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April 08, 2002 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-08

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - April 8, 2002 - 7B

Adebiyi to return next season, Young named MVP

By Steve Jackson
Daily Sports Editor
The Michigan basketball team's season
may have ended weeks ago with a disappoint-
ing 11-18 record, but that didn't stop the
Wolverines from celebrating their 2001-02
campaign in grand style Thursday night in
Crisler Arena.
The annual bust was hosted by the M Club,
and Frank Breckman, the team's play-by-play
announcer, served as master of ceremonies.
A couple hundred diehard Michigan fans
dropped down the $40 price tag for a catered
meal and a chance to listen the Wolverines'
seniors (Chris Young, Mike Gotfredson, Herb
Gibson, Leon Jones and Ron Garber) give
their final goodbyes.
Young, who was named team MVP earlier
in the evening, gave an emotional speech
thanking everyone who made his stay at
Michigan so memorable.
"The best compliment I can give, goes to

my coaches," Young said. "It was an honor to
play for you guys."
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker, who was
visibly touched by Young's comments, spent a
significant portion of his time on stage pay-
ing tribute to the Wolverines' star center.
"Chris was the anchor for us all year,"
Amaker said. "He took 17 charges, played 32
minutes a game, and he was a great leader.
We always needed him on the floor. His play,
production, effort and leadership showed that
he really was a Michigan man."
A sixth senior, forward Rotolu Adebiyi
opted not to speak, but he had a very good
,The Ann Arbor native announced that he
would be returning to captain the Wolverines
again next season, as a fifth-year senior.
"I'm really excited," Adebiyi said. "This is
a great opportunity for me. I can't wait for
next season."
He will be joined by the two new tri-cap-
tains, LaVell Blanchard and Gavin Groninger.

Despite leading the team in scoring this
season, Blanchard made just a brief appear-
ance on the awards podium, when he accept-
ed his third consecutive Rebounding Award.
"He better make it four next year," Amaker
quipped as he handed out the plaque.
Two other seniors, Mike Gotfredson and
Ron Garber, were named to the Academic
All-Big Ten team on Friday. Gotfredson also
took home Michigan's Award for Academic
Achievement along with his third straight
Hustle Award.
After Jones won the Outstanding Defensive
Player Award; the man they call "Hollywood"
proceeded to challenge Peter Vignier's record
for the longest final speech in school history.
After the parade of awards and thanks was
finished, Amaker gave his perspective on the
season, calling out fans to help support the
"When this year started, I told my players
that I don't drink. I told them 'don't make me
start now.' We were getting close at times

there ... but I think we improved in a lot of
ways and we proved that at the end of the
year," Amaker said.
"Sometimes you need love and understand-
ing most when you deserve it the least ... We
didn't win as many games this year as we will
in the future, and we didn't win as many
games as we wanted to this year. But we are
building this into a first-class, winning pro-
gram, and we need your support at this time."
Best of the bust
Some of the award winners of the 2001-02
Michigan basketball season:
Bill Buntin Most Valuable Player Award
Chris Young
Wayman Britt Oustanding Defensive Player Award
Leon Jones
Rudy Tomanovich Most Improved Player Award
Herb Gibson
Iron Man Award
Chris Young

Departed senior Mike Gotfredson is leaving a
Michigan squad desperate for leadership.

Consistency at doubles
key for Rit's netters

By BdmScck
Daily Sports Writer

The Michigan women's tennis team
completed one of its best weekends in
recent history,
going 3-0 against TENNIS
two teams ranked Notebook
in the top 40. One
of the areas coach
Bitsy Ritt believes the team has
made significant progress this sea-
son in its doubles matches. The three
doubles tandems struggled early in
the season, and could not manage to
secure the doubles point, which
would require that they win at least
two of their three matches.
But recently doubles play has
made the difference for the Wolver-
ines, allowing them to get off to an
early lead. The doubles tandems have
won the point in seven of the last
eight matches. As a result, there is
less pressure on the singles players
as they only have to split their six
matches to win as a team.
The pair of sophomores, Chrissie
Nolan and Kavitha Tipirneni, won all
three doubles matches this weekend,
and they feel the doubles are a key to
Michigan's recent success.
"One of the greatest strengths of our
team right now is doubles" Nolan said.
"It's so helpful if we can get off to a
good start."
Nolan also mentioned that this
season has seen stability in the dou-
bles lineup, whereas last year they
were constantly changing from
match to match. As a result, the play-

