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April 01, 2002 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - April 1, 2002 - 5B

CR OWDED

AT

THE

TOP

The Michigan softball team tries to reload against the toughest Competition it has faced in the Big Ten

By Bob Hunt
Daily Sports Writer
Down by one run on Saturday afternoon against Penn State, the
Wolverines couldn't get a break. After Michigan squandered multiple
opportunities with runners in scoring position against a team that fin-
ished eight games behind it in the Big Ten standings last season, the
Wolverines seemed like they were finally going to break through in
the fifth inning with Kelsey Kollen and Meghan Doe on the corners
with just one out. But, as Doe attempted to steal second, she stopped,
catching herself in a pickle that would eventually make her the second
out of the inning, halting Michigan's momentum. The Wolverines
never got that close again and fell in their Big Ten opener.
If Michigan learned -anything this weekend, it is that this season is
going to be a dogfight.
That has not always been the case in the Big Ten for the Wolver-
ines. Despite what has gone on at the Big House, Crisler and Yost,
the Michigan softball team has had more success than any other team
in Ann Arbor. It is the only program in the history of the athletic
department to never have a losing season, and it has finished atop the
Big Ten standings seven of the last 10 years. This weekend, coach
Carol Hutchins picked up her 750th career win and her 300th Big
Ten win at Michigan. Despite having to practice indoors at the begin-
ning of the season and having to recruit talent from warmer climates,
Michigan has made it to the College World Series five of the last
seven years.
But as the Wolverines enter their 25th season, all of that means
nothing because they face a Big Ten field that is as strong as ever. If
Michigan does not realize that, it will end up in parts of the Big Ten
standings it has never seen before.
"This is a new season;' Hutchins said. "So if we are going to have
any chance at all, we are going to need to go after it. It's not our
championship. We have to come to win it just like everybody else."
Over the past decade, Michigan and Iowa have been the class of
the conference, finishing one-two in the league for most of the
1990s. That was because they were the only two schools that could
consistently recruit out of the softball hotbeds of southern California
and Arizona. But now, as more teams have been able to enter the
pipeline of talent out West, teams that were never able to compete
with the Wolverines and the Hawkeyes are making things more inter-
esting.
"It's been happening for a little bit over time," said Kollen, who is
one of three Wolverines from Mater Dei High School in the Orange
County, Calif. town of Santa Ana. "It used to be just us and Iowa.

Then it was us, somebody else and somebody else. And now eight to
10 teams are real, real good. I think a lot of teams are going to lose a
lot of games in the Big Ten because there is so much competition."
The Wolverines do, however, have a fair amount of experience.'
The top six hitters in their lineup are returning starters. This includes
Kollen, who was named a first team All-American last season,
Kollen's high school teammate, junior Marissa Young - who broke
the school strikeout record last season - and senior third baseman
Stephine Volpe.
- But in order for the Wolverines to have success, they will need to
have a few freshmen fill in some big roles. Graduated pitcher Marie
Barda, who had one of the 20 lowest ERAs in the nation last season,
left Michigan with just one experienced pitcher. Senior Kate Eiland,
who was big recruit out of Fresno, Calif. is using a medical redshirt
because she had never fully recovered from a hip injury that she suf-
fered early in her collegiate career. That left freshman Nicole Motyc-
ka to complement Young. The Sarasota, Fla. native has been working
with Young on just about everything there is to know about pitching
at the collegiate level since she arrived on campus. Motycka record-
ed her first shutout on Saturday against Penn State. She is 11-2 with.
a 1.62 ERA so far.
"It's actually been a lot easier than I thought with Marissa," Moty-
cka said. "She supports me on and off the field. I just go out and give
it my all. And if I can't do it I know that my team is there and she is
there to back me up."
Filling in for another four-year starter will be freshman shortstop
Jessica Merchant. The 2001 Michigan High School Player of the Year
has played well in the field but was batting under .200 until this week-
end, when she hit a three-run homer to put away Ohio State yesterday
"What she needs more than anything is to realize that she is a good
player at this level and to build on her confidence," Hutchins said.
Merchant is one of the Wolverines who will need to step up and
produce in the bottom of the order. So far this season, the offense has
fallen off, but last year's team home run leader, Melinda Moulden,
returns. In yesterday's first game, Ohio State pitcher Wendy Allen
walked Moulden in the bottom of the seventh in a tie game to get to
the bottom three of Michigan's order, even though the walk loaded
the bases. The move backfired and the Wolverines won. But as of
now, opposing teams are not respecting Michigan's bottom three.
"We're searching," Hutchins said. "Everybody has a role,. every-
body has a part. And the bottom of the order has to do a better job of
making things happen. I think they are certainly better than they
show. They certainly show it in batting practice."
Michigan does think it can earn the accolades it has in past sea-

