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March 26, 2003 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-26

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Polo heads East to
duel with division

No luck for 'M' as Irish
take ninth straight meet

By Eric Ambinder
Daily Sports Writer

By Melanie Kebler
Daily Sports Writer

For Michigan water polo fans,
this upcoming weekend may be con-
fusing. The Wolverines will travel to
Pennsylvania for the second half of
the Southern Division Tournament,
a competition they also competed in
last weekend.
Wondering why
Michigan is in a "South- THIs I
ern" athletic division? Mi(
The Collegiate Water South
Polo Association is Cham
divided into Northern Wash
and Southern Divisions. Tme: 1C
Michigan is part of the p.m., 9:15
Allegheny Region, Noo
which, along with the
Mid-Atlantic Region,
falls under the Southern Division.
The Southern Division Tourna-
ment is a chance for the teams from
the Allegheny region to face each
other before the conference champi-
onships take place this April.
Seedings for the championship
are based on records from previous
regional play, and the winner
receives an automatic bid to the
Eastern Championship.
Other than the Southern Division
Tournament, Michigan usually
doesn't play the teams from the
Allegheny region, opting instead for
trips to California where the compe-
tition is tougher.
Coach Matt Anderson isn't too
concerned with the seemingly com-
plicated route to a division champi-
onship. For he and his team, this
weekend will be a chance to get
back into a rhythm and start prepar-
ing for the most important games of

the season.
"This weekend will allow us to
get our bearings back," Anderson
said.
The team has gone three weeks
without competing, except for an
exhibition match against Michigan
State last Friday.
"We've been getting healthy and

WEEKEND
chigan at
em Division'
mpionships,
hingon, Pa.
0:00 a.m., 4:15
p.m. Saturday,
n Sunday

(working on) condi-
tioning. Now we'll be
able to get our water
polo minds back on."
Anderson expects
Gannon to be the
toughest opponent this
weekend. He described
the team as "smaller
and very fast" and
added that they have
been steadily improv-

Way back in 1994, Forrest Gump
won the Academy Award for Best Pic-
ture, the Dallas Cowboys won the Super
Bowl and the Michigan's women's ten-
nis team beat Notre Dame - a feat the
Wolverines haven't achieved since.
For the ninth consecutive time, No.
27 Notre Dame (9-7 overall) defeated
No. 28 Michigan (2-1 Big Ten, 9-4) 5-
2, christening its brand new Courtney
Tennis Center on last night.
"It was a good match, very competi-
tive and hard fought," Michigan coach
Bitsy Ritt said. "We just came up a little
bit short."
The teams split the first two doubles
matches. Michelle Dacosta and Leanne
Rutherford played exceptional in their
8-2 victory at No. 1 doubles. But in the
deciding match, Notre Dame captured
the doubles point, defeating the Wolver-
ines 9-8 (7-3) at the No. 2 position.
Despite their third doubles loss in
four matches, the Wolverines played
extremely well against a Notre Dame
team that has an overall 8-7 singles
record but is 10-5 in doubles play.
"It was some of the best doubles that
we've played this season," Ritt said.
"We were just a few points away."
In singles play, Michigan's Kim
Plaushines won for the 10th time in her
past 11 matches at No. 4, beating the
Irish's Kristina Stastny 6-3, 6-3, and
sophomore Michelle DaCosta collected
a victory at the No. 1 position after her
opponent withdrew due to injury.
Although DaCosta and Plaushines reg-

istered Michigan's only two points on
the day, the other matches were decided
by tie-breakers.
Michigan's Leanne Rutherford lost
narrowly to Notre Dame's Katie Cunha
6-3, 7-6 (7-4) at No. 3 singles, and at
No. 5 singles, Joanne Musgrove lost in
a third set tie-breaker 3-6, 6-0, 7-6 to
Notre Dame's Sarah Jane Connelly.
"Joanne played a very good singles
match and played well at the end," Ritt
said. "It just didn't go her way today."
Ritt's teams have beaten the Irish
only four times in 17 tries, but she
believes this match was one of the hard-
est fought in recent years.
"The match was the most competi-
tive we've played them in the last sever-
al years," Ritt said. "We are gaining
ground on them. It was so close today."
Even though the Wolverines were
riding the momentum of a four-match
win streak and Notre Dame was playing
their fourth match in six days, Michi-
gan's loss didn't discourage the team.
"While it could look like a negative
on paper, our performance today was a
real positive," Ritt said. "It should give
us confidence going into this weekend."
The Wolverines are anxious to kick
off the back stretch of the Big Ten sea-
son this weekend, hosting Minnesota
and Iowa. They have won 12 consecu-
tive matches at the Varsity Tennis Cen-
ter dating back to last season.
"We're so excited about returning to
the Tennis Center," Ritt said. "We're
obviously disappointed to lose today,
but we recognize there are only a few
things to correct. We're going to bounce
back and get ready for Minnesota."

