2B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 15, 2004
Lacrosse maintains high national ranking
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ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
By Chastity Rolling
For the Daily
The Michigan women's lacrosse
team's boom box helps the Wolverines
show their ability to incorporate a little
bit of fun into their intense games.
"Before each game, we blast our
music from the team's boom box while
the other teams look at us like we're
crazy," Michigan junior Alyson
But this team is not just about fun.
The Wolverines' warmup gets their
adrenaline flowing and also gives their
audience a taste of what its weekly
practices are like. The team does a
five-minute warm-up, stretches, forms
line drills and does a special drill
called "fast feet."
Gilbride describes "fast feet" as a
technique where players put their
sticks in front of them and jump over
them from side to side and then from
front to back. As if this extensive
workout is not enough, the coach has
the Wolverines spin from left to right
as a response to her whistle com-
mands. But the warmup is nothing,
compared to practice.
Three times a week, the Wolverines
work on strategies for an hour and a
half. Practices consist of sprints and
running drills. Gilbride says that the 7
a.m. practices, which take place on
Monday mornings, are "solely for
speed and agility."
The long hours that the team puts
into its practices seem to be worth it,
looking at its success.
Maintaining the excellence, how-
ever, is no easy task. As one of the
four varsity-club sports, the women's
lacrosse team has a reputation of
excellence to uphold. When Michi-
gan lost to Florida on Valentine's
Day, it was a learning experience.
"We came back from being down by
five to only losing by one," said junior
Kate Finkenstaedt, who has been on
the lacrosse team since her freshman
year. "That was a real rebuilding expe-
rience. We showed that our team had
Despite the team's loss, it decided to
convert its negative energy to positive,
proving the players' commitment to the
game and to one another.
In addition to winning its last five
games, Michigan sits at No. 4 in the
U.S. Lacrosse Women's Association.
Michigan has proven itself to be a
force to be reckoned with.
"I like the thrill of competition,"
Michigan coach Mary Ann Meltzer said.
"I like to see the things we work on in
practice implemented in the games. It is
great to see (a strategy) work"
Next for Michigan, on March 28,
the Wolverines will travel to Annapo-
lis, Md., for the Navy tournament,
where they will compete against No. 8
Virginia Tech, George Washington,
James Madison and No. 1 Navy.
Michigan blew out Oakland 21-0
Who: Nate Brannen
Hometown: Cambridge, Ontario
Why: Brannen won his second consecutive indoor 800-meter run national
title by recording a school-record time of 1:47.61 at the NCAA Indoor Track
and Feld Championships on Saturday. Brannen was also a member of the
Distance Medley Relay team that set a new collegiate record.
0 WOMEN'S TENNIS
Wolverines suffer first loss in Tuscaloosa
By Waldemar Centeno
Daily Sports Writer
The 1989-90 season was the last time the Michi-
gan women's tennis team had a 7-0 record to start off
its season. But streaks don't always last.
The 17th-ranked Wolverines suffered their first
loss of the season against No. 37 Alabama yesterday,
as they fell 4-3 at UA Outdoor Rec Courts.
"Even though we didn't win the dual match today,
we actually competed well," Michigan coach Bitsy
Ritt said. "It was a match that could have gone to
either team. We just came up a little short in singles,
but we played well against a good team outdoors."
Despite playing outdoors, the Wolverines (7-1
overall) said their character grew because of the loss
to Alabama (8-4).
"We learned that we can compete against a very
competitive team on the road, outdoors," Ritt said.
"Traditionally, we have been known as an indoor
team, and a lot of our good wins this year have been
wins at home. So we know that we are close to beat-
ing a good team on the road. There are a lot of posi-
tives to take away from the match."
In the loss, Michigan received positive play from
No. 36 doubles tandem Kim Plaushines and Debra
Streifler. With Kavitha Tipirneni and Leanne Ruther-
ford capturing a close doubles match 9-8, Plaushines
and Streifler sealed the doubles point by winning
their match 8-3.
Both Streifler and Tipirneni went on to win their
singles matchups, but they were the only Michigan
singles winners on the day.
Despite respectable singles rankings, No. 67 Eliza-
beth Exon and No. 99 Michelle DaCosta both lost in
straight sets. DaCosta fell to No. 50 Robin Stephen-
son, Alabama's only ranked singles player 7-5, 6-2.
Michigan also faced a two-week layoff between
matches, but the Wolverines still felt ready for the
"I really don't think (the two-week layoff) con-
tributed to the loss today," Ritt said. "We had two
weeks off, but we practiced well and we were ready
to play today. It really was not a factor."
With the Wolverines' upcoming matchups,
Michigan's season will see a complete change of
pace. Michigan will now face Western Michigan,
Marquette and Michigan State in the next week
and a half.
"We are fit," Ritt said. "We trained hard in the off-
season and we have a good balance of cardio work.
We'll be ready to play. Tennis players are used to
playing back-to-back days and spending a lot of time
on the court. I think we are really ready for this por-
tion of the season where we have a lot of matches in
a short period of time."
The Wolverines will look to respond to their first
loss of the season when they played against Western
Michigan on Wednesday, something that they have
not had to do all year.
