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March 15, 2004 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-15

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 15, 2004 - 3B

Varsity begins spring
with no-contact drills

'M' icers always know
when to turn it on

By Matt Singer
Daily Sports Writer
Maybe it was just habit. Or perhaps
nostalgia for his days of wearing
maize and blue. On Saturday, former
Michigan cornerback Jeremy
LeSueur somehow found his way
back onto the turf at Oosterbaan
"LeSueur, get off the field!"
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr shouted.
As the senior - who will graduate
in April - went back to the sidelines,
the new-look Wolverines resumed
their first spring practice of the 2004
season. For the current squad, it was a
long-awaited return to the field.
"I love it," Carr said. "My favorite
part of spring is the start of training
With a lack of contact on the first
day of practice, as helmets were the
only equipment worn, the coaching
staff had a little trouble evaluating
John Navarre's potential replace-
ments at quarterback.
"There's a major part of the game -
the contact part - that isn't available,"
Carr said. "Today was a practice
designed to work on their timing, see
their huddle command, their ability to
communicate and their ability to rec-
ognize certain coverages."
Navarre's backup last year, redshirt
freshman Matt Gutierrez, looked
sharp. He fired accurate passes all
morning long, working through his
progressions and hitting receivers in
stride. Gutierrez tucked the ball and

ran on a number of occasions, show-
ing off his mobility. Freshman Clay-
ton Richard and senior Spencer
Brinton also took turns running the
offense. Richard, a former Parade
All-American, saw no game action
last season. Brinton underwent shoul-
der surgery in September and has not
yet returned to full strength.
Highly touted incoming freshman
Chad Henne will join the Wolverines
this summer.
Another interesting position battle
is at running back, where at least five
players will compete for playing
time. Over the next three weeks, Carr
hopes to see the jumbled situation
become just a little bit clearer.
"A guy may be running the football
better, but he may not be where he
needs to be mentally - in terms of
pass protections, routes, checks,"
Carr said. "The competition will
reveal itself."
On defense, junior Marlin Jackson
worked out at cornerback, where he
was an Associated Press second team
All-American during the 2002 season.
After an inconsistent year at safety,
Jackson will reclaim the spot vacated
by LeSueur. With Jackson sliding back
to corner, freshman Ryan Mundy
joined junior Ernest Shazor at safety
on the starting defense. Mundy is also
expected to get work at cornerback.
Sophomore cornerback Leon Hall was
unable to participate in contact drills
due to shoulder surgery.
Michigan may also experiment
with senior linebacker Pierre Woods

Matt Gutierrez, who will be a redshirt sophomore next season, served as John Navarre's
backup for most of this year and looks to be the frontrunner to win the job next year.

at defensive end.
"One of the things you're always
trying to do is to give a guy a role - if
you can do it, that really maximizes
some of his talents," Carr said. "Pierre
has been a good pass rusher. There will
be some things we'll try to develop."
With playing-time battles, position
switches and new senior leadership, a
great deal must be resolved before

the Wolverines kick off their season
on Sept. 4 against Miami (Ohio). But
as first steps go, Saturday's practice
fit the bill.
"I thought we had very good con-
centration - I didn't see the ball on
the ground much," Carr said. "There
are a lot of guys who are really excit-
ed about their opportunities. I think
for a first day we did good."

The Sports Monday Column
Like the Michigan hockey team, I
didn't show up to last night's
game until the third period.
No, seriously. I have a Sociology
paper due at 4 p.m. and really didn't
have time to sit at Yost while they
messed around for the first two peri-
ods. But when I saw Nebraska-
Omaha's Scott Parse put the Mavericks
up 2-1 late in the second period on
WOLV-TV, even I panicked. I raced
down to Yost Ice Arena convinced
Michigan's history of playing down to
its competition was finally going to
catch up to the team.
Anyone involved in March Mad-
ness knows the 12 seed is always dan-
gerous (granted, the CCHA
Tournament's 12 seed is equivalent to
the NCAA Tournament's 16 seed, and
neither has ever advanced past the
first round).
More importantly, when I got to Yost,
I saw Nebraska-Omaha coach Mike
Kemp, who is no taller than 5-foot-6,
was wearing his bright red jacket.
There's a reason opposing coaches
say he is the best-dressed coach in
the CCHA.
Reporters next to me couldn't decide
if it was his lucky jacket, or he hadn't
planned on taking Michigan to a deci-
sive Game 3.
Whatever the case, that jacket was
straight fire and oozed confidence.
But even Kemp's style wasn't enough.
Over just a three-minute span in the
third period, Michigan turned a 2-1
deficit into a comfortable 4-2 lead.
Following the 5-2 win, Michigan
coach Red Berenson waited at the
end of the ice to shake hands with
each Maverick player and leave a
short message. He probably told
them what a great series they played
- a classy move.
But I like to think he individually told
each opposing player: "Gotcha!"
After the game, Kemp was left in the
opposing lockerroom a broken man:
saying the team "battled as long as we
could" - his jacket nowhere to be
No matter how little the Michigan
hockey team tries or how well the
opposing coach is dressed, Michi-
gan's half-ass attitude toward inferior
competition will never catch up to it.

