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September 15, 2004 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-15

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 15, 2004 -13

Alexander anxious
for new beginning

Tri-captains leading
Stickers into battle

By Jamie Josephson
Daily Sports Writer
Imagine transferring to a new university
and being adopted into a new athletic pro-
gram. Now imagine finding out that you
have been playing on a broken ankle that
hadn't fully healed since high school. Wel-
come to life through the eyes of the Michi-
gan men's soccer team's newest addition:
junior Ryan Alexander.
Alexander put in a request to transfer
from Wake Forest to Michigan after last
year's winter term. He played 38 total
games in the two years he attended Wake
Forest and was even the second-leading
scorer on the team in his first year.
"Outside of soccer, I wanted more from
a university," Alexander said. "I also felt
like I would have a great chance to succeed
at soccer at Michigan. So, it was a combi-
nation of the two."
It is no coincidence that Alexander
chose to transfer to Michigan, though.
Both the Wolverines and the Demon Dea-
cons had recruited Alexander heavily after
high school. But the forward - who was
named Michigan's "Mr. Soccer" in 2001
- chose Wake Forest.
"He was a player who - when he came
out of high school - we knew he was one
of the best players in the state," Michigan
coach Steve Burns said.
After his second year playing for Wake
Forest, Alexander told Burns that he had
been granted a release permission to trans-
fer from the Wake Forest coaching staff.

Burns then talked to Michigan players
who had competed with Alexander on the
Olympic Development Team, a regional
squad which is comprised of the best soc-
cer players in the Midwest. Burns received
positive feedback and decided to make
the transfer happen. Alexander drove into
Ann Arbor the very next day to hand in his
essays and application.
"I did the essay questions that night,"
Alexander said. "Coach Burns said, 'If
we're going to do this, we got to do it.' I
was definitely excited to make the move"
Burns said that Alexander has transi-
tioned very well into Michigan's program.
"The biggest challenge (he faces) is the
shift in conferences," Burns said. "The Big
Ten is known as a rugged, physical, blue-
collar conference. The ACC is known as
a skillful, possession-based conference
where they don't play a physical game. He
has made that adjustment fairly easily."
But fans will have to wait to see this
new star in action.
Alexander is medically redshirted
for his first season with Michigan and is
scheduled to have ankle surgery on Octo-
ber 9. The newest Wolverine had broken
his ankle his senior year in high school, but
the injury was misdiagnosed. As a result,
the left-footed forward continued to play
on his injured left foot at Wake Forest. This
completely changed Alexander's game.
"It's difficult," Alexander said. "I had
high hopes of coming in and having a great
season along with the rest of the team. It's
tough watching all your teammates play.

By Matt Venegoni
Daily Sports Writer

TOM MASO GOMEZ /Daily
Junior Ryan Alexander has made a smooth transition in transferring from Wake
Forest to Michigan.

It's a different role for me. I'm just trying to
find different ways to be a part of the team.
Sometimes it's as a cheerleader or being a
ball boy at practice. I just want to show the
team that I'm still supporting them."
The rules of being medically redshirted
state that Alexander can play up to four
games in the first half of the season. He
got to play on the field against Connecticut
and contributed to Michigan's most recent
win against Detroit, where he played a sig-
nificant role in setting up the Wolverines'
game-winning goal. Burns said that Alex-
ander will play in the games against Rut-
gers and Kentucky later this season. And
Alexander is looking forward to two more

years of eligibility at Michigan.
"It's a much different style of play,"
Alexander said. "That's one thing I've had
to adjust to. But I like the coaching staff
here - they're really supportive of all the
players."
Even from the sidelines, Alexander has
made a noticeable impact.
"He has a lot of leadership potential,"
Burns said. "He is mature beyond his
years. Players look up to that level of matu-
rity and character that he brings to the
team. Whether on the field on or off, he's
got the charisma. He is in tune with what
he needs to do at the university and in this
program."

