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December 04, 2003 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-12-04

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, December 4, 2003 -9A

Michigan, Santa Clara down
players for NCAA quarters

Blue happy to be
on road for NCAAs

By Ellen McGarrity
Daily Sports Writer
Leading goal scorer Knox Cameron has been
gone for two weeks, playing for the U.S. Under-20
team in the FIFA World Youth Championships. But
the Michigan men's soccer team still put out an


impressive performance with its
star midfielder's untimely absence.
After defeating No. 5-seed Notre
Dame last Sunday in a shootout, 4-
3, the team is now traveling to Cal-
ifornia this Saturday to play Santa
Clara in the quarterfinals of the
NCAA Tournament.

' ',.

Michigan, which has played minus Cameron for
its entire run in the tournament, initially wondered
if it would be able to still perform offensively
without him.
But after goals by senior Mike White, junior
Mychal Turpin, and sophomores Adam Bruh and
Chris Glinski in the past two games, the team has
successfully regrouped and learned how to play
without him.
Santa Clara will also be playing without some of
its key players. Starting goalkeeper Steve Cronin and
starting defender Ryan Cochrane are with Cameron,
playing for the U.S. Under-20 team.
"They're in a position where they've lost more
because the old cliche is 'defense wins champi-
onships,' " Michigan coach Steve Burns said.
"They've lost the best goalkeeper in the nation and
one of the best defenders in the nation."
However, Santa Clara also has bounced back
Plocki, gymna

from its loss of players, winning against Southern
Methodist, Loyola Marymount and Coastal Caroli-
na to make it to the NCAA quarterfinals.
"They're a team that doesn't take a lot of
chances in the back," Burns said. "So where
they're missing (those players) more is from an
organizational standpoint. They've now had three
games to get it organized.
"Sounds to me like they've got it sorted out like
we've got it sorted out."
TRAI BIEN: Because of Cameron's absence,
Burns has been forced to fill one of his forward
spots on the field with another player. Sophomore
Trai Blanks has joined Turpin and White as the
third forward in Michigan's 4-3-3 formation.
Although Blanks had only started three times in
his Michigan career before the NCAA Tourna-
ment, Burns has started him in both games so far.
Blanks has not let him down.
On Sunday, Burns commended Blanks on his
tough play against Notre Dame's Kevin Richards,
a defender who is known for his speed and ability
to close in on players he is guarding.
"Outside backs are usually really athletic players,
and (Burns) knew that I could keep up with him,"
Blanks said. "He got behind me a couple times, but
I was able to track back and catch up with him."
Blanks will likely start in the same position for
Saturday's game against Santa Clara.
FOUL PLAY: One of the reasons that Michigan's
victory over Notre Dame last Sunday is so impres-
sive is that the team's defense had to work twice as
hard as that of the Irish. The referees working the
game called a whopping 33 fouls on Michigan

Tral Blanks has been the man Michigan coach Steve
Burns has utilized in the absence of Knox Cameron.
throughout the game, compared to the 8 they
called on Notre Dame.
"It got annoying because I couldn't play as
aggressively as I wanted to," said Turpin, who
even collected a yellow card for repeated fouls.
"The ref seemed to be a little biased. We did
(deserve) more fouls than them, but it should have
been closer than (33-8)."
Turpin eventually just started laughing after
every foul that was called on him.

By Brad Johnson
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan volleyball team
will journey to the sunny skies of
California this weekend.
But the trip will be anything but
a vacation for the Wolverines.
Michigan, which won four of its
last five matches to close the season,
is heading to Berkeley to take on
Colorado in the first round of the
NCAA Tournament. Despite the
prospect of warm weather and a
favorable destination, coach Mark
Rosen is all business.
"In these kind of situations, we'll
see the gym and the hotel," Rosen
said. "We'll fly in to California, and
everyone is like 'Oh, you're going to
California.' Well, we will fly in, go to
the hotel, we'll practice, we'll go to
the hotel and have dinner and then
we'll go to the gym. You really don't
get to experience that much, espe-
cially with (the players) having to
study. There's not going to be a lot of
free time, but at this time of year, I
will play anywhere."
This attitude will definitely come
in handy should the Wolverines make
it out of the second round of the
If Michigan handles the Buffaloes
(13-7 Big 12, 21-9 overall) in the
first round,. the Wolverines will face
either California or St. Mary's in the
second round. A second-round victo-
ry would land Michigan a first-class
ticket to Hawaii and the Sweet 16 for
the first time in the history of the
"If we could win this week and
next week, they could tell us we're
going to South America, and I'd say,