Berenson -sporting double coffee
mugs (yes, he actually had two) -
described his team's style as "heart-
attack hockey."
But is it really that stressful when the
outcome is so predictable?
After watching this team the last four
seasons, I'm convinced Berenson never
worried last night.
Each time the Wolverines struggle
down the stretch (which they have now
in three of the last four years), it has
been free of consequence. The only
thing you can count on is a Frozen Four
berth. By now it all seems pretty ho-
hum to me.
2001: Michigan wins just once in its
final six regular season games and loses
in the CCHA Super Six Finals to
Michigan State. That's three loses to
State in exactly one month.
The Spartans don't make the
Frozen Four, the Wolverines do. Go
2002: The top-seeded icers lose the
first game of the CCHA Tournament at
home to Lake Superior State, 4-3, after
the Lakers score just 36 seconds into
the game and three times in the first 15
2004: The Wolverines go winless
in the last two weeks of this season
to put the CCHA regular-season
title up for grabs. They still claim it
by a single point. Last night, they
come within 13 minutes from
becoming the first top seed not to
advance to the Super Six and put-
ting an NCAA Tournament berth in
serious jeopardy.
Berenson said it took the team half
the game to loosen up.
Ummm, more like wake up.
I liken it to a parent who tells his
child, "Put a coat on before you get
pneumonia!" in the winter.
The kid isn't going to listen and even-
tually the parent just gives up. You both
realize that, in the end, it really doesn't
matter either way.
Nebraska-Omaha goaltender Chris
Holt sounded like one of those par-
ents after the game: "They needed
that kick in the butt from us. Hopeful-
ly they can use it going into the Joe
and (realize) how they really need to
play all the time, because they obvi-
ously can't take any team lightly,
especially our team."
Whatever. After four years of com-
plaining the team doesn't give 100-per-
cent every night, I'm finished and you
should be too.
It's a waste of all our time.



Penn holds 'M' together in win over Pengums
By Matt Venegoni "We are still trying to find ourselves, but this and his second shutout.
Daily Sports Writer helped." "If we can get our pitching under control, we
Unlike every previous game this year, the have the opportunity to be a good, solid team," Mal-
From a shootout to a shutout, this weekend pro- Wolverines never trailed and did not need to make a oney said.

vided all kinds of excitement for the Michigan base-
ball team.
With its 7-0 shutout of

Youngstown State (2-7) yester-
day, the team finished the week-
end with two wins out of three
games. Michigan has won five
out of its last six games.
"Anytime you go on the road,
you want to win a series and
get some confidence," coach
Rich Maloney said.



The Wolverines took a 2-0 lead in "
the third inning, capitalizing on one of COUlNT
many Penguin errors. Junior left-field- (IPENIN
er Chris Burhans reached second on a T ''
dropped fly ball to center. Burhans
scored from third on a two-out single
by sophomore third baseman A.J.
Michigan got another unearned Faa
run in the sixth inning after Burhans
and junior first baseman Kyle Bohm
singled. Burhans scored when Scheidt's fly to
left was dropped. Sophomore second baseman
Chris Getz had a run-scoring single in the sev-
enth, the first earned run of the day scored by the
Penn took over from there, walking one and fan-
ning two to record his third career complete game

aui can't ad:

