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November 13, 2003 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-11-13

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November 13, 2003




Two young Americans;
two very different paths

Hot finish means 'M' tournament bound again

By Jake Rosenwasser
Daily Sports Writer
Sixty of the 64 teams had been named to partici-
pate in the NCAA tournament, and the Michi n
women's soccer team still had not been placed in the
bracket. The Wolverines, a bubble team, watched
anxiously in Schembechler Hall as the final four
teams were named.
Finally, just when it looked like Michigan (9-7-6)
might be left out of the NCAAs for the first time
since 1996, the Wolverines got the bid they had
been working so hard for in the second half of the
season. They will play Oakland in the first round on
tomorrow in South Bend.
"I think we deserve to be in the tournament,"
coach Debbie Rademacher said. "We've been play-
ing our best soccer of late."
No kidding. Michigan has won six of its last eight
games entering the tournament. During this streak,
Michigan knocked off an undefeated No. 2 Notre
Dame team and made a run to the Big Ten Tourna-
ment finals.
After advancing to the quarterfinals in the NCAA
Tournament a year ago, Michigan had high hopes
coming into this season. The team began the year
ranked No. 17, but that would change quickly.
Michigan went winless in its first five games (0-3-
2), including a 1-0 loss at the hands of Oakland.

Even after their first eight contests the Wolverines
had managed just one win (1-4-3), but the team
managed to turn it around.
"We sorted out our defense," Rademacher said.
"Then we kept working hard and became more and
more comfortable out there."
Michigan played better toward the end of the sea-
son, but Rademacher feels the turning point of the
season was the win at Notre Dame, Michigan's final
regular season game.
"We went down there with a .500 record,"
Rademacher said. "If we lost, we would have been
under .500 and probably would have had to win the
Big Ten Tournament to get an NCAA bid. After we
won that game, it gave us the confidence we needed
for the Big Tens. I think the two wins at the Big
Tens (over Ohio State and Wisconsin) solidified our
spot in the NCAAs."
In Michigan's home-opener this season, Oakland
handed Michigan a 1-0 loss despite getting outshot
by the Wolverines, 21-4.
"That was back when we hadn't figured ourselves
out yet," Rademacher said. "I think that we're a total-
ly different team now. That being said, we're very
familiar with Oakland, and they're a team that is very
hard to score on. They tend to get outshot by many of
their opponents, but they seem to find a way to win.
To beat them, we'll have to be at our best."
If the Wolverines can advance to the second

Sophomore Therese Heaton and the Wolverines will face
Oakland In the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
round of the NCAAs, a rematch with Notre Dame
will most likely occur. The Fighting Irish will take
on Loyola of Illinois.
"We're not going to focus on Notre Dame right
now," Rademacher said. "We've got to get past Oak-
land first."

Gannon gets her wish, Wolverines will dance despite Big Ten loss

The Daily Grind
ellen Winslow is not a soldier.
And John Crandall is not a col-
ege student - not yet. Crandall
can't wait to enroll in 2005, but for now,
there's this little matter of serving his
Crandall is a 21-year-old soldier in
the U.S. Air Force.
Winslow is a 20-year-old football
Last Saturday, after Winslow's Miami
team lost to Tennessee, and he was
called for unsportsmanlike conduct, an
emotional Winslow confused two very
different things.
"It's war," Winslow said of football.
"They're out there to kill you, so I'm out
there to kill them. I'm a ... soldier."
Winslow's beef with the officials
seems ridiculously small when com-
pared to Crandall's version of war. Air-
man First Class Crandall, a Michigan
native, deployed to Kirkuk, Iraq, in July
and secured the air base there; until he
became seriously ill in late September.
Crandall said his base took gunfire
every day of his two-and-a-half-month
stint there, and that the airmen "all pret-
ty much got used to it; it got to be pretty
normal." He said he did get really scared
- once.
"We got hit by mortars," Crandall
said. "I was on walking patrol at the
DFP (Defense Fighting Position). I was
with my friends, and we were patrolling
the wire. We were basically just sitting
there behind cover, with rockets, ready
to fire back."
He didn't have to shoot back that day.
And he didn't personally know anyone
who was killed in Iraq, although other
members of his squad did, because "it
happened all the time."
From his home in Italy yesterday,

