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April 03, 2002 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-03

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41

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SPORTS

michigandaily.com
sportsdesk@umich.edu

WEDNESDAY
APRIL 3, 2002

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Cammalleri's absence helped Icers prepare

By Naweed Sikora
Daily Sports Writer
How different would this year's Michigan hockey
team be if its leading goal-scorer, Mike Cammalleri,
hadn't missed 10 games in the second half of the sea-
son because of mono?
"You never know how things would have evolved if
Mike would have been here," Michigan associate
head coach Mel Pearson said.
Even if Cammalleri hadn't missed those games,
things couldn't have turned out much better for the
Wolverines, who advanced to the Frozen Four and
will play Minnesota in tomorrow's semifinal round.
But could Cammalleri's illness have actually bene-
fited the team?
The junior's absence not only gave others an oppor-
tunity to step up, it also forced them to make plays. It
forced Junior John Shounyeia to emerge as a leader
on the team. It forced freshmen like Eric Nystrom,
Dwight Helminen, Michael Woodford and Milan
Gajic to find an offensive rhythm. And it forced the
Wolverines to develop depth that had been non-exis-
tent with Cammalleri in the lineup. All of these things
happened, and Michigan went 7-1-2 in 10 games
without him.

"We found out a lot about our team when Mike
went down," Pearson said. "Everybody had to pitch in
a little more and step up, and I think we met the chal-
lenge. The guys had an opportunity to take bigger
roles on the team. Shouneyia is one example who
filled a leadership role."
The passes that Cammalleri would have made
came from Shouneyia, who picked up 10 assists in
Cammalleri's absence. Shouneyia currently leads the
team with 40 assists, an average of just under one per
game.
The goals that Cammalleri would have scored sud-
denly came from other sources. It was Helminen who
scored the game-tying goal in the third period against
Michigan State on Jan. 19. It was Nystrom who
scored an overtime goal against Nebraska-Omaha on
Feb. 8 to give Michigan the win. And finally, it was
defenseman Eric Werner who scored Michigan's lone
goal in its 1-0 win over Lake Superior on Feb. 2.
When Cammalleri returned, it seemed certain that
this depth would continue to show and the Wolverines
would be very difficult to beat. Not only did they now
have one of the best players in the country back, but
they also had a supporting cast that was producing
rather than watching.
But this wasn't the case, as the depth disappeared

and Cammalleri had to once again carry the team
through the first two rounds of the CCHA Tourna-
ment. He scored five goals in two games against Lake
Superior to help Michigan escape the first round.
Then he scored both of Michigan's goals against Ohio
State to lead them into the championship game.
But in the CCHA title game, the supporting cast
re-emerged. In their last three games - wins over
Michigan State, St. Cloud and Denver - Cammalleri
hasn't scored a goal, but his teammates have picked
him up.
"Teams get better as you go on," senior Craig Mur-
ray said. "Mike put in his chances then. But lately,
he's been getting checked tightly, and he has to fight
for every inch he gets."
Cammalleri will be watched very closely in the
Frozen Four by opposing defensemen. The Wolver-
ines know they cannot wait for him to generate all of
their scoring chances. To win, they will need to
demonstrate the depth and consistency that they have
shown in their past three games and in the 10 games
when Cammalleri was out.
"We have preached to our players that you have to
be ready as an individual in every game," Pearson
said. "It might be you who gets the one chance to
make the difference."

I
I

TOM FELDKAMP/Daily
Mike Cammalleri carried the Wolverines against Ohio State In the CCHA
Tournament, but the whole team needs to contribute to beat Minnesota tomorrow.

