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March 24, 2004 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-24

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 24, 2004
SOFTBALL
Blue on the lookout for repeat Falcon win

By James V. Dowd
Daily Sports Writer
It started on the ice, and then
spread, untraced, onto the football
field and basketball court. Upset after

upset, the Bowling Green State Uni-
versity Falcons and
their counterparts in the _____
Mid American Confer-
ence are transforming
the mid-major league Bowlin
into a bona fide nation- Mi
al power. Today, the Fal-
cons are hoping toT
expand this trend to the Alur
softball field.-----
Upsetting No. 12
Michigan (21-6) would be a daunting
task for the Falcons (10-11). Only a
year ago, Bowling Green upset the
Wolverines in the first game of a dou-
bleheader. But this time it faces a
Michigan team that has been relent-
less on the mound, allowing less than
one run a game, while racking up 205
strikeouts.
Though on paper, the Wolverines

OD
ngt
ich
mni

should walk all over the Falcons,
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins
refuses to look past Bowling Green.
"Bowling Green beat us in the first
game of the double header last year,"
Hutchins said. "They have a good
pitcher in (sophomore) Liz Vrabel,
and they have (sopho-
more Gina) Rango
back"
DAY Rango was a first-
Greenat team All-Region
igan selection at third base
2 p.m. last season and has
2 pim. been impressive thus
Field far this year. Through
-- the first 21 games,
Rango has hit .371
with three home runs and 17 RBIs.
She has been the cornerstone of a
Falcon offense that scores runs in
bulk.
"Any team has the capability to
explode;' Hutchins said. "The goal of
our defense, which starts on the
mound, is to stop that. We need to get
ahead of their hitters, make them hit
our pitches"

The defense will be anchored on the
mound by both sophomore Jennie Rit-
ter and freshman Lorilyn Wilson -
Hutchins has not decided who will
pitch each game. Junior pitcher Nicole
Motycka will receive some well-
deserved rest this week. Hutchins said
she feels good about Motycka's status,
as there is no serious injury, but is tak-
ing this final chance to give her some
precautionary rest before Big Ten play
begins.
Ritter and Wilson have been in top
form this entire season. Ritter has
compiled an 8-3 record with a 0.98
earned run average. She also hurled
the 20th no-hitter in school history on
March 12. Ritter was named Big Ten
Pitcher of the Week last week. Wilson
has been virtually un-hittable in her
limited action, going 4-0 without giv-
ing up an earned run. She has allowed
just nine hits in 27.2 innings.
While its pitching has been stel-
lar, Michigan's offense has been its
soft spot thus far, and Hutchins is
hoping for increased production
during this last week before the con-

ference season.
"Our offense is not coming togeth-
er like we need it to," Hutchins said.
"The bottom half of our order really
needs to pick it up."
Hutchins is trying to shake up the
lineup a bit, both as a reward for out-
standing performances and to try to
increase production. Freshman out-
fielder Rebekah Milian hit .375 in
three starts over the weekend, and is
now hitting .333 in 17 games of
work. As a result, Hutchins has
moved Milian up to the second spot
in the order.
Michigan's fielding has greatly
improved after it committed 14 errors
in the first eight games of the year.
Since then, the Wolverines have com-
mitted a mere 12 errors in 19 games,
and have not made a blunder in more
than 40 innings.
The first clash of the doublehead-
er between the Wolverines and the
Falcons is scheduled for today at 2
p.m. Should rain postpone the game,
the teams have agreed to play
tomorrow.

BRETT MOUNTAIN/Daily
Michigan's Anthony Jackson whips a forehand. The senior lost his No.12.singles match yesterday.
N ettes cr p u ua
slimRlossMtoNNotreDDame

N MEN'S SWIMMING AND DIVING
Tankers ready for their last dance

By Gabe Edelson
Daily Sports Writer
Nine members from the Michigan men's swim-
ming and diving team will travel to East Meadow,
N.Y., this weekend for a special opportunity - the
chance to swim in the NCAA Championships.
Eight swimmers and one diver will perform on the
sport's brightest collegiate stage.
"This is the Big Dance," retiring coach Jon
Urbanchek said. "And we'll be dancing."
Michigan will participate in 15 of 21 swimming
events, while senior diver Jason Coben will attempt
to defend his co-National Championship in 10-
meter platform diving. Coben will also participate
in the one- and three-meter springboard contests.
Sophomore Peter Vanderkaay heads the field of
swimmers with No. 1 seeds in both the 400- and
1,500-meter freestyle events. Cal-Berkeley junior
Draganja Duje is the only other swimmer with
multiple top rankings.
Senior captain Dan Ketchum (200-meter
freestyle) and sophomore Davis Tarwater (200-
meter butterfly) have also earned top spots in races
at the Goodwill Games Aquatic Center. Sopho-
more Chris DeJong and juniors Andrew Hurd,
Zayd Ma, Chuck Sayao and Christian Vanderkaay

