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September 07, 2004 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-07

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The Michigan Daily - SportsTuesday - September 7, 2004 - 15A

Stickers rebound
with road victories

By Matt Venegoni
Daily Sports Writer

Senior Braylon Edwards is one of Michigan's most experienced players on the offensive side of the ball.

rEdwards needs to fill Perry sshoes

A team's opening road series can
cause anxiety for the coaching staff.
And while there were some anxious
moments, Michigan came out with
two victories and more confidence this
past week.
The Wolverines looked focused
Thursday against New Hampshire after
gaining their first victory of the season
two days earlier against Maine. Sopho-
more Katie Morris led the Wolverines
with two goals en route to a 8-1 win
over New Hampshire. Michigan struck
quickly and often while blanking the
Wildcats in the first half 6-0. Lori
Hillman also paced the Wolverines as
the junior defender had a goal and two
shots on goal.
"Hillman is playing really strong,"
Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz said.
"She's being a field general for us right
now and has really controlled the cen-
ter of the field for us on attack and
defense."
Sophomore Mary Fox joined Morris
in registering her first multi-point game,
with a goal and assist. Fox started the
scoring barrage, earning her first goal
of the season at the 3:14 mark.
"We had some players really step
up and show what they can do this
past week," senior Kate Dillion said.
"Katie Morris is doing an outstand-
ing job, along with Jessica Blake and
Mary Fox, of creating opportunities on
offense."
The Wolverines added another pair
of goals in the second half -just over
two minutes apart - giving Michigan
what turned out to be an insurmount-
able lead. Sophomore Lauren MacMil-
lan earned her first career goal at 50:05
after roofing a shot to the far post on
a pass from freshman Lucia Belassi,
which gave the Michigan newcomer
her first career assist. The scoring
ended when Morris notched her sec-
ond goal of the game - redirecting a
hard centering pass from Fox - at the
52:25 mark. Overall, Michigan (2-2)
outshot the Wildcats (0-1) 27-10 in the
contest and out-cornered them 11-3.
"If we can play like this in every
game, we will be in a great position to
have a good season," Pankratz said.
Michigan overcame a slow start
and rallied to beat Maine 4-3 in over-
time. Senior Adrienne Hortillosa led
the Michigan attack as she scored two
unassisted goals, including the game-
winner seven minutes into the over-

time frame.
After falling behind 2-1, the Wol-
verines shut down the Black Bears
outshooting them 11-1 in the second
half and 4-0 in overtime. The Wolver-
ines' intense pressure on offense and
swarming defense turned out to be too
much for the Black Bears.
"I feel we have been getting better
with each game, especially with play-
ing great opponents," Pankratz said.
The Wolverines bounced back strong
in the New Hampshire and Maine
games after dropping two straight in
the ACC/Big Ten challenge August 28
and 29. However, playing four qual-
ity opponents, including the defending
national champion Wake Forest, will
help the Wolverines once the Big Ten
season starts.
"I think it is important to play these
good teams to gage where we are, and
test our game speed," Pankratz said. "It
definitely helps us improve quicker."
While the team is starting to gel, it
is also getting healthier after starting
the year with several injuries. Pan-
kratz hopes the first four games are
the beginning of a great season, but
expects more from the team as the sea-
son progresses.
"The more games we play, the more
we organized we become, and the
players get comfortable with their new
positions," Pankratz said.

T e cheer of "first name ... last name
clap ... clap ... clap-clap-clap"
has no place in the collaborative
brilliance of team play. I'm very proud of
having never, ever uttered a despicable indi-
vidualized cheer ...except once.
In the
third quarter
of last year's
35-21 win
over Ohio
State, Chris
Perry ran off
tackle Adam GENNARO
Stenavich FIL
for a two- LICE

