The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - February 9, 2004 - 7B
Ray shines in
By Jeremy Antar
Daily Sports Writer
In front of a season-high 4,089 fans at Crisler n.y. . .*,<<>
Arena on Friday night, the Michigan women's, .^
gymnastics team dominated the intrastate com-,*0
petition in the State of Michigan Classic. Michi-.
gan's score of 197.125 placed them comfortably............
above Central Michigan (195.650), Michigan"
State (195.525), Eastern Michigan (193.675) and
Western Michigan (193.375) ~
The Wolverines improved their team score for % $:..
the third straight week. Overall, it was the best 4
meet for Michigan this season. With the team:
still not entirely healthy, the road ahead is look-
ing bright for the Wolverines.
"I'm so optimistic about the way this team is
shaping up," coach Bev Plocki said.
Junior Elise Ray highlighted the meet, captur-
ing the title in the all-around competition and
tying her season-high score of 39.575. x<
"She's showing what kind of a competitor she .. ; i
is - that she can come out each week and be a ; ,, 6 $:}: x d....,,....$t4
rock for our team," Plocki said.
Michigan began the competition with a solid
effort on the vault. Sophomore Becca Clauson M ..
was the first to perform, landing a 9.675 to start . .}.. .........
things off. Freshman Clare Flannery scored a
9.750 and was followed by senior Christine Man- Junior Elise Ray took the all-around award in the State of Michigan Classic on Friday. Her 39.575 points helped Michigan secure the win.
tilia, who notched a season-high mark of 9.825.
Water polo team has
mixed results during
first season road trip
The No. 8 Michigan water polo team
competed in the Stanford Invitational
this weekend. The Wolverines took on
UC Santa Cruz on Friday, winning 13-2
and improving their record to 5-0 in
their first game of the season away from
Senior Julie Nisbet led the Wolver-
ines, tallying four goals against the
Banana Slugs, which tied her career
record. Michigan was able to score on
its first two possessions of the game,
and, without having faced a shot, junior
goalie Betsey Armstrong was replaced
by freshman Sharon Warner halfway
through the third quarter.
Michigan lost its first match of the
tournament, and of the season, to No. 3
Stanford 3-11. The Wolverines suffered
on the power play, going 1-for-9 while
having the six-on-five advantage.
Junior Sheetal Narsai scored first for
Michigan, narrowing the gap to 5-1
shortly before halftime. However, Stan-
ford scored before the half to make it 6-
1 at halftime. The Cardinal continued to
dominate in the second half.
The Wolverines came out firing in the
afternoon session against No. 12 San
Jose State, jumping out to a 4-0 lead
after one quarter behind two goals from
junior Casey Kemey en route to her hat
trick. Kemey tallied her last goal with
one second left in the game to seal a 7-4
Sunday, Michigan started off the day
against No. 2 Southern California, and
lost 3-14. Michigan finished sixth after
losing to No. 9 Hawaii 13-11. Kemey
notched a hat trick in a losing cause.
Freshman Carol McNamara was next to sprint
down the runaway, hurling her way to a 9.850, a
personal best. Senior Calli Ryals excited the
crowd with a season-high home mark of 9.925,
and Ray closed out the event with a 9.875.
"I feel like we're getting better every meet,
and I think everybody is feeling confident indi-
vidually and as a team," Ray said.
Michigan performed brilliantly on the uneven
bars. Freshman Lindsey Bruck earned a season-
high mark of 9.850 and set the tone for her
teammates. Junior Lauren Mirkovich, Ryals and
Ray each followed with scores of 9.900 - pro-
ducing a three-way tie for first place on the
Michigan's top team performance came on
its last event, the floor exercise. McNamara
got things started with a 9.800. Mantilia
gracefully earned a 9.825 and was followed by
Clauson, who notched a 9.875. Yet again,
Ryals and Ray finished strong for Michigan,
each earning a 9.925 and sealing the victory
for the Wolverines.
The State of Michigan Classic was a dramatic
change from the usual two-team atmosphere that
Michigan is used to. There were four perform-
ances going on at one time, which generated a
lot of noise and made concentration more diffi-
cult than usual.
But the team didn't seem fazed by the change
"It was an exciting meet because there are so
many teams," Ray said. "It's fast-paced, it's ener-
getic and it's fun to compete that way. I think our
whole team had a lot of energy and we felt really
Netters' back-to-back wins
keep record unblemished
By Waldemar Centeno
Daily Sports Writer
In one of the closest singles matches
of the day, Michigan junior Michelle
DaCosta watched South Carolina's top-
ranked player Danielle Wiggins lose her
cool when Wiggins hit the ball out-of-
bounds on a crucial point of the set.
Wiggins proceeded to slam her racket
into the net and question the referees
judgment symbolizing the Gamecocks'
DaCosta won her match 6-2, 3-6, 6-4,
propelling the Wolverines to a 6-1 victory.
The No. 34 Michigan women's tennis
team is now off to a 4-0 record start this
year, with wins over South Carolina (3-
1) and Maryland (0-4) this past weekend
at the Varsity Tennis Center.
