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APRIL 10, 2002
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Baseball hopes bats heat up toa
By Charles Paradis.?.........
Daily Sports Writer :. ... :
The Wolverines' bats have gone cold, but they
hope to warm them up against Central Michigan
When the Wolverines take on the Chippewas
this afternoon at 3 p.m. at
The Fish, they hope to
have a better offensiveI
output than they exhibit-
ed against Minnesota
over the weekend.
"We're struggling right
now. We had a rough
shortstop Brock Koman
said. "The balls that we
did hit hard seemed to
always get caught, and
when we got runners in
scoring position, we didn'tl
RAY FISHER STADIUM
Who: Michigan (8-16 over-
all, 44 Big Ten) vs. Central
Michigan (6-2 MAC, 16-8)
When: 3 p.m.
Latest: Yesterday's game
against St. Joseph's (Ind.)
was canceled because of a
"rain out." Asateam,
Michigan is hitting just .266
through 24 games and has
scored 107 runs.
bring them in. But it
seems like we had runners there, we just struggled
bringing them in."
Michigan stranded 29 runners in the weekend
series versus Minnesota. The Wolverines' inability
to get clutch hitting decimated their chances
against the Golden Gophers.
"The hitting needs to get better, especially when
we have opportunities to pick guys up in RBI situ-
ations," interim coach Chris Harrison said. "Our
hitters know that it's just something we have to
start doing a better job of. "
Michigan has the potential to be an offensively
explosive team. Sluggers like Koman and Jake Fox
are capable of putting up big numbers for the
Wolverines. Last season, Koman hit .370 with 56
RBIs and 14 home runs. The team is talented
offensively, but it has not been able to put it
Despite all of this, the Michigan players are not
discouraged by their recent offensive woes - they
know the hits will come.
"We have so much talent on this team and so
much potential to be a wonderfully hitting ball
This week, Michigan's Kelsey Kollen was one of 25 players named for the USA
Softball Player of the Year award. She was just one of two named from the Midwest.
Central pitcher could
Michigan's Brock Koman is capable of putting up solid hitting numbers, but has yet to hit his stride this
season. He and his teammates will attempt to get out of their slump today against Central Michigan.
club, but we just haven't found it yet," Fox said.
"We're working everyday to find it, and we are
working hard. It's gonna come, maybe not (today),
maybe not this weekend, but it's going to come."
Harrison, who has been a part of many good
offensive teams in his seven years at Michigan,
believes that the hitting will continue to improve if
the team stays confident. Players and coaches
alike believe that if a few players can catch fire at the
See CHIPPEWAS, Page 14
De chiaienge for Blue M ,
M Lymnasts welcome
By Bob Hunt
Daily Sports Writer
With three of the top eight hitters
in the Big Ten and the third highest
batting average in the conference,
the Michigan softball team does not
get flustered at the plate
But last March, Central
Michigan hurler Wendy
Stephens did just that.
In just her second,
start of the season,
Stephens baffled the
Wolverines all after-
noon, using her three
different changeups to
allow just three hits.
Michigan's only run
came off of a two-out
single by Monica
Schock, and the Wolver-
Ten, 27-7) vs. CE
Michigan (7-1 M
When: 2 p.m.
Latest: The Wol
head into this d
er after pitcher
Young was justr
Ten pitcher of ti
the third time.
"She really throws us off and
gives us a hard time," said second
baseman Kelsey Kollen, who was
one of 25 finalists named this week
for the inaugural USA Softball
Player of the Year award. "So we
need to make a better game plan,
better than the last one,
as far as our approach
LEASANT as to how to hit her."
( 1' Big storied softball history,
entra it holds just a 32-28
advantage in its series
verines history with the
ouble head- Chippewas. That's after
Marissa beating them in March
named Big and sweeping them in a
he week for doubleheader last year.
Central Michigan cur-
rently has a game-and-
a-half lead in the Mid-American
Conference Western Division and
has won eight of its last nine games.
The Chippewas, along with Ball
State, are one of two teams that
have been named as one of the top
See CENTRAL, Page 14
move to $3.2m facility
By Josh Holman
Daily Sports Writer
It's a drastic change from the
cramped, tight fit of its old practice
facility in the Sports Coliseum, so
the Michigan women's gymnastics
team was more than eager to make
the move this week into the Donald
R. Shepherd Women's Gymnastics
Center on State Street next to the
Varsity Tennis Center.
Fresh off their second-place
NCAA regional finish this weekend
- qualifying them for the national
championships beginning Apr. 18 -
the gymnasts resumed practice this
week in the new 17,000-square foot
building, which is three times the
size of their old facility.
