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February 18, 2004 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-02-18

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Ryznar, Ebbett and Moss
stuff Miami's scoring trio

Blue keeps striving for
elusive perfect scores

By Melanie Kebler
Daily Sports Writer

By Brian Schick
Daily Sports Writer

Prior to Michigan's showdown with then-first
place Miami at Yost Ice Arena on Friday night, for-
ward David Moss received some big news from
the coaching staff. His line - Moss alongside for-
wards Andrew Ebbett and Jason Ryznar - would
be matched up with Miami's top-scoring line.
The RedHawks' trio of Marty Guerin, Matt
Christie and Derek Edwardson - the CCHA's
leading scorer - had combined for 39 goals
this season prior to the series, half of Miami's
total offensive output. It was up to Moss and
his linemates to shut down possibly the top line
in the league.
"We had no idea we'd be matched up with
them," Moss said. "They surprised us. Just before
the game, they told us, 'You're starting.' We all
looked at each other with smiles on our faces."
The tall task was an important part of winning
the series. Miami entered the weekend atop the
league standings, and a Michigan sweep would
land the Wolverines in first place by one point.
When the two teams met in Oxford, Miami's
top line torched the Wolverines for five goals
over the two-game series.
"We knew in the back of our heads that if we
shut down that line and we shut down their top
players, we have a better chance of winning,"
Moss said. "That was a skilled line."
Michigan coach Red Berenson felt that the
combination of Ebbett at center and the so-

called "twin towers" of Moss and Ryznar -
both are taller than 6-foot-3 - would be physi-
cal enough to slow down Miami's powerful
offensive punch. Guerin - the son of Dallas
Stars winger Bill Guerin - is Miami's biggest
player on the top line, and at 6-foot, couldn't
match up well with either winger.
One of the team's best finesse players com-
bining with two physical players on his wing has
won the favor of the coaching staff.
"Ebbett is a smart player and he'll make good
decisions on the ice," Berenson said. "I like the
size of Ryznar. He gives you a physical presence.
And Moss has been playing the best hockey this
season. That line has a lot of confidence now, and.
they know they're an important line to our team."
All three players did their respective jobs to
keep Miami's top line from dominating the
series. Michigan's sweep can be credited in part
to the Ryznar-Ebbett-Moss line, which was able
to hold Miami's top line to just two goals on the
weekend - both coming on Saturday.
With Michigan scoring eight goals on Saturday,
allowing the RedHawks top line to score was not
such a big deal.
But the line didn't just shut down Edwardson
and company. They were also able to score three
goals themselves this weekend - Moss with two
and Ryznar with one.
"We were happy to shut them down and to get
the goal, but we just wanted to go out there and
play our game," Ebbett said. "We wanted to make
sure they didn't get any opportunities."

A perfect ten. That phrase might
bring to mind Bo Derek running in
her bathing suit, but for college gym-
nasts, it means much more. A 10.0
score means your routine was diffi-
cult, and you performed it seamlessly
and mistake-free.
But how hard is it to get that elu-
sive score?
Harder than you might think.
Women's gymnastics is one of the
only sports that exclusively uses
human judges to assess and score
meets.
"I envy sports like swimming and
track, where, when you touch the
wall, the clock stops and (the time) is
what it is," Michigan coach Bev
Plocki said. "It's kind of frustrating
to be part of a sport that is judged so
subjectively,"
Plocki said that there is no way to
avoid subjectivity in judging, but
explained that different schools use
different processes to select which
judges will score each meet.
"For instance, the SEC provides an
approved list of judges to an assign-
er, and that assigner assigns judges
to all the different SEC competitions
throughout the season," Plocki said.
"We also use an assigner and we also
use a list, but the list I give (the
assigner) is a very large list.
"I probably could narrow down the
list to judges I thought were going to
give higher sores, but we haven't
done that."
In order to receive a 10.0 score

from one of these judges, the gym-
nast not only has to perform her rou-
tine perfectly, but also must perform
a routine that is difficult enough to
earn a 10.0 start value. This means
the performance must contain all of
the skills that are considered the
hardest to master.
"Not all 10.0 routines are created
equal," said Plocki, pointing out that
gymnasts like senior Calli Ryals
include more than the bare minimum
of required elements in their rou-
tines, making them theoretically
worth more than just a 10.0. But the
judges have to apply the same scor-
ing system to all routines that start at
10.0.
"The judges have to learn how to
differentiate between an average rou-
tine and a great routine. Every
(coach) wants their kid to do less and
score higher," Plocki said.
Only two of the current Michigan
gymnasts have earned a 10.0 during
their collegiate careers. Ryals record-
ed three perfect scores on the floor
exercise in her sophomore year, and
junior Elise Ray earned a 10.0 on the
vault during her sophomore year and
on floor in her freshman year.
"In gymnastics, it's a blessing and
curse that we're always striving for
perfection," Plocki said. "I don't
even know if perfection exists.
There's always tomorrow when you
can create some new, more difficult
skill. I think sometimes it gets a little
out of hand.
"We just need to strive to be the
best that we can be and to make our
routines the best that they can be."

t

I

RYAN WEINER/Daily
Jason Ryznar stepped up his physical efforts, helping the
Wolverines stuff Miami's offense.

