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March 31, 2003 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-31

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6B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 31, 2003

'M' weathers cold,
sweeps Wildcats

By Sharad Mattu
Daily Sports Writer
After 17 grueling innings of soft-
ball, Michigan's Grace Leutele had
one thought: "Let's get out of the
But the Wolverines weren't just
happy to warm up - they were also
thrilled to escape with a pair of
extra-inning wins over Northwestern.
In the second game, the two
starters, Nicole Motycka for Michi-
gan and Brie Brown for Northwest-
ern, matched each other out-for-out
until the seventh inning.
But in the end, Michigan's Maris-
sa Young single handedly finished
off the Wildcats in the eighth inning
- first with her bat, and then with
her arm.
With two outs in the eighth
inning, Young lined a singled to left
field, driving in two and giving
Michigan a 3-1 lead.
Young took that lead to the
mound, and after left fielder Melin-
da Moulden provided the team a
reason to laugh when she tripped
going after a routine fly ball, the
hurler struck out the side to wrap
up the sweep.
Young also got Michigan out of a
jam in the bottom of the seventh
inning. With runners on first and
second and no outs, Young retired
the next three batters to end the
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins
was pleased to see Young bounce
back from a tough weekend on the
mound and close the game out
strong. Young, now 11-1, suffered
her first loss on Friday against Illi-
nois and allowed four runs (2
earned) in seven and a third innings
in the first game yesterday before
Motycka relieved her.
"I thought her presence when she
came back in was excellent,"
Hutchins said. "She just seemed to
have a little swagger that she lacked
split two
games with
Illinois to
start the
losing 4-0
on Friday
before a 4,

for a good portion of the first
Young was happy to get another
chance on the mound.
"I was just determined not to let
them come back and get in the
game," Young said.
"Nicole came and bailed me out
in the game before, so it was my
turn to return the favor."
Young was the hero in the first
game as well. She led off the ninth
inning with a solo homerun to cen-
terfield, giving Michigan a thrilling
6-5 win.
In both the sixth and eighth
innings, Michigan was behind and
relied on timely hitting to extend
the game.
With one out in the sixth and the
Wolverines down 3-2, Jessica Mer-
chant was hit by a pitch and moved
to second on Leutele's sacrifice
bunt. Courtney Bentley and Tiffany
Haas followed with singles to tie the
Michigan found itself behind 5-3
in the eighth inning, but struck back
immediately. After a single down the
right field line by Merchant, Leutele
got a chance to hit and made the
most of it, smacking a homer to tie
the score.
Yesterday's doubleheader sweep
completed a 3-1 weekend for the
Wolverines. Michigan split two
games with Illinois, losing its home
opener 4-0 on Friday before bounc-
ing back with a 12-4 win Saturday.
Tomorrow, Michigan visits Kala-
mazoo for a pair of games against
Western Michigan.
Hutchins hopes to see the same
resiliency from her players through-
out the season.
"You can't let anything that does-
n't go your way affect you, and we
did a great job of that," Hutchins
"Our intensity, our enthusiasm;
they really had it. I'm just really
pleased. That was a great series."



Michigan didn't do much hitting yesterday, but the Wolverines did enough to take two games from Northwestern at Alumni Field.

Young and old lead Wolverines' charge

By Megan Kolodgy
Daily Sports Writer

This weekend brought several
milestones for Michigan's softball
team. It marked the Wolverines'
home opener at Alumni Field, their
first opportunity for Big Ten action
and the chance to up its record to
Accompanying these team land-
marks were personal victories for
two Wolverines at very different
places in their careers.
In the eighth inning of the first
game of yesterday's doubleheader
against Northwestern, freshman
Grace Leutele sailed the ball over
the fence, knocking in both herself
and Jessica Merchant and putting
Michigan neck-and-neck with the
Wildcats, 5-5.
A game-tying homerun in extra
innings would be an impressive
feat that would most likely leave
any player with a feeling of
For Leutele, however, it was an
experience that will remain etched
in her mind for days to come. It is
not everyday, after all, that a player
hits the first homerun of her col-

