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November 15, 2004 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - November 15, 2004 -- 3

Seniors: Don't dwell on past

RYAN WEINER/Daily
Senior Dani Wohl may hold the secret to Michigan's success tonight. Not only did he play for Binghamton's team for a year, but
one of his good friends is Nick Billings, the Bearcats' dangerous center. Wohl will share some tips with his team before tip-off.

Wohi key to
By Brian Schick
Daily Sports Editor
While he may not see time on the floor, senior Dani
Wohl may be the best weapon for the Michigan basket-
ball team against Binghamton tonight.
The Wolverines will face a dominant threat in the
frontcourt in the form of 7-foot Binghamton center
Nick Billings. Billings is a shot-blocking machine: He
is currently 10th in NCAA history in shots blocked
per game (3.87), and was fifth in the nation in blocks
last year and second in the
nation two years ago, behind
Connecticut's Emeka Oka-
for. But his weakness might TONIGHT
come from Wohl, who is his
friend, and won't hesitate Mcmgn
to share his scouting report
with his teammates.
"I know what he does well
and I know his weakness,
too," Wohl said. "He has a
tendency to go for everything
- ball fakes and stuff like that will get him into foul
trouble. I'll definitely help (my teammates prepare)."
Wohl played his freshman year at Binghamton before
transferring to Michigan in 2002. After sitting out the
2002-03 season due to the NCAA's transfer rule, he saw
his first action as a Wolverine last season. He remains
close with Billings and the coaching staff despite being
two years removed from Binghamton.
"The main guy I keep in touch with is Billings," Wohl
said. "We met up last summer and hung out."
After being a four-year starter at West Bloomfield
High School and All-State honorable mention in 2001,
Wohl took his game to Binghamton. The school, located
in Vestal, N.Y., made the move to Division I from Divi-

M'

success.?

sion II during Wohl's freshman year. But something
didn't seem to fit for Wohl during the season.
"Binghamton is a great school, but it wasn't for me,"
Wohl said. "I didn't like it - the education, being far
from home, family, everything else. The basketball was
good but I felt I needed a change. I didn't feel right
there."
Binghamton coach Al Walker made some calls on
Wohl's behalf, and contacted Michigan assistant coach
Chuck Swenson to inquire about a transfer. During
his first season at Michigan, Wohl saw action in eight
games and scored his only basket of the season against
Northwestern on Jan. 7. While he doesn't have any
animosity for Walker or Binghamton, Wohl is glad he
decided to transfer closer to home.
"Everything seemed to fall into place and I feel real
lucky," Wohl said. "(The Preseason NIT) is a great
opportunity for a school like Binghamton to come
into Michigan and give them great exposure. They're
a tough team - they really get after it, play tough 'D.'
They run a lot of defensive sets, so we'll have to get
ready for them."
Wohl has been preparing the Michigan frontcourt
around Billings' game, especially Courtney Sims and
Graham Brown, who will likely match-up against Bill-
ings on offense. On defense, the Wolverines will also
slow down Billings, who averaged 12.5 points-per-game
last season. With the advice from Wohl, Sims feels that
he can shut down the potential NBA prospect.
"As long as I play my game, I don't think anybody
can stop me," Sims said. "I think I'll be fine."
In the end, it's obvious where Wohl's allegiances lie.
He has done all he can to help Michigan prepare for
tonight's game, but still hopes that despite his prepara-
tions, his friend can still put on a show.
"I hope he has a good game, but I hope we win,"
Wohl said.

GENNARO FILICE
The SportsMonday Column
t. Fight! Rah! Team, Fight! Victory for MSU!
I've never really hated Michigan State. Although
my distaste for Sparty is greater than my distaste for
eight other Big Ten teams, it's nowhere near my sheer hatred for
the conference squad that hails from Columbus. The fact is, I
have northern California roots. So, obviously, I didn't grow up
in Michigan. Therefore, never paid much attention to Michigan's
top in-state showdown, which from a national viewpoint, is a
one-sided, second-tier rivalry (Michigan holds a 64-28-5 all-time
advantage). Also, I don't have any old high school buddies in East
Lansing to exchange verbal jabs with on a regular basis.
So, again, I've never really developed the abhorrence for the
colors green and white that many lifetime Michiganders boast. I
guess I just haven't been a close observer of the Wolverines for a
long enough time.
But if State continues to transport me to cloud nine - like it
surely did Saturday night - I don't think any amount of time as a
Michigan fan could ever make me truly despise the Spartans.
Michigan State's 49-14 thrashing of the Badgers truly affected
my being. First and foremost, Sparty's 