Road woes for
By Melanie Kebler
For the Daily
The last Big Ten road trip of the season was a disap-
pointing one for the Michigan volleyball team, as it
dropped two decisions to Purdue and Illinois. Streaky
play and an inability to control errors led to the team's 3-
2 loss to the Boilermakers on Friday and a 3-0 sweep by
the Illini on Saturday.
Despite season-best performances from several play-
ers, the Wolverines weren't able to play with enough con-
sistency on the road to top their opponents, and now face
a tough must-win situation in their final week of confer-
ence play if they are to reach their goal of qualifying for
the NCAA Tournament.
"It was a disappointing weekend, there's no question,"
Michigan coach Mark Rosen said. "It was disappointing
for us from a standpoint that our expectations were a lot
higher, and it was disappointing because it all but elimi-
nates us from NCAA possibilities. The problem was that
we were very inconsistent this weekend."
Saturday's loss to Illinois capped the unsatisfactory
road trip for the Wolverines. The team jumped out to a 7-
0 lead in the first game but couldn't hold on to win, drop-
ping the contest 30-21. Michigan kept it close in the next
two games, but more mistakes - 29 errors and a .162
hitting percentage - allowed the Illini to notch the
sweep, taking the last two games 30-28 and 30-25,
"Saturday was difficult because of the emotions of
Friday," Rosen said. "We have to be able to handle the
pressure of the match and the situations of the match
and not be able to create a lot of free points for the
Inconsistency was what hurt Michigan the most Fri-
day when it battled the Boilermakers in a grueling five-
game match. The Wolverines dominated the first game,
30-17, tallying 21 kills to Purdue's 11. They then
dropped the next game, 36-34. It was the longest game
Michigan has ever played under the two-year-old rally
"We came out against Purdue in game one and just
played absolutely phenomenal," Rosen said. "We took it
to them and won that game 30-17 and played great. And
then we just kind of shut down and made a lot of errors
and got ourselves in trouble.
"We came back in game three and did a great job
again. We thought, 'OK we're back in control.' Then we
just went on another spree of errors and the next thing
you know we end up losing that match."
Despite holding a 2-1 game lead going into the fourth
game, Michigan had a hitting percentage of zero in the last
"We have a tendency sometimes to play at the level of
the team we're playing," senior middle blocker Katrina
'M' gives Lehigi
Michigan's Katrina Lehman was unable to save her team on
its final Big Ten road trip, as the Wolverines went 0-2.
Lehman said. "We play down to the level that other teams
play, and then we just get caught off guard, and we're just
very erratic on the road."
The Wolverines have won only twice on the road this
season, against Iowa and Michigan State, and have only
lost once at home, against No. 6 Minnesota.
"Purdue and Illinois are both two teams that we killed
at home, but on the road, it just is a different story,"
Pressure, lack of focus, overconfidence and even
under-confidence are some of the factors that may have
contributed to the sub-par road performance Rosen said.
Still, for Lehman, last weekend's performance brings
on a new sense of urgency. There are only two regular
season games left, and the senior doesn't want them to
be her last.
"This was such bad weekend, we have nothing to do but
improve," the three-year letter winner said. "This is it. If we
don't win these games, we won't go to the NCAA Tourna-
ment. That's our goal, to make the tournament. There's a big
sense of urgency. We have to win these games."
Michigan faces Wisconsin this Friday and Northwest-
ern on Saturday in the final two games of the season.
The Wolverines lost to both teams on the road earlier
i a loss in final
meet ever at historic Grace Hall
By Eric Chan
Daily Sports Writer
4. the Bst1SelctIOo(Jt U og i
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - It was fitting
that the final match ever in one of col-
lege wrestling's most historic venues
was the most anticipated matchup of
the dual meet. A capacity crowd of
2,676 roared and stomped its feet at
Lehigh's Grace Hall, nicknamed the
"snakepit," as Lehigh's Jon Trenge -
No. 1 nationally at 197-pounds -
stepped on to the mat against Michi-
gan's Kyle Smith (ranked fifth at 197).
"I wish that the University of Michi-
gan had a crowd like this for all of its
meets," Smith said. "It was tough to
wrestle against, but you just try to
block it out."