lege career in this situation.
"I was just excited that I actually
got to hit instead of bunt," Leutele
Her hit was off Northwestern's
Courtnay Foster, a pitcher whom
she competed against in high
school, and with whom she
remains friends.
"Being up against her was excit-
ing, and it helped knowing what to
expect," she said.
Leutele's hit inspired confidence
from Michigan coach Carol
"(It was) fabulous," Hutchins
said. "She did what we hoped she
would do."
The freshman's homer was fol-
lowed by yet another homerun
from senior Marissa Young in the
bottom of the ninth inning. This
clutch play allowed the Wolverines
to pull ahead, with a score of 6-5,
and gave the team a boost of confi-
dence going into the second game.
But the intrepid Young was not
finished for the day. Not by a long
shot. Though she did not pitch dur-
ing the second game, she held her
own in the field until pitcher
Nicole Motycka, weary from

throwing for 8.2 consecutive
innings, needed a rest.
'Young stepped up to the mound
with a look of self-assurance that
was unfamiliar from the weekend's
earlier competition.
She quickly wrapped up the
remaining innings, permiting no
Wildcat to cross home plate, set-
ting the stage for Michigan to take
the lead.
"She had that attitude that's her
trademark," Hutchins said.
Through this, Young facilitated
this endeavor. In the eighth, she
executed it, bringing in two run-
ners and leading Michigan to its 3-
1 victory.
"I went up there really relaxed,
and hit off the energy of my team-
mates," Young said.
The senior also brought her sea-
son pitching record to 11-1.
Leutele looks to Young for inspi-
ration and leadership.
"Well, she keeps up the intensity
for the whole team," Leutele said.
"She makes you want to bring it
every time, because she never lets
down. She's just somebody you
have to admire."
The victories that these atheletes

contributed to so significantly
helped get the Wolverines off on
the right foot as far as Big Ten play
is concerned.
"We don't want to lose any of
our Big Ten games," Leutele said.
"One of our goals is to tear it up in
the Big Ten."
Michigan 3, Northwestern 1

M nih (190)
Player AB R H BI
Haas 2b 4 21 0
Doe cf 3 1 1 0
Moulden If 2 0 0 1
Schackc 4 02 0
Young lb/p 4 0 2 2
Motycka p/dp 3 0 0 0
Merchant ss 2 0 0 0
Leutele 3b 2 0 0 0
Betsey rf 3 00 0
Total 27 3 63

No tnwstemn(1710)
Player AB R H SI
Nakabayashi if 4 1 2 0
Mobley rf 2 0 1 0
Leto 2b 3 00 0
Dotsonlb 4 02 1
Muran 3b 4 0 10
Schwendimann2 0 0 0
Kirac 2000
Crane ss 3 0 0 0
Wellnitz cf 2 0 0 0
Pettinger ph 1 0 0 0
Total 27 1 6 1


LOB - Michigan 6; Northwestern 7; E - Michigan 1:
Kira 25- Haas; Mobley
Michigan 000 001 02 3 6 0
Northwestern 000 001 00 1 6 1


6.0 5 1 1 2 3
2.0 1 0 0 0 3
6.2 4 1 1 2 1
1.1 2 2 0 0 0

At -Alumni Field
Attendance - 503 Time - 2:09

Tennis we
By Eric Ambinder
Daily Sports Writer
Saturday's match against Min-
nesota (3-1 Big Ten, 10-5 overall)
and yesterday's match against Iowa
(1-3, 5-11) proved to be two of the
most dramatic contests of the season
for the Michigan women's tennis
team (3-2, 10-5), with both decided
by incredible late-game comebacks.
Just ask any member of Michi-
gan's squad, and she will tell you
the most difficult game to win in
tennis is the final one.
Trailing 3-1 to Minnesota on Sat-
urday, Michigan battled back with
incredible come-from-behind victo-
ries by Leanne Rutherford and
Chrissie Nolan to even up the score
3-3. In the deciding match, Michi-
gan's Kim Plaushines held a com-
manding 5-1 third-set lead over
Minnesota's Michaela Havelkova.
"It was a see-saw match," Min-