sons - as long as the team stays hungry.
"We are playing well;' sophomore catcher Monica Schock said.
"As long as we keep our defense down and our bats going, that's just
the key to everything."
Meet the Wolverines
Stats are through yesterday's Games
BOLD CAPS represents new addition to starting lineup
Player Pos. Yr. Avg. HR RBI
1. Kelsey Kollen 2B Sr. .386 3 10
Kollen was named a first team All-American last season and has
started 60-plus' games in each of the past three seasons.
2. Meghan Doe CF Jr. .310 0 0
Batting in the No. 2 slot for the first time in her career, Doe is relied
upon to advance Kollen on the basepath even if she must get out.
3. Stefanie Volpe 3B Sr. .400 3 16
Volpe is the Wolverines' leader in batting average, on-base aver-
age, and slugging percentage in the pre-Big Ten season.
4. Monica Schock C So. .382 0 26
Schock was named Michigan's Freshman of the Year last season
after batting .309 in Big Ten play.
5. Marissa Young P/1B Jr. .321 3 23
Young is Michigan's most complete player, being able to knock in
runs in the lineup and preventing scoring on the mound.
6. Melinda Moudlen 1B/LF Jr. .279 1 4
The Wolverines' home run leader last season with six and moves
out to left whenever Young is in the lineupbut does not pitch.
7. COURTNEY BETL.EY LF So. .276 0 5
Betley, a high school teammate of Kollen and Young, was a four-
year captain of the California Girls State ice hockey squad.
8. JESSICA MERCHANT SS Fr. .202 2 10
A true freshman, Merchant has started every game at shortstop
this season and has a fielding percentage of .931.
9. MARY CONNER RF Sr. .146 0 1
Conner, mainly used for defensive purposes, has started 29
games and has yet to commit an error.
Pitcher Yr. ERA W L SO
1. Marissa Young Jr. 1.07 13 5 157
Young set a school record 185 strikeouts last season and is aver-
aging about 1.5 strikeouts a game.
2. NICOLE MoTYCKA Fr. 1.62 11 2 52
Motycka pitched her first shutout against Penn State on Saturday
and as a freshman she has recorded nine complete games and
over 95 innings.

What you missed ...
Since you were probably preoccupied
with March Madness on CBS, here's
a quick refresher on the Michigan
softball team's spring road trip.
Opponent Result Record
Loyola Marymount 7-1 1-0
Pacific 1-7 1-1
Cal-Santa Barbara 8-1 2-1
Utah State 9-0 3-1
Pittsburgh 9-0 4-1
Connecticut 9-1 5-1
Mississippi State 2-3 5-2
Arizona State 4-6 5-3
Oklahoma 1-0 6-3
Arizona State 5-1 7-3
Oregon State 3-2 8-3
South Florida 8-0 9-3
South Florida 2 10-3
South Carolina 0 11-3
Ohio 6-3 12-3
Central Michigan 1-0 13-3
Missouri 1-2 13-4
Pittsburgh 3-2 14-4
Winthrop 8-0 15-4

Missouri-Kansas City
Ball State
Florida State
Minnesota
Saint Louis
Saint Louis.
Louisville
Louisville

6-3
4-5
1-0
0-7
8-1
3-2
1-0
3-0

16-4
16-5
17-5
17-6
18-6
19-6
20-6
21-6

YESTERDAY'S GAME 2
Michigan 8, Ohio State 2

Michigan (3-1, 24-7)
Player AB R H4
KoIen 2b 4 1 2 ;
Doe cf 2 00
Volpe 3b 3 0 0
Schock c 3 1 21
Youngl1b 0 0 0
Prichard pr 1 0 0
Moulden If 3 0 1
Merchant ss 3 0 0
Betley dh 3 1 1
Teschler ph . 31 1 1
Conner rf 31 1 1
Churchill ph 2 0 01
Motycka p 0 0 0

