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March 29, 2002 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-29

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I

SPORTS

michigandaily.com
sportsdesk@umich.edu

FRIDAY
MARCH 29, 2002

8

k

What

a

day

for

a

ballgame

'M' primed
and ready
for opener
By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan's softball team couldn't have
asked for a tougher four-game stretch to
open its Big Ten season - or for that mat-
ter, its first four home games of the year.
The 13th-ranked Wolverines (21-6)
host Penn State
(12-11) today at 0El A
3 p.m. in the ALUMNI FIELD
first of a two-
game, two-day Who:No.13Michigan (21.6)
ges.Thewida vs. Penn State (12-11) and
series. They will No.25 Ohio State (27-5)
then play a dou- When: 3 p.m. today, 2 p.m.
b 1 e h e a d e r tomorrow, and noon Sunday.
against Ohio. Latest: Michiganjunior
State (27-5) at Marissa Young was named
Alumni Field on Big Ten Pitcher of the Week
Sunday begin- thisweek.
ning at noon.
What makes these two matchups so diffi-
cult can be seen from last year's results. In
Michigan's final game against the Nittany
Lions and in its only two games against Ohio
State, the Wolverines were 3-0, but won all
three games by a total ofjust four runs.
"The entire Big Ten is really good this
year, everyone is pretty even," Michigan
assistant coach Jennifer Brundage said.
"Every Big Ten gane is going to be a tough
battle. And it's just going to be who gets the
clutch hits at the right times and whose
defense really comes through."
Penn State, which has had to rely on its
pitching a great deal this season, looks to
have its best chance to get its second win in
school history over the Wolverines, who
have won 31 of the 32 contests ever played
between the schools.
Penn State is led by its pitching staff,
which has performed much better than the
individual records show. The Nittany Lions'
Marisa Hanson is just 6-4 but has an ERA
of 0.45 with 51 strikeouts. Tina Skelly is 0-
5 but has allowed just three more runs than
Hanson has. Penn State has not been able to

Hawkeyes' visit allows Blue
to forget about early woes

FILE PHOTO
Michigan junior Melinda Moulden and the Wolverines will need their best performance to
knock off the surging Buckeyes in a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon.

By Charles Paradis
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan baseball team (3-12) has the
chance to put its poor beginning of the season
behind it when it hosts Iowa (6-8) in its Big Ten
opener this afternoon at
3 p.m.
The Wolverines need
to forget about the start FISHER STADIUM
of their season and Who:Michigan(3-12)vs.
focus in on the confer- Iowa(6-8)
ence schedule ahead. when: 3p.m. today,1p.m.
It's what happens in the trThe2 ovp.munday
next few months that entertoday'sgameinlast
will dictate the success place in the Big Ten in bat-
- or failure - of the ting average, earned run
Michigan squad. average and fielding per-
"We have 32 (confer- centage.
ence) games, and these
are the games that our season hinges on," inter-
im coach Chris Harrison said. "It doesn't matter
if we come into these games at 15-0 or 0-15.
We're at the same spot with regards to the Big
Ten season. Everybody's 0-0."
While the Big Ten teams may have equal
records right now, statistically they are not
equal, and Michigan is at the bottom of most of
the important categories. It owns the worst ERA
(7.01) and the worst batting average in the Big
Ten at .259. The Wolverines have a lot to
improve upon if they want to claim equality
with the other teams in the Big Ten. They can
take great strides in doing so by downing the
Hawkeyes this weekend.
Senior captain Bobby Korecky (1-2, 7.28
ERA) will take the mound this afternoon. The
Wolverines' ace has faced Iowa three times in
his career, w'inning two of the contests in com-
plete games. Korecky has already completed
two games this season including one shutout.
He is the only Wolverine to accomplish either
feat this season.
Michigan faces a potentially dangerous oppo-
nent in Iowa this weekend. While the Hawkeyes
have not been at the top of the Big Ten in recent
years, Harrison still respects the threat that Iowa
brings to The Fish.
"They've always been a tough team," Harri-
son said. "We've had good games against

