The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 10, 2004 -11
Blue makes NCAA tourney
By Matt Singer
Daily Sports Writer
The wait is over - and Michigan is in.
For the eighth straight year, the Michigan
women's soccer team has made the NCAA
The team watched live as the pairings
were released on Monday.
"We all huddled together," freshman
Jamie Artsis said. "We were more excited
than nervous, but when we saw we weren't
in the bracket with Notre Dame, we got ner-
vous - we expected to be playing them in
the.first or second round."
Despite their inconsistent play of late, the
Wolverines' (7-4-1 Big Ten, 11-8-2 overall)
credentials were impressive enough to earn
a berth in the 64-team field.
After the announcement, Michigan began
preparing for its first-round matchup against
Horizon League champion Detroit-Mercy
(6-1 Horizon League, 13-7-1) on Friday at
4 p.m. The game will be held in Columbus,
a familiar site for the Wolverines, who just
returned from the Big Ten Tournament held
there. A Michigan win would set up a pos-
sible rematch with Big Ten rival Ohio State
- the sixth seed - in the second round.
"I think first off, everyone was happy and
excited to be in the tournament," Michi-
gan coach Debbie Rademacher said. "We
got a pretty good draw. We just came back
from Ohio State, so we're familiar with the
venue. And if we end up playing Ohio State,
we won't need a scout."
An NCAA Tournament appearance
seemed all but assured when the Wol-
verines began the season with a 7-2-1
record. But the early success would not
last. Michigan has dropped five of its last
seven games. The Wolverines opened up
the Big Ten Tournament needing at least
one win to solidify their NCAA chances
- and they got it, beating Wisconsin 1-0.
Michigan's Big Ten run ended with a 5-2
loss to host Ohio State in the semifinals,
forcing the Wolverines to sweat until their
fate was released today.
As it turned out, the added drama was
a blessing in disguise. Wisconsin will be
forced to play the powerful fourth-ranked
Fighting Irish if the Badgers win their first-
round matchup against Dayton. The Wolver-
ines dropped a 4-0 decision to Notre Dame
earlier in the season. Meanwhile, Michigan
knows it can hang with the Buckeyes - the
two teams played to a 1-1 tie during the reg-
With an NCAA Tournament berth secure,
Michigan's slate is wiped clean. In order to
go deep, the Wolverines need to reclaim the
winning formula that propelled them to a
No. 13 national ranking early on.
"We've learned from our mistakes,"
freshman Jamie Artsis said. "And we know
the times we've lost we could have done way
Rademacher has coached the program
since its inception and understands that one
lackadaisical performance, one key mistake,
and the Wolverines 2004 campaign is over.
But she also knows that at this stage, there's
only so much more she can do.
"We've talked about it enough," Radem-
acher said. "The team, they know that we
have to pick it up, and we can't afford to
have any letdowns. You get to this level, you
can't let up. As coaches, you try to get them
going, but a lot of the motivation comes
Michigan senior Laura Tanchon fights for a header against Notre Dame. The Wolverines found out
yesterday that they made the NCAA tournament for the eight straight season.
WOMEN°S CROSS COUNTRY
By Kevin Wright
For the Daily
Rebecca Walter knows what it feels
like to be an underdog.
When she was a freshman, the
women's cross country team wasn't
supposed to fare well in the Big Ten
Championship, but it overcame the
odds and finished first.
"We pulled together and accom-
plished so much," Walter said. "It
was emotionally exciting. We weren't
expected to compete, but we over-
Now, Walter faces a different kind
adversity: she's one of the favorites.
While the team - currently ranked
fourth in the nation - finished first in
the Big Ten Championship last weekend
for its third straight Big Ten title, Wal-
ter finished second overall with a time
of 20:53. In the NCAA pre-nationals
on Oct. 16, Walter finished fourth with
a time of 16:44, helping the Wolverines
finish second out of 36 teams.
Throughout the season, Walter has
captured numerous achievements: All-
Big Ten first team, the Big Ten Athlete
of the Week on Oct. 19 and the Big Ten
Sportsmanship Award. She has also
finished in the top four in five meets
this year. To succeed, she maintains
a routine during the season which has
helped her continue to run strong at
"Running is like a slope," Walter
said. "Once you start rolling, you want
to keep your momentum. We have the
same routine - with two practices a
week and rest periods in between -
that lets you fall into a pattern. Every
practice and every meet are little steps
up the mountain to nationals."
As a result of the grueling nature
of the sport of cross country, Walter
has to stay mentally focused in order
to compete at a high level week in and
"I just have to relax because the
motivation has always been there for
me," Walter said. "The season's filled
with rough weeks. I'm always deal-
ing with the balance of being in good
shape and feeling fatigue. You can feel
great one day and then the next day feel
totally worn out."
On the bright side, Walter just has a
few more weeks left in the season to
grit through the pain. The Wolverines
will compete at 11:30 a.m. in the Great
Lakes Regional Championship at Ypsi-
lanti's Eagles Crest Golf Course. If
they place in the top- two, they travel to
Terre Haute, Ind., to run in the NCAA
Championship the following weekend.
Last year, the team finished second
out of 30 teams at regionals, with Wal-
ter finishing third. Then, in the NCAA
Championship, Walter finished 18th
individually and helped the team place
fourth out of 31 teams.
"The third-place finish in regionals
was fine with me," Walter said. "My
main concern was helping the team
qualify for nationals."
This year, while focusing on team
goals, Walter also has some personal
incentives to run well at the regional
"There will be some good individual
competition, especially Danette Doet-
zel from Michigan State and Cassie
Hunt from Illinois," Walter said. "I am
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