While yesterday's game showcased
solid pitching and good hitting, Satur-
day's game against Kentucky (12-4)
was a different story.
The Wolverines fell behind early 6-
0, but fought back to tie the game at
eight in the fifth inning. Junior out-
fielder Matt Butler hit a long three-run
homer and added a fourth RBI in the
eighth inning. Bohm collected his
third game in the last two weeks with
three or more hits, and he hit his first

Yesterday, the Wolverines (5-6) rode the arm
of pitcher Michael Penn at the end of the Ken-
tucky Invitational. Penn dominated the Penguins
for all nine innings, never allowing a runner past
second base.
"Michael Penn gave us a great lift today, as our
pitching had been struggling a bit," Maloney said.

homer as a Wolverine.
"Us coming back has been a characteristic of this
team all year long," Maloney said. "The guys
always thought they could win the game."
Ultimately the Wolverines fell to Kentucky 15-14,
but fought back to end the game with confidence,
which showed in yesterday's game.

Jim Weber can be reached at

Florida State steals a win, breaks softball's streak

By Ian Herbert
Daily Sports Writer

With the bases loaded and two outs,
Michigan softball catcher Monica
Schock threw the ball back to her
pitcher Jennie Ritter just like she did

after every pitch of the game. But this
time it was different.
As soon as Schock threw the ball,
Florida State base runners ran a suc-
cessful triple steal that gave them the
lead and ultimately a 1-0 win in the
semifinals of the Florida State Invita-
"I feel that there are several things
that we have to take care of, and we
got beat because we didn't take care
of details," Michigan coach Carol
Hutchins said. "Whether it was that
we didn't look the runner back
enough, we didn't cover third base, or
our pitcher didn't receive the ball and
check the runner, they took advantage
of our lack of attention to details. We
just need to make sure that we do a
better job with it in the long run and
get better at the details."
With the game stuck in a score-
less tie in the bottom of the sixth,
Ritter got herself into her first jam
of the day. After giving up two sin-
gles and a fielder's choice, Ritter
faced Florida State slugger Leslie
Palmer with two outs and runners
on the corners. Hutchins decided to
intentionally walk Palmer, and
Florida State was poised for its
game-winning triple steal.
After the steal, Ritter struck out the

batter, Beth Wade, on the next pitch,
and Michigan came up for its last
chance in the top of the seventh.
Nicole Motycka started things off
well with a lead-off double to left-
center. And after a perfect bunt by
Schock, Michigan had a runner on
third with only one out. Hutchins
brought in pinch hitter Lauren Hol-
land, who popped out to the pitcher.
This left it up to third-baseman Grace
Leutele. Leutele battled to a 2-2 count
before watching the third strike, and
the game, go by.
"We didn't give ourselves a chance,
and that's frustrating," Hutchins said.
"Of all the debacles that happened in
the game, I am most upset that we
didn't go down swinging. If you did-
n't like the pitch you have to fend it
off to give yourself a chance. So that
was probably the most disappointing
part of the game. It would have been a
big win."
The game ended up being the
equivalent of the tournament final
because the other semifinal winner,
Texas A&M, had to leave Florida due
to travel constraints.
Until the semifinal, Michigan (17-
6) didn't have any trouble scoring
runs. The Wolverines scored 39 runs
in their first five games (all wins), but

couldn't get anything started on
offense against Florida State.
"We played some teams, and beat
them up pretty good. But that's what
we needed to do," Hutchins said. "But
against Florida State, they took
advantage of our mistakes."
The Wolverines were led all
weekend by their pitching and
defense. Jennie Ritter pitched 19.1
straight innings of scoreless softball
and threw a no-hitter against Notre
Dame on Friday.
"I think that our pitching perform-
ance, Jennie Ritter in particular, was
outstanding," Hutchins said. "And, of
course, our team played great defense
behind her. You don't throw a no-hit-
ter without great defense.
"I think it's great that we gave up
only two runs all weekend. It shows
right now that the strength of our
team is in our pitching - our pitching
and our defense."
Overall, Hutchins was pleased with
the result of the weekend.
"It was a good weekend for us,"
Hutchins said. "We got to get back
into the curve of playing and I
thought we hit the ball well and hard.
And we had great pitching. (Going) 5-
1 is a good weekend. We just lost a
tough game at the end."


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Pitcher Jennifer Ritter and the Wolverines
lost a close game to Florida State.

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