round out the group.
But swimmers and coaches alike know that a
national championship for the No. 10 team in the
country is not feasible. Dominant squads such as
Stanford (17 swimmers), Texas (16) and Auburn
(16) will simply have too much manpower at the
meet for the Wolverines to overcome.
"If we swim up to our potential, we can be
fifth," assistant coach Eric Namesnik said. "If
we're outside the Top 10, that's not a good finish
for us. We are a little bit smaller (than some other
teams), but we just have to cash in on our quality
points."
Urbanchek has tempered his expectations, antic-
ipating a finish slightly below the top five. His
swimmers are more optimistic.
"I'm a little bit more conservative than the boys
are," Namesnik said. "I've lived longer and I have
a little bit more experience, so I have to be opti-
mistic, but not overly optimistic. If everything goes
according to the script, we should rake up some
points."
Namesnik will look to Michigan's four relay
teams to perform well against the nation's best.
"Our relays have to come through for us," he
said. "We haven't been known for our relays, but
they're pretty good this year, and we need to capi-

talize on those."
Peter Vanderkaay is thrilled about the possibili-
ties awaiting the team in New York.
"If I can keep those two No. 1 places, I would be
really happy," he said. "I've never won (an individ-
ual) title, so it would be very exciting. We'd all like
to send (Urbanchek) out with our best performance
individually and as a team because he means so
much to the program and to us. We just want to try
and do our best for him."
Tarwater, who - like Vanderkaay - is swim-
ming in his second NCAA Championships, feels
last year's experience was valuable.
"This year I know what to expect, I know how
the meet is run, some of its idiosyncrasies," Tarwa-
ter said. "That experience definitely helps."
Ketchum hopes to end his final meet wearing
maize and blue in style.
"I just want to end it on a good note," he said.
"I'd like to get an NCAA title, whether it be relay
or individual. It's quite a big honor for me to be
going out with (Urbanchek)."
The captain knows exactly what kind of effort
his coach expects from the team.
"We just have to do what (Michigan swimmers)
have been doing for the last 22 years under him,"
Ketchum said, "and swim like Michigan men."

By Eric Ambinder
Daily Sports Writer
After Michigan senior Anthony Jackson
ripped an overhead winner to tie the decid-
ing doubles match against Notre Dame at 8-
8, he crouched, flexed and let out a scream
to the Varsity Tennis Center crowd.
It was perfect timing for the shot. Rid-
ing on Jackson's emotion, Michigan
went on to win the ___________
doubles point.
But Jackson never
would have expected he would be shouting
in pain later during his singles match at the
worst possible time.
With the overall contest tied 2-2, and
Jackson serving for the match in the third
set, the Wolverine went for it all.
"I thought I had the match, pretty much,
and I thought I could serve it out," Jackson
said. "On match point, I went for a huge
serve, and my leg cramped up."
Luis Haddock, Jackson's opponent, knew
Jackson's legs were hurting and ran the sen-
ior back and forth on the court.
The pain was too much.
Haddock fought through another match
point, and took the match 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.
No. 35 Notre Dame (11-7) took four of
the five three-set singles matches to defeat
No. 48 Michigan (8-2), 5-2.
"I told the guys that I would never be
upset if they lay it on the line and go out
there and give it everything they got," coach
Mark Mees said. "I'll never ever be upset
with a loss."
The contest was much closer than the
final score.
"All of these matches could have gone
either way,"Notre Dame coach Bob Bayliss
said. "(Michigan is) going to win some

matches this year."
After the Wolverines took the doubles
point, Notre Dame's Brent D'Amico pulled
off an improbable win at No. 3 singles over
previously unbeaten freshman Ryan Heller.
With the match tied 1-1, Notre Dame's
Matthew Scott fought off first set jitters and
defeated Michigan's Brian Hung at No. 2
singles, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
The Wolverines tied the match 2-2 when
David Anving outlasted Barry King at No. 5
singles, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Michigan's usual No. 1 singles player,
junior Michael Rubin, did not play because
of an aggravated shoulder. Rubin's injury
forced Mees to move each Wolverine up
one slot in the lineup.
Jackson was forced to play the No. 1 sin-
gles position for just the second time this
season. Despite his loss, the senior did not
disappoint the crowd.
"I try to have fun out there - I will
pump the fist," Jackson said. "I will try to
stay relaxed, but I enjoy screaming to the
crowd."
After Jackson hit a down-the-line passing
shot to set up his first match point against
Haddock, he went to fetch a ball in the cor-
ner of the court. Hearing the cheers from
the crowd, Jackson glanced up at his ecstat-
ic teammates, and joked, "This is what they
paid for, this is what they want."
Tennis legend Jimmy Connors said the
same thing after he won a huge point during
a U.S. Open tournament in the early 1990s.
While Connors won his match, Jackson
failed to grab the 'W' yesterday. But Mees
was proud of Jackson and his teammates.
"I think that it was a heck of an effort
by both teams," Mees said. "I couldn't
have been more proud of the way our
team fought."

9

6M9

NOTE

Wolverines prevail
in East Lansing, 6-1
No. 19 Michigan blew out
Marquette 7-0 on Saturday. But
yesterday, Michigan (10-1 over-

all, 1-0 Big Ten) wasn't as per-
fect, dropping a doubles match to
Michigan State (5-7 overall, 0-1
Big Ten) yesterday.
Despite the lone blemish, the
Wolverines won 6-1, winning
every singles match.
The Spartans have now lost
three of their last four overall.

"We did a great job after not
winning any doubles points,"
Michigan coach Bitsy Ritt said.
"We were off to a great start in
singles."
Despite their unusual perform-
ance in doubles, Michigan main-
tained its high ranking by
working twice as hard in singles.

It was Michigan's second road
match in three days.
The Wolverines continue the
Big Ten season with matches
against Penn State on Saturday
and Ohio State on Sunday at the
Varsity Tennis Center.

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I I

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