'Let's go,"' Rosen said. "It's a chance
to keep playing. At this point in the
whole season, it's so fragile because
every game could be your last. Every
game you get is like a gift, and I jusft
look forward to playing."
The Wolverines (12-8 Big Ten, 26-
11) are looking forward to hitting the
road and seem to prefer playing away
from Cliff Keen Arena, as is evi-
denced by their 11-5 record on
road and at neutral sites.
"We're playing really well on the
road," junior Lisa Gamalski said.
"Actually, I would rather have playedl
on the road than play at Cliff Keen
Arena. School-wise it would have
been nice to host, but I think we
focus a lot better on the road."
The performance of the team s
younger players, especially Big Ten
All-Freshman team member Megan
Bowman, will be key to the Wolver-
ines' success this weekend.
Rosen feels that, despite its yout1,
this year's squad is poised for touriea-
ment success due to its great leader-
ship and direction, especially whep
compared to years past.
"I think last year, in the NCAA
Tournament, we were not ready to
play," Rosen said of the team's first-
round defeat. "It was a really frustrat-
ing experience for me. I think it's
realistic that we could go into th~e
third or fourth round, especially with
the draw we have."
The Wolverines definitely seemo
have their sights set on Hawaii and
beyond, especially because of thir
favorable draw.
"If we get past Cal-BerkeleyI
would love to see what we can do in
Hawaii," Gamalski said. "I want to ;b
a Cinderella story."

tics team ready to start season

By Melanie Kebler
Daily Sports Writer

In her 13 years as coach of the
Michigan women's gymnastics team,
Bev Plocki has become the most suc-
cessful coach in program history.
Beginning in 1990, Plocki turned a
program that had won just one regional
championship since 1976 into a consis-
tent contender at the highest levels of
the sport. Eleven Big Ten Champi-
onships, five regional titles and five
national champions later, only one
thing has still eluded Plocki and the
Michigan women's gymnastics team -
the national title.
"I tell my athletes if we take care of
our business day to day, do everything
in our power to be the best we can be
and improve from meet to meet, we
-will put ourselves in a position to win a
national championship," Plocki said. "I
don't want them to be so obsessed with
the almighty title that they forget the
important things."

According to Plocki, one of the
team's most important goals for this
season is to "carry on the same spirit,
competitiveness and determination
that our team had last year. Those are
qualities that really helped us over-
come a lot of adversity in our season,"
she said.
In 2002-03, the Wolverines' biggest
blow was the loss of former Olympian
Elise Ray, who spent the season on the
sidelines with a shoulder injury. After a
major surgery, Plocki says Ray is ready
to start all over again this year.
"I'm hoping that this year will be
similar to her freshman year," Plocki
said. "She started out that season a little
bit slow because she had come off the
Olympic year and was coming back
from a similar injury. We started with
watered-down routines and continued
to build throughout the season until she
was at her peak."
Ray definitely peaked at the end of
her freshman year, when she was
named an All-American and was an

NCAA all-around co-champion.
"She won't start the season with her
ideal competitive routines," Plocki said
of Ray's comeback. "We hope that
she'll get a solid start and build to her
peak in the postseason."
Also on the list of things to over-
come this year is the graduation of
Janessa Greico, a three-year All Ameri-
can and consistent leader for the team.
"She was a solid, consistent per-
former that we knew we could count on
at every single meet and every single
event," Plocki said. "She was also a
very strong leader, in and out of the
gym. We'll have to see when we get
into competition who will fill her
shoes. "
The Wolverines will look to their
four entering freshman to help fill the
void Greico left behind. Carol McNa-
mara, Lindsey Bruck and Claire Flan-
nery have all participated in Junior
Olympic competitions and Sarrie
Rubin competed with the U.S. Senior
National Team in 2001. Bruck once

earned a perfect 10.0 at a USA Gym-
nastics meet in 2002, and Plocki
expects her to do "great things for us
this year."
Lastly, Michigan will face tough
opponents during one of its trademark
challenging schedules. Top teams Utah,
Georgia and 2003 national champion
Alabama will visit Ann Arbor, and the
Wolverines will travel to Nebraska and
UCLA as well.
"Those are the teams that are in the
Super Six year in and year out, and
we're meeting all of them," Plocki said.
"We have a very challenging schedule.
I believe in doing that because I think
you're only as good as the teams you
compete against."
With plenty on its plate for 2004,
Michigan will warm up with an
intrasquad meet this weekend, which
Plocki says helps her discover who will
play what role in the upcoming season.
The Maize and Blue Intrasquad compe-
tition will take place this Saturday start-
ing at 7 p.m. at Cliff Keen Arena.

Hdk h
den ersan m S mar

Continued from Page 8A
"I think that's the biggest thing
with him or some of the other guys
that don't play regularly," Pearson
said. "It's just being ready for the l
chance because someone's going to
get hurt, or someone's not going to
play that well or someone's going to
get sick."
This season, Henderson has already
seen the ice in eight different contests
and has scored a pair of goals, including
one tally that helped Michigan pull out

a victory on the road against Miami,
Pearson said that the coaches have been
pleased with Henderson's performances
thus far.
"I think his work ethic has been bet
ter in practice," Pearson said. "Whey.
he's gotten into the games, he's looked
more comfortable."
Perhaps that is because that he is sim-
ply able to play hockey at Michigan.
"I'm in the shoes that thousands df
people would love to be in," Henderson
said. "Anybody that plays hockey
would love to play in front of fans 1
these and play on a team like this."

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