The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 17, 2003 - 7B
By Melanie Kebler
Daily Sports Writer
Just two years ago, the Michigan and Michigan
State water polo teams might have been consid-
ered equal competitors in the club sports arena.
But now Michigan coach Matt Anderson says it's
hard to get his team to concentrate before its annu-
al match against the Spartans.
"It's hard to get a team ranked 12th in the
nation to really focus on a game like this,"
Anderson said of his team. "To them, they figure
it's like a practice, and maybe they can try some
Since its inaugural varsity season in 2001,
Michigan has become a dominant force on the
East Coast and in the Midwest, and can afford to
take on a relaxed approach to exhibition matches
against teams like Michigan State, which is still a
But the Spartans don't have such luxuries. Even
though they are one of the nation's best club water
polo teams, the match against Michigan is one of
their biggest games of the season.
Don't think the Wolverines can't relate to their
opponent's situation, though. On Friday night, four
seniors who can trace their time on the team back
to when it was still a club sport were honored.
Stephanie Morse, Emily Pelino, Abbi Rowe and
Delia Sonda all understand the significance of the
opportunities provided to varsity athletes.
"Our big games as a club used to be against
State," Sonda said. "We weren't funded, and we
weren't as respected as we are now."
Each of the seniors expressed her appreciation
for the unique experience of participating in the
transition from club to varsity status.
"We know what it truly feels like to be a Michi-
gan athlete," Morse said. "We've been on the club
side, and we know what it means to have to pay for
everything. Now, it's such an honor for us to be
able to do this."
Netters romped by
tough Buckeye team
By Brad Johnson
Daily Sports Writer
Cheers echoed throughout the
Varsity Tennis Center on Saturday,
but the support was mostly in favor
of the visiting Buckeyes.
Ohio State brought with it a large
contingent of family members and
supporters from Columbus. The fact
that there was not much to cheer
about for the host Wolverines did
not help much either.
The Buckeyes (3-0 Big Ten, 12-4
overall) rolled over Michigan (0-1,
5-6) 7-0 yesterday, yielding only a
single set in the entire dual match.
Michigan coach Mark Mees
struggled to find any positives that
could come out of the defeat.
"Anytime you get pounded like
that - I was not happy," he said.
Ohio State stormed to the doubles
point, sweeping all three matches
right out of the gates.
"We've come out and played hor-
rible at number one and number
three (doubles)," Mees said. "One
of the problems is that we don't
have a lot of depth this year."
One of the few bright spots for
the Wolverines was the play of
sophomore Mike Rubin, who lost a
tough three-set match to Jeremy
Wurtzman, currently ranked 17th in
the country at No. 1 singles.
Rubin won the first set 6-3, but
dropped the next two in a hard-
fought match that saw Wurtzman
come alive in the final frame. The
Buckeyes' top player was able to
hone in on Rubin's serve as the
match progressed, helping him
climb back into the match after he
dropped the first set.
"In the first set-and-a-half, he
didn't see a break point," said Rubin
of Wurtzman. "As the match wore
on, I think (my serve) was one of
the things that let him take the first
strike, instead of keeping myself in
the neutral or the advantage."
Although impressed with Rubin's
effort, Mees felt as if the sophomore
could have ended the match in the
second set and avoided a third set
"Mike was up a set and a break,"
Mees said. "He has to be able to
close that out. When you get oppor-
tunities to step on someone and get
control, you have to take advantage
of it. If you don't, you're in for a
Rubin also viewed the second set
as a turning point in the match.
"I thought the second set was
pretty tight," he said. "Mentally,
when your opponent thinks there is
a possibility of losing (and is able to
stay alive), he breathes a sigh of
relief and gets a second wind. Once
he got up, I tried to take some more
chances and made more errors as a
Besides Rubin, sophomore David
Anving also played well in a com-
petitive match, losing 3-6, 6-7 (6) to
Ohio State's Conor Casey. Michigan
junior Anthony Jackson, who also
lost in straight sets, had some
incredibly long rallies with Vincent
Ng, currently No. 44 in the nation.
But once again, Michigan just could
not get it done in the end.
"We went through periods today
where we played good tennis. But
we just didn't win the big point,"
Mees said of his team's struggles
down the stretch.