In the world of manufactured boy
bands, each member has to fill a role: the
cute one, the thug, the sensitive one, etc.
For the Michigan field hockey team, each
of the three team captains brings a unique
personality to the team, although their
traits are not invented.
Fifth-year senior Kate Dillon - the
elder statesman of the team - is the vocal
one.
"She's the mom," senior Katy Moyneur
said. "Kate has that extra year and helped
us along when we were freshman and defi-
nitely helps the team dynamic."
With her extra year Dillon feels com-
fortable speaking in front of the team and
firing them up.
"At one halftime, earlier this year, she
was almost in tears" Moyneur said. "But
she just said the right things for us and got
us going."
"Vocal" is not an adjective that describes
senior Adrienne Hortillosa. While she may
not be as talkative, her presence is felt in
the locker room.
"She's really intense and everything
she says has a purpose," Dillon said. "She
doesn't speak all that much. But when she
does, people take it to heart."
Hortillosa lets her actions speak for
themselves, and they have been vocal, as
she is tied for the team lead in points with
14.
The final third of the trio of captains is
Moyneur, the "funny one." While on the
field, Moyneur is constantly seen with
a smile on her face, truly enjoying the
game.
"She knows when things need to get
light-hearted," Hortillosa said. "She will

be out there just laughing and having a
good time."
Combining the three captains' strengths
results in well-rounded, complementary
leadership.
"We know each other's strengths and
weaknesses, emotionally and physically,"
Dillon said. "We know when the other is
not having a great day and just help them
out."
All three know what it takes to win the
national championship - as all of them
were on the national title team in 2001.
"We try to lead by taking it back to
when we won the whole thing," Moyneur
said. "We want to instill that hard work in
the team"
All three mention that they want to lead
by example for the rest of the team. The
trio agrees that words can only do so much
and that they must let their actions do their
talking.
"You can scream all you want, but it
doesn't do anything if you don't show them
what it takes," Hortillosa said.
The leadership from the triumvirate
extends off the field as well. While they are
intense on the field, it is another story when
on the bus for a road trip.
"We do all kinds of stuff," Dillon said.
"We have traditions like the skit we make
freshmen do every year. We play lots of
jokes and just sing to make the time go by
faster."
It's fun and games off the field, but the
goal is obvious for the team - a trip to the
Final Four. Last year, the team came up
short and lost to eventual national cham-
pion Wake Forest in the semifinals.
"Ultimately we want to get to the big
show (the national championship), but we
want to take things one game at a time,"
Hortillosa said.

WOMEgd oLFs
Ladygolfers ready to dominate the links

By Jacqueline E. Howard
For the Daily
If the members of the Michigan women's golf
team have weaknesses, they're determined not
to show them.
With Kathy Teichert - the 1996 Big Ten co-
Coach of the Year - at the team's helm for her
12th season, and six players consistently shoot-
ing scores under 75, the women are already call-
ing themselves "the team to beat."
The Wolverines' athletic ability may be
impressive, but their team chemistry is just as
prominent.
"We're a team that really supports each other,"
senior captain Laura Olin said. "The atmosphere
is great because we have the same interests but
our personalities are different - they feed off
of each other."
Freshman Isabelle Gendreau of Quebec felt
the compelling team unity at her very first prac-
tice under the guidance of Teichert.
"In high school, we neverpracticed togeth-
er," Gendreau said. "But the players here are

always supporting each other, and I love the
unique spirit."
"We're a tight unit," senior co-captain Amy
Schmucker said.
"We know each other so well that we finish
each other's sentences."
This special bond has prevailed to lead them
to improvement.
Olin and Schmucker remember a time when
the team lacked focus and harmony.
"I think this team has the best work ethic I've
seen in my four years being here," Olin said.
"We've definitely evolved."
According to Olin, Michigan hasn't been this
deep in years.
The women really push each other to improve-
ment, and with Gendreau off to a strong start,
the seniors seem aware that they have some
competition.
"This team has definitely grown over the
years," Schmucker said.
"We have fun. However, on the golf course,
our seriousness brings us closer ... I've never
gone to practice one day without wanting to be

there."
The Wolverines' diligence has brought them
late nights on the golf course and gruesome 36-
hole marathon days. But, the team's hard work
has paid off.
And, according to sophomore Brianna Brod-
erick, it hasn't been easy.
"Golf is difficult because there are different
types of swings and the game is mental," Brod-
erick said.
Even with differences in technique, the team
has successfully worked together to find the
confidence needed to win.
After winning the Lady Northern Invita-
tional by four strokes last weekend, and the Big
Ten Championship last season, the Wolverines
expect to continue their success with another
victory this weekend at the Spartan Invitational
in East Lansing.
"People don't expect much out of us, but this
weekend, even without home team advantage,
we're the team to beat," Schmucker said.
"This weekend, we'll show them we're differ-
ent," Olin said.

o FILE OTO

Senior tr-captain Katy Moyneur leads with a light-hearted attitude.

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