over Indiana, Stan Edwards, Bray-
Ion's father and a former Michigan
running back, told the Michigan
Daily that "(Braylon has to) learn
what the coaches want him to do.
"He asked for the focus to be on
him when he asked for number one,
and there are responsibilities on
him that aren't on other people."
During the second half of the
season, Edwards seemed to mend
his relationship with Carr and
became one of the most explosive
receivers in the country.
By returning for his senior sea-
son, Edwards illuminated that his
grievances with the program are
past him.
"If (Carr) and I weren't on the
same page, I wouldn't be here,"
Edwards said. "Coach Carr is a
great coach and I'm a player that
respects him and we have a great
relationship right now."
Edwards's upgraded attitude
resounded through Michigan Sta-

dium in Saturday's opener.
"I'm more at ease - I'm more
relaxed," Edwards said. "Last year I was
assuming a new role and I was a little
uptight."
Edwards really
stresses that his new
closely-cropped
'do represents
his maturity.
But, the only
true sign of matu-
rity will be see-
ing if Edwards
embraces the role
that Perry played
last year. Just ask Bray-
lon.
"This year I'm a
senior," Edwards said.
"I'm the guy that's got
to step up to the front
of the pack in everything
we do, whether it be media,
whether it be running FILE PHOTO
after practice or drills,

I have to step up."
Thus far, Edwards has received
rave reviews from teammates and
coaches in regard to his leadership.
On Saturday, it was Edwards who
led the Wolverines out of the tun-
nel. And it was Edwards who
excited his teammates and the
crowd with his fist-pumping
youthful exuberance.
Edwards is bound to
put up astonishing num-
bers. He's 6-foot-3, 210
pounds, has track speed
and is third on the entire
team in bench press (35 reps
of 225 pounds). That's right,
third! But, if he truly wants
to make an impact on this team
that transcends statistics, he'll
have to dedicate himself to
becoming Michigan's true
offensive leader, its hype
man ... its Perry.

yard gain.
In the ensu-
ing pile-up,
Ohio State's

The SportsTuesday
Column
Robert Reynolds

- dirtiest linebacker this side of
Bill Romanowski - mistook Per-
ry's ankle for Jim Sorgi's neck and
twisted like he was Chubby Check-
er. With Perry sprawled out on the
field of play in extreme pain, fans
felt obligated to help up Michi-
gan's wounded warrior. Chants of
"Perry, Perry" started in the stu-
dent section and quickly spread
throughout the Big House. Perry
quickly popped up and expressed
his displeasure to Reynolds in hel-
met-to-helmet fashion. It was a
magical moment. And, despite my
deep-seeded and haughty beliefs,
I may have been the loudest and
most passionate voice in section
29. It just felt so right.
This year's marquee player
on offense is Braylon Edwards.
Although his career mirrors Perry's
in many ways, the Detroit native is
not worthy of such a serenade - at
least not yet.
The "Perry" chant was the cul-
mination of an amazing year for
the Heisman finalist. Perry won the
Doak Walker Award as the nation's
best running back, rushing for 1674
yards and notching 20 total touch-
downs. He single-handedly downed
Michigan State and led Michigan to
its first victory over the Buckeyes in
three years.
But the reason I chanted Perry's
name on that cold November day
had nothing to do with statistics.
Rather, I strained my vocal cords in
appreciation of Perry's leadership
throughout the season.
Early in his career, Perry was
unhappy with his situation at Michi-
gan and didn't get along with coach
Lloyd Carr. He even thought of trans-
ferring. But he stuck with it, and
after an up-and-down junior season,
came back for his coup-de-grace
in his final year with the program.
Stats aside, Perry was Michigan's
hype man and emotional leader on
offense. On gameday, it was Perry
who'd lead Michigan out of the tun-
nel. It was Perry who'd excite his
teammates and the crowd wvith his
fist-pumping youthful exuberance.
It was Perry who'd get vocal on the
sidelines. It was Perry who'd crack
jokes in the huddle to cut the ten-
sion. And during the week, it was
Perry who'd keep the offense in
check, making sure everyone was in
tune to the common goal of a Big
Ten championship.
But, with Perry's graduation, this
hype man role has been left void.
And. with inexperience at quarter-

TONY DING/Daily
Michigan senior Kate Dillon and the
Wolverines won two games this weekend.

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