ers have developed camaraderie with
their partners, and the results have
been apparent.
"We've had a sold lineup this season,
and this gives us momentum that car-
ries over into the singles matches,"
Nolan said.
the team has struggled through the Big
Ten season, the Wolverines have
enjoyed plenty of success against
opponents outside the conference.
By no means was the schedule easy
-four of the matches were against top
20 teams, including No. 3 Wake Forest.
Miami was the final nonconference
team Michigan will face this season,
and the Wolverines have recorded a 7-4
record outside of Big Ten action.
Ritt feels that since the Big Ten is
one of the toughest conferences in the
nation, scheduling challenging noncon-
ference schedules is important to suc-
cess in the Big Ten.
"I like having a difficult nonconfer-
ence schedule," Ritt said. "It's always
great when we have the opportunity
to play great competition. I think we
can learn from our nonconference
having three matches in one week-
end for the first time this season,
fatigue was never a concern for the
Wolverines. Junior Jen Duprez,
whose three matches all went three
sets this weekend, said that she felt
tired after each match, but it was
never an issue on the court.
"In my third set (yesterday), I was a
little tired, but I just learned to block

Continued from Page 1B
and Miami were tied 3-3 in team
scoring as Rutherford and Bennac-
er battled in the No. 4 singles
After dropping her first set 6-3,
Rutherford fought hard to clinch a
7-5 victory in the second set.'
Rutherford was one of three players
needing a third set - the other two
matches were on the opposite side
of the Varsity Tennis Center - and
Rutherford was unaware of the
implications of her match.
"I kind of had a feeling (my
match was the deciding one), but
didn't acknowledge it," Rutherford
It didn't take long before all the
attention was focused on her court,
as Rutherford and Bennacer battled
back and forth throughout the third
set. The two evenly-matched oppo-
nents finished in a 6-6 tie, forcing a
tiebreaker. The tiebreaker was tied
at 7-7 (seven being the number of
points needed to win) when Ruther-
ford captured the next two points to
secure the upset.
"The crowd helped a lot,"
Rutherford said of her ninth singles
victory of the season.
Freshman Michelle DaCosta

faced a similar situation Saturday in
the Ohio State match. Facing the
Buckeyes' Erica Fisk at No. 2 sin-
gles, DaCosta won the first set 7-5.
In the second set, DaCosta quickly
built a 5-3 lead and only needed to
win one more game to secure the
match. But Fisk won the next four
games - including the tiebreaker
- and won the second set 7-6.
Despite dropping five straight
games, DaCosta wasn't fazed in the
"I thought I had a little bit of a
let-down in the second set," DaCos-
ta said. "I knew I needed to buckle
down and just finish the third set as
quickly as possible."
Quickly putting the previous set
behind her, DaCosta struggled
early, dropping behind 2-1 in the
early part of the third set. After dis-
cussing strategy with Ritt, DaCosta
regained her composure and ended
up on top, 6-4, to give Michigan its
first Big Ten victory in more than
three weeks.
"This (weekend) was a great
turning point in our season," said
DaCosta, the only Wolverine to win
all three singles matches this week-
"We had three good wins, and I
think we are going to use the
momentum to finish the season."

The Michigan women's tennis team had its pest performance of the season this
weekend, knocking off ranked foes, Ohio State and Miami (Fla.).

it out," Duprez said, who has been
nursing a hip injury for the past two
weeks ago.
Ritt indicated that playing several
matches in succession is nothing new
to tennis players, as many Wolverines
competed for days in junior tourna-
ments in years past. This will be help-
ful towards the end of the season, when
postseason tournaments force teams to
play matches back to back.
As the team heads towards the post-
season, Ritt believes her team will
begin to taper with only three matches
remaining on the schedule. While Rift
did not know this weekend would pro-
duce two upsets, she did know the
Wolverines would make things inter-
esting for their opponents.
"I thought that the Ohio State

match would be intense, and I was
hoping that the Miami match would
be intense as well," Ritt said. "I have
so much confidence in the team and
each individual player."
Ritt has been preaching consistency
between matches all season, and she
fiially feels that after this weekend, the
team has begun to play with the same
intensity in every match.
"We've had been a little inconsistent
match-to-match," Ritt said.
Michigan will look to maintain its
consistency as it wraps up the season
with three more Big Ten matches. The
Wolverines head on the road to take on
Iowa this Sunday, and conclude the
regular season at the Varsity Tennis
Center in two weeks against Purdue
and Indiana.

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