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February 18, 2002 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - February 18, 2002 - 7B

Kentucky slams netters' upset hopes

By Brian Schick
Daily Sports Writer
In the last match before the Big Ten sea-
son, the Michigan women's tennis team com-
pleted a two game series against SEC foes,
Tennessee and Kentucky, which culminated
in a 5-2 loss yesterday against No. 16 Ken-
tucky at the Varsity Tennis Center.
Similar to the match on Thursday - which
the Volunteers won 5-2 - the Wolverines (3-
3) looked poised to pull off the upset. But the
SEC has not been kind to Michigan over the
years, as the Wolverines have a combined 3-
17 record against SEC schools.
This time, Michigan dropped all three
doubles matches to Kentucky (8-1) in the
early going. Each Kentucky doubles team is
ranked nationally, and each breezed by the
Wolverine squads, allowing Michigan to win
just eight games among the three squads.
Despite the setback in doubles, the
Wolverines' singles play looked sharp in the
early going. Four of the six players for
Michigan won the first set and had early
leads in the second.
But the Wildcats demonstrated their expe-
rience by overcoming deficits in two of the
matches.
Freshman Leanne Rutherford was one of
Michigan's four early leaders, yet she faced a
particularly difficult challenge at No. 4 sin-
gles - Kentucky's Amy Trefethen, who is
the No. 92 singles player in the nation.

Rutherford struggled somewhat in the open-
ing set, allowing Trefethen to win several
games before she won 6-4. She went on to
win the second set 6-3 to take the match.
"I was really determined to come out here
and win," Rutherford said of her first win at
No. 4 singles this season. "After (the match
against) Tennessee, I wanted to play better."
Junior Jen Duprez was also committed to
winning her match. Against Tennessee,
Duprez dropped her No. 5 singles match 6-1,
6-2 and was out quickly. Not wanting a
repeat performance, she came out against
Kentucky looking aggressive from the base-
line, winning in straight sets 6-3, 6-4.
"I was happy with how I played, since I
didn't feel that great about my game on
Thursday," Duprez said. "I felt I had to prove
myself."
Said Michigan coach Bitsy Ritt: "She did
struggle on Thursday and that wasn't a great
matchup for her. But she came out and really
stepped up. When her opponent made a run,
she elevated her game in the second set."
Michigan might have suffered its biggest
loss at No. 1 singles, as sophomore Kavitha
Tipirneni withdrew from her match with a
back injury.
Midway into her second set, Kentucky's
Sarah Witten returned a volley high into the
air, and Tipirneni chased it toward the base-
line. As she looked over her shoulder, she
pulled up lame, grabbing her lower back.
After conferring with the medical staff, she

retired from the match, giving Kentucky the
default victory 6-4, 4-2. It's unclear if she
will be healthy enough to play this weekend.
"She's probably not going to hit for a cou-
ple of days, but hopefully she'll be able to
practice this week," Ritt said. "With treat-
ment, she might be able to play this week-
end."
If she cannot play, Nolan will assume the
role of No. 1 singles.
Michigan's hopes were finally dashed
when both freshman Michelle DaCosta and
sophomore Chrissie Nolan lost their third
sets at around the same time to give Ken-
tucky the victory. Michigan was down 4-2
before their matches, and needed both to
secure a win.
The loss comes at a critical point in the
schedule for Michigan, as the team has
played three top-20 teams in the past four
matches, and it opens the Big Ten season
against the top two finishers from 2001 -
Northwestern and Illinois. Although the
Wolverines have dropped all three of their
matches against top-20 teams, they have
looked strong in each of those matches. Ritt
is hopeful her team has improved after this
tough stretch and adjusted to competing
against quality opponents.
"This is a very difficult part of our sched-
ule," Ritt said. "We can't get discouraged, we
need to take positives from these matches.
We've shown that we can give ourselves
opportunities in each match."

DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily
Michigan's Kavitha Tipirneni battled hard, but a back injury forced to retire from her match against
Sarah Witten of Kentucky during the Wildcats' 5-2 win over the Wolverines on Saturday.

Michigan gets a taste of southern hospitality

By Brian Steer.
Daily Sports Writer

AP PHOTO
Michigan's Andy Hrovat takes down Iowa's Jessman Smith during his 14-4 major
decision victory. The Wolverines stunned the Hawkeyes, 20-15, in Iowa City.
Grapplers outshine
Iowa, Gable lege.nd

There's no place like home.
That phrase was certainly ringing
through the heads of the players on
the Michigan men's tennis team
after its weekend trip to Tuscaloosa,
Ala. Competing in its first matches
away of the season away from the
Varsity Tennis Center, Michigan (6-
1) beat Clemson 5-2 on Saturday
afternoon but suffered a heartbreak-
ing 4-3 loss to Alabama yesterday.
Facing its most formidable oppo-
nent so far this season, No. 45
Michigan pushed No. 26 Alabama
down to the last match. At No. 6
singles, David Anving put up a
valiant effort but ultimately fell
short, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (3) to Michael
Ray Pallares.
"David will learn a lot from that
match," Michigan coach Mark
Mees said. "He got a little nervous
at the end, and he'll be the first to
admit that."
Michigan gained the early
momentum by claiming the doubles
point, which it has done in all seven
of its matches this season.
But the Wolverines were unable to
capitalize on their fast start, as they
garnered just two singles victories.
At the No. 1 spot, Henry Beam,
ranked No. 60 in the nation, earned
an impressive 7-6 (5), 6-3 win over
Max Belski, ranked No. 36. The
only other victory came from Matt
Lockin, who remained unbeaten on
the year with a hard-fought 6-4, 6-7
(5), 6-4 triumph over Nick Beuque.