Ohio State (2-2, 29-8)
Bl Player AB R H BI
2 Link2b 3 0 1 0
0 Smith cf/If 2 1 2 0
0 Allen rf 3 01 0
0 Roth c 2 0 0 0
0 FowlerlIf 1 0 0 0
0 Hottingercof 1 0 0 0
1 Rowlands ph/If 1 0 0 0
0 Westl1b 2 00 0
0 Evans pr 0 0 0 0
0 Kacsanek dh 3 0 1 0
0 Ellis pr 0 00 0
0 Himes 3b 3 1 1 1
0 Johnson ss 3 0 0 0
Chanp 0 00 0

Total

34 813 8 Total

24 2 6 1

IE- Ohio State 3: Smith, Johnson, Chain. DP-Michigan
2. LOB- Michigan 9; Ohio State 4. 28- Michigan 3:
Kolen, Schock, Young. 3B -none. HR -Michigan 2:
Kollen (3), Merchant (2); Ohio State 1: Himes (10). BB
- Michigan 1: Schock; Ohio State 3: Smith, Roth, West.
HBP - none. SO- Michigan: Moulden. CS-Ohio State:
Link. WP- Michigan: Motycka; Ohio State: Chain.
R H E
Michigan 105 101 0 - 8 13 0
Penn State 100 010 0- 2 6 3
IP H R ER BB SO
Michigan
Motycka, W (11-2) 7.0 6 2 1 3 3

Down the stretch they come

Now that the Big Ten season has begun, the Wolverines arei
their schedule.
Home games at Alumni Field are in bold.

in the heart of

Ohio State
Chain, L(11-4)

7.0 13 8 8 1 3

Date
4/3
4/5
4/6
4/10
4/12
4/13
4/14
4/17
4/19
4/20
4/21
4/26
4/27
4/28
5/2
5/4
5/5
5/9-11
5/16-19
5/23-27

Opponent Time
Bowling Green State 3:00 p.m.
at Indiana 4:00 p.m.
at Indiana Noon
at Central Michigan (DH) 2:00 p.m.
Minnesota 4:00 p.m.
Minnesota 2:00 p.m.
Wisconsin (DH) Noon
at Western Michigan (DH) 2:00 p.m.
at Northwestern 4:00 p.m.
at Northwestern Noon
at Iowa (DH) Noon
at Illinois 6:00 p.m.
at Illinois Noon
at Purdue (DH) Noon
Eastern Michigan (DH) 2:00 p.m.
Michigan State 2:00 p.m.
at Michigan State 1:00 p.m.
Big Ten Tournament (at regular season champ)
NCAA Regionals
Women's College World Series (Oklahoma City)

The road to Oklahoma City goes through ...