"Western is a really well-coached team, and they
always fight hard," Ritt said. "If we can put this loss
behind us and have a good practice on Tuesday, we'll
be ready to go on Wednesday. Western Michigan will
be a very competitive match."
Badgers gain little from tournament victory
DayaNLPwRndgDaflyys APwr adns
1. ., s. 1.Indiana 49-16
' * M." L is mal ng a se. * Reggie's been inconsistent late-
s>s""ase r"te st;'tb ot the yunlike the team's seven consecu-
,stp. Red Ws tive wins by at least seven points.
2. Tampa Bay 95 pts. 2 Macramen 48 '
* Only one team has clinched a Gf
layfpotThat team, the Tampa y
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - It turns
out the Big Ten tournament champi-
onship game didn't mean much.
Wisconsin rolled to a 70-53 win
over Illinois for its first tournament
title yesterday, then sat and watched as
the NCAA selection committee gave a
higher seed to the Illini in the NCAA
The Badgers (24-6) were seeded
sixth and will face 11 th-seeded Rich-
mond in the first round. Illinois (24-6)
got a fifth seed, despite losing to Wis-
consin twice this season, and will play
12th-seeded Murray State.
But the Badgers aren't complaining.
They'll be playing close to home in
"I can't see a difference between the
3 through 8 seeds" Wisconsin coach
Bo Ryan said. "I wouldn't want to be
in that room, making those decisions.
I'm pretty excited about it."
And Devin Harris is even more
excited. Sure, his Badgers got seed-
ed lower than they were hoping, but
they'll be playing in Harris' home-
"We were hoping for Milwaukee,"
Harris said. "We got a high seed, but
we're playing close to home, so it
worked itself out."
Harris was spectacular in the Big
Ten tournament, never more than in
the title game. The tourney's most out-
standing player led the Badgers with
29 points on 10-of-16 shooting..
The 10th-ranked Badgers also held
Illinois to a season-low 32.7 percent
shooting to snap 12th-ranked Illinois'
12-game winning streak.
Illinois' last loss came at Wisconsin
on Jan. 24.
"We couldn't get shots, couldn't get
a run, couldn't get momentum," Illi-
nois coach Bruce Weber said. "We just
could never get over the hump."
Harris had a lot to do with that.
He scored Wisconsin's first 11
points of the second half and also
had three steals.
The junior punctuated yesterday's
win with an explosive alley-oop dunk
as the Wisconsin faithful chanted
"One more year! One more year!"
Both teams were shoo-ins for the
NCAA tournament and were more
interested in a higher seed than the
automatic bid that goes to the tourna-
It turns out the Illini had nothing to
worry about. They finished with the
best seed of any Big Ten team. Michi-
D171 lOp AHD COITEUTIE14 a
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Tortolani (firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-647-3072)
gan State was the other conference
team to make the field. The Spartans
are a No. 7 seed.
Illinois is headed to its fifth straight
NCAA tournament. Last year, the Illi-
ni lost to Notre Dame in the second
round of the West Regional.
"I feel good about it," Dee Brown
said of their fifth seed in Columbus,
Ohio. "We're in the tournament. As
long as you're in the tournament you
have to be happy because a lot of peo-
ple didn't get in."
Brown was Illinois' only effective
offensive player. He scored 15
points on 6-of-12 shooting. His
teammates were 10-for-37 from the
field (27 percent).
The Illini appeared lethargic, too
often settling for jump shots that fell
short. They were also outrebounded
34-27 and outscored 12-2 on fast-
"We were lacking some emotion
today," Weber said. "We were moping
around feeling sorry for ourselves."
The Badgers set the tone in the
first seven minutes of the game,
shooting over 50 percent from the
field and outrebounding Illinois 9-1.
Clayton Hanson's hook shot gave
Wisconsin a 16-6 lead.
Illinois shot 29 percent in the first
half. Brown kept Illinois in the game
with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting. His
teammates managed just 12 points on
But Weber has reason to be opti-
"The last time we lost to Wisconsin,
we won 12 in a row," he said. "Let's
see what happens now."
The Badgers will be making their
sixth straight NCAA tournament
appearance and seventh in eight years.
They lost to top-seeded Kentucky in
last year's Midwest Regional semifinal
6. San Jose 87 pts.
" Nothing seems to shake the
Sharks anymore, a good sign when
playoffs roll around.
8. Boston 91 pts.
" Leading the Northeast is
impressive. Mike Knuble is en fuego
en route to the playoffs.
9. Houston 39-26
" Who's the most underappreciat-
ed person in Houston? Patrick
Ewing. He's got Yao playing ball.
10. Vancouver 87 pts.
* Free Bertuzzi? How about free
hockey in Vancouver? The Canucks
don't have a prayer.
Zone C diving meet
Jason Coben qualified for his
fourth national championship at the
NCAA Zone C diving meet in
Bloomington. The senior finished
second in the three-meter springboard
event on Friday, won the one-meter
event on Saturday and came in sec-
ond in the platform competition Sun-
day. Coben was the platform diving
co-champion in 2003.
Coben finished second in the three-
meter springboard to Timo Klami of
Iowa, and was runner-up in the plat-
form to J.R. Hillis of Ohio State.
The NCAA Championships will be
held from March 25 to 27 in East
- Staff Reports
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