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January 28, 2002 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-01-28

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - January 28, 2002 - 7B

Polo splits,
our games
* at Canham
By Dan Rosen
Daily Sports Writer
Hawaii interim coach Cindy Rote,
whose team topped Michigan 9-6 on
Saturday, knows that the outcome could
be different the next time the teams
meet.
"Michigan is going to be really com-
petitive this year, and next year, they're
only going to get better," Rote said
before the match at the season-opening
tournament.
The Wolverines went 2-2 during the
two-day event, with wins over both
Indiana and Michigan State - a club
program. The losses - to Hawaii and
California-Santa Barbara - weren't a
huge surprise because the water polo's
power is centered out West where it's
popularity is based.
Last season, eight of Michigan's 11
losses came against teams from Califor-
nia or Hawaii.
"All the good athletes that Michigan
is recruiting are coming out of Califor-
nia," said Rote. "The sport hasn't devel-
oped enough that it's throughout the
whole United States."
But the games that Michigan played
against the West this weekend were
highly competitive. The Wolverines lost
by one goal to Santa Barbara, 7-6, and
fell by three to Hawaii. Their progress
was particularly evident in Saturday's
tight game with Santa Barbara, which
finished the tournament 4-0.
"I know last year, when we went out
and started playing California teams,
we didn't do as well as we did (today),"
said Michigan co-captain Maribeth
Sitkowski. "Even though we lost, we
were in the game the whole time and
we were always with them. To have a
game with a one-point difference is a
big deal."
It's not a surprise that the Wolverines
were competitive with the sport's tradi-
tional heavyweights, based on the
recruiting class that Michigan coach
Amber Drury-Pinto brought in this sea-
son. Of the 16 freshmen that joined the
team this year, 10 came from California
and one from Hawaii.
"California kids are now looking to
come here" said Rote. "And with such

Early deficit too much for Blue
Injuries to Diaz-Luong, Kenna and Toman hinder 'M' gymnasts

By Evan Brown
Daily Sports Writer

Michigan co-captain Maribeth Sitkowski attempts to block her opponent's pass
Saturday. The Wolverines went 0-2 against their Western opponents.,

a great coach as Amber, things will only
get better for Michigan."
Close games, such as the one against
Santa Barbara, can only help the
Wolverines in terms of recruiting.
"I think (our success against West
Coast teams) is something that the kids
look at," said Drury-Pinto.."The 7-6
game with Santa Barbara was huge."
Sunday's loss to Hawaii was a little
bit more one-sided than the Santa Bar-
bara game. The Wolverines fought back
from an early three-goal deficit with
goals from freshmen Casey Kerney -
who had 10 goals on the weekend -
and Erin Brown to make the score 3-2
after the first quarter.
But Hawaii rallied over the next two
periods to take an 8-5 lead. The Wolver-
ines tried to make things interesting
when freshman Meg Knudsten scored
on a penalty shot to cut into Hawaii's
three-goal deficit. But the Rainbows
responded with one final goal to pull
away with five minutes remaining.
Following the 12-6 defeat that
Hawaii handed Michigan last year,
there were some obvious positives for
the Wolverines to take away from yes-
terday's loss.
"(We) definitely (made progress),"
said Drury-Pinto. "Whenever you lose
by less goals, you can say that you did
(improve). I think we could have had it
a little bit closer, possibly gotten a vic-
tory. But, hopefully, we'll see them
again later in the season."

The most exciting game of the Invita-
tional was Michigan's 10-9 victory over
Indiana in the final game of the week-
end. The Wolverines trailed 9-7 entering
the fourth quarter before rallying to vic-
tory.
Sophomore Julie Nisbet started
Michigan's comeback with a powerful
shot to the upper-right corner from four
meters out and sophomore Chelsea Kay
tied the game on a backhand goal with
just a few minutes remaining. To cap
off the remarkable rally, junior
Stephanie Morse helped the Wolverines
take advantage of a 6-on-5 situation by
firing a dramatic shot into the lower left
corner of the goal with just 14 seconds
remaining in the game.
The game marked the sixth time that
the Big Ten's only two varsity teams
have met since the beginning of last sea-
son. Drury-Pinto finds that the lack of
other natural rivalries makes the Indiana
game more important to her players.
"We hear so much about Big Ten,
and unfortunately we don't have that.
We only have the Collegiate Water Polo
Association. So when we do get a
chance to have a Big Ten match up, it's
extra important," Drury-Pinto said.
The Wolverines' success against the
best of the CWPA and the progress that
they've made against the West Coast are
strong indications of a promising future.
"I think we're only going to go fur-
ther to challenge the top teams," said
freshman goalie Betsy Armstrong.

