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March 26, 2004 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-26

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 26, 2004 - 11

I.----------------------1
BASEBALL HOME SCHEDULE
DATE OPPONENT TIME
March 26 Oakland 3 p.m.
March 27 Detroit 11 a.m.
Oakland 3 p.m.
March 28 Detroit 3 p.m.
Apr. 2 Minnesota 3 p.m.
Apr. 3 Minnesota * 1 p.m.
Apr. 4 Minnesota 1 p.m.
Apr. 7 Eastern Michigan 3 p.m.
Apr. 16 Illinois 3 p.m.
Apr.17 Illinois * 1p.
Apr. 18 Illinois 1 p.m.
Apr. 21 Cleveland State 3 p.m.
Apr. 30 Michigan State 3 p.m.
May 2 Michigan State 1 p.m.
May 19 Western Michigan 3 p.m.
May 21 Penn State 3 p.m.
May 22 Penn State * 1 p.m.
May 23 Penn State 1 p.m.
* denotes doubleheader
------------------------------------------

11 /7D
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NOTE

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Sophomore Peter Vanderkaay
won the national title in the 400-
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By Max Kardon
For the Daily
As the Michigan water polo team heads into the
final stretch of conference play, it stands atop the
standings, eager to continue the dominance it has
shown all season. The Wolverines' current 19-7
record marks the best start in the fledgling pro-
gram's history, and is validated by a No. 8 national
ranking - an all-time high for the
program. Quite an accomplishment for
a team that just achieved varsity status THiS W
in 2001 and is graduating its first CWPAI
class of four-year varsity letterwomen.7
No small part of this success is a
quartet of girls that hails from San
Diego - Michigan head coach Matt SunatSlipt
Anderson's home turf. And the girls' Tne:
pilgrimage to the Midwest is more
significant than you might think. This
West Coast connection includes a pair of sisters,
Erin and Jamie Brown. The San Diego sisters are
accompanied by sophomore Megan Hausmann
and freshman Ashley McCullum.
The club team that the foursome emerged from
in high school has won the national championship
the past four years, so the girls are no strangers to
success, and the commitment it entails. San Diego
is a hotbed for water polo, and holds a national
prestige surpassed only by the Los Angeles area.
California's dominance in the realm of water polo
is highlighted by the fact that 19 of the last 20
national titles are held by California schools.
In a sport clearly dominated by the West Coast,
you might ask why these elite players would aban-
don the temperate climate, outdoor pools and pris-
tine beaches of Southern California for the

oppressive winters and frozen ponds of Wolverine
country.
McCullum explains that she was drawn by the
success of the athletic programs at Michigan.
"I like the bigness and academic challenge,"
McCullum said. "What was most important in my
decision was the different experience Michigan
offered from West Coast schools. I really wanted
to immerse myself in the Midwest culture, meet

EKER#D
ivisionat-
v Op [ek a.
- -- - - - -- - --

different types of people and catch a
football game or two."
Michigan has established itself as a
major powerhouse in the East in just
four years, and the progress it has
made is rooted in the ability to recruit
big-time competitors. The team has
been very successful in its short histo-
ry - reaching the Final Four in 2002,
only to suffer a heartbreaking loss to
Stanford in the semifinals. The pro-

tomed to one another's styles and tendencies in
and out of the pool. In a sport that runs a motion
offense similar to basketball, chemistry and timing
are everything. This is compounded by the fact
that it is played in water and is more physical,
which makes precision in ball movement even
more crucial. The restrictions of playing in the
water and navigating physical defense make it
harder to recover an errant pass, and the punish-
ment can be brutal.
"I know where my sister's going to be in the
water," freshman Jamie Brown said. "Erin and I
have an awareness of each other that only siblings
could share. I also know what buttons to push if
she ever slacks off."
The San Diego connection could prove to be a
boon for Anderson's recruiting efforts, as more
high profile talent can be drawn from the area.
"The pipeline from Southern California opened
big time with these girls," Anderson said. "Hav-
ing players from the same location is invaluable
because they have similar interests and can relate
to each other better. Whether they discuss the
teams they played in high school or even the
same burrito joints, it makes Michigan feel more
like home. We always can band together and
ridicule their teammates' taste in Mexican food."
Geographic diversity aside, the Wolverines
must play together as a unit this weekend, when
they hit the road for the Collegiate Water Polo
Association Divisional weekend. They will play
in Grove City, Penn., on Saturday, and continue
their campaign in Slippery Rock, Pa., on Sunday.
The Wolverines look forward to playing five con-
ference games over two days, hoping to extend
their unprecedented record as the playoffs rapidly
approach.

