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November 06, 2003 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-11-06

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November , 2003



Martens odd
man out on
* '' bueline.
By Sharad Mattu
Daily Sports Writer
Last year, Michigan coach Red Berenson sensed
that the lack of depth at defense held back the squad.
Nevermind Mike Komisarek's departure before
the season and Eric Werner's suspension, the Wolver-
Ines made it to the Frozen Four. Michigan has a
proud hockey tradition and proceeded full-throttle to
address the weakness.
So in came a trio of freshmen - Tim Cook, Jason
Pest and Matt Hunwick - giving Michigan eight
defensemen that were expected to compete for ice-
time (when Danny Richmond left for the London
Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, that number
became seven).
With just six starting spots, one defenseman has
been forced to sit and watch each game. Lately, the
odd man out has been junior Nick Martens. After
playing all 43 games last year and having a team-
} high plus-22 rating, Martens has sat out four of the
last five games.
The fact that Martens played every game last year
and has already sat out four games this year is an
example of the depth Michigan has amassed.
Berenson feels the competition for playing time is
good for the team, and he doesn't sense any building
"I wouldn't call it too much talent - I would call
it depth," Berenson said. "We have more depth now
than we had last year. Last year, if a player went into
a[ slump and he was playing poorly, we couldn't
fafford to take him out of the lineup because we were
so thin on defense.

Hurts so bad: We writers
need the bye week, too

Michigan's Nick Martens has seen his playing time dwindle during the season's early stages.

"(This year) if we do have an injury, or if a player
looks like he's going through a tough time and not
playing well, we can rotate players in, and that's the
way it should be."
Martens is a player Berenson wanted to give a
break last year, but couldn't.
"I think Nicky understands that last year there
were times where he wasn't playing well - and he
wasn't alone - and that's one of the reason we
recruited three defensemen," Berenson said.
Martens struggled in Michigan's first three
games, and now Berenson can do what he couldn't
last year. It also hasn't helped Martens that Beren-
son wants to use the beginning part of the season
to assess the freshmen.
"I'm typically going to play young players when
they come in," Berenson said. "We don't recruit a
kid to come here and sit unless he shows he's not
ready to play."
Martens has also found out that the coaches

expect more from the team's upperclassman.
"As a coach, sometimes you judge a junior by a
higher standard than you judge a freshman," Beren-
son said. "If he's making the same mistakes a fresh-
man is making, you're going to go with the
"But (Martens is) looking good in practice, and
his next game is important."
Martens understands that he needs to develop con-
sistency - particularly on in.his own zone - before
he'll get back on the ice.
"Anytime you're struggling as a defenseman, your
main goals are going to be to settle down and work
on defensive things, making sure you're shutting
down whoever you're playing against defensively
and being safer instead of high risk," Martens said.
"The offensive game will come with it.
"I definitely was struggling earlier in the year, but
I feel like I'm playing better. I'm improving myself
and proving that I belong out there."

The Daily Grind
hew. After two-and-a-half
months of giving it our all
every Saturday, week in and
week out, we're more than ready for this
bye week.
That's right, we. What? You think the
players are the only ones who take a
beating during college football season?
Come on. They wear pads. And helmets.
Meanwhile, we sports writers show
up every week in clean shirts (some of
us even iron them) and dress shoes.
Uncomfortable dress shoes.
Yes, if I were Chris Perry, I probably
would have crawled in bed after the
Michigan State game and not gotten up
until it was time to leave for Northwest-
ern. Fifty-one carries? The guy proba-
bly hurts in places that he didn't know
could hurt.
I'm sure most of the Wolverines are
banged up in some manner.
But the real trauma occurs in the press
box. You see, we're soft. We're out of
shape. We forget to stretch before
games. Of course, it's not entirely our
fault. I don't know how it is at other
newspapers, but there's definitely no
weight room in the Student Publications
Building. And we don't exactly get a
strength and conditioning coach along
with our notebooks and pens. Yet, we
show up, 12 Saturdays each fall.
You should see the injuries. My wrists
ache right now as I type yet another
story on my laptop, which I've been lug-
ging around, along with a media guide
and a couple notebooks. My bag must
weigh at least two pounds. It's a wonder
I don't have a strained back.
And I've heard stories of unfortunate
finger injuries, as writers bravely pushed
the buttons on their recorders, over and
over, until their joints just wore down.
Some of the more serious injuries
come from jostling for position during
the postgame circus/interviews. There
are bound to be injuries as we crowd
around the players the instant they
emerge from the lockerrooms, battling
it out to see who can get the closest, so

