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December 09, 2004 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-12-09

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, December 9, 2004

Filling in: Ruden
to step up in GLI

M WRESTIUNG
Blue hoping recruits
lead to bright future

By Ryan Sosin
Daily Sports Writer
As practice drew to a close and all the
coaches left the ice, junior second-string
goalie Noah Ruden and his fellow back-
up goalie, sophomore Mike Mayhew,
were five feet apart on their knees. The
drill - in which they shoot pucks at each
other to help rebound reaction - is part
of Ruden's preparation for his first start
of the season.
When junior goalie Al Montoya joins
the United States World Junior team later
this month, he will leave Ruden to man the
pipes during the Great Lakes Invitational at
Joe Louis Arena on Dec. 29 and 30.
"It's tough when you don't play much,
especially in game situations" Ruden said.
"Practice is one thing, but you still get rusty
in game speed. Mentally, I'm more pre-
pared (for this year's GLI) because I went
through it last year. "
The drill with Mayhew is part of a
plan to make sure Ruden is ready to go
when the puck drops in Michigan's open-
ing-round game against Michigan Tech.
Last season, in a GLI opening-round
matchup with then-No. 2 Boston Uni-
versity, Ruden faced 38 shots and the
then-No. 6 Wolverines fell 4-1. Last
year's loss was just another in the hang-
over that has kept Michigan from tak-
ing home the championship since it won
nine in a row from 1987 through 1996.
Ruden hopes to use what he has learned
in his first go-around at the tournament,
and put the Wolverines back on top.
"It used to be our tournament back in the

90s," Ruden said. "We haven't won it in a
while, so it'd be fun to know that what (for-
mer Michigan goalie Josh) Blackburn and
Montoya, as a freshmen - goalies who
have set their marks here - haven't been
able to win it for this team."
Ruden has made two appearances this
season. He came off the bench in Minne-
sota to stand on his head in the third period,
stifling the surge of offense coming from
the Golden Gophers. The Wolverines, who
held the No. 1 ranking at the time, were
peppered with shots by Minnesota. With
the score 5-1, Ruden was dispatched to
replace Montoya for the final frame, and
made 10 saves.
"It's good to get ice time, and it's good
to play a top-ranked team in the country
like (Minnesota)," Ruden said. "It shows to
myself and my teammates that I can play in
those close games if I have to."
His teammates took notice. Senior alter-
nate captain Brandon Rogers has watched
Ruden in practice for three seasons and
said that, as long as Ruden makes the saves,
the defense will adjust to the differences
between him and Montoya.
"He came in and got thrown into the fire,
and he made some big saves in (the Minne-
sota) game," Rogers said. "He does a good
job getting out of the net when he has to.
Not too many goalies will roam around the
net like Al does."
The GLI also gives Ruden an
opportunity to show he can play in big
games. Last summer, while Montoya
mulled over the idea of jumping to the
NHL, Ruden almost faced the possi-
bility of having to take over the team's

By Seth Gordon
Daily Sports Writer
Top programs don't rebuild -
they reload.
This phrase is often batted around
in reference to perennial powerhous-
es like North Carolina's basketball
and Michigan's football program.
But it is also the mantra of Michigan
wrestling coach Joe McFarland.
Now in his sixth sea-
son, McFarland has led
the Wolverines to four TOM
straight top-10 finishes
at the NCAA Champion- No.5 M
ships and kept his team in Cleve
the national spotlight by 6:3
pushing young wrestlers
into the roles vacated by CliffK
graduating seniors.
He has also ensured -"
that a steady stream

think he's going to be a great college
wrestler."
In those same 2003 Cadet Nation-
al Championships, L'amoreaux
finished first in the 135-pound free-
style competition and eighth in the
Greco-Roman format. Last year,
L'amoreaux completed his junior
season with a perfect 51-0 record on
his way to the state championship at

140 pounds.
ORROW
Aichigan vs.
land State
0 p.m.
een Arena

McFarland expects his
new recruit to compete
at 149 pounds for the
Wolverines.
"Thing I like about
(L'amoreaux) is that
he's ornery," McFar-
land said. "He's aggres-
sive, and he can do a lot
of different things. His
older brother wrestled
at Michigan State, so
he knows what college

TONY DING/Daily
Junior Noah Ruden played in place of an injured Al Montoya in Michigan's 41 tlossat
Notre Dame last year. Ruden will start for Michigan during the Great Lakes Invitational.