Despite Saturday's tough loss, the
Wolverines remain confident in
their abilities. They will have to be
confident in order to succeed in the
tough Big Ten, which features the
current No. 1 team in the country,
"I think I've been playing pretty
good tennis," Rubin said. "I've had
some good wins this year. I think
the first two sets showed I could
beat a top 10 player in the country,
but at the same time, you have to
take advantage of opportunities."
Michigan sophomore Jineane Shibuya holds off Michigan State's defense on Friday night. Although the Spartans
are still only a club team, they hope to one day make the jump to varsity, as Michigan did in 2001.
Someday, the Spartans may also receive that
honor, Anderson hopes.
"Four years ago, Michigan did not have a varsity
Senior Night, and the hope is that four years from
now Michigan State will be able to have a varsity
Senior Night," he said. "So it is very important that
these girls from Michigan State understand that these
seniors went through the same things they did."
The Wolverines are not only role models for
other talented club teams looking to move up in
status, but they are also great competition, and
matches against them give teams a chance to
gauge their skills and find out what they need to
"(This game) is important for Michigan State, as
they're trying to win another club national cham-
pionship. This gives them a very good game to try
and see how far along they are during the season,"
Anderson said, adding that the match gives Michi-
gan State "the confidence that they can do some
things well against a very good team."
That doesn't mean the Wolverines go easy on
their rival opponents. Six different players scored
for Michigan on Friday, four of them more than
once, and the Wolverines nearly notched a shutout.
The Spartans slipped a goal past backup goalkeep-
er Jessica Falarski with 24 seconds left in the
game to bring the final score to 11-1, but before
that could not muster much offense against Michi-
gan's stifling defense.
"Our goal was to limit them as much as we
could to no shots," Anderson said. "I think their
first five times down they didn't get a shot. I'm
very happy with that."
Anderson was also happy with the fact that 21
players of the 28-person roster got playing time,
and that there were no large injuries suffered.
"(That match) is important for the seniors, is the
main thing," Anderson said. "Other than that, you
only play games like this for exhibitions, for sen-
ior nights, or things like that, and hope you don't
come away with an injury."
Lone senior steps up in loss to Nebraska
By Michael Nisson
Daily Sports Writer
The look on Janessa Grieco's face
said it all. At first glance, Grieco
appeared to be on cloud nine as she
stood in Crisler Arena being hon-
ored as the lone senior on the
Michigan women's gymnastics
team. But upon closer inspection, it
was evident that Grieco was not
"It was definitely an emotional
night," Grieco said. "All day I
couldn't believe it was happening
and every time someone gave me a
card, I'd start crying again, so you
know, it's bittersweet. It's nice to be
home and have all your fans here,
but it's kind of sad to know that it's
all coming to an end."
While Michigan narrowly lost to
No. 4 Nebraska (3-0 Big 12, 16-1
overall) 197.500-197.225, Grieco
gave fans something to cheer about,
tying for second on the balance
beam with a score of 9.875, placing
fifth ,on floor by scoring 9.925 and
also setting her career-high in the
all-around with a 39.475.
Michigan freshman Jenny Deiley
stole some of the show from
Grieco, winning the balance beam
and tying for first on vault. Like
Grieco, she also set her career high
in the all-around with a score of
39.675, which amazingly did not
net her the all-around title, but put
her second on the podium. Nebras-
ka's Michelle Simpson, one of the
top gymnasts in the country, put on
a show that included a perfect 10 on
the floor exercise en route to
snatching the all-around title right
from Deiley's hands.
"It was great," Deiley said. "I'm
finally getting really consistent (to
the point that) I can get 9.9s all the
Despite losing by a narrow mar-
gin, the Wolverines (2-1 Big Ten, 9-
6 overall) showed many reasons for
excitement. Michigan set its season-
high score for the second straight
week against a top-five opponent. In
addition, the Wolverines also
eclipsed their prior high score on
floor with a 49.575 that included
9.95's from both Deiley and juiir
Calli Ryals, who has been dealing
with the death of her grandfather.
What,:makes these season highs.
more impressive is the fact that the
Wolverines also made a few mis-
takes that showed that they could
have done even better.
"To come within three tenths of
Nebraska and having those couple
of miscues, I think (it) should give
our team a lot of confidence going
into the postseason that we're capa-
ble of beating these teams," Michi-
gan coach Bev Plocki said. "But we
have to pull it all together, and we
have to be at our very best."
