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March 28, 2003 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-28

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Friday
March 2, 2003
michigandaily.com
sportsdesk@umich.edu

OReTSiCbgan jaiv

8

Bears 'surprised'
to play at Yost

Iowa presents early
challenge for Blue

By Waldemar Centeno
Daily Sports Writer

By Dan Rosen
Daily Sports Writer

With loyal fans that could fill any
arena close to home and a No. 6 spot
in the Pairwise Rankings, the Uni-
versity of Maine hockey team didn't
expect to be at Yost Ice Arena in the
Midwest regional. When the Black
Bears sat down to watch the selec-
tion show last Sunday, they thought
they'd be headed to one of the two
regional sites in the Northeast -
Providence, R.I. or Worcester, Mass.
- someplace closer to home.

Ohio State and then Ferris State and
the whole league championship,"
Michigan coach Red Berenson said.
"I think that was good for our team,
but (the Black Bears) have had one
thing on their mind, (and that) is
that (game) when they get to the
tournament. This is what they're
preparing for."
Maine is led by Martin Kariya,
who has 14-35-49 totals on the sea-
son. The younger brother of Ana-
heim Mighty Ducks' all-star Paul
Kariya was also named to the Hock-
ey East's All-Conference first team.

"We were a little sur-
prised," said Maine
coach Tim Whitehead
of his team's reaction to
the news that they
would play Michigan in
Ann Arbor.
The Black Bears
have themselves to
blame for that, though.
Once the No. 1 team in
the country, Maine has
dropped seven of its last

TOMORROW
Michigan vs.
Maine
Time: 3 p.m.
Yost Ice Arena.
Fox Sports Detroit

"He's. as fierce a com-
petitor as you're going
to find, and yet he only
has three penalties all
year," Whitehead said of
Kariya. "He won the
sportsmanship award in
our league, and it's
amazing, he could have
won the competitor of
the year. That's how
remarkable of a player,

"Here it is," first-year Michigan base-
ball coach Rich Maloney said. "Here's
the moment."
For the Michigan baseball team, the
Big Ten season will begin today in Iowa
City. Coming off an exciting win
against Central Michigan, the Wolver-
ines' (8-9) adrenaline is pumping for
their series against Iowa (6-6).
"The guys are excited to get into con-
ference play," Maloney said. "We've
geared ourselves to be ready for this
moment by using the first 17 games to
really find ourselves. We thought that
the first 17 games would be kind of a
barometer to see where we stand."
The Wolverines will see exactly
where they are right now against a chal-
lenging opponent in Iowa starting today
through Sunday.
The Hawkeyes have won five of their
last seven games and are on a roll. But
the Wolverines lead the all-time series
against Iowa (80-35) and were the win-
ners of three-of-four games in Ann
Arbor last year.
"Playing in (Iowa's) ballpark is going
to be difficult," Maloney said. "However,
on the same token, we fully expect to go
down there and play well. We've played a
pretty solid schedule up to this point, and
we are excited to go into these games."
Leaving all history aside, a confident

Michigan ball club believes it has a
chance to sweep the Hawkeyes.
"I can bet that when Iowa saw Michi-
gan on its schedule, it put us as a series
sweep, and we obviously said the same
thing," Maloney said. "Winning the
series is the most important thing going
into conference weekends. But the irony
is that both teams are in that same mode.
That's the great thing about baseball,
something is going to have to give."
Michigan's enthusiasm comes from
its 15-6 triumph over Central Michigan.
Both senior third baseman Brock
Koman and redshirt freshman catcher
Jeff Kunkel gathered three hits and
drove in three runs in the opening game
at the Fish.
"Koman is one of the best hitters I
have ever coached, and I have coached
some pretty good ones," Maloney said.
"Koman had an outstanding game and
hit all five balls hard. He could have
easily gone five-for-five. If there's a bet-
ter hitter in our league, then I hope we
don't have to face him."
Kunkel was a critical replacement for
the typical starting junior catcher Jake
Fox, who felt ill before the game against
Central Michigan.
"Kunkel came in and gave us a big
lift," Maloney said. "Fox was sick, so he
wasn't in the game. But, it worked out
well for us. Kunkel did a wonderful job
by hitting a triple, and he was stellar
throughout the game."

9
0

12 games.