When the third and fourth-best
men's gymnastics teams meet up
everyone expects a close, tough
match. That wasn't the case when
No. 3 Penn State visited No. 4
Michigan Saturday. The Nittany
Lions performed poorly, but well
enough to beat the Wolverines.
"Fortunately it's the middle of the
season, and we can re-group.
There's a lot that can be learned
from this," Michigan coach Kurt
Golder said. "We can get motivation
and drive from it, and in the long
run, diversity can make you a lot
stronger."
The Lions, who won 212.25-
209.7, held the lead for almost the
entire match. The only time the
Wolverines led was halfway through
the first rotation.
"It was nice to come out with a
win," Penn State coach Randy Jep-
son said. "A win is a win, but it cer-
tainly wasn't pretty."
Michigan has suffered injuries all
year, and this week wasn't any
exception.
"We had a lot of adversity in the
latter half of the week. On Wednes-
day, Daniel (Diaz-Luong) hurt his
finger and wasn't able to go at all,"
Golder said. "Brad (Kenna) comes
in on Friday and he can't lift his arm
above his shoulder. So we had to
scratch him on three events, he was
nowhere near 100 percent, as you
could see on his routines. Justin
(Toman) rolls his ankle in warm-
ups, so we had to pull him on vault."
"The most important thing is (that
we) get healthy," junior Kris Zim-
merman said. "A lot of our guys
aren't competing or (are) doing
water-downed routines."
The officials were struggling just
like the Wolverines. Both coaches
weren't happy with some of the
starting values of the gymnasts,
among other things.
"They made a mistake on the
value of Jamie Hertz's routine, and
it hurt our team score," Golder said.
"They did the same thing on parallel
bars."
Zimmerman turned in a strong
performance for the Wolverines,
winning the pommelhorse and par-
allel bars titles along with a second
place on still rings. Conan Parzu-
chowski edged out Zimmerman in
the still rings competition with a 9.4
and placed third on the vault.
Chris Gatti was third in the all-
around as well, and Edward
Umphrey won the vault.
Kevin Donohue for Penn State
was first in the all-around with
excellent scores throughout, as he
led the charge for the Nittany Lions.
"I was thrilled with Kevin Dono-
hue, he's gotten better and better
every week," said Jepson. "That was

his personal high in the all around.
He really set the pace for our team.
We needed someone to step up and
he did."
The Wolverines continue to strug-
gle on the pommel horse and will
look to concentrate on that event
this week, as they work to turn the
season around.

"The ball isn't bouncing our way
right now, (that) doesn't mean it
won't later." Golder said. "The most
adversity that I've ever overcome or
experienced was the year that we
won (the national title)."
This weekend, Michigan will have
to shape up in a hurry as they visit
No. 1 Oklahoma.

TOM FELDKAMP/Daily
The Michigan men's gymnastics team stumbled out of the gate Saturday and
couldn't recover, despite a poor performance by Penn State.

'M' runs to dominating victory

By David Oxfeld
Daily Sports Writer
Behind another solid performance from April
Phillips, the Michigan women's track team (3-1) won
easily this weekend at the Michigan Intercollegiate. The
Wolverines, who hosted the event, also received strong
outings and leadership from TaNisha Williams and
Rachel Sturtz.
The win was the fifth consecutive Michigan Intercol-
legiate championship for the Wolverines. Michigan

earned eight first-place finishes, racking up 175 points
en route to dominating the nearest competitor, Central
Michigan, who compiled just 117 points. .
The Wolverines have been keen on using recent home
meets as confidence builders in preparation for Big Ten
competition in the coming weeks.
"We try to treat home weekends as practice," Phillips
said. "We are more calm at home, and use the time to
get our events down and stay relaxed. We are hoping to
use the advantage to build up confidence going into Big
Ten meets."
Phillips won two events, winning the weight throw for
the third week in a row and taking the shot put. In the
weight throw, Phillips was followed closely by team-
mate sophomore Melissa Bickett who took one of the
team's seven second-place finishes.
Rachel Sturtz was part of a pair of first-place finish-
es, winning the 800-meter run and helping her team that
won the 4x400-meter relay. The junior's triumph in the
800-meter run was her third of the season in that event.
Williams won the 60-meter high hurdles for the third
time this season, posting a personal-best time of 8.57
seconds. Teammates freshman Sharifa Jones and junior
Robin Landfair each secured personal-best times and
finished behind Williams. This was the second week in
a row that the Wolverines crossed the finished line hold-
ing the top three spots in the event.
Nicole DeNamur set a new personal best in the high
jump when she cleared 5-feet-10 inches, bettering her
old mark by an inch. The senior is the defending out-
door Big Ten high jump champion.
Junior pole-vaulter Anna Fisher broke her own
school record, clearing 11 feet and almost eight inches.
Teyonna Simpson won the triple jump for the third
rime this season. Stephanie Hirtle won the mile run
with a personal best time of 4:57.67. Katie Ryan domi-
nated the 3,000-meter run, winning with a time of
10:01.20.
With the confidence building meets behind them,
Michigan will travel to Fairfax, Va. Saturday to appear
in the George Mason Patriot Games and five other Big
Ten teams will compete.

ALYSSfAVWOODL/Dal
The Michigan women's track and field team is trying to use
its early home meets to build confidence.

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