The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 2, 2002 - 15
By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Writer
Sometimes it's the things that go unnoticed that
turn out to be the most important.
When the Michigan hockey team came out
extremely flat in last year's Frozen Four, eventually
losing to Boston College, 4-2, it was probably dif-
ficult for the Wolverines to find a silver lining.
But now, as the Wolverines prepare for Thurs-
day's semifinal against Minnesota, they are defi-
nitely aware that, despite the loss, the experience
of last year's Frozen Four is something that can be
put to use this year.
"For our team, it's obviously an advantage that
we were there (last year) - I don't know if it's nec-
essarily an advantage over (Minnesota)," defense-
man Jay Vancik said. "I think guys will know a little
about how many distractions there are."
Against Boston College in Albany, N.Y. last
year, the Wolverines sat stunned as the Eagles
jumped out to a 3-0 lead just over halfway through
the second period.
By the time Michigan got going - about the
time forward John Shouneyia scored 12:24 into the
second period to cut the lead to 3-1 - the Eagles
had a comfortable cushion. Despite Michigan's
best efforts at a comeback, the poor start in the
first 30 minutes of the game was too much to over-
This year, the Wolverines are well aware that a
second-straight lackluster start would likely end
their season two wins short of a national title.
"Obviously that start (against Boston College).
killed us," Shouneyia said. "We're coming out
against Minnesota in Minnesota, so we're not
going to be able to get down 3-0. What you learn
from that is that one bad bounce, one bad break
and your season is over.
"But we've been playing like that for the last
month or so."
In their run to the CCHA regular season and
CCHA Tournament titles and through the first two
rounds of the NCAA West Regional, the Wolver-
ines have received the expected contributions from
their talented upperclassmen.
The pleasant surprise running through Michi-
gan's year, though, has been the way the large
freshman class has been able to respond to pres-
sure-packed, unfamiliar situations.
Wild cow,'Big Unit'
highlight opening day
Michigan's swarming attack pulled the Wolverines past Denver, 5-3, in the finals of the West Regional. That
victory has given the Wolverines a chance to make amends for last year's 4-2 semifinal loss to Boston College.
That maturity is something the Wolverines will
need to rely on again, as they will be faced with a
crowd of 20,000 pro-Minnesota fans on college
hockey's biggest stage come Thursday.
"Our freshmen, all year, have adapted very well.
So we know they'll be ready to play," goalie Josh
"We just have to get them to realize how intense
it's going to be," Vancik said. "But nothing
changes. We still have to play our game - we just
have to go a little harder."
Last year's Michigan team had high expectations
entering the season, only to suffer through a 13-loss
season that left it far short of its regular season
goals. The Frozen Four appearance salvaged an oth-
erwise disappointing season for those Wolverines.
But this year's team has answered every chal-
lenge posed to it with rousing success, and positive
feelings have followed the Wolverines throughout
"It feels a little more special this time," said
Blackburn of the Wolverines' return to the Frozen
Four. "I don't know if it's because we're excited
because of the (West Regional) games at home, or
we're just a closer knit team this year."
The accomplishments of the Wolverines all sea-
son will not be topped off with a national title if
The Associated Press
The Green Monster was transformed
into a sea of red, white and blue and the
World Series banner was unveiled in
Arizona. Once the games began, Pedro
Martinez and Roger Clemens were hit
Opening day at 10 ballparks had a lit-
tle bit of everything yesterday, including
An overflow crowd of 51,638 - the
largest regular-season turnout in Turner
Field's six-year history - saw the
Atlanta Braves beat Philadelphia 7-2.
"It's great to see," Braves star Chipper
Jones said. "I really didn't notice it until
the eighth inning. I looked around and
said, 'All right.' Maybe we can get these
fans excited about the brand of baseball
we're going to play."
At Camden Yards, where a crowd of
48,058 saw Baltimore beat Clemens and
the New York Yankees 10-3, one of the
biggest cheers came when University of
Maryland basketball coach Gary
Williams was shown on the scoreboard.
In a taped message, Williams wished
the Orioles luck and said he hoped to
bring home a national title. Maryland
later beat Indiana, 64-52 to capture the
Roberto Alomar, one of several big-
name players to change tearps in the
winter, drove in two runs as the New
York Mets beat Pittsburgh 6-2 before a
crowd of 53,734, an opening day record
at Shea Stadium.