goaltending duties, or becoming a
mentor to an incoming goalie.
"Instead of taking that day off, you
make sure you go to the gym or take a run,"
Ruden said. "The coaches and the team
knew that if (Montoya) were to leave, that I
was ready to step in."
Ruden acknowledged that next sum-
mer could be more of the same uncer-
tainty. While he aims to make an
impression on the coaches, he also rec-
ognizes the importance of his role as
Montoya's backup.
"I want to show the coaches that I can
step in when I need to," Ruden said. "If Al
does get hurt, I'm the guy. You know, what-
ever happens next year - I know there's
rumors still flying about that - if there is

a decision, that they give me the nod when
the chance comes."
The coaching staff is also taking notice.
Michigan coach Red Berenson and goal-
tending coach Stan Matwijiw have been
impressed with Ruden's work ethic and his
ability to come in on short notice..
"I'm fully confident in Noah's abil-
ity," Matwijiw said. "He proved to every-
one on the coaching staff that he's fully
capable of stepping in and doing more
than an ample job for the team after his
performance in the third period against
Minnesota."
ROGERS RECOGNIZED NATIONALLY: Thanks to
his four points against Notre Dame, Rogers
was named U.S. College Hockey Online
National Defensive Player of the Week..

0 MEWS BASKETBALL
Positive outlook remains for ailing cagers

of talent runs through Ann Arbor
by constantly reloading. During
the recent early-signing period,
McFarland, a former four-time All-
American in the 1980s, inked three
promising wrestlers to compete for
his alma mater next fall.
Two of the recruits are from
Michigan - Justin Chrazanowski
attends Lapeer West High School
while Braden L'amoreaux competes
for Clarkston High School. Mike
Milano competes for Rocky River
High School outside of Cleveland.
"I'm excited about all three of
these guys," McFarland said. "I
think they will be the type of student
athletes that Michigan has brought
in in the past and continues to bring
in in all its sports."
Chrazanowski leads the group
and entered this fall ranked No. 5
nationally at 135 pounds, according
to Amateur Wrestling News. The
high school senior won two state
championships and placed third in
both freestyle and Greco-Roman
at the 2003 Cadet National Cham-
pionships - an elite national high
school competition. His impressive
resume also includes seven freestyle
and two Greco-Roman state cham-
pionships. Chrazanowski projects to
wrestle at either 133 or 141 pounds
for Michigan.
"He'll probably be the guy to beat
at his weight class," McFarland said.
"The thing I like abut him (is that)
he is very competitive. He has a
hard, unorthodox style to wrestle. I

wrestling is all about."
Unlike his future teammates,
Milano has flown under the national
radar - but not McFarland's. The
Michigan coach grew up in the
Cleveland area and competed in the
same conference as Rocky River
High School.
"He's my diamond in the rough,"
McFarland said. "He's got a big
upside to him. He was third in Ohio
as a sophomore. He had a neck inju-
ry last year that pulled him out of
the state tournament. He's a little
raw right now, but I think he's going
to develop into a great wrestler."
Milano also competed at a high
level for the Rocky River football
team and owns the school's career
records for scoring and rushing
yards. The Michigan coaches expect
him to step up to the 157- or 165-
pound weight class at Michigan.
The trio will not only fill specific
holes in McFarland's lineup, but will
continue his tradition of recruit-
ing upper-echelon student-athletes.
They will also form the cornerstone
of this year's recruiting class, which
will eventually help to replace the
seven seniors on this year's squad.
In the meantime, McFarland will
lead his fifth-ranked Wolverines
against Cleveland State on Friday
night at Cliff Keen Arena. Michigan
is 4-1 all-time against Cleveland State,
dating back to 1980.
The matchup will be Michigan's first
home event of the season and the team's
last contest before winter break.

By Megan Kolodgy
Daily Sports Writer

There has been a great deal of uncertainty surround-
ing the Michigan men's basketball team this week. The
Wolverines have been plagued by injuries to three of their
starters, but the team's nonstarters managed to beat High
Point soundly on Tuesday night. With this win, the Wol-
verines seemingly proved that they can at least hold their
own against second-tier competition.
But how are the Wolverines holding up as a team with
two of their three captains - juniors Lester Abram and
Graham Brown - and guard Daniel Horton, an unofficial
team leader, sidelined indefinitely?
According to sophomore John Andrews - one of
the players who has had to step up on this injury-incited
roller coaster ride - the team's initial reaction was one
of shock.
"My initial thought was, 'Man ... wow, what is going to
happen next?' "Andrews said. "But ...you fill in the holes

when they're needed."
When the team heard that Horton would not be suiting
up against High Point and was out indefinitely, the players'
concern was augmented.
"He's kind of been running the team since a lot of us
came to the program," sophomore Dion Harris said of
Horton. "We kind of depend on him to run the team all the
time. Now we're in a position where we don't know what's
going to happen with him."
The consensus seems to be that - instead of looking at
the absence of key players as detrimental - Michigan pre-
fers to view its handicap as a chance to test greener players
and try out lineups that coach Tommy Amaker might not
have dreamed of using at the onset of this season.
"We're trying to look at it on the bright side," fifth-year
senior J.C. Mathis said. "Coach is stressing this as an
opportunity for guys who may not have played as much.
We have guys that can play and that play well in practice
against guys who play minutes. So they just have to do it
in the game."