The Lehigh fans were hoping and
expecting their star, Trenge, to send their
classic arena out on a good note. As the
clock ran down to zero, however, there
was just stunned silence. Smith upset
top-ranked Trenge, and No. 5 Michigan
defeated No. 7 Lehigh, 26-12.
"I'm just going to take it one match
at a time," Smith said. "It's our first
match of the year. No one ever remem-
bers the beginning of the season, it's
always the end."
It's the postseason that counts, but
one can rest assured that Lehigh fans
will remember this match.
Throughout the bout the favored
Trenge was able to get behind Smith
with his ankle trip, but he couldn't fin-
ish to score the takedown. In the first
period, Trenge put double underhooks
on Smith, and tripped him straight to
his back. Smith rolled over and popped
right back to his feet and the score
stayed at 0-0. Smith started down in
the final period with the score 2-2 after
a Trenge reversal in the second period
and two escapes by Smith. Chants of
"Let's go Blue" becane cheers from
the Michigan section when Smith
scored two points on a reversal to take
a 4-2 lead. Smith scored another take-
down in the final minute of the match
to secure the 6-4 upset over Trenge.
For Smith, the success was a sur-
prise as he struggled the week before.
"It was his first time competing last
week (at the intrasquad against Chase
Verdoorn), and he was having some trou-
ble keeping his weight down," Michigan
coach Joe McFarland said. "I think he
looked in better control of himself. He
did a good job preparing for this match."
The dual meet started at the heavy-
weight weight class with Michigan's
Greg Wagner squaring off in his varsi-
ty debut against Lehigh's Joe Sahl.
Wagner overpowered Sahl to score two
takedowns en route to a 5-1 victory.
"I was happy the way we got off,
especially with that crowd," McFarland
said. "I was hoping that if we got that
match at heavyweight that it would get
us off on the right foot, and it did."
After A.J. Grant scored a major
decision over Lehigh's 2001 All-
American Mario Stuart at 125
pounds and Michigan's Foley Dowd
topped redshirt freshman Cory
Cooperman, Michigan held a 10-0
lead. After wins by Clark Forward,
Jeremiah Tobias and All-American
Ryan Bertin, Michigan held a com-
manding 23-0 lead.
In the 165-pound match, Michigan's
Pat Owen squared off against one of
the most highly touted recruits in the
country in Lehigh's Troy Letters. After
the two wrestlers shook hands, Owen
threw Letters with a head and arm to
put Letters on the mat. It appeared that
Owen had control, but he was not
awarded near fall points or even a take-
down. McFarland didn't like the call as
he, along with Michigan assistant
coach Tony Robie, voiced their dismay
to the officials. Letters went on to beat
Owen 5-2 on the strength of a take-
down and near fall points.
Redshirt freshman R.J. Boudro,
Michigan's 174-pounder, was hoping
to make a successful varsity debut
against Lehigh's Brad Dillon. With
the score knotted at 0-0 in the second
period, Dillon shot a single leg and
Boudro countered by grabbing on to
Dillon's leg. Boudro held on to the
leg as Dillon lifted him over his
back. The ref slapped the mat, call-
ing the pin, as Boudro looked up in
confusion - he had been caught
with his shoulder blades hitting the
mat on the countermove.
After Michigan's Willie Breyer fell
to Travis Frick, Lehigh had won three
matches in a row, and it appeared to
give Trenge some momentum.
"Winning that first match was huge,
and everything else just fell into
place," McFarland said. "We kept the
crowd out of it, and then (Lehigh) won
some matches and the crowd was get-
ting loud again, and then Kyle came
out and put a capper on it for us."
Grace Hall played host to the NCAA
Tournament in 1948 and 1951, and is
known for its extremely loud and hos-
tile environment. It has been rumored
that sound levels in Grace Hall reached
150 decibels - the same amount of
noise a jet engine makes when it takes
off. The arena is set to undergo a reno-
vation that will add a new lobby, VI.P.
suites, and a state of the art press box.
"It was an honor for us to come into
Grace Hall and wrestle the last match,"
I A look at the
underside of U ofMI
I- ..am ,I U - i I