0

ing over the past few years.
"Gannon is expected to be in the
top eight at Easterns," he said.
"That's the (game) I'm most con-
cerned about. The other games, I
don't expect to have much trouble."
Michigan has had a history of
domination in the Southern Division
Tournament since the team's promo-
tion to varsity status in 2001. The
team is 8-0 in the last two competi-
tions, even though last year, it
played its intense rival Indiana
twice.
This year, however, injuries have
taken out many of Michigan's usual
starters. Of the injured players on
the team, Anderson said "they
haven't gotten any worse." Still, the
Wolverines already lost standout
freshman Megan Hausman earlier
this season to a finger injury, and
four more players will be sitting out
this weekend. Jo Antonsen also has

SETH LOWER/Daily
Coach Matt Anderson and the Michigan water polo team will gain a bit of exposure
to Southern Division foes this weekend in Pennsylvania.

a finger injury, and starters
Stephanie Rupp, Abbi Rowe and
Julie Nisbet are not healthy enough
to play either.
"I would rather give (the injured
players) an extra week to recover
than risk playing them when they
aren't 100 percent," Anderson said.
The team has been training hard
the past few weeks to prepare for its
trip to Pennsylvania. Anderson said
the team practiced extremely hard
because in the coming weeks it
won't have much time to condition
or practice.
"We're going to have a couple
three-day practice weeks - that's

why we've been going hard," he
said, also citing an emphasis on
physical training because of the
stress of upcoming finals.
"We've been doing a lot of swim-
ming, and I've cut back on the men-
tal aspect," he said "This allows the
ladies to do physical work and not
have to worry about learning plays."
The Wolverines will play three
games on Saturday, opening against
Slippery Rock and facing Gannon
and Washington and Jefferson later
that evening. Michigan will play
Washington and Jefferson a second
time on Sunday to finish up the
tournament.

Golfers finish in sixth
at Betsy Rawls Invite

By Anne Ulble
Daily Sports Writer

Finding greenery among the dusty
landscape of Texas, the Michigan
women's golf team teed it up for the
30th annual Betsy Rawls Longhorn
Invitational in Lakeway for a three-day
tournament against 12 nationally-
ranked teams from around the country.
"We had some great competition
this week," Michigan coach Kathy
Teichert said. "And we really proved
that we can stay up with the top teams
in the nation."
After the first day of the invitational,
Michigan was tied for sixth place with
Arkansas, but dropped a spot to UNLV
on the second day of the tournament.
The team regrouped for the final day
of the tournament and concluded the
three-day event in sixth place.
"We finished up in the middle of the
pack," Teichert said. "I think we could
have done better, we kept making little
errors that added up in the end. But I
was pleased with how all the girls per-
formed. I saw some good things from
all of them. We were a little shaky
through the tournament, but on the last
day we came together, and we worked
on some of our problems and started

looking pretty good."
Senior Kim Benedict was Michi-
gan's top finalist, finishing the tourna-
ment tied for 11th place. It was her
fourth straight top-20 finish.
"We were really hoping for a top-
four finish for Kim," Teichert said.
"But overall, I'm happy where she fin-
ished. Her tempo and timing are the
best I've seen over the past couple of
weeks, and I think it's a great preview
for the next couple of tournaments
coming up."
Following behind Benedict was
sophomore Laura Olin, who shot a 76
on the last day of the tournament to
secure a 20th-place finish.
"Laura really held in there during
her last round," Teichert said. "She
improved her score and led us to our
sixth-place overall finish."
With the Big Ten Championship,
approaching in less than a month, the
team has two important conference
tournaments against Indiana and Pur-
due to get itself fully prepared.
"We're going to try and get out on
the course and get some much-needed
practice time in," Teichert said. "But
these next two matches will be the best
chance for the girls to get fully pre-
pared for the Championships."

0
9

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