The team will now look to junior Sherrod Harrell on the
court - as he is the only healthy captain - until Brown
is expected to return in January. Despite this, Harrell does
not see his role as being altered in any way.
"I'm still doing the same thing I was doing," Harrell
said. "I'm still encouraging the guys on and off the court."
Harrell finds comfort in the fact that Brown and Abram,
who is out for the season - still have a presence in the
program, even if they do not have a spot on the floor come
game time.
"They're still part of the team," Harrell said. "They still
come to practice, and even though they can't play, they'll
be there."
With attitudes like this, Michigan intends to pick up the
pieces and do the only thing it can do in this situation -
keep on playing. Most players seem at least a little appre-
hensive about the upcoming weeks. But the team knows
that this will just be a test.
"It's an opportunity to see what kind of player you are
when things like this happen," Harris said.

OFFENSE
Continued from page 5A
be enough to stifle the well-pre-
pared Eagles' defense.
Although the Eagles do not usu-
ally play a zone defense, Eastern
Michigan coach Suzy Merchant said
her team often works on it in prac-
tice, as a "secondary option." The
only other time the Eagles used the
zone this season was against South
Florida - and the Eagles held the
Bulls to 49 points for the game.
"As much as I wanted to play a
man (defense), I knew it wasn't the
right thing," Merchant said. "But
when you look at Michigan, they
play nothing but man 99 percent of
the time, so they're used to playing
against man."
Merchant admitted that she had
assumed freshman Ta'Shia Walker
and senior Tabitha Pool would pres-
ent matchup problems for her team
- and she was somewhat correct.
Walker and Pool combined for 29
points against the Eagles' defense,
but it could not make up for the rest
of the team.
The Wolverines' inexperience
appeared to play a large part in their
difficulties against the zone. Eastern
Michigan was the first team to run
this defense against them, but after
Michigan's troubles, it is doubtful
the Eagles will be the last.
"We will definitely get better
against the zone," Burnett said.
"We only have one option against
the zone and usually we have 10."
Although it would be easy for
Burnett to place the blame upon
her players, she takes full respon-
sibility for their offensive failure.
She believes that she did not come
in prepared for the challenge which
the defense would present.
"It's my job as a coach to make
sure we're more multi-dimensional
against the 2-3 zone," Burnett said.
"I keep saying we're not as pre-
pared as we should be, and that's
my job."

AP PHOTO
Notre Dame coach Tyrone Willingham was fired by the Irish after three seasons for
failing to get the job done on the field.

MATTU
Continued from page 5A
again, and realized Dani Wohl played
30 minutes.
But anyway, people have asked
what happened with this year's
recruiting class. Ron Coleman will
be fine, but why just one freshman?
Well, two guys, Joe Crawford and Al
Horford, decommitted and another,
Malik Hairston, came close to com-
mitting up over the summer. But all
three ultimately opted against com-
ing to Michigan because they were
looking for the fast track to playing
time and NBA riches.
In a meeting with Michigan coach
Tommy Amaker back in May, Hairston
- who openly plans to spend no more
than two years in the college - wanted
to know if he would start if he came
to Michigan. It was a promise Amaker
was unwilling to make.
Amaker's insistence on bringing
in "Michigan men" can be frustrat-
ing, but unless you're only inter-
ested in wins and losses, you have
to appreciate his willingness to be
patient and pass on the quick fix.
Yes, Amaker can be criticized for

underachieving with what's already
here, but if you ask me, that's it.
Whenever Michigan finally does
look for a new football coach, the
search will go a lot better than the
one Notre Dame is currently going
through. The way things are going
in South Bend, I figure by Sunday
they'll be calling me in for an inter-
view.
While trying to explain the decision to
fire football coach Tyrone Willingham,
athletic director Kevin White actually
said: "From Sunday through Friday our
football program has exceeded all expec-
tations, in every way. But on Saturday, we
struggled."
Isn't that all you need to know about
what's happening in Notre Dame, a
university that has prided itself on bal-
ancing academics and athletics better
than any other school?
But on the bright side, that quote
explains why I'd be the perfect person
for the job. I could care less about Sun-
day through Friday.
Sharad Mattu was just kidding with
that last sentence. He can be reached at
smattu@umich.edu.

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