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March 18, 2002 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-18

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Men's best score not enough against France

The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 18, 2002 - 3B

RAPHAEL
GOODSTEIN

By Evan Brown
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan men's gymnastics
team faced one of the world's finest
teams on Friday, as the French
National Team defeated the Wolver-
ines 220.725 to 216.8.
The exhibition match with France
gave Michigan an opportunity to
compete against the best before it
faces America's collegiate elite in
- the upcoming Big Ten and NCAA
championships.
The Wolverines have been on an
upswing lately, but nerves played a
factor early.
"I was disappointed with our
floor exercise and (pommel) horse,
which were our first two events,"
Michigan coach Kurt Golder said.
"We had too much adrenaline early
in this match."
That shouldn't take away from
Michigan's best score of the year,
which was just 0.05 away from
breaking the school record.
The Wolverines were able to
shake off a slower start and played
even with France for the last four
events. They also beat France by
nearly two points in the still rings
after they were outscored by over
three points in pommel horse.
"France is the strongest pommel
horse team in the world," Golder
said. "We were able to blow them
p away in the next event, still rings."

In the still rings, Michigan's
Conan Parzuchowski was first with
a 9.475 and Justin Toman was sec-
ond with a 9.3, as Michigan held
four of the top five scores in the
event. Kris Zimmerman scored a
9.575 on the high bar but placed
third, while Brad Kenna won the
floor exercise with a 9.2.
Michigan competed with its
strongest lineup of the year by
allowing its best players to partici-
pate in more events. Key perform-
ers Kenna and Daniel Diaz-Luongo
were able to compete in four or
more events. This has been the plan
that Golder has preached all year:
Let the best gymnasts take it easy
early, especially those with injuries,
then try for their best performances
in the end.
"Everyone's feeling optimistic
and confident (at this point)," Gold-
er said. "I feel very good and opti-
mistic with how things are going.
We need to hit the peak in our per-
formance at this time. We didn't
know if it would happen, but it
did."
Michigan is going to prepare this
week for the Big Ten Champi-
onships, which are next weekend in
Minneapolis. The meet will include
the six teams from the Big Ten that
are ranked in the top 10 nationally.
After that, they will travel to Nor-
man, Okla. for the NCAA Champi-
onships.

Michigan State s streak
ends with first-round loss

LSLIE MWAD/Dily
Michigan's strong showing in the final four events, including parallel bars, helped
produce a season-best score of 216.8.

Women's gymnastics rolls in season finale

Was Michigan State's 69-58
first round NCAA Tour-
nament loss to North Car-
olina State the end of the Spartans'
run as one of the premier programs
in the country?
Probably.
For the first time in five years
Michigan State was eliminated
from the NCAA Tournament before
the Sweet Sixteen. But don't mis-
take Friday afternoon's loss for an
upset. It wasn't.
The Spartans were beaten by a
better, more talented team that, sur-
prisingly, was more prepared and
better coached.
Even more surprising, though, is
that the Wolfpack achieved the win
with their best player having to sit
on the bench due to foul trouble.
Michigan State allowed North
Carolina State to win because the
Spartans consistently committed
stupid fouls 30 feet from the bas-
ket. And they also committed sev-
eral fouls while a North Carolina
State player was converting a
layup, especially in the second
half.
Even rebounding, which has
been a staple of Michigan State's
success during the last five years
was absent Friday, as the Wolfpack
outrebounded Michigan State, 33-
28.
Even had the 10th-seeded Spar-
tans' found a way to get past No. 7
seed North Carolina State, there is
little doubt that No. 2 seed Con-
necticut would have ended the
Spartans season yesterday. After
the loss, even Izzo conceded that
the loss might have marked the end
of Michigan State's run.
While the Spartans have another
highly-touted recruiting class com-
ing in next year, continuing to
bring in such classes will only get
tougher for Izzo now that Michigan
coach Tommy Amaker is success-
fully contending for the same play-
ers. Amaker's class next year is
right on par with the Spartans'
class. Both classes have one con-
sensus top 20 player, and two other
top 100 players.
But more importantly, Amaker
has made a point of re-establishing
Michigan's presence in Michigan,
something former coach Brian
Ellerbe never did.