,"It's a beautiful day," Alomar said.
"The big stage, the fans know the game.
It's really important to start on the right
Fenway Park's famous left-field wall
was draped with an American flag for
the national anthem as the Red Sox set
out to end a World Series drought that
has lasted since 1918.
Without their own title to celebrate,
the Red Sox paid tribute to the Super
Bowl champion New England Patriots
with 23 football players emerging from
behind the wall and throwing baseballs
to Red Sox players. Safety Lawyer Mil-
loy carried the Super Bowl trophy,
bringing it to shortstop Nomar Garcia-
parra to rub.
Martinez, hoping for a healthy season,
fell behind 7-1 in the second inning.
Boston came back to take the lead, but
lost 12-11 to Toronto.
In Cincinnati, a cow who avoided
workers in a local park for 10 days after
escaping from a meatpacking plant, was
given a key to the city but was too
unruly to appear in a parade celebrating
the opener between the Reds and Chica-
The 1,100-poupd animal was agitated
by the marching bands and crowd noise
and ruled out of the parade.
Marge Schott, a part owner of the
Reds who keeps cattle at her suburban
Cincinnati home, said she tried to feed
the cow "goodies" but was shooed away
by its attendants.
The Reds won their final opener at
Cinergy Field, 5-4 on Aaron Boone's
ninth-inning sacrifice fly.
Arizona raised the World Series
championship banner over the swim-
ming pool at Bank One Ballpark. Then
Randy Johnson punctuated the celebra-
tion, shutting out San Diego 2-0.
they haven't learned anything from the Boston
"I think Boston College, they came out and were
on a mission," Vancik said. "From the minute that
the puck dropped, they were ready to go.
"The start of any game is huge, and we have to
have a great start to the game. That's what we had
down here at Yost and at the two games down at
Joe Louis (in the CCHA Super Six)."
Also, for the second straight year, Michigan will
enter its semifinal matchup as the underdog. Min-
nesota is the No. 2 seed in the West, but the fourth-
seeded Wolverines have enjoyed being an
underestimated team in backs-to-the-wall situa-
tions throughout the season.
"I don't know if we're confident playing under
pressure," Shouneyia said. "But we like it, and we
get more excited."
But regardless of last year's experience, this
year's underdog role and Minnesota playing more
or less at home, nothing but the play of the
Wolverines and the Golden Gophers will deter-
mine who advances to Saturday's title game.
"There's going to be more pressure, but you
have to treat it like it's a normal game," Blackburn
said. "It's played on the same rink, there's a puck,
six guys on each side - you've just got to play."
Randy Johnson led the defending
champion Arizona Diamondbacks past
San Diego, 2-0, on opening day.
Few turns down
the Huses' job
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) dGnzaga basketball
coach Mark Few has withdrawn as a candidate for the
head coaching job at the University of Washington.
Few, who has more wins than any other third-year
coach in NCAA Division I history, said yesterday he
decided Gonzaga is "the best place for my family and
"We have built something very special and unique at
Gonzaga University," Few, 39, said in a news release. "I
love my players, past and present, and appreciate their
support during this process.
"I look forward to our future together."
He praised Washington Athletic Director Barbara
Hedges for her conduct during the hiring process.
Washington is looking for a coach to replace Bob
Bender, who was asked to resign last month after three
consecutive losing seasons.
On Sunday, Missouri basketball coach Quin Snyder
also took himself out of consideration for the Washing-
ton job. Hedges has also received permission to talk
with Saint Louis coach Lorenzo Romar.
Few finished seventh in the voting for The Associat-
ed Press college basketball coach of the year after lead-
ing the Bulldogs to a 29-4 record, the best in school
Gonzaga, ranked No. 6 in the nation in the final poll,
lost to Wyoming in the first round of the NCAA tour-
The Bulldogs have reached the NCAA basketball
tournament in each of Few's three years as head coach.
Even though All-America guard Dan Dickau has gradu-
ated, the Bulldogs are expected to field a good team
Few has spent more than a decade at Gonzaga as an
assistant and head coach, and the Bulldogs have won at
least 20 games in eight of the past nine seasons.
Water polo awaits rival Hoosiers
By Daniel Bremner
Daily Sports Writer
The rivalry between the Michigan
water polo team and Indiana is different
"Because we're the only two Big Ten
schools with varsity (water polo) teams,
it's just kind of a given," said Michigan
coach Amber Drury-Pinto about the
rivalry. "Indiana is always going to be
big, regardless of the year, the time or
whose place it's at."