j

dl

score runs, as its batting average of .267
and its 85 runs are about 30 points and 40
runs less, respectively, than what Michigan
has produced offensively. If Penn State is to
win, it will need all the help it can get to
stop Michigan from scoring, as it is unlike-
ly the Nittany Lions will have much success
against Michigan's aces, Marissa Young and
Nicole Motycka. The two hurlers have
combined to hold opponents to just a .187
batting average this season.
"We're working on being aggressive but
also making sure that we're hitting good,
hittable pitches," Brundage said. "Hopeful-
ly, what we've been working on in practice
will carry over into the games. Both teams
have some good pitchers with some very
impressive statistics."
No. 25 Ohio State, unlike the Nittany
Lions, has had production from all aspects
of its lineup this year, and propelled itself
into the top 25 this week for the first time
all season. The Buckeyes also return the

core of last year's lineup in pitcher Katie
Chain, catcher Stacy Roth and pitcher/first
baseman Wendy Allen - all of whom have
earned Big Ten Player or Pitcher of the
Week honors in the past two weeks. Ohio
State also comes in with wins in 18 of its
past 20 games and has already set the
school record for home runs with 31 before
the halfway mark of the season.
The Wolverines can have a little sigh of
relief as Alumni Field's fences in right and
left field are 10 feet deeper than those at
Ohio State's Buckeye Field.
Brundage said that she only expects the
Wolverines' pitching staff to do what it's
done all season to prevent an offensive
explosion by Ohio State.
"We just want them to hit their spots, mix
up their pitches and keep the teams off bal-
ance by changing speeds," Brundage said.
"For Nicole, we're expecting her to make
them hit the ball on the ground, and Maris-
sa will make people swing and miss."

DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily
Michigan pitcher Tim Leveque has struggled out of
the gate with an ERA of 8.25 In 12 innings. of work.
them, since I've been here. The games have all
been tight."
The Hawkeyes will bring some power into the
series that should provide for some exciting
games.
. "They've got some guys who can swing the
bat," Harrison said. "They have some pop in the
middle of their order, and usually they have
pitched pretty well. Especially the first two
games of the series, I look to be real tight close
games. That's been the history of it."
With four games this weekend against Iowa,
Michigan could come away with three or four
wins to start out conference play. But like all
coaches, Harrison is just taking the season one
game at a time and trying to improve every
game.
"Let's take Friday's game first," Harrison
said. "We're hoping to play well and win the
game on Friday."

6

Icers' success begins
behind the scenes

State edges netters
by taking last match
Vaughn returns to lineup, replaces Duprez

By Seth Klempner
Daily Sports Writer

A coach's daily schedule in the post-
season starts in the wee hours of the
morning and finishes well into the
night. In between exclusive interviews
with ESPN and the local media, and
conference calls with the NCAA, just
about everyone is pulling him in a dif-
ferent direction. And he still needs to
find time to coach the team.
Luckily for Michigan coach Red
Berenson, he has one of the best staffs
in college hockey with more than 25
years experience and 14 Frozen Four
appearances between his two assistants
- Mel Pearson and Billy Powers. He
also has a complete staff to breakdown
and disect a season's worth of game
film for Michigan's three possible
opponents next weekend.
"Obviously, we are building up for
this all year," Berenson said. "We have
been taping teams off the (satellite)
dish for months. We probably have
more tapes of Minnesota than we do of
Michigan.
"As a head coach, I have a lot of
confidence and trust in our staff and
know they take a personal pride in
doing a good job."
Berenson said that his coaching staff
has a plan for who will handle what
video responsibilities before the week

begins, so that the work is evenly dis-
tributed.
Aiding Berenson and his staff is the
modern availability of satellite dish
networks, which broadcast college
hockey games. These networks allow
Michigan to readily scout and collect
game film of opposing teams well in
advance of a game.
Prior to this telecommunications
tool, the staff would have had to
request a game tape from an oppo-
nent's opponent, which would likely be
several months old. Now, the Wolver-
ines are able to watch film of the last
time their opponent played before
every game.
But Berenson warns that tapes are
not the end all, rather they are used to
make Michigan more aware of its
opponent's tendencies.
"(Tapes) are done just so there are no
surprises, but they will throw (in) some
wrinkles in our game, and we may do
the same," Berenson said.
With a season's worth of videotape
to go through, Berenson has adminis-
trative assistant Brian Wiseman and
video coordinator Ryan Rezmierski
working overtime analyzing game film.
Both came to Michigan three years ago
and are familiar with the coaching
staff.
The day before each game, Wise-
man, who played for Michigan from

By Brian Schick
Daily Sports Writer

DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily
Michigan coach Red Berenson has coached his Wolverines to the CCHA regular
season and tournament championships, as well as a trip to the Frozen Four.