That stretch includes a first-round
sweep out of the Hockey East Tour-
nament by Massachusetts.
"I think we got a little tired, men-
tally and physically," Whitehead
said. "I've seen that before, and it's a
fine line. We still played some very
good hockey at some points during
that stretch in February there, that
last month of the season where we
slumped. Overall, we did not play
our best hockey, and we know that."
But that was almost three weeks
ago, and Maine hasn't played since.
"They've had nothing to think
about except this game; whereas
we've had our plates full, just with

in my opinion, he is."
Whitehead also compared Kariya
to Michigan captain Jed Ortmeyer,
in that their positive approach to the
game inspires their teammates.
Between the pipes, the Black
Bears split time between freshman
Jim Howard and sophomore Frank
Doyle.
Howard was a teammate of
Michigan starter Al Montoya last
season with the U.S. National Team
Development Program. The two
even roomed together on the road.
"He's a great guy," Montoya said.
"He's very competitive in every-
thing he does. He always wants to
do it to his best potential. He's just a

TONY DING/Daily
Freshman Danny Richmond will have his hands full against Maine's Martin Kariya
tomorrow in the second game of the NCAA Midwest regional.

Tumblers face tough
competition at BTT

great guy all around. We're friends
off the ice."
Although the two haven't had a
chance to catch up directly yet this
season, Montoya said that he often
gets updates about Howard's play

No. 2 MAINE VS.
What the Black Bears bring to Yost Ice Arena: They bring a
Kariya. No, not that one. But Martin is just as dangerous as his older
brothers (49 points in 38 gamesplayed).
Berenson's take on Maine: "I consider Maine the No. 4 team (in the
nation) ... They were 20-2 at Christmas, so this is a pretty good team. I
was voting Colorado College No.l, Maine No. 2 (for the early part of the
season). If you look at the poll at Christmas ... that's their potential."
Opposing coaches' views on Maine: "Maine plays at a high tempo
and is an excellent transition team from defense to offense. This creates
problems for teams. I say it is a 60-minute track meet. They keep coming
and are always pushing the play ... Offensively, they attack with four men
and will throw pucks to the net-creating traffic and loose puck situations.
They are also deep and can play four lines ... Their recent struggles have
come from inconsistent goaltending. If this area improves, they will be a
dangerous team ... Will the three weeks off, from games, help or hurt? I
think it will help."

No. 3 MICHIGAN
What the Wolverines bring to Yost Ice Arena: Basically, they'll
bring the same stuff that they've had all season at home (a.k.a. very
good hockey - minus one game against Michigan State). There's a lot
of tradition in this playoff series - starting with Maine's three-overtime
win in the national semifinals in 1995 - so expect senior captains Jed
Ortneyer and John Shouneyia to have this young team more than ready
for the game.
Berenson's take on Michigan: "I don't think (the 0-3 record against
Maine in the postseason) is a big part of the motivation against Maine
- I think it's part of the respect. We've had good games with them...
it's a good matchup, really ... but I can't tell you that (the past) is the
focus of our team."
Maine coach Tim Whitehead on Michigan: "We know the atmos-
phere is tremendous at Michigan, and we. know they're a great team, and
so it's going to be a great experience for us. And we know we have our
hands full, and we're ready to go."

from their old goalie coach with
Team USA.
On the ice, Howard has struggled
a bit of late. In the losses to Massa-
chusetts, the freshman gave up six
goals in 40 minutes of play and was
pulled from both games.
Howard has been solid on the
year, though, posting a 2.45 goals-
against average and a 14-6-0
record..
"He's a very positive kid, very
easy-going," Whitehead said. "He
doesn't get flustered. He's just very
composed, very poised in the net.
Many times, with scrambles around
the (goal), he seems like the
calmest guy on the ice. That's a
pretty good trait for your goalie,
you know."
But as far as playing his former
teammate goes, Montoya has other
things on his mind.
"That'll be something special, but
I'm looking more forward to the
actual game," Montoya said. "I try
not to think about it at all much dur-
ing the week, I don't want to be
mentally drained or anything. But
god, this is the reason you come to
Michigan, is to play in games like
this."