Among some of the improve-
ments, the new building houses five
balance beams, three vault runways,
three sets of uneven bars, two single
bars and a floor exercise mat. The
building also contains a training
room, lockerrooms, a team room
and office space for the coaches.
"I think it has done a lot for the
morale," sophomore Allison Rudisi
said. "It's actually fun to come in
here and try things out."
The facility cost $3.2 million to
construct. The money came from a
$3.5 million gift from alumnus
Donald R. Shepherd. Shepherd has
already given more than $11 million
to the University through the sup-
port of a number of programs, rang-
ing from the marching band to the
women's softball team.
The entire gym is designed on a
progression training system. Each
apparatus includes free foam, resi-
pit and regular landing surfaces.
The differing levels of softness
allow for a general progression in
The new system is especially use-
ful for athletes that are still rehabili-
tating injuries. Senior Missy
Peterson, who is nursing an ankle
injury, spent her first day of practice
in the gym on beam landing in the
free foam pit.
Injured gymnasts can also plan to
receive more special attention in the
facility's training room. It is already
equipped with exercise equipment
and should soon be furnished with
free weights and whirlpools. The
room also gives access to the
t5 i ww , w v qw, - 'Imr, -,", W,
a two-hit shutout mas-
Marissa Young to win
With just two weeks remaining in the season, the Michigan women's gymnastics
team has moved its workouts into the new Shepherd Center.
Michigan (5-1 Big Ten, 27-7)
will face Stephens again today,
when it travels to Mount Pleasant
for a doubleheader against the
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SwimEx, a jacuzzi with a flowing
current that allows for more low-
The advantages Michigan gains
from this new facility now place it
at a level equal with some of the
country's other elite programs, such
as Utah and Georgia. The Wolver-
ines hope to capitalize on its bene-
fits as soon as possible, with
nationals less than two weeks away.
While it could be argued that such
a noticeable change in practice rou-
tines may backfire, the team hopes
the positives outweigh the nega-
"We agonized over whether we
should make the move or not,"
Michigan coach Bev Plocki said.
"Now, as we look at it, hopefully it
will be the right decision because it
will give us the extra motivation."
Swimming star makes successful leap to Polo
By Daniel Bremmer
Daily Sports Writer
For most athletes, 14 Big Ten cham-
pionships, seven selections as an
NCAA All-American and four Uni-
versity of Michigan Athletic Academ-
ic Achievement Awards would be
enough to accomplish during their
* &R~rr9F de & la
But not for Michigan water polo
player Jen Crisman.
Not only did Crisman accomplish
all of these achievements in her four
years on Michigan's swimming team,
but she also broke several Big Ten
records - including marks in the 100-
yard backstroke and 200-and 400-yard
freestyle relays. But her career as a
Wolverine did not end there.
After exhausting her four years of
eligibility as a swimmer last year,
Crisman had the option of a fifth year
of eligibility in another sport. She
chose water polo, a sport that she had
played throughout high school.
"I talked with (Michigan coach
Amber Drury-Pinto) and she wel-
comed me onto the team," Crisman
said. "I figured, 'Why not?' I decided
to have fun and continue my athletic
career for another year."
Said Drury-Pinto: "She was very
excited about (water polo). She liked
it, and she was ready to give it a
Crisman had earned enough credits
to graduate and was the recipient of
an NCAA postgraduate scholarship,
but she opted not to apply for gradua-
tion. She can still use her scholarship
Making the transition from swim-
ming to water polo came naturally for
the 6-foot-2 Crisman. After the swim-
ming season ended last spring, she
spent time practicing and hanging out
with the water polo team.
The Wolverines' water polo season
ended last year after the Eastern
Championships, when the team failed
to quality for the NCAA Tournament.
Still, Crisman views her short stint on
the team in 2001 as a valuable experi-
ence. She was able to get to know girls
As this season has progressed,
Crisman's success has been evident.
She currently leads the team in steals
(30), is second in shooting percentage
(.458) and is fourth in goals scored
Her first career hat trick and record-
tying four steal game earned her the
Southern Division Player of the Week
- selected by the Collegiate Water
Polo Association - for the week of
"I was really excited about that,"
Crisman said. "I wasn't expecting it at
all. It's a real honor."
Crisman's 30 steals this season
are just six short of Michigan's
record for steals. The current record
of 36 is held by Melissa Karjala,
who graduated last year.
"I really never thought about (the
record) before," Crisman said. "We're
only in our second season, so hopeful-
ly whatever is broken this year will be
broken by somebody next year."
Crisman hopes that those extra
steals will help the team to victories in
the postseason, and she said that
breaking the school record would just
be a bonus.
$1 CALL E