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January 29, 2004 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-01-29

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 29, 2004 - 11A

Blue faces challenge
in Demon Deacons

FILE PHOTO
Senior Kim Piaushines and her teammates look to knock off No. 21 Notre Dame.
Netters hope to buck
whammy of te s

By Gabriela D'Jaen
Daily Sports Writer
Winning matches may be the ulti-
mate goal for some programs, but the
Michigan men's tennis team is mark-
ing its progress in a different form
this year. After starting
the season with three
solid wins, the buzz- SAIX
word on the court and in
the locker room is:ae
"improvement."
"One thing we need to Tie: No
make sure we do is to y
keep improving," said
coach Mark Mees after
defeating the Butler Bulldog's 7-0
last weekend.
Instead of focusing on the team's
accomplishments, Mees insists that
each player continues to step up his
game as the season progresses.
"Each guy has got to make sure he
keeps getting better," Mees said.
"We'll get back to the practice court
and spend a lot of time with each guy.
We've defined it pretty clearly what
each player has to do to improve."
This Saturday's meet against Wake
Forest will be a challenge for Michi-

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gan. Last year, Wake Forest blanked
the Wolverines 7-0, and the Demon
Deacons are currently ranked 30th
nationally. Considering that Wake For-
est has dropped in the rankings (they
were ranked 22nd in their last
encounter with the Wolverines), and
that Michigan will have a
home-court advantage, the
DAY Wolverines are optimistic
that they'll have better
rest at results this year.
"This is a big test," sen-
Saturday ior Anthony Jackson said.
"Hopefully, we can con-
tinue our success, but it is
going to be a really com-
petitive match. As a whole, they have a
pretty tough team."
Mees would like his No. 1 player,
Michael Rubin, to be less tentative
and play to his potential. As Rubin
faces more talented players, Mees
said he needs to realize that he will
not win games off the mistakes of his
opponents, as he did last weekend
with Butler.
"What happens is that the match
ended up 7-6, 6-3," Mees said. "If
Mike plays the way he's capable of
playing it might be a 6-3, 6-1 match."

BRETT MOUNTAIN/Daily
Michigan coach Mark Mees would like his No. 1singles player, Junior Michael
Rubin, to play 'the way he's capable of playing."

By Waldemar Centeno
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's tennis
team's annual matchup against
longtime foe Notre Dame takes
place early this year.
Today, the 34th-ranked Wolver-
ines (1-0) will welcome the Fight-
ing Irish into town. It will be the
second of five straight home
matches for Michigan and the first

Salas, who recently jumped 49
spots to the No. 14 national singles
ranking.
"She's a very good player, but we
have nine very good players too,"
Propstra said. "We're not scared of
her and the Irish."

Rubin plays an all-court game and
believes his improvement depends on
him "sharpening up and dialing in."
Rubin hopes a good week of prac-
tice will prepare him for the com-
petitive match. The junior expects
all of his teammates to play to the
best of their ability in order to
secure a win.

Mees is excited for a competitive
weekend.
"We are going up against a team that
is pretty talented," Mees said. "This. is
a good measuring stick for us to see
where we stand and to see what we
need to do to keep getting better."
The Wolverines hope to showcase
their continual improvement Saturday.

match of
the sea-
son for
Notre
Dame.
"It 's
definitely
an advan-
tage,"
Michigan
assistant

M.n v
Ntte ..ni

a
V
k

coach Katy Propstra said of the
home stand. "Its good for the fresh-
men and also the veterans on the
team to play at home. You always
want to play at home, especially
with the competitiveness of Notre
Dame."
The Wolverines have dropped
nine straight matches to the Irish
and hold a 7-14 all-time record
against them. Michigan's last victo-
ry against the Notre Dame was a 5-
4 'W' in Ann Arbor at the end of
the 1993-94 regular season.
But this year, the Wolverines are
optimistic.
"There is a lot of potential, but it
is also a very competitive sched-
ule," Propstra said. "We are look-
ing forward to getting the season
underway, and we had a good win
over DePaul. Now we have Notre
Dame, so we are getting some
action."
Michigan's recent success gives
the Wolverines reason to believe
that this year will be different
against No. 21 Notre Dame.
In late December, the Intercolle-
giate Tennis Association named
freshman Elizabeth Exon and jun-
ior Michelle DaCosta as two of the
top collegiate tennis players in the
Midwest Region. Exon holds the
No. 6 singles ranking, while
DaCosta is No. 10.
Freshman Kara Delicata and sen-
ior Kavitha Tipirneni also look
strong, coming off an impressive
doubles victory and singles wins
against DePaul in Michigan's first
dual match of the season.
Senior Chrissie Nolan and junior
Leanne Rutherford, who are also
coming off convincing singles
wins, are both geared up for the
upcoming matchup against the
Irish.
"We haven't really faired well in
the past, but I think our singles and
doubles lineup is much stronger
than it was in the last couple
years," Rutherford said. "We've
been psyched since our last match.
We're ready to go."
Michigan hopes to stop Notre
Dame's senior co-captain Alicia
BURKE
Continued from Page 8A
Said Horton: "Lately, we've been
shooting the ball a lot better. We've
gotten away from trying to do
everything off the dribble - it's
tough to do things off the dribble in
this conference. We've just tried to
screen and get guys open for good
shots."
Lets not forget, however, that
Iowa also was able to find some
cracks in the Michigan defense.
Iowa shot a ridiculous 58 percent,
and the 84 points the Hawkeyes put
up was by far the highest total the
Wolverines have allowed an oppo-
nent this year.
Fine, there's work to do on the

.lts mutual-.

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