M MEWS GOLF
'M' looks to tackle 'River Course' in Puerto Rico

By John Stigich II
For the Daily

The Michigan men's golf team executed well last
weekend, considering the only white ball they've
seen outdoors lately is a snowball.
"The thing I was really impressed with was our
guys were making birdies," coach Andrew Sapp
said. "The only thing was, we made a few too many
double bogeys, which ultimately will cost you a lot."
The most impressive Wolverine performances
came from Brandon Duff. Duff's 73 was one stroke
lower than his season average (74.44) and five
strokes lower than his career average (78.27). Duff,
a native of Goodrich, extended his streak of sub-80
rounds to 10 in Tempe, Ariz.
"I came into this season with a different mindset,"
Duff said. "I'm ready to roll, more fired up and I have
more motivation to get out there and play better."
Duff and fellow young guns Christian Vozza, Will
Kendall, Kevin Dore and Matt McLaughlin will play
under the Puerto Rican sun over spring break. The
team will compete in the Puerto Rico Classic, a
three-day tournament, which commences Sunday.
"Last year, we got last place," Duff said. "So any-

thing is an improvement. At the same time, the
team's got the capability to play with the top teams
if everything goes together."
The River Course, as its name indicates, will pro-
vide a significant challenge with its strategically
positioned water. The 7,000-yard layout, designed
by two-time British Open champion Greg "The
Shark" Norman, has the Mameyes River winding
through a majority of the holes.
However, the course's wide fairways and open
greens make it vulnerable to golfers who focus on
course management.
"I like the course in Puerto Rico," Duff said. "I
think it's nice but at the same time it is more of a
shot-maker course."
Course management has been a facet of Duff's
game that has improved this year.
"Brandon's matured quite a bit from last year to
this year," Sapp said. "Last year he tried to overpow-
er golf courses more than he should have and made
lots of sevens and eights. Now he focuses more on
course management that's a sign of maturity."
While in the warm Arizona weather this past
weekend, Sapp had his players on the driving range
preparing for the Puerto Rico trip.

"Down in Puerto Rico the winds can be trou-
bling, and the golf course we're playing on has a lot
of water," Sapp said.
"So we worked on hitting a lot of 2-irons and 3-
woods off the tee so when we get to Puerto Rico we
won't have to worry about driving into the river or
the ocean."
Sapp also focused some practice time on shaping
ball trajectory, which will be essential to neutraliz-
ing the Puerto Rican winds. However the players
spent most of the practice session with a putter and
wedge in their hands.
"We focused mainly on the short game
because that's where I saw our guys were rusty
the most," Sapp said. "A lot of chipping, putting
and bunker play."
Considering that the competition has gotten
stiffer, improving on its finish last year in Puerto
Rico will not be easy for the men's golf team. Four
of the five top-ranked teams in the nation - Flori-
da, Clemson, Georgia and Georgia Tech - will be
there. Big Ten rivals Purdue, Northwestern, Min-
nesota and Illinois are also scheduled to tee it up.
"After this tournament, we'll know if we're able
to compete nationally," Sapp said.

WOMEN'S SW'MMING
'Fearless' tankers aim for record 18th Big Ten title

By Anne Ulbie
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan women's swimming coach
Jim Richardson claims that this year's
team has something different from all
the past teams he's coached.
"They are fearless," Richardson
said. "We've changed the entire struc-
ture of our program over the course of
the season with new dry-land and
water training, and the team has com-
mitted every part of themselves to it."
This weekend, the Wolverines plan
on defending Richardson's claim at the
Big Ten Championships at the Univer-
sity of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
The meet, which begins today, con-
sists of four days of competition with
trial final sessions everyday.
"Our toughest day of the meet will
be Thursday," Richardson said. "The
50-yard freestyle event is scheduled
then.
"It is going to be the marquee event

of the weekend because there are
going to be 30 swimmers who all fin-
ish within .01 of a second apart. You
have to swim the perfect race to win."
The conference meet will mark
Richardson's 18th appearance as
Michigan's coach.
Since taking over the program in
1986, he has led the Wolverines to 13
Big Ten titles, including 12 in a row
from 1987 to 1998.
While Richardson has a reputation
to live up to, so does the team. The
Wolverines have claimed 17 Big Ten
Championships since 1974, tying Wis-
consin's cross country team for the
most Big Ten titles won by a women's
program.
Richardson is hopeful that another
team title is just around the corner, but
his primary goal is for his athletes to
swim fast and exhibit the hard work
they've put in since September.
"When it comes to performance, like
other coaches, I'm greedy," Richardson

said. "I want them all to swim fast and
win. This is a sport where team wins
aren't the judge. It's based on how your
swimmers do in three days of champi-
onships, and sometimes you don't get
justice. If it was a for-sure thing, it
would be boring.
"That's why this sport is a challenge."
The Big Ten team title will be diffi-
cult to capture because, while a vast
majority of the teams in the confer-
ence have graduated top swimmers,
they have made up losses with incom-
ing freshmen.
Michigan is in the same situation,
having lost its entire "A" relay from
last year.
But freshmen Susan Gilliam and
Lindsey Smith have filled in well for
the Wolverines.
Gilliam is predicted to have top-10
performances in both the 500-and
1,650-yard freestyle. Smith, who
recently qualified for the 2004
Olympic trials in the 200-meter

freestyle, is expected to have standout
races in the 100-, 200- and 1,000-yard
freestyle events.
"The freshmen usually have a diffi-
cult time getting situated at their first
Big Ten Championship," Richardson
said. "The toughest part is their ability
to dissociate between sessions."
Senior captain Sara Johnson - who
won the 200-yard individual medley at
the championships last year -
described the excitement of the meet
as overwhelming and hard to ignore.
"With all the noise and people, it's a
scary situation to enter," Johnson said.
"If you don't get nervous, there's
something wrong with you."
Richardson understands all the
tough factors present at the meet, but
believes the team is primed for the sit-
uation.
"We're ready," Richardson said.
"We've trained well, we've raced well
and we've rested well. This team
deserves success."

DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily
Freshman Carol McNamara has yet to land a perfect score in her first Michigan
season. McNamara hit for a 9.85 on vault last Saturday to tie her season high score.

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