1991-94, and Rezmierski prepare a
tape for the team to view that typically
showcases tendencies on a breakaway
or a forecheck. At the same time, they
make an effort to inform the Wolver-
ines of players that must be keyed on.
"We will show clips of individuals if
we see that they are doing some special
things out there, and we want our play-
ers to really pay attention," Wiseman
said. "We single (out) guys like (Min-
nesota defenseman Jordan) Leopold (a
Hobey Baker Award finalist) to let our
players know that he is an offensive
threat and tries to jump into a play
whenever he can but is still a great
defensive defenseman."
This scouting has already paid off
for the Wolverines this postseason. The
staff noticed that Denver goaltender

Wade Dubielewicz liked to go down
when a shooter came in close. That
piece of insight allowed freshman Eric
Werner to shoot high when he received
a feed from junior Mike Cammalleri in
tight for the game-tying goal.
"I think it is a great advantage that a
program like Michigan has over some
other programs that don't have the
resources to bring in outside help to do
some of the work," Wiseman said.
"Normally, a lot of the burden would
fall on the coaches themselves. It
allows them to focus throughout the
year on other things like recruiting and
practice schedules or traveling"
CoFFEE TALK: Berenson will be avail-
able to talk with fans live on
ESPN.com today at 1 p.m about Michi-
gan's upcoming trip to the Frozen Four.

EAST LANSING - If there was
ever a doubt whether the Michigan
and Michigan State women's tennis
teams were equal, those doubts were
put to rest last night.
In a match that lasted more than
four and a half hours, Michigan (1-4
Big Ten, 7-7 overall) dropped a
heavily contested contest, 4-3, at the
Michigan State University Tennis
Facility.
The match was tied 3-3 as the No.
1 singles match between Michigan
sophomore Kavitha Tipirneni and
Michigan State's Dora Vastag went
into a third set. Vastag won the first
set 7-6, but Tipirneni fought back
and won the second 7-5, leading
most of the way. The third set was
back and forth the entire way, often
with several rallies lasting more than
a minute. In the end, Vastag had
more energy and stamina, pulling
out the 6-3 victory to secure the
meet for Michigan State (2-3, 10-7).
"Hats off to State," Michigan
coach Bitsy Ritt said of the loss, her
first to Michigan State in 14 sea-
sons. "They stepped it up and played
well when it counted. They out-
played us in the close matches."
The Spartans kept pace with the

Wolverines throughout the meet.
What led up to this final showdown
of No. 1 players was a dramatic
comeback at No. 4 singles and two
other matches that went to three
sets.
Sophomore Kim Plaushines, in
her second singles match since Janu-
ary, blew by her opponent 6-3, 6-1.
Plaushines returned to action as a
result of junior Jen Duprez sitting
out the match due to a hip injury.
Another Wolverine seeing more
playing time as a result of Duprez's
injury was senior Jen Vaughn, who
played in her second match of the
season. Vaughn has been plagued
with a hip injury for most of the sea-
son, but she got her chance when
paired with Plaushines at No. 2 dou-
bles. Their match was called while
being down 6-5 in the interest of
time, as Michigan had already
sealed the doubles point with two
victories. Nevertheless, Vaughn was
happy to be back in action.
"It's really exciting and makes me
feel like the hard work has paid off,"
Vaughn said. "It was hard to think
that I would get to this point,
because it was going on for so long.
"On the other hand, I'm disap-
pointed that the reason I can play is
because of Jen (Duprez's) injury. It's
See SPARTANS, Page 9

NNW
I

40

The Balcony
By Jean Genet
Directed by Mbala Nkanga
A controversial portrait ofpower
and sex set in a brothel.
March28-30&Aoril4-6at8pm

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