Against the Tigers, the Wolverines
received solid play from the upper
echelon of their lineup. Michigan
posted victories in the top four sin-
gles contests as well as the first two
doubles spots.
"Clemson always has a very good
program," Mees said. "Once again
we were able to get the early dou-
bles point, and then I thought our
singles players did a good job of
closing out the match."
After Chris Rolf and Chris Shaya
dispatched the Tigers' Marko
Gojanovic and Nathan Thompson 8-5
at No. 1 doubles, Beam and Lockin
clinched the point for Michigan with
a 9-8 (4) win over Micah Thompson
and Sanders Koning at No. 2.
Sitting on a 1-0 advantage, the
Wolverines quickly closed out the
match in singles with three impres-
sive straight-set victories. At the
No. 1 spot, Beam breezed past
Gojanovic 6-4, 6-3. Despite a tough
second set, Ben Cox emerged with a
6-3, 7-6 (4) win over Jamin Thomp-
son at No. 2. Lockin secured the
team victory at No. 4 with a swift 6-
1, 6-2 triumph over Goran Steri-
jowski.
Michigan will start its Big Ten
season at home next weekend when
it faces No. 2 Illinois and North-
western. Despite the team's impres-
sive nonconference record, Mees

knows that the Big Ten is a different
story.
"We are starting right off the bat
with two exceptional teams," he
said. "Facing Illinois, it doesn't get

much tougher than that, and then we
have to go right back out the next
day and play a very good North-
western team, which had a great
nonconference record."

By Eric Chan
Daily Sports Writer

Iowa is synonynious with college
wrestling and the legend of former
wrestling coach Dan Gable. In Gable's
21 years at Iowa from 1977 to 1997, the
Hawkeyes captured 21 consecutive Big
Ten titles and had a span in which they
won nine consecutive NCAA champi-
onships.
The Gable Era has since ended, but
the Iowa wrestling program is still as
dominant as ever. Under head coach
Jim Zalesky, the Hawkeyes have gone
62-11 with three NCAA title since
Gable's retirement in 1997.
But all of the legends and myths sur-
rounding Iowa's wrestling program had
no effect on Michigan Friday night, as
the Wolverines traveled to a hostile
Carver-Hawkeye Arena and upset the
Hawkeyes, 20-15. Michigan won the
last five matches of the evening to over-
come an early 12-4 deficit.
"That arena was loud and it was hos-
tile, but our guys just kept their focus
and hung tough," Michigan coach Joe
McFarland said.
Up until last year, Iowa had won 12
of 13 dual meets versus the Wolverines,
but Michigan is 3-0 in the last three out-
ings.
On Jan. 19, Michigan topped Iowa
23-12 at the National Duals. That victo-
ry was keyed by wins from Michigan
165-pounder Charles Martelli, and 174-
pounder Otto Olson. The crowd at
National Duals was small and limited to
family and friends of Michigan and
Iowa wrestlers. When the two teams
clashed last year at Michigan, it was an
HAWKEYES
Continued from Page 1B
ranked No. 1 in the nation. The
wrestlers were well matched, but a few
questionable calls proved to be the
deciding factor.
"There were a few calls that we
weren't too happy about," McFarland
said. "In a few instances we didn't think
that Zadick had control on the take-
down, but he got the two (points) any-
way."
Fighting back and forth, the match
eventually went into overtime where
Zadick scored on a takedown to win,
10-8.
Down by eight points going into the
sixth match of the evening, the heart of
Michigan's lineup knew they had to step
up their wrestling a notch. Michigan's
157-pounder Ryan Bertin, ranked fifth

entirely different story.
At Cliff Keen Arena, in front of a sell-
out crowd of 2,000 fans, No. 5 Michigan
upset No. 3 Iowa, 18-16 to avenge a loss
to the Hawkeyes earlier in the season. At
that match, the fire department was
forced to come in and clear out some
people because it was so packed.
The Gable era has ended, but the Iowa
wrestling program is still going strong.
The Michigan-Iowa rivalry continues to
get stronger as the Wolverines continue
to improve. With Friday's win over Iowa,
Michigan will most likely move into
second-place in the NWCA polls, its
highest ranking ever.

DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily
Chris Rolf and his partner, Chris Shaya (not pictured) aided the Wolverines in their
5-2 win over Clemson by winning at No.1 doubles.

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