Wright and Lollio go back-to-back as usual

By Dan Rosen
Daily Sports Writer

Michigan first baseman Nate Wright
had seen it plenty of times before. On
March 19, Wright watched from the on-
deck circle as his friend and teammate,
rightfielder Gino Lollio, belted another
home run. This homer came in the bot-
tom of the eighth inning and propelled
the Wolverines to a 4-3 win over Bowl-
ing Green.
Today, when the Wolverines square
off against Detroit at 3 p.m. at The Fish,
Lollio and Wright will likely assume
their normal spots in the batting order
- hitting fifth and sixth, respectively.
Over the past summer, the two occu-

pied similar spots in thier lineup in the
Northwoods summer league in Min-
nesota, where Wright watched Lollio
hit so many home runs that his team-
mates called him "Longball Lollio."
But watching his friend bounce that
dramatic homer off the top of the fence
to beat Bowling Green lit a fire in
Wright to hit one of his own.
"I just thought 'God, I want to hit a
home run so bad,"' Wright said.
He said he knew that he just had to
relax and get a good pitch to hit and he
could do it.
So last Saturday, as Wright stood in
the on-deck circle and watched Lollio
hit another ball over the fence in left
- the right fielder's second of the

season - he knew he had to launch
one of his own. The senior didn't
waste any time at the plate either,
clobbering the first pitch he saw to
the exact same spot.
"I was almost more pumped up for
his home run (than mine)," Lollio said
of Wright's home run. "I loved that."
The two developed their friendship
over the summer playing with a team in
the small town of Alexandria, Minn.
They lived with local families and
enjoyed somewhat of a celebrity status
amongst the people of the town.
"There's no one else there,"
Wright said of Alexandria. "Every-
one knows who you are, it's like
you're the Beatles."

Along with enjoying their local fame,
Wright and Lollio got some valuable
experience playing alongside a number
of other Big Ten players, such as Min-
nesota outfielder Sam Steidl. Their
summer will greatly benefit the Wolver-
ines because of the important role the
two play in the order.
"They've got to protect Brandon
Roberts and Brock Koman," Michigan
interim head coach Chris Harrison said.
"They've got to be swinging the bat
well enough so Brock and Brandon see
good pitches."
Harrison also said that they needed to
drive in big runs for Michigan like they
did over the weekend against Iowa. The
two combined to drive in five of the

RAY FISHER STADIUM
Who: Michigan (3-1 Big Ten, 6-13 overall) vs.
Detroit (0-0 Horizon League, 4-10)
When: 3 p.m.
Latest: The Wolverines are looking to build off
the momentum from last weekend's success
against Iowa.
Wolverines' 17 runs over the four-game
series.
Harrison knows that the Wolverines
will need that type of production to
continue against Detroit. Michigan is
hoping to build on last weekend's suc-
cess - in which it won three of four
games.
"We need to keep playing better, and
I think the guys know that," Harrison
said. "(Our) Big Ten record is good, but
I know (the players) would like to
improve their overall record."

Pride and camaradene key to Blue's softball success

By Bob Hunt
Daily Sports Writer

thing I have learned is how to have pride in the
program," Doe said.
Under the leadership of Michigan coach Carol
Hutchins, Doe and the rest of her teammates feel a

When Meghan Doe traded the sunny 95-degree

days of Tucson, Ariz. for the snowy 30
degrees of Ann Arbor three years ago,
she did not know what to expect. She
had heard of the "Big House" and the
tradition of the Michigan name. She
remembers telling her high school
classmates that she was going to
Michigan and what a big deal that
was. But-nothing could prepare her for
the camaraderie she would share with
her teammates after joining the Michi-
gan softball program.
"Softball-related or not, the most

desire to play well not just for them-
e I selves or for the team, but for the pro-
ALUMNI FIELD gram. When they run onto the field
Who: No. 13 Michigan (3- each game, they feel as if they are repr
1 Big Ten, 24-7 overall) esenting the past, present and future of
vs. Bowling Green (3-3 Michigan softball.
MAC, 10-12) "It's amazing what only she and the
en3Mchigan looksto program teaches us," Doe said.
ride its momentum after "Everyting from tucking your shirt in
sweeping No. 25 Ohio at practice everyday and respecting
state. coaches and umpires."
To keep the tradition going, the
important team's upperclassmen take the freshmen from the