ekend h1ghlghted b
nesota coach Tyler Thomson said. the fourth time this season.
"Whoever was ahead had difficul- "I'm really pleased that we swept
ties protecting the lead. In the third doubles. I thought the improvement
set, I told Michaela to relish the from yesterday was impressive,"
opportunity to be the spoiler." Ritt said. "We communicated well
Shocking the crowd at the Varsity on the court, and our execution was
Tennis Center, Havelkova reeled off much improved."
six consecutive games, winning the Michigan's Michelle DaCosta
final set 7-5 and the match for the crushed Iowa's Cassie Haas 6-2, 6-1
Golden Gophers 4-3. The win io pad the Wolverine lead, 2-0. But
snapped Michigan's 12-match win- Iowa battled back, posting wins at
ning streak at the Varsity Tennis the No. 2 and No. 3 singles posi-
Center. tions to even the match at 2-2. The
"I thought we fought hard," said Big Ten Athlete of the Week for
Michigan coach Bitsy Ritt. "We had women's tennis, Leanne Rutherford,
some opportunities in several match- fought off five set points in the sec-
es, and we weren't able to take ond set to win her match 6-2, 7-6
advantage. We just have to forget (9-7) over Iowa's Gloria Okino, giv-
this match and think about Iowa." ing Michigan a 3-2 advantage.
Yesterday, the Wolverines looked "I really didn't want to go to a
to rebound against an Iowa team third set," Rutherford said. "I just
that had beaten them the past three made it happen."
seasons. After Rutherford completed her
The Wolverines jumped ahead 1- second brilliant comeback of the
0, sweeping the doubles matches for weekend, the Wolverines needed just

one of the remaining two matches to
earn their 10th victory of the sea-
son. Once again, the entire match
appeared to rest on Plaushine's
shoulders as she was deadlocked in
a third setter with Iowa's Chelsea
Glynn, but Jen Duprez's comeback
victory over Iowa's Jennifer Hodg-
man saved the day for the Wolver-
ines, as she clinched the 4-3
nail-biter for the Wolverines.
Following a convincing 6-1 first
set, Duprez found herself in a third
set hole trailing 5-4.
"I thought I played well in the
first set, and then she stepped up
her level of play in the second and
third sets," Duprez said of her oppo-
nent. "She was pushing me around a
lot, and I just knew I couldn't let
that continue. Then I became more
Like Saturday's contest, the player
who was one game away from
defeat rallied to win the match for
her team - this time the outcome
favored Michigan.
"I think it would have been diffi-
cult for us to lose two close matches
in a row," coach Ritt said. "We put
our heart and soul into the match on
every court today."

Continued from Page1B6
didn't get you into the finals. The
field improved significantly, and it
was a really tough meet."
Michigan ended the year with a
run at the NCAA Championship. For
the seniors, the NCAA Champi-
onship was their last hurrah as a
"Hopwood has been our number
one breaststroker for all five years,"
Urbanchek said.
Unbanchek also took time to

reflect on his seniors' performances
throughout theircareer.
"Mangieri was the backbone of
our relays. Every relay for the past
four years had Mangieri on it. Also,
Drake's 1,650-yard performance was
great. Justin (Drake) was one of the
most surprising swimmers we had
over the years. He was just a walk-
on, and nobody thought he was going
to place in the NCAA. However,
within two years he has made NCAA
cuts and placed. That's just one of the
joys of coaching, and they are all
good solid swimmers."


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Senior Jeff Hopwood took 12th place overall in the 200-yard breaststroke, posting
the third best score of his career at 1:56.80.

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