While Ellerbe was a good
recruiter, most of his talent was
from outside the state. This allowed
Michigan State to snatch up most
of the in-state talent and build a
contender around that. If Michigan
State only gets half of the in-state
talent, it's doubtful that it'll contin-
ue to succeed at that level.
Now that Michigan State has
lost, and Izzo was outcoached, it's
likely that the perception that the
Spartans are one of the premier
programs in the country will
change.
Michigan State has never consis-
tently been a premier program for
an extended period of time. For the
most part, it has been a good pro-
gram which consistently contended
for an NCAA Tournament bid, like
it did this year. But Michigan State
is by no means a program on par
with Kansas, Duke or Kentucky -
programs that will almost annually
contend for the title.
After their first-round loss, the
Spartans talked about the year with
a positive tone. This year wasn't a
bad one for Michigan State. For
premier programs, if a season ends
in the first round, the season was a
failure - just like if Michigan's
football team doesn't win the Big
Ten or play in a BCS game. That's
life at a premier program. That isn't
life at Michigan State.
What's more, the same problem
that has plagued many of schools
(Michigan included) the last 10
years has hit Michigan State - the
best players leave school before
their four years of eligibility are up.
Last year, Spartans Zach Ran-
dolph and Jason Richardson left
before their eligibility was up, and
there is talk that point guard Mar-
cus Taylor will leave school after
this year.
Without Taylor, the Spartans
once again will be left without the
necessary talent to contend.
And with Michigan hot on the
Spartans' heels for talent, it appears
as thought it will be some time
before they once again have the
talent to contend for a national
title.
Raphael Goodstein can be reached at
raphaelg@umich.edu.

By Matt Kramer
Daily Sports Writer -
The No. 5 Michigan women's gymnastics team
ended its regular season in style Saturday night,
scoring a 196.7 at the Shanico Inn-vitational in
Corvallis, Ore. en route to defeating host Oregon
State (196.675), Seattle Pacific (192) and fellow
Big Ten competitor Michigan State (195).
The Wolverines finished 19-3 overall and will
head to Columbus this Saturday looking for their
10th Big Ten Championship title in 11 years.
"We did pretty well overall," freshman Chelsea
Kroll said. "We had a good bar set and stumbled
a little on the beam, but we picked it up on the
floor as a team and were able to score really well
in the end."
Michigan's 196.7, the second-highest road
score of the year for the Wolverines, was so
high because of scores of 49.3 on the vault and
uneven bars and a score of 49.475 on the floor
exercise.
Opening up the meet on the uneven bars, the
Wolverines got a solid 9.775 from bars-special-
ist Christine Mantilia and didn't have to count
anything lower than that, as Cami Singer (9.85),
Amy Kuczera (9.825) Calli Ryals (9.9) and
Elise Ray (9.95) swung Michigan to an early
lead a
Michigan found itself uncharacteristically out

of the top spot early in the second rotation, how-
ever, after two miscues on the balance beam
forced the Wolverines to count a 9.35 among
their top five of six scores, leaving them with
just a 48.635.
But Michigan was able to take the lead for
good on the floor exercise as Ryals' 9.95, Ray's
9.875, and an unexpected 9.9 from Kroll - who
was competing in her first floor routine of the
year - helped Michigan score a 49.475.
"Scoring the 9.9 was really exciting," said
Kroll, who came to Michigan as an all-arounder
but has been hampered by injuries and had only
been able to compete on the vault. "The floor
exercise is my favorite event and now I'm able to
make my own routines."
Ryals' 9.95 was good enough for second place
in the event, and Kroll's 9.9 placed her fourth
individually.
Leading Oregon State by three-hundredths of a
point going into its final rotation (the vault),
Michigan relied on experience to lead it, as senior
Shannon MacKenzie and Ray, the NCAA individ-
ual co-champion last year, each tallied 9.9s.
The score was good enough for the duo to
share second place and enabled Michigan to
score a meet-high 49.3 on the event.
Ray's 39.650 was good enough for her fifth
overall title in Michigan's last six meets and
Ryals, the No. 1 all-around gymnast, placed fifth