moment they come to campus and teach them
about the program and the pride they have for it.
"Everyone comes in here a superstar," junior
first baseman and left fielder Melinda Moulden
said. "It's taking everybody's experiences, pride
and self-confidence and molding it together."
While many Michigan teams may have that
same talent and pride, softball is different. It has
had success despite being a cold-weather school
playing a warm-weather sport. The only softball
programs that have been to the Women's College
World Series more than Michigan are UCLA, Ari-
zona, Fresno State, Oklahoma State and Cal State
Fullerton - all warm-weather schools. But despite
their accomplished past, the Wolverines know'stay-
ing at the top is just as tough as getting there.
"It's going to be a tougher challenge for us than

any of these years in the past because the competi-
tion in the Big Ten is especially unbelievable this
year," Doe said.
But becoming the best in the Big Ten is not
good enough. The Wolverines want to be one of
the perennial powerhouses of college softball.
"Pac-10 teams don't have any sympathy for us
when we don't get to play outside and neither does
anyone else;' Doe said. "I don't want people to say
'oh, they're good for the Midwest or from the Big
Ten,' I want people to say 'they're good."'
And that quest will not end for the.Wolverines
until they win a title.
"I want a national championship," Moulden
said. "And when I leave here, I want to be darn
sure that as I leave this program, (the team) is still
going to be fighting for one."Y

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M' wants
to avoid
letdown vs.
Spartans
By Brian Steer.
Daily Sports Writer
Experiencing a letdown after a
huge victory is one of the toughest
tendencies to avoid in sports. The
tremendous confidence that results
from a marquee win can easily pro-
pel a team to look past its next
opponent.
Fresh off its upset over No. 4
Notre Dame last week, the Michigan
men's tennis team (1-3 Big Ten, 10-
5 overall) will try to sustain its
momentum tonight against Michi-
gan State (1-3, 13-6) at the Varsity
Tennis Center.
"There are only two ways we can
go after the Notre Dame match,"
Michigan coach Mark Mees said.
"Either we can really use it as a
springboard to get better, or we can
sit back and feel good about our-
selves and not play as well. That was
a good win for us, but we have to
make sure we build on it."
Although the rivalry between the
Wolverines and Spartans has been
entirely one sided of late, with
Michigan taking the last 10 matches,
junior Chris Rolf knows that the
team can't afford to get complacent.
"Michigan State has a very good
team this year," Rof said. "They are
young and talented and will be
tough at every spot. We can't look
past them at all."
With only six matches remaining
before the Big Ten Tournament,
Michigan will need to augment its
dismal 1-3 conference record if it
wants to make the NCAA tourna-
ment for the fifth consecutive year.
In the past 10 years, the Wolverines
have never advanced to the postsea-
son with a sub-.500 record in the
Big Ten.
Despite the team's precarious
state, junior Chris Shaya believes
the Notre Dame win solidified
Michigan's spot in the NCAA Tour-
nament.
"I don't think there's any concern
about making the tournament,"
Shaya said. "I think we're in, and
even if we'renot in (at this point in
the season), I don't think .anybody
cares. After a win like that, you
can't really put a limit on this team
anymore."
A big reason for Shaya's immense
confidence is that Notre Dame is a
legitimate contender for the national
championship. Earlier in the year,
the Fighting Irish defeated No. 3
Illinois 4-3 in Champaign.
Since the Fighting Illini are cur-
rently atop the Big Ten standings,
Shaya expressed some brash words
about the Wolverines' chances in the
conference tournament.
"I believe that we will win the
tournament," Shaya said. "I am call-
ing the team out right now. I don't
see any reason why we can't be Big
Ten champions."
The Wolverines have yet to win
th __,_ __aen rnfrar _, a_-_,

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