Umpires- HP: Kevin Ryan; 1B: Steve Culp; 38: Otis
Walker.
At. Alumni Field, Ann Arbor
Attendance - 403 Time.-1:51
YESTERDAY'S GAME 1
Michigan 5, Ohio State 4
Ohio State (2-1, 29-7) Michigan (2-1, 23-7)
Player AS R H BI Player AS R H BI
Link 2b 3 22 2 KoIlen2b 4 2 2 0
Smith cf/If 4 1 2 2 Doe cf 4 1 20
Allen rf/p 2 0 1 0 Volpe 3b 4 1 3 1
Evans pr 0 00 0 Schock c 20 11
Roth c 2 00 0 Prichard pr 0 100
FowlerIf/rf 3 0 0 0 Young p 3 0 0 0
West ib 2 0 0 0 Mouldenlb 3 0 1 1
DeVries p/dh 3 0 1 0 Merchant ss 3 0 0 1
Ellis pr 0 1 0 0 Motycka dh 3 0 0 0
Himes 3b 2 0 0 BetleylIf 3 0 0 0
Rowlands pr 0 0 0 Conner rf/pr 0 0 0 0
Dedic dh 2 0 0 0
Hottinger cf 1 0 0 0
Johnson ss 0 0 0 0
Total 24 4 6 4 Total 295 9 4
E - Ohio State 2: Link, West. DP - None. LOB - Ohio
State 4; Michigan 9. 2B - Michigan 3: Volpe, Schock,
Moulden; Ohio State 2: Link, DeVries 35 - none. HR-
Ohio State 2: Link (1), Smith (1). BB - Michigan 3:
Schock, Moulden, Merchant; Ohio State 1: Himes.
HBP -West by Young. SB -none.
R HE
Ohio State 100 030 0- 4 62
Michigan 000 210 2- 5 90
IP H R ER BB SO
Ohio State
DeVries 4.1 6 3 2 0 5
Alen, L(9-3) 2.1 3 2 0 3 2
Michigan
Young,W (13-5) 7.0 6 4 4 1 7
Umpires- HP: Otis Walker; 1: Kevin Ryan; 3B: Steve
Culp.
At - Alumni Field, Ann Arbor
Attendance -403 Time-1:53
SATURDAY'S GAME 2
Michigan 3, Penn State 0
Michigan (27-1, 1-1) Penn State (13-14, 1-1)
Player AS R H Of Player AS R H BI
Kollen 2b 4 1 2 2 Nuxoll ss 2 0 0 0
Doe cf 2 0 0 0 Bianchini cf 2 0 0 0
Volpe 3b 3 0 0 0 Tripken 3b 3 0 0 0
Schock c 3 1 2 0 Nortonib 3 0 1 0
Teschler pr 0 0 0 0 Dabrowski rf 2 0 0 0
Young dh/1b 3 0 1 0 Johnson ph 1 0 0 0
MouldenlIf 3 0 1 1 HumphreylIf 3 0 00
Merchant ss 3 0 0 0 Galigher dh 2 0 0 0
Motycka p 3 1 1 0 Greenberg c 2 0 0 0
Mack 1b/dh 2 0 0 0 Shuplock 2b 2 0 1 0
Conner rf 0 0 0 0 Neal pr 0 0 0 0
Beseres p 0 0 0 0
Riggleman p 0 0 0 0

I"!

The USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I Top 25.
Rankings and records as of March 24. First-place votes in parentheses.
Team Record Pts. L
1. UCLA (26) 32-3 674
2. Arizona (1) 31-4 643
3. Stanford 27-3 623
4. Nebraska 28-5 596
5. Louisiana State 247 561!
6. Arizona StateW530
7. Cal State Fullerton 514
8. California}479
9. Oklahoma 449
10. Florida Atlantic I351
11. Fresno State
12. Washington
13. Michigan 2-4
14. Oregon Staten I
15. Alabama 911
16. DePaul 451
17. Louisiana-Lafayette . 251
18. Pacific (6
19. Iowa 51
20. Florida State 1492
21. Georgia31122
22. Texas A&M 24-8 972
23. Texas 29-9 93 N
24. Minnesota 23-10 522
25. Ohio State 27-5 50 N

W
1
3
2
4
5
6
7
8
9
11
10
12
13
15
17
16
18
19
14
20
21
22
IR
23
NR

Total

26 3 7 3 Total

22 0 2 0

E - Penn State 1: Humphrey. DP - None. LOB - Michi-
gan 4; Penn State 3. 2B - Penn State 2: Norton, Shu-
plock. 3B - none. HR - Michigan: Kollen (2). BB -
None. HBP - Bianchini by Motycka. SB- Michigan:
Teschler; Penn State: Tripken.
R HE
Michigan 000 120 0- 3 70
Penn State 000 000 0- 0 2 1
r IP H R ER BBSO

The NCAA Division I Softball Committee also releases a biweekly regional poll. Since
this week was the first week the poll was released, each region has just an alphabet-
ical listing. The third poll, being released in late April, will have top 10 rankings for
each region. Big Ten representatives in the regional poll (all in the Mideast) are
Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin.

Freshman Nicole Motycka (11-2) allowed Just one earned run in Michigan's 8-2 win over Ohio State in the second game of
yesterday's doubleheader. The Wolverines won the first game, 5-4, to make their record 3-1 over the weekend.