Plocki was also quick to note that
even though the results may not
have come out like she desired, the
meet was a positive thing overall for
"We've lost to UCLA and w
lost to some other big teams, (such
as) Nebraska tonight, but those loss-
-es have all-been by pretty narr'v
margins," Plocki said. "We had
some areas (that have been lacking),
so I think that even the losses have
helped our confidence because
we've seen everybody. There are
very few teams at nationals that we
haven't seen and competed against.
I don't think that any of those teams
are out of our reach, and I think that
our kids feel that same way. That's a
very good feeling of confidence
heading into the postseason."
Senior Janessa Grieco paced Michigan In her final home meet Friday, setting a
personal career high In the all-around competition.
Injuries and judging hurt gymnasts in loss
By Nazeema Ali
Daily Sports Writer
On Saturday night, the Michigan men's gymnas-
tics team concluded its regular season with a meet
that was characteristic of a year cursed with misfor-
tunes that were out of Michigan's control. The
effects of injuries and questionable judging that
haunted the team all season were evident in its
221.20-214.35 loss at Ohio State.
"We did pretty well in spite of not winning,"
Michigan coach Kurt Golder said.
The seventh-ranked Wolverines (2-2 Big Ten, 8-
7 overall) earned their highest road score of the
season, but No. 3 Ohio State (5-2, 10-3), the 2001
NCAA champion and defending Big Ten titlehold-
er, took advantage of its position as host of this
Big Ten matchup.
"The judging in (Columbus) seems strange at
times," Golder said.
He felt the scoring for the Wolverines on the rings
was less consistent than it was for the Buckeyes.
"One judge would give us a high score and the
other one would give a very low score on the
same routine," Golder said. "The discrepancy in
opinions brought our average down on that event
Despite certain setbacks, many Michigan gym-
nasts came out with solid individual performances.
Senior Conan Parzuchowski has posted nationally-
competitive numbers on the still rings throughout
the season, and solidified his final regular season
meet by winning the event with a score of 9.70. He
has been an All-American on the event in the past,
and it is likely that he will repeat and could possibly
win the NCAA title according to Golder.
Freshman Justin Laury took second place in the
all-around competition with a personal-best score
of 54.20. He fell a mere .85 points behind Ohio
State senior Raj Bhavsar, the reigning Big Ten and
"I was happy with my floor routine and happy I
stayed on all the equipment," Laury said. "It feels
great to step up. It's just a great experience."
Laury has scored consistently among top finishers
in all-around competitions throughout the season,
and has taken on an integral role in carrying an
injury-plagued team that never attained its true com-
petitive potential during the regular season.
"Looking back on the season, there is nothing we
could have done to make ourselves better," Laury
said. "We had a lot of injuries, and we did every-
thing we could."
Freshman Luke Botkke is coming off his second
shoulder surgery, while Laury is still recovering
from surgery. Senior Scott Vetere grabbed third
place in the all-around in Columbus, although it was
only his first time competing on all six events since
he was reinserted in the lineup after a second shoul-
"We never seem to get a break this season,"
Golder said. "There's always stuff hindering us.
Right now, the guys have to remain optimistic. If
they can keep their spirit up, we have a good shot in
the Big Tens."
It appears that their loss to Ohio State is only
igniting the Wolverines' drive to win, and is
extending the life of the "spirit" Golder wants to
see from his team.
"We had a couple of rough events today, and we
have room for improvement," Laury said. "We need
to go into the gym for the last two weeks and get
ready for the Big Tens. I feel confident for myself
and my team. A lot of good things can happen if we
all come together for the Big Tens and NCAAs."
The Office of New Student Programs
is now recruiting
Fall and International
ONSP is looking for motivated undergraduate
students to help facilitate the Fall and
International Orientation Programs.
International leader duties will include running check-
in and registration, facilitating an informational
meeting, leading a walking tour, participating in
social activities, and assisting in class registration.
Fall leader duties will include running check-in,
leading a walking tour, and working the New Student
Pay: $65/day, $32.50/half-day (shifts vary).
Training: Thursday, August 21st
Program: August 22nd - August 26th
Training: Monday, August 25th
Program: August 26th - August 28th
Applications are available at 3511 Student Activities
The Department of Communication Studies
of the University of Michigan
presents a lecture by
Professor Javed Nazir
2002-2003 Howard R. Marsh
Visiting Professor of Journalism
Media and Fundamentalists