gram still needs to establish itself as a threat to
Western dominance, and the Wolverines are well
on their way.
"I saw Michigan as a great opportunity to join a
program on the rise," said junior Erin Brown, who
was the first of the group to make the exodus. "All
the West Coast schools already have a deep tradi-
tion of success, and Michigan had nowhere to go
but up."
Erin Brown and Hausmann have been best
friends since high school and even live together,
and their friendship is an intangible element that
cannot be underestimated.
All four have played together in various capaci-
ties since the seventh grade, so the girls have a
familiarity that can't be coached. Having compet-
ed together at such a high level, they are accus-

SEIMl LOWER/fDaily
Junior Erin Brown, pictured, and her sister Jamie are two of four players on the water
polo team from San Diego who have been instrumental in the team's success.

SOFTBALL
Opener 'Turkey Day' for Blue's Merchant

p

By Anne Ulble
Daily Sports Writer

After junior shortstop Jessica Mer-
chant hit her third homerun of the
day in the second GAME 1
game of the soft-
b a ll te a m 's h o m e op e n eG A t
opener, the ques- BwIGGEN0
tion running ram-
pant in the GAME 2
bleachers was,
"What did she eat
today?"
"Well, I ate a turkey sandwich with
pickles;' Merchant said. "But really, I
was just confident going up to the
plate. I knew I could hit the balls well,
and I took advantage of it. I've never
been a power hitter, but I'll take it."
Yesterday, after 27 games played
away from Ann Arbor, Michigan
finally made its homecoming at
Alumni Field in a doubleheader
against the Falcons. The Wolverines
swept the series with a score of 8-0 in
the first game and 9-5 in the second.
Merchant led the team with three
home runs, including a grand slam in
the first game. She upped her season
home-run total to 11 while driving in
nine of Michigan's total 17 runs.
"Obviously she was on," coach
Carol Hutchins said. "She can be hot
and cold some days, but she's certain-
ly capable of doing well for us when
that's what we need her to do."
The Wolverines took an early lead
in the first game by scoring seven
runs in the bottom of the second
inning. Leading 3-0 with two outs
and the bases loaded, Merchant hit a
grand slam to bring the score to 7-0.
Michigan split the two games
between pitchers sophomore Jennie
Ritter and freshman Lorilyn Wilson.
I A~-~ __ ----_

Ritter pitched the first game, allowing
just one hit in her five innings. Wil-
son, on the other hand, had more trou-
ble. She allowed nine hits and five
runs, which was not typical of her pre-
vious efforts. Just last week she struck
out a career-best 12 and allowed just
one hit and a walk for her third com-
plete-game shutout of the season.
"I thought Ritter pitched well in
the first game," Hutchins said. "But I

thought Wilson probably had her
worst performance of the year."
Michigan had lost two straight open-
ers and three of the last four.
"It was really great to get a win in
for our season opener," Hutchins said.
"We haven't done that for a few years,
mainly because we've had to play con-
ference games. That's primarily why
we scheduled a non conference game
this year."

The U of M Synchronized Swimming Team
is proud to host
THE U.S. COLIJIGIATE SYNCHRONIZED
SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Canham Natatorium (Hoover & Division)
04 ALL DAY TICKETS (SOLD AT THE DOOR)
Mar. 25-26 $5
Mar 27 $10 Adult/ $5 Student, Senior, Kids
EVENT SCHEDULE:
Mar. 25 8am-5pm Solo/Duet/rio Semi-Finals
Mar. 26 3:30-6:30pm Team Semi-Finals
Mar. 2710am-3:15pm Solo/Duet/fTrio/Team Finals

EARTH AND SKY: ASTRONOMY AND GEOGRAPHY
IN THE LATER ISLAMIC PERIOD
Saturday, March 27, 9am-12pm
Hussey Room, Michigan League
Sonja Brentjes
The Cultures of Maps in Pre-Modern Islamic Societies
Bernard Goldstein
The Practice of Islamic Astronomy in Medieval Spain
Ihsan Fazlioglu
The Introduction of Modern Scientific Thought to the Ottoman-Tlurkish
Intellectual Community: Towards an Understanding of Attitudes of
Ottoman Scientists
Closing Remarks - Cornell Fleischer, Kanuni Suleyman Professor of
Ottoman & Modern Turkish Studies, U Chicago
Saturday, March 27, 1-3pm
Ann Arbor Public Library
343 S Fifth Ave
Sara Schechner

----L-Wally

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