"We've just got to keep practicing
and stay focused," Michigan junior
Leanne Rutherford said. "We try not to
think about winning streaks because it
jinxes it. But we'll just keep training
hard and keep doing what we've been
This past week, Rutherford was
named the first Big Ten Conference Ath-
lete of the Week of the 2003-04 season,
in recognition of her performance
against Notre Dame.
The Big Ten Athlete of the Week
award is the second of Rutherford's
"I was pretty excited when I heard
about it," Rutherford said. "I didn't even
know until my roommate told me when
she saw it on MGoBlue.com. I think it's
a great honor and it's exciting. I think a
lot of the freshmen on the team don't
even know about it. But it's incentive for
everyone to keep working hard."
Rutherford continued her winning ways
on Sunday with a victory over South Car-
olina's Fallon Koon, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
"It's not only Leanne, everyone is a
really good competitor on this team and
no one ever gives up," Michigan assis-
tant coach Katy Propstra said. "Leanne
has done well in three-set matches obvi-
ously because she is undefeated in them.
She is doing really well."
Freshman Elizabeth Exon ended her
early season slump with her first singles
win of the year yesterday.
"Liz is a good player and also a great
competitor," coach Propstra said. "It's a
different type of situation in college.;
everyone is a competitor, and she is
placed at the top here."
Exon - the No. 37 singles player in
the nation - dominated her matchup
against South Carolina's Christyn Lucas
"It's really hard playing in the number
one and two positions against these girls
that are so good," Exon said. "In high
school and playing in nationals and jun-
iors, the level of play was nowhere near
these girls in college. All the girls I'm
playing now are juniors and seniors, who
have so much experience. The girls that
I play now are like the girls that I would
play in a finals of tournaments back at
Despite Exon's inexperience, her
young fans continually encourage her
while persisting for her autograph.
"I just thought it was cute," Exon said.
"It's funny. I saw them watching my
match and they are probably tennis play-
ers. It's really cool."
This past Friday, the Wolverines also
clinched a victory over No. 75 Mary-
land. Senior Kavitha Tipirneni secured
the 5-2 win over the Terrapins with a 3-
6, 6-4, 6-4 decision over Maryland's
Michigan's next matchup comes in
two weeks against Tennessee. The dual
match will be the last of the Wolverines'
five-meet home series to open the sea-
son. Michigan will try to defend its
four-match winning streak against the
"(Tennessee) is a good team and we
have two weeks to get ready for them,"
Junior Leanne Rutherford won both her singles matches and her doubles match this weekend in the team's
contest against Maryland and South Carolina.
Wrestlers cruise past Buckeyes,
drop close one to Nittany Lions
For the Daily
The No. 3 Michigan wrestling team came away
from its Big Ten road trip this weekend with a split.
Friday in Columbus, the Wolverines jumped out
to an early lead on No. 21 Ohio State and were able
to hold off a late charge by the Buckeyes to win, 22-
Yesterday in State College, the Wolverines
dropped their first Big Ten dual match of the sea-
son, 21-19, to No. 8 Penn State. Racing out to an
early lead has been the foundation of Michigan's
success this season, but this time it was Penn State
that jumped to an early lead, 14-3.
The Wolverines were forced to wrestle without
two of their best, as senior Foley Dowd and junior
Ryan Churella both were injured.
"You definitely have to jump on them," McFar-
land said. "Not having them probably had some-
thing to do with the loss."
Despite their absence and the early deficit, the
Wolverines fought their way back into the match
with three consecutive victories by junior tri-captain
and defending NCAA champion Ryan Bertin, senior
tri-captain Pat Owen and freshman Nick Roy.
Going into the heavyweight match, the contest
was still undecided with Penn State leading 21-16.
The balance of the contest was left up to fifth-
number one kid in the country. We gave up some big
scores, and you just can't do that against a good
team like Penn State."
Michigan will use this loss as motivation for the
Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.
"Everything in our sport comes down to the Big
Ten championships, as far as (a team qualifies) for
the NCAAs," McFarland said. "And the entire Big
Ten championship is determined in one weekend.
The results of the dual meets don't have any bearing
at all on deciding that championship. So, obviously,
we are trying to finish up with these competitions
and really start to gear up for the tournaments. "
Friday's action versus Ohio State, however, went
according to plan as Michigan used victories in
their first five matches to build a 19-0 advantage.
Dowd and sophomore Mark Moos continued their
domination of the lower weight classes with back-
to-back wins to start the match. Dowd, one of
Michigan's three captains, currently holds a No. 2
ranking and has not been beaten this season (13-0).
Bertin capped off Michigan's blitzkrieg of scoring
with an impressive 23-8 technical fall over Buckeye
Ryan Rhodes. This one-sided match included ten
takedowns performed by Bertin.
Owen was handed a rare, 8-5 loss by Ohio State's
Johnny Clark. Owen, who has been an anchor in the
middle of the lineup all season, could not overcome
a second period when he was nearly pinned.
I'T a. ~