
pl . well since coming back from an
o asoninjury. Thus far, she has just
played doubles but has strengthened the
pairing, winning one of the two matches
she-played with partner Jen Vaughn.

emwith No. 17 West Virginia. Although the meet does
no.t carry the same attention as those surrounding it,
-~.... ~it 1s certainly not insignificant.
"This meet will definitely not be small by any
means," Michigan coach Bev Plocki said. "They will
be tough, and we have to stay up for them."
Since it is the final regular season meet, the
EN . Wolverines will hold their senior night on Saturday.
BRANON SEDLOFF/Daily Seniors Bridget Knaeble, Christine Michaud and
Janessa Grieco performs her routine at the UCLA meet. She and the Wolverines will have to Karina Senior, will all be honored for their efforts
compete once more an a regular-season meet before the Big Tens. over the past four years.
Women send0t ongS IsandTeUieriyo
__-I Eset akb

WOMEN's SWIMMiNG

LONG ISLAND, N.Y.

CHAMPiONSHIPS

By James Mercier
Daily Sports Writer

Think there will be no March
Madness for Michigan this year?
Think again. Fans of women's swim-
ming will have plenty to cheer about
this weekend, as the Wolverines are
sending a large delegation to the
NCA A Championships in Long
Island, N.Y.
A total of 10 swimmers from No.
12 Michigan will be competing -
just two fewer than No. 1 Arizona.
After achieving their preseason goal
- the Big Ten title - the Wolverines
will need to regroup and set their
eyes on the national prize.
But the Wolverines will have to
compete without star freshman
Samantha Arsenault, a gold medalist
in the Sydney Olympics.
"She's had a shoulder problem, and
it's gotten worse lately," Richardson
said. "She needs to rest for a lengthy
period of time, and she's getting a
head start in healing by sitting the
NCAAs out."
Arsenault's decision to sit out the
NCAAs weakens the team consider-
ably, but Richardson had no qualms
about it.
"In December, she had the choice

of sitting out the rest of our season
and preparing for the World
Championships or competing for the
Big Ten title. She chose to put the
team ahead of herself. That's the kind
of character you see on a champi-
onship team."
Michigan's team in Long Island
will be long on ability but short on
experience. Just two of the swimmers
making the trip are seniors.
One of them, Jen Crisman, is a
returning All-American in multiple
freestyle and backstroke events.
Crisman appears poised to have
another strong national meet after
leading all individuals in scoring at
the Big Ten Championships.
"She's our highest-seeded swim-
mer, and I would love to see her fin-
ish with All-America honors,"
Richardson said. "I think she'll give
us some great swims."
Missy Sugar, the other senior, has
also achieved All-America status
before - in the 200-yard freestyle-
and enters the meet in top form.
"She's had a great summer and has
swam well this season," Richardson
said. "Her confidence is very high."
Like her team in general, junior
backstroker Lindsay Carlberg's sea-
son peaked at the conference meet, as

she set personal bests in both the 100
and 200-yard events.
"This is her second trip to the
NCAAs," Richardson said. "I think
she's ready to step up and score in
this year's meet."
The remainder of Michigan's
NCAA team is composed of under-
classmen. Four sophomores - Erin
Abbey, Sara Johnson, Laura
Kaznecki and Traci Valasco - will
be making the trip, along with a trio
of freshmen - Lori Eberwein, Emily
Fenn and Annie Weilbacher.
Johnson has excelled in both the
200 and 400 individual medley
events, and was a major factor at the
Big Ten meet.
Valasco, a breaststroke specialist,
will compete in her first NCAA
Championships.
"She's a very technically-oriented
swimmer," Richardson said. "If her
stroke timing is on, she'll swim her
fastest at the NCAAs."
Fenn is the team's top mile
freestyler, but faces the same chal-
lenges as many of her teammates.
"1 think she can do her best at the
NCAAs, but she's young,"
Richardson said. "So it will be inter-
esting to see how she responds to the
pressure."~

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