The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 11A
Gandolph proves herself
as the Lord of the Court
Kevin Robinson and the rest of the Wolverines were finally able to celebrate a win over Michigan State over the weekend.
Burns Blue happy to finally
have Bg Bear '1n custody
By Eric Ambinder
Daily Sports Writer
It happened four matches shy of her 1,000th
After 71 matches as a starter on the Michi-
gan volleyball team, junior Jen-
nifer Gandolph finally felt like ~
she fit in.
Playing against Penn State, THSW
Gandolph recorded a career-high Mig
29 kills, and only then realized
her place as a floor leader. T
Though her team lost, it was a 7 .:.S
positive step for Gandolph. CliffKeen
"This year against Penn State
was really the first time I felt
older, felt like a leader," Gandolph said. "I
hadn't felt that way before. I really felt like I
found my role on the team."
Two weeks later, Gandolph became only the
eighth woman in Michigan volleyball history
to record 1,000 kills in a career.
"I'm not a big stats person," Gandolph said.
"It's something that I kind of wondered about
after my sophomore year.
"Playing from day one as a freshman, I
would have hoped to get there. That means
that I am doing my job."
Gandolph does her job every match; she is
one of the most consistent players on the
team. This season, she has recorded 10 or
more kills in all but three matches.
"She's become more consistent each year
and this year has been the most mature and
most consistent one yet," coach Mark Rosen
said. "This year she has really stepped into a
role and has become a go-to player."
It was fitting that her realization of becom-
ing a "go-to" player would occur against the
same team she had hoped to play for as a
"Penn State had always been kind of a
dream for me," Gandolph said. "But when I
was actually visiting there, it wasn't right for
me and it was really far from home.
"I wanted my family to be able to see me
play a lot."
Gandolph said that Michigan was a much
better fit for her because of her teammates
and the new coaches, Mark and Leisa Rosen.
Coaches have played an integral part in her
development as a player.
After middle school ended each day, Gan-
dolph would walk to the local high school and
watch her mother coach junior varsity volley-
ball. Then, in the winter of seventh grade,
Gandolph began to develop a love of volley-
ball because of the coaching she received on
her club team.
"I wasn't very good at all, but my coach
saw potential in me," said Gandolph about her
early playing days. "I realized then, it was dif-
ferent from anything that I've done and it was
something I picked up pretty quickly. Right
then, I noticed that I loved it and wanted to
play it for a long time. I totally give credit to
that coach, I'm so glad that he saw potential
Naturally, Gandolph has considered becom-
ing a coach when her Michigan
volleyball career eventually
nD comes to an end.
"I've always thought about
><< v coaching, maybe starting out at
m,:::: '>4 my high school," Gandolph said.
"I've thought about becoming a
turdy high school athletic director. I've
n ><a been around sports my whole life,
so that's all I really know."
She really enjoys working with
some of the younger players, especially fresh-
men Danielle Pflum, who plays the same posi-
"She asks questions and I help her," Gan-
dolph said. "We've become pretty close, pret-
Already on pace to become Michigan's all-
time career kill leader, Gandolph can inch fur-
ther toward that mark this weekend when
Michigan (4-2 Big Ten, 12-5 overall) hosts
Big Ten opponents Northwestern (2-4, 11-7)
and Illinois (4-2, 13-3).
Asked about the possibility of becoming
Michigan's all-time kill leader, Gandolph said,
"It's a goal, but it's the least of my worries
right now. It's not everything, it's just a name
in a book."
But Gandolph certainly isn't just another
player on the court.
To her team, she is much more.
By Ellen McGarrity
Daily Sports Writer
The last time Michigan men's
soccer coach Steve Burns saw the
"Big Bear" was the summer of
2000. He and his wife were driv-
ing through the northern Michi-
gan town of Wolverine when
something caught his eye.
"On the side of the road was
this guy that did chainsaw art on
tree stumps," Burns recalled.
The guy was Keith Bunker,
and his entire lawn was covered
in wooden animals, religious
icons and other paraphenalia.
Burns stopped the car and
began looking for something
"I looked through the front
yard and the back yard," Burns
said. "And then, finally, in the
side yard, I saw (the bear). I
noticed that it had one green eye
and one blue eye."
Several months prior, Burns
was named the first varsity soccer
coach for the new Michigan team.
While speaking with Michigan
State coach Joe Baum, he had
suggested the teams start a tradi-
tion much like the Michigan-Min-
nesota football tradition of
passing the Little Brown Jug back
and forth to the winning team.
The bear that the coach spotted
that summer seemed like the per-
"I thought it would be some-
thing that would just take a life of
its own once we started to put the
rivalry and the tradition into con-
text," Burns said.
Unfortunately for Burns, his
team lost to Michigan State every
game in its first three seasons.
But on Sunday, Burns and his
Big Bear were reunited when
Michigan beat Michigan State 4-
2 for the first time ever in confer-
Baum presented the trophy to
Burns after the game, giving
many Michigan players their first
glimpse at the trophy.
"We had heard stories from the
Michigan State camp about it
being in players' dorm rooms and
guys taking pictures with it in a
block Sparty hat, and we just
knew it was time to get it back in
Ann Arbor," Burns said.
Only the seniors on Burns team
have any recollection of what the
trophy looked like or meant.
"I think the first time we saw it
was the first time we played State
at the beginning of that first year,"
said fifth-year senior Joe Iding.
"It didn't have much significance
then, but after losing it to them for
three years, it's gained a lot of sig-
nificance for us."
Before the game on Sunday,
Burns reminded Iding and the
rest of the team how important
the tradition was.
"After our game against West-
ern Michigan on Friday we talked
about the significance of that
traveling trophy, knowing that the
Brown Jug game was that night,"
Burns said. "We talked about it
again on Saturday, just so we
knew there was something on
this game instead of just brag-
But Iding explained that the
game meant even more to him
than just the trophy.
"Since I grew up in Lansing
my whole life, and I've been to
The "Big Bear"
so many games - I
grew up at that field," Iding said.
"The significance for me was just
going home to a lot of friends
and family and knocking off the
Spartans. Once we got the trophy
it just made it even better."
Now that the trophy is safe in
Ann Arbor for the next year,
Burns has big plans for his Big
He plans to adorn the trophy
with a block "S" and "M" on
either side as well as mounting it
on a real tree trunk.
If the Brown Jug is any indica-
tion, the Big Bear is likely to
become an important part of this
in-state rivalry with each year
that goes by.
Jennifer Gandolph's leadership has proven
valuable both on and off the court.
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