overall with a 39.05.
While the Wolverines have been able to consis-
tently put up scores above 197 at home this sea-
son, it hadn't been able to earn equally high
scores on the road until recently.
But for Michigan, it's better late than never.
"We beat some tough teams in Georgia and
Utah at home (in February)," Kroll said. "And
that has really helped build our confidence when
we travel now."
Home sweet home
With a 196.7 Saturday in Oregon, the Michigan
women's gymnastics team scored its second
highest road score of the season. However, that
score would be Michigan's second lowest score
at home this year. Here is a list of how the
Wolverines do at Crisler compared to how they
do on the road:

Home:
197.775 (Mar. 9)
197.175 (Feb. 10)
197.025 (Feb. 22)
197.000 (Feb. 1)
94.900 (Jan. 13)

Road:
196.775 (Mar. 3)
196.700 (Mar. 16)
196.750 (Jan. 26)
196.300 (Feb. 3)
196.100 (Feb. 17)
195.125 (Jan. 19)
193.625 (Jan. 4)

The College of Engineering of the University of Michigan
invites you to the Goff Smith Lecture with
Orofessor Oer0ert Oroemer
Oecilient of the 0000 Qoel Ori~e in Ohysics
Wednesday, March 20, 2002, 4p.m.
Johnson Rooms
Robert H. Lurie Engineering Center, North Campus, Ann Arbor
For more information, visit www.engin.umich.edu
Michigan Engineering
_~

JESSICA YURASEK/Daily
Della Sonda (left), fends off a Michigan State player in the Wolverines' 11-4
victory. All five seniors scored in their final game at Canham Natatorium.
Polo beats State in
seniors' home finale

By Doiel Bremmer
Daily Sports Writer
It was a fairy tale finish for the
Michigan water polo team on Friday
night, as Michigan defeated Michigan
State's club team 11-4 in an exhibition
match in Canham Natatorium.
Certainly, any win over the Spartans
is exciting for the Wolverines. But on
Friday, senior night became even more
special, as each of the team's five sen-
iors scored goals in their last home
game.
Leading the scoring attack for the
Wolverines were seniors Jen Crisman,
Maribeth Sitowski and Sara Kowal,
with two goals a piece.
Seniors Delia Sonda and Mandi
Hagedorn also chipped in with a goal
each, and Hagedorn's goal with 11 sec-
onds left in the game completed the
scoring cycle for the seniors.
Overall, Michigan's seniors account-
ed for eight of the team's 11 goals.

Following a short ceremony to honor
the seniors before the game, Crisman
felt that the team had an extra lift.
"Right from the start, because of sen-
ior night, we had a lot of momentum
going. But we also had some nerves,"
Crisman said. "It was a really good
game overall, and everyone worked
together."
Michigan opened up quickly, scoring
four goals in the opening quarter,
including one on a penalty shot by
freshman Jo Antonsen.
The Wolverines outscored the Spar-
tans 3-1 in the second quarter, taking a
7-1 lead into the half.
Michigan State was able to create
some scoring chances with four power-
plays in the third quarter, but the strong
Michigan defense allowed just one goal.
In the final quarter, a quick Michigan
score was followed by two Michigan
State tallies. But the Wolverines netted
the final two goals to close the game out.
Michigan freshman Betsey Arm-

f

HEY MICHIGAN
WOLVERINES, MAKE
YOUR CLIMB TO THE
TOP A WHOLE LOT
SHORTER. START YOUR
CAREER OFF AT A
HIGHER LEVEL.

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