as not to miss one word. Reporters
have been whacked in the head by
their overzealous, recorder-wielding
colleagues. And there have been sad
incidents of shorter writers tweaking
their calf muscles as they gave that lit-
tle something extra and stood on their
tip toes.
We have wear-and-tear knee injuries
from sprinting down stadium steps, just
to make it to the sidelines so we can get
an even better view than the one from
the press box.
And then there are the headaches, the
painful consequence of hearing coaches
rattle off all those cliches. Really, you
get to a certain number, and your brain
just starts throbbing, as if to say, "I can't
take it anymore." Soon after, it shuts
down completely.
Also, a few scribes have developed
runny noses after emerging from the
warmth and comfort of the press box to
wait for interviews in the drizzling rain.
There's psychological pain, too. We
have to deal with the rejection when
players walk right by, refusing to privi-
lege us with their thoughts. And for me,
there's the bruised ego I suffered just last
week, as the Ann Arbor celebrities tied
me in staff picks for the season.
But I'm lucky; I'm young. Some vet-
erans can barely move at this point in the
season. It's an inspiration to us all, the
way they write through the pain.
Yup, it's a tough job. But we keep
sucking it up and trudging back out
there, taking it one game at a time.
And don't think I'm complaining.
You've gotta make sacrifices.
I'm just happy to get a one-week
break. This Saturday, I can sleep until
noon instead of having to rise at the
crack of 10:30 a.m. And I won't have to
make the almost four-block trek to
Michigan Stadium, weave my way past
all the people standing in line and then
endure an elevator ride up to my seat. Or
make an expenses-paid road trip in a
rented vehicle with no CD player (Trag-
ic, I know, but I persevere).
Nope, this Saturday, we football writ-
ers will break out the ice packs, grab the
Icy Hot and mend our battered bodies.
But don't worry. Our injuries aren't
serious; we're just a little banged up.
We'll be back, rested and ready to go
for Northwestern.
Courtney Lewis can be reached at

Spikers lose State Pride to Spartans in five sets

By Eric AmbiAnder
Daily Sports Writer

Despite being outplayed by Michi-
gan State through the first four sets of
last night's match at Cliff Keen Arena,
the Michigan volleyball team had the
Qpportunity to H
redeem itself
while sending the
Spartans back to East Lansing as losers
for the fifth year in a row.
But the Spartans were out for
"Playing at Michigan, it comes down
to the fact that we lost to this team
(earlier in the year) and we needed
revenge," Michigan State junior Kim
Schram said. "We got it tonight."
The Wolverines (8-5 Big Ten, 16-8
overall) embarrassed Michigan State
(8-5, 16-7) just one month ago in East
Lansing, 3-0.
Last night, the Wolverines embar-
rassed themselves.
Michigan State never trailed in the

final game, committing eight kills and
zero errors, en route to a 15-8 game
win and a 3-2 match decision.
"I don't think we played well, I think
we kind of deserved it," said Michigan
senior Erin Moore. "We didn't come
out and take care of our home court."
The Wolverines started the match on
a roll, taking a comfortable 28-24 lead
in the first game. Playing with resolve,
the Spartans rolled off five consecutive
points to take the lead, 29-28.
"In the middle of game one, we had
a good four- or five-point lead, and I
thought we kind of got cute," Michigan
coach Mark Rosen said. "The next
thing you know it's even."
Freshman Erin Cobler stepped up
during the game's final points and had
two big kills for the Wolverines, giving
them a surprising 1-0 game lead.
With the odds stacked against them,
the Spartans, a team that has consistent-
ly faded after trailing in matches this
season, played their best volleyball of
the season.

"We did have our backs to the wall,
and we're showing that we can step it
up," Michigan State junior Brooke
Langston said.
Unable to get consistent play out of
its team-leader, Schram in game one,
Michigan State coach Chuck Erbe
turned the offense over to Langston
and Megan Wallin in games two and
three. The pair sparked the Spartans'
offense by continually attacking Michi-
gan down the middle and playing
effective defense in one-on-one situa-
tions. Thirty-nine kills and only seven.
errors later, the Spartans found them-
selves ahead, 2-1.
But the Wolverines weren't going
down without a fight.
Junior Candace Gay and Moore
recorded five kills each in the tight
fourth game, winning 30-28 and forc-
ing the match to a deciding fifth game.
The major strength of the Wolverines
this season has been their ability to out-
defend their opponents. In the final
game, the Wolverines recorded only

three digs and zero blocks.
"We got out-defended so big tonight,
that's where we got beat," Rosen said.
The Wolverines committed 36 errors
and hit a .175 attack percentage as a
team in their loss to the Spartans.
"We let them run their system way to
much, and we never really gained con-
trol," Rosen said. "Even the games we
won, we never really had the control
that we were capable of having."
Although the Wolverines didn't play
up to expectations last night, Rosen still
believes in his team's ability to bounce
"I don't think we were intimidated,
we just got scattered. It may be a lack
of short-term confidence, but it's not a
lack of long-term confidence."

The Gifts of Improv
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MUTO and at the door, 763-TKTS
Michigan Theater
7:00 pm, $5/sudents, $8/all others,
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