By James V. Dowd
Ibaily Sports Writer
When Wayne Gretzky dominated the NHL in the'80s
and '90s, people described his playmaking ability as a
"sixth sense." Gretzky had the ability to think several
plays ahead and seemed to always be in the right place
at the right time.
With forwards and midfielders like seniors Jessica
Blake and Adrienne Hortillosa firing shots from all
angles, the Michigan field hockey team was in need of
someone with a sense for picking up rebounds and errant
Junior Katie Morris fit the mold. She has used her
"sixth sense" to propel her from perpetual bench warmer
to one of the Wolverines' top scorers.
Growing up in Ann Arbor, Morris began playing field
hockey in fourth grade and immediately fell in love with
the game. Her father is a lifelong ice hockey fan, so Mor-
ris saw field hockey as her opportunity to continue his
"I'm his only child, so I think that field hockey being for
girls kind of pushed me in that direction," Morris said. "The
first time I played, I liked it, and I just kept doing it."
Morris spent her weekends around Michigan's field
hockey teams, serving as a ball girl. Playing for the
Wolverines was a dream of Morris's, but the continuous
improvement of Michigan's program had her questioning
if she would ever make it.
"I remember being a ball girl for the Michigan team
ahnd thinking they were so cool," Morris said. "It was
always in the back of my head that I wanted to come
here. They kept getting better and better, and, in 2001,
I watched them win the national championship. Then I
started having doubts if I could really come here."
Having seen her develop as a player, Michigan coach
Marcia Pankratz gave Morris an opportunity to play
for the Wolverines. After earning her spot at Michi-
gan, Morris redshirted during her freshman year and
still had lingering doubts as to whether she really
belonged. The limitless faith that her teammates have
in her helped her develop into one of the Wolverines'
"A lot of times I don't think I had the confidence to be
sure that I could make it out here," Morris said. "Advice
from (field hockey teammates) or positive words of encour-
agement like 'Morris, we want you out here, you belong'
have helped to build me up and build my confidence."
After a strong spring season, Morris has seen increased
playing time and has earned a starting job on the Wolver-
ines' roster. Spring field hockey offers the team a chance
to work on individual skills and it gave Morris an oppor-
tunity to develop confidence that she lacked.
"After last fall, I got in a few games, but I didn't really
know what this year would bring," Morris said. "This
spring, when we played scrimmages, I could see it devel-
oping that I did have an opportunity to become a role
player and to contribute. I had a good spring season and
The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 11A
Blue duo splits time at keeper
Dzubay, Zawacki compete on field, remain friends off it
By Jamie Josephson
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan junior Katie Morris goes after the bail during the
Wolverines' 4-2 win over Harvard on Sunday.
just had to carry it over to the fall."
While Blake has emerged as one of the nation's pre-
mier scorers, even the best miss shots at times. Morris
has capitalized on many of these near misses scoring 10
times, good enough for second on the team.
"(Morris) is just always a half second or a second
ahead," Pankratz said. "When everyone else thinks they
are going to shoot, she has just got great timing. She's got
special hands when it comes to goal scoring."
Realizing that this sense is a rare gift, Morris focuses on
developing skills necessary to convert missed chances.
"I won't be having those beautiful goals like Jess
Blake with the big windups," Morris said. "I focus on
rebounds and tips, timing and cutting. I'm trying to
think two steps ahead where the ball is going to pop out
so that I can tap it in."
On Saturday, the Wolverines defeated Northwestern
4-2, when Morris used her knack for finding rebounds
to put one in. After Wildcat goalkeeper Sherrie Anne
Nyberg stopped a shot, it bounced across the circle, and
right on to the stick of Morris, who put it in the back of
the net. Morris also added two more goals on Sunday,
twice capitalizing on good position and accurate passes
Pankratz is thankful for Morris's sixth sense and real-
izes that is a gift that not even the best coach can give.
"I don't think that you can coach it," Pankratz said.
"It's a really natural thing, and she has it for sure."
The No. 19 Michigan men's soc-
cer team (7-1-2) has held its oppo-
nents to a "goose egg" five times
this season and has allowed less
than one goal per game. Even with
this goalkeeping consistency, one
question still remains: Which goal-
keeper should start?
In the team's 10 games, Michi-
gan coach Steve Burns has divided
the number of starts almost evenly
between goalkeepers - four for
junior Peter Dzubay and six for
fifth-year senior Joe Zawacki.
Recording four and three wins,
respectively, Dzubay and Zawacki
have been competing all season for
the starting spot in front of the net.
"It's nice to have that competi-
tion there, where we are always
pushing each other in practice and
keeping each other on our toes,"
Zawacki said. "We're (still) friends
off the field and both respect each
other. We both feel we would like
to see the team win first, and we
both know we are both good goal-
This competition is nothing new
for the teammates, as both have
been fighting for the starting posi-
tion for the past few years. In 2002,
Dzubay and Zawacki started in 11
and nine games, respectively. But
last season, injuries kept Zawacki
on the sidelines.
Regardless of this history of com-
petition, the mutual sense of friend-
ship is still evident between the two
goalies. Dzubay said that the two
are usually roommates on road trips
and even play poker together when
they're not competing on the field.
As one of the captains, Zawacki
has tallied two shutouts and 16
saves, and he has allowed five goals
"(Zawacki) is a pretty good orga-
nizer," Dzubay said of his team-
mate. "He makes sure the defense
is in the right place. He's pretty
In his last year playing for Michi-
gan, Zawacki said it would be best
if the starting time could be split
exactly evenly throughout the sea-
son between himself and teammate
Dzubay. But because this cannot be
the case, he has tried to make his
presence felt in a leadership role,
even when he's not playing.
"I'm always trying to make sure
everything is in the best interest of
the team and keeping people down
to Earth no matter how high we are
ranked," Zawacki said. "I see myself
as a guy they can come to who has
been through a lot and weathered a
lot of storms."
"Storms" for Zawacki have
included dealing with several inju-
ries throughout his career at Michi-
gan He said that although these
injuries have limited his playing
time on the field, they've allowed
him to observe the game more from
the sidelines and see how his team
reacts to different situations.
Even though he is competing with
Dzubay, Zawacki recognizes the
younger goalie's strengths. Dzubay
has led the team to two shutout
wins, allowed just two goals and
tallied 12 saves.
"(Dzubay) is a very good shot stop-
per," Zawacki said. "He's fairly strong
in the air, on crosses and air balls.
He's a very athletic goalkeeper."
But the fact that both goalkeep-
ers have kind words for one another
doesn't change the reality that only
one can play at a time.
Zawacki, especially, has had to
cope with the let-down of not play-
ing in every game in his last year
with the team.
"It's a bummer when you're not
playing - a disappointment,"
Zawacki said. "But I've learned
that it is the coach's decision, and
you have to trust your coach. You
have to take your negative energy or
attitude and make it positive or that
will affect the team, especially as a
fifth-year senior and captain."
Zawacki has provided a model for
leadership that has not gone unno-
"(Zawacki) is a good guy and gets
along with everyone," Dzubay said.
"We're going to miss him a lot. He
was a big part of the Michigan pro-
gram, so it will be a big loss."
Zawacki and Dzubay will have
to push their intra-team competi-
tion to the side this Sunday, when
Michigan travels to Bloomington to
play No. 3 Indiana in the first game
of the conference season.
Michigan goalie Peter Dzubay punts the ball against Detroit earlier this season. The
junior is 4-0 in the net this season with two shutouts.
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