Crandall calmly spoke about what a war
zone is like. He didn't seem to think that
taking fire or exposing undercover al-
Qaida operatives was anything more
than just part of his job.
Crandall was unaware of Winslow's
comments, and he kind of smirked when
he was told what Winslow said.
"I feel bad for him," Crandall said,
"because if I wouldn't have joined the
military, I wouldn't know the difference
either. Being a real soldier takes a lot of
time and dedication and sacrifice. I
know it gets frustrating at football
games. But it doesn't compare to any-
thing close to being an actual soldier."
Winslow issued an apology Sunday,
and he's certainly not the first to link
war and football. But Winslow's com-
ments were particularly troubling
because he said them with such indig-
nation, as if he actually believed them.
He probably didn't intend any disre-
spect; it's easy to get caught up in the
game - or everyday life - and forget
how real war can be. But that's the
point. We shouldn't forget. Crandall and
others like him deserve respect, even if
it's the simple act of recognizing that
football is just a game.
Winslow will play in another football
game this week. A world away, Cran-
dall will continue to provide high-level
security in Italy. He said it's "very pos-
sible" that he'll return to Iraq within a
year. His squad will probably go back
in about four months if the airmen vol-
unteer, or be deployed again in about
eight months if they don't volunteer.
It's a choice they get to make, and
when Crandall was asked if he'll vol-
unteer, he said, "Oh yeah. Definitely."
He'll be leaving a wife and, by that
time, a child behind, but he feels it's
his duty to be there.
I would say that Kellen Winslow
should walk in John Crandall's shoes
before he complains again about how
tough football can be, but I don't think
Winslow could cut it as a real soldier.
Lucky for us, Crandall can.

By Megan Kolodgy
Daily Sports Writer

In an otherwise deserted Weidenbach
Hall, the field hockey team sat awaiting
its fate. To pass the time, the Wolver-
ines filled out brackets indicating their
predictions for the NCAA Tournament.
But senior captain Kristi Gannon
did not complete hers. Instead, she
etched one simple sentence at the
bottom of her page.
"All I wrote was, 'I just want to
play,"' Gannon said.
The defender, who last week was
named Big Ten Player of the Year for
the second consecutive season, will get
exactly what she asked for. She and her
team will head up to East Lansing on
Saturday morning to take on No. 4
North Carolina in the first round of the

NCAA Tournament.
After getting knocked out of the Big
Ten Tournament surprisingly early by
Penn State, Gannon felt a bit anxious
prior to the announcement that Michi-
gan would have the chance to play.
"I was more nervous about (if)
we'd get in because there's always a
chance that you don't get in if you
don't win the (conference) tourna-
ment," Gannon said.
Now that she has that preoccupation
out of the way, Gannon can concentrate
on what she does best; she wants to
help her team shine.
This year marked her fourth assign-
ment to the First Team All-Big Ten ros-
ter. She is only the third athlete in the
history of Big Ten field hockey to
accomplish this feat. Although Gannon
is a defender, she is third on her team

in points, with 20. Last season, she
received the Player's Player Award,
which is voted on by the team and
awarded to the player who best exem-
plifies what it means to be a Michigan
field hockey player. The list of accom-
plishments goes on and on.
Despite her standout status, impres-
sive stats and litany of accolades, Gan-
non maintains a selfless attitude.
"We're all about teamwork, all about
working together and being team play-
ers, and I think that's our main goal as
Michigan field hockey players," Gan-
non said. "It's not the big superstars on
the team that make the difference; it's
playing together as a unit."
Her current black eye is a testament
to her toughness and altruistic attitude,
a vivid illustration of her character in
the world of field hockey and beyond.

"I think what's been really neat was
to watch is how she's grown as a young
woman off the field into a really nice
leader and a confident young woman,"
coach Marcia Pankratz said.
The Wolverines will likely need
Gannon's leadership to get them
through this first, trying weekend of
the NCAA Tournament. If her track
record is an indicator of future success,
and Pankratz believes it is, the captain
will be ready to get the show on the
road on Saturday. Her coach has the
utmost confidence in Gannon.
"She can do it all, and that's why
she's our captain, and our leader,"
Pankratz said. "She's an exception-
al player."
Then, with a grin, Pankratz added:
"I'm just glad we have her for two
more weeks."

Courtney Lewis can be reached at

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