The brutal nature of gymnastics does
not appear on the parallel bars or pom-
mel horse, but rather in the seats of the
judge's table. It's the judge's discretion
which controls who will be a champion.
"Judges determine the outcome, not
the athletes' performance," Michigan
coach Kurt Golder said. "Our sport is
judged subjectively. Regardless of indi-
vidual performance, somebody else is
going to determine the victor."
The men's gymnastics team will be
competing at the Big Ten Championship
in Columbus this weekend - a tourna-
ment that has traditionally been fruitful
for the Maize and Blue.
"But at Big Ten's it's real fair," Golder
said of the judging.
He emphasized that Columbus will be
neutral ground, as each representative
state will bring two judges.
"Ohio State will just have the crowd
advantage."
Amassing 14 Big Ten championships
in the program's history, the Wolverines
won back-to-back Big Ten titles in 1999
and 2000 and finished as runner-up the

By Kevin Maratea
Daily Sports Writer

last two seasons. The No.6Wolverines
(8-7 overall) are ultimately looking to
prepare for the upcoming NCAAs with
a strong performance this weekend. The
Big Ten is loaded with talent, as all six
of the competing schools are ranked
nationally in the top 10: Penn State (No.
2), Ohio State (No. 3), Illinois (No. 5),
Minnesota (No. 7) and Iowa (No. 8).
"A finish in the top three would be
very good," Golder said. "We're not at
full strength, so I don't know if we can
win it or not. But we do have seven indi-
vidual champions in the lineup, which
no other team can equal."
The Wolverines have not been at full
strength much this season, but the return
of senior Kris Zimmerman should
enhance the team's chances.
"Adding a former national and Big
Ten champion on the parallel bars back
into the lineup should be a big boost to
our team," Golder said.
Zimmerman is returning to the lineup
after competing in just two meets due to
nagging back problems. He will be lim-
ited to competing in just three of the six
events. In addition to the parallel bars,
he is expected to participate in the vault
and horizontal bar.

Game-breakers

Game-breakers

Semior forward
Martin Kariya
38 Games played
14 goals, 4 GWG
35 assists

Freshman goaltender
Jim Howard
14-6-0
47 goals allowed
3 shutouts, 91.6 save pct.

Senior forward
Jed Ortmeyer
33 Games played
16 goals, 1 GWG
16 assists

Freshman goaltender
Al Montoya
28-9-3
92 goals allowed
4 shutouts, 91.0 save pct.

PREDICTION: MICHIGAN 4-3 (OT) - ENDING MAINE'S PERFECT RECORD AGAINST MICHIGAN IN THE POSTSEASON.

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Weather can't hamper home opener for 'M'

By Daniel Bremmer
Daily Sports Writer

all about what we do."
What the Wolverines do will be
important to a team that will play its

forced the team to practice indoors
over the past few weeks, with its first
real practice on Alumni Field not com-

For Michigan softball coach Carol
Hutchins, this weekend's start of the
Big Ten season will mean her team
will face some of the strongest compe-
tition it has seen to date. But Hutchins
is worried less about how her oppo-
nents will come out and play and more
with how her own team will get out of
the gate.
"We're all about Michigan,"
Hutchins said. "We'll take a look at a
couple of (scouting reports) we get
from our scouts, but in general, we're

first home games of the
season at Alumni Field
this weekend - squar-
ing off against Illinois
today and tomorrow
before taking on North-
western on Sunday.
While home field
advantage would usually
come into play at this
point in the season, the
softball team will have no

THIS WEEKEND
Michigan vs.
Illinois
Time: 3 p.m. today,
1 p.m. tomorrow
Alumni Field

ing until yesterday.
Making things even
tougher for the No. 15
Wolverines (16-6), their
opponents are both play-
ing well as of late. The
Fighting Illini (19-5) have
won nine of their last 10
games and received votes
in the most recent top 25
poll. Meanwhile, the No.
24 Wildcats (17-6) are

"The difference is the intensity that
goes with the competition," Hutchins
said of the conference season. "We have
nothing but top notch teams coming in
to play us. There's something at stake
(now). In the preseason and exhibition
games, there's not as much at stake.
"Our kids need to keep in mind that
nothing's changed, except possibly the
importance that they put on the games.
It's my job as a coach to keep them
one-game focused and not worrying
about anything else."
In its last outing on Tuesday, Michi-
gan split games with Bowling Green.
While the loss to the Falcons (9-14-1)
may have been cause for concern,
Hutchins was pleased with how her
team looked.
"I thought we played great softball
in the doubleheader," Hutchins said.
"We didn't happen to win one of the
games, but we really did play well."

such luck today. Poor weather has

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coming off a 4-0 week and have
defeated four top-25 teams already this
season, including a victory over pre-
season No. 1 California.
Hutchins hopes that her team's com-
petitive non-conference schedule will
prepare it for the tougher Big Ten
stretch.

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