In its two prior matchups with the
Hoosiers this season, -Michigan defeat-
ed Indiana 10-9 on Jan. 27 in Ann
Arbor and also took down the Hoosiers
two weeks ago in Bloomington, 9-7 in
This weekend, Michigan returns to
Bloomington looking to improve on its
impressive 13-1 mark in the Southern
Division of the Collegiate Water Polo
Aside from taking on the Hoosiers,
the Wolverines will also face Mercy-
hurst and Gannon on Saturday before
squaring off against GroveCity on Sun-
day. Of the three, Michigan has previ-
ously faced only Grove City, crushing
them 19-3 on March 9.
The games this weekend will be sig-
nificant for the Wolverines as they near,
"They're mostly important to getting
seeded for our Southern Division
Championships (starting on April 19),"
Michigan can clinch a No. 1 seed by
winning all four games this weekend.
In its last outing prior to the Mar. 23
victory over Indiana, Michigan strug-
gled on defense, giving up 17 goals to
Princeton -gthe most goals it had
allowed in its last 14 games. Coach
Drury-Pinto said that her team has been
working hard in practice to ensure that a
similar defensive breakdown does not
occur this weekend.
"We've been stressing (defense), hit-
ting it hard in practice. We're really
working on that," Drury-Pinto said.
Who: Michigan at Southern Division Tournament
When: 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m Saturday, noon
Latest: The Wolverines will play four times this
weekend, including a rematch with arch-rival
Indiana on Saturday night.
She also pointed out that her team
has been watching film clips of its
defensive lapses to "make sure we don't
make those mistakes again."
Freshman goalie Betsey Armstrong
will also be a key for the Wolverines
this weekend, as she has been in the
past. Two weekends ago, she set a
school record with 16 saves against
"We need her playing well to anchor
our defense, and we're hoping she'll be
vocal this weekend and really direct
everyone for us," Drury-Pinto said.
This weekend will be Michigan's last
tournament before beginning postsea-
After deep thought, Gonzaga coach Mark Few decided that he
wanted to remain with the Bulldogs, turning down $700,000.
Few has an 81-20 record at Gonzaga. He made a
reported $250,000 last season, and Gonzaga Athletic
Director Mike Roth has said Gonzaga would enhance
Few's pay in an effort to keep him.
There has been speculation the job at Washington
could pay more than $700,000.
Few did not return a telephone message from the AP
yesterday. He has stated on several occasions that it
would take a great job opportunity to lure him away
from Gonzaga, a private school with about 5,000 stu-
Dixon, excels in his final
a earance as a Terrapin
TERPS tion to hang out on the Baltimo
streets that claimed his parents.
Continued from Page 14 "They got caught up in the wro
Dixon scored 11 points in the
first 10 minutes, then Fife clamped
down and Maryland struggled to get
its dynamic transition game in gear.
Dixon was part of the problem,
committing seven turnovers. Indi-
ana's Jared Jeffries sent the huge
crowd into a frenzy - it was defi-
nitely leaning toward the underdog
- when he slipped inside for the
basket that gave the Hoosiers a 44-
42 lead with just under 10 minutes
The advantage lasted only 13 sec-
onds; Dixon made sure of that.
Appropriately, a fan held up a sign
crowd," said Dixon, whose parents'
names, Nita and Phil, are tattooed
on his left biceps.
Dixon wanted to play at Mary-
land, but when he came to the
school - at 6-foot-3, but weighing
just 150 pounds - he was deemed
too frail to survive in the Atlantic
Coast Conference. He spent his first
year as a redshirt freshman, and did-
n't start a game as a sophomore.
Still, he finished as the leading
scorer in the history of the program,
passing such greats as Len Bias and
John Lucas. Dixon was at his best in
the last six games, scoring at least
After reaching base in 10 of his 11
plate appearances this past weekend,
Michigan baseball co-captain Mike
Sokol was named Big Ten co-Player of
the Week yesterday, sharing the award
with Vasili Spanos of Indiana.
In this weekend's series against Iowa,
the Wolverines won three out of four
Sokol was a big
reason why the
now hold a
share of first
place in the Big '.
State and Pur-
due are all tied Sokol
at 3-1 in confer-
Sokol started three of this weekend's