Michigan
Motycka, W (10-2)
Michigan
Beseres, L (4-3)
Riggleman

7.0 2 0 0 0 3
4.1 6 3 3 0 4
2.2 1 0 0 0 2

BIG TEN STANDINGS

Team
Iowa
Northwestern
Michigan
Wisconsin
Ohio State
Illinois
Minnesota
Penn State
Michigan State
Purdue
Indiana

Conference Overall
W L W L
2 0 18 12
2 0 11 8
3 1 24 7
3 1 20 10
2 2 29 8
2 2 18 13
1 1 24 11
2 2 14 15
1 3 12 21
O 2 25 11
0 4 9 14

BUCKEYES.
Continued from Page 1B
innings to win 8-2.
In fact, Kollen was the only Wolverine not to
bat in the third. But as for producing runs, Kollen
definitely didn't feel left out, hitting her third
home run of the season - her second on the
weekend - off Chain in the fourth.
Kollen scored five times yesterday, bringing
her season total to 31. What makes her power hit-
ting so surprising is that she is the team's leadoff
hitter. In addition to her two home runs this
weekend, Kollen belted another one of Chain's
pitches to the warning track in straight away cen-
terfield.
"I worked on hitting a lot with my old travel
team and now, I don't know, weight room maybe
...I don't know, but it's been fun," Kollen said

the first pitch of the game. Link also started what
could have been a Buckeye charge in the second
game with a leadoff single, but she was thrown
out by Michigan catcher Monica Schock when
she tried to steal second.
"I couldn't see (Link) because there was a left-
handed batter," Schock said. "I heard the dugout
(yelling), and I just threw it hoping to get her,
and I got her."
For Michigan, the sweep over the Buckeyes
couldn't have come at a better time. The Wolver-
ines were coming off a doubleheader against
Penn State on Saturday, in which they managed
just 12 hits and three runs in a split against the
Nittany Lions.
Despite the poor hitting performance, the
Wolverines did get two quality outings from
Young and Nicole Motycka.
Young threw the first game on Saturday and

at the ball. (Penn State) played us very shallow
and we just needed to get a good piece of the
ball, and we just didn't.
"The pitchers pitched well, and that's one of
the best games I've seen Motycka pitch all year.
She was on, her drop ball was on and she was
able to set up most of her pitches. Her change-up
is coming around, and she had great game con-
trol. Again, Marissa gave up three hits and lost.
So that's the offense's fault. Marissa did her part,
and the pitchers did their part."
Motycka's start on Saturday marked many
firsts for her - her first home start, her first Big
Ten start and her first shutout as a Wolverine.
"It was a really big day, because I've never had
a hit and I've never had a shutout - I was really
excited," Motycka said.
Michigan opened its first home series this
weekend with a 3-1 start to their Big Ten season,

Umpires - HP: Steve Culp; 1: Otis Smith; 36: Kevin
Ryan.
At- Alumni Field, Ann Arbor
Attendance- 468 Time -1:19
SATURDAY'S GAME 1
Penn State 1, Michigan 0

Penn State (13-13,1-0)
Player AS R H Si
Nuxoll ss 3 0 0 0
Bianchini cf 3 0 0 0
Tripken 3b 3 1 1 1
Nortoni1b 3 0 2 0
Neal pr 0 0 0 0
Dabrowski rf 2 0 0 0
Humphrey dh 3 0 0 0
Galigher If 3 0 0 0
Greenberg c 2 0 0 0
Shuplock 2b 1 0 0 0
Violapr 0 00 0
Hansonop 0 00 0

Michigan (21-7, 0.1)
Player AB RI
Kolen2b 3 01
Doe cf 4 0
Volpe 3b 3 0
Schock c 3 01
Teschler pr 0 0I
Young p 2 0
Moulden 1b 1 0
Churchill dh 3 0r
Merchant ss 3 0
Prichard pr 0 0
Bentley If 3 0
Conner rf/pr 0 01

H Bi
00
20
1 0
00
00
00
1 0
00
1 0
00
00
00

Yesterday's results:
No.13 MICmmAN 5, No.25 Ohio State 4
No.13 MICiGAr8, No.25 Ohio State 2
WISCoNSIN 3, Illinois 2
Illinois 2, WISCoNSIN 1
NOARTH-WESTERN 9. Indiana 1

Total

23 1 3 1 Total

230 5 0

i 1 .

r __.._ nn ........ no n...... LYMn ']" AA inh:et n 4

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