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April 11, 2002 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-11

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 11, 2002 - 13A

Momentum carrying
netters into Iowa City

Playing outside tough for Blue

By Brian Schick
Daily Sports Writer

After one of the most successful
weekends in the history of the Michi-
gan women's tennis team, coach Bitsy
Ritt decided after winning three
matches in three days her team
earned itself a rest.
The Wolverines (3-4 Big Ten, 10-8
overall) took Monday and Tuesday off
from practice in preparation for their
final road match of the season in
Iowa City this Sunday. This will be
the first time since March 2 that the
team has had a solid week to focus on
just one opponent.
"They were very energized and
very focused," Ritt said of her team's
return to practice. "They were very
up from the win and eager to work
really hard in practice this week.
They'll remember how hard they
worked in matches this past weekend
to win and remember how much fun
it was to win."
As the team returned to practice
yesterday, the players were in good
spirits and optimistic about the rest of
the season. After winning three
matches last weekend - two against
SMITH
Continued from Page 11A
response.
"You know why I didn't shoot
more? Because I know my role," Got-
fredson said at the banquet.
Adebiyi, another former "Soul
Patrol" practice squad member, didn't
give a fairwell speech. He will find
himself in a familiar position next
year. The Ann Arbor native will return
for a fifth year - just like Gotfredson
- to be one of the tri-captains of a
young group of Wolverines.
Amaker needs example-setters,
guys who undoubtedly buy into his
system and can pass that message
along to the melting pot of players on
next year's team - whether they are
McDonald's All-Americans or
Amadou Ba.
Adebiyi "is a great leader," Michi-
gan assistant coach Chuck Swenson
said earlier this season. "He's a
spokesperson in the lockerroom. And
people listen to him because he does-
n't take any crap from anybody -
Pujols
likes what
he sees in
his Tigers
DETROIT (AP) - Bobby Higgin-
son doesn't want the Detroit Tigers
to think about their record or even
look at the standings.
Detroit's losing streak stretched to
. eight - its worst start in a half-cen-
tury - as Frank Thomas capped a
five-run fifth inning with a three-run
homer that led the Chicago White
Sox to a 7-5 win yesterday.
"You can't think about it, or you'll
be 0-16," Higginson said.
The Tigers, the major leagues'
lone winless team, also started the
1952 season 0-8. They are off to the
worst start since the Chicago Cubs
lost their first 14 games in 1997,
according to the Elias Sports
Bureau.
"It's not cool," Dmitri Young said.
"All the sudden, everybody is turn-
ing their backs to us and now it's us
against everybody."
Detroit has lost two games since
Luis Pujols replaced Phil Garner as

manager and general manager
Randy Smith was fired.
The Tigers are batting .154 with
runners in scoring position, .230
overall, and have compounded a
6.22 ERA with numerous defensive
mistakes beyond their six errors.
"It's a 162-game season, if this
was football, we'd be in a big hole,"
Matt Anderson said. "It's April. Who
remembers what you did in April?"
If the Tigers keep losing and
threaten Baltimore's major league
record 0-21 start in 1988, it will be
an April to remember.
The White Sox, meanwhile, barely
remember what the Windy City
looks like.
They won three of four to split an
eight-game road trip, heading into
tomorrow's home opener against
Baltimore.
"Spring training feels like it was
two months ago," said Keith Foulke,
who earned his second save. "I can't
wait to get home."

opponents ranked in the top 40 - the
Wolverines improved their record to
two games above .500 and moved
into the middle of the Big Ten stand-
ings.
With any good win comes a boost
in momentum, and the three recent
wins can only add to the roll the
Wolverines are currently riding.
Michigan has won six of its last eight,
and even with the time off, Ritt feels
her team will be equally prepared -
if not more so - for Iowa.
"We needed the time to rest and
recover and now to get ready for our
next dual match," Ritt said. "The
momentum will carry over into the
match, and our confidence will be
high. They learned a lot from these
matches and that will help us."
Confidence should no longer be an
issue this week, as the Wolverines
enter the match against the Hawkeyes
(2-4, 5-11) with their highest ranking
in the Intercollegiate Tennis Associa-
tion poll so far this season. The 43rd-
ranked Wolverines assume the roll of
favorites in this weekend's match
against No. 63 Iowa. This is the only
time this season Michigan has been a
he'll say something to anybody, no
matter if its LaVell or a freshman."
If Adebiyi can demonstrate that
leadership and help out fellow tri-
captains Gavin Groninger and LaVell
Blanchard - while showing the
same class that Gotfredson did -
this may be Amaker's smartest move
yet.

IOWA CITY
Who: Michigan (3-4 Big Ten, 10-8 overall) vs.
Iowa (2-4, 5-11)
When: 11 a.m.
Latest: The Wolverines have won six of their last
eight and look to wrap up their road schedule
this weekend against a struggling Iowa team.
favorite when both teams are ranked.
"I think the schedule has helped us
(move up in the rankings)," Ritt said.
"We've had lots of opportunities and
were able to take advantage of learn-
ing from the schedule. We've played a
tough schedule, and its paying off
now. We are pleased that we moved
up in the rankings but need to keep in
mind (there are still three matches
left.)"
Although Michigan will play the
role of the favorite this weekend, Ritt
said she will be careful not to allow
her team to become overconfident. As
her team demonstrated last weekend,
ranking is often not a perfect indica-
tion of a team's actual performance.
The road has been unkind to
Michigan this season - the Wolver-
ines have won just three of the six
matches away from the Varsity Ten-
nis Center. However, Iowa has strug-
gled recently, dropping five of its
last six, three to Big Ten opponents.
Should Michigan win, it will be
Michigan's second season in the last
six that it would have a winning
record on the road.

By Brian Steer.
Daily Sports Writer
The coming of spring always
means that another season of outdoor
tennis is ready to begin. After spend-
ing the entire winter indoors, players

must adjust to the sudden
change in conditions.
The Michigan men's
tennis team (3-4 Big Ten,
12-6 overall) will try to
garner its first outdoor
win of the year this
weekend, at home against
Iowa (3-3, 11-6), which
has won two of its last
four games.
In last weekend's
match at No. 14 Ohio
State, the Wolverines
struggled in the unfamil-
iar, open-air surroundings
fered a 6-1 defeat.

VARSITY7
CENT
Who: Michigan(
12-6 overall) vs.I
11-6)
When: Noon
Latest: Michigai
its home sched
against Iowa a
to rebound afte
State snapped
match winning
and suf-

loss to the Buckeyes.
"We're practicing outside pretty
much for the rest of the year," Jack-
son said. "Hopefully that will help us
out this weekend and at the Big Ten
Championships.
With just three matches remaining
before the start of the
conference tournament,
TENNIS Jackson knows that
rER event is lingering in the
minds of all the players.
(34 Big Ten; "We're all gearing up
Iowa (3 3, for the Big Ten Champi-
onships," Jackson said.
an wraps up "For our seniors, this is
dule their last year. We want
nd hopes to get a Big Ten Cham-
erOhio pionship, and we feel
a four- like we have a great
streak. opportunity."
In addition to the con-
ference tournament, an invitation to
the NCAA tournament is a presti-
gious honor that Michigan has
earned the past four years.
But an above-.500 record in the

Big Ten seems to be a requirement
for selection, considering the Wolver-
ines' prior history. Over the past 12
years, Michigan has made the NCAA
tournament seven times - each time
with a winning record in the confer-
ence. Currently standing at 3-4 in the
Big Ten, the Wolverines must beat
Iowa this weekend to have a chance
at an above-.500 finish.
This weekend's match will also
bring an end to the careers of
Michigan's three seniors: Henry
Beam, Ben Cox and Greg Novak.
With Beam and Cox playing No. 1
and 2 singles, respectively, and
Novak taking the No. 5 spot, Michi-
gan coach Mark Mees knows their
presence on the team will certainly
be missed.
"They have been a huge part of our
lineup this year," Mees said. "It's
going to be tough to replace that
level of play. There certainly have
been times where all three of them
have come through in some big
matches for us."

"It was our first outdoor match of
the year, and I would say the weather
was a factor," sophomore Anthony
Jackson said. "We've played indoors
pretty much all winter, and it was an
advantage for Ohio State to play out-
side."
Because of this lack of experi-
ence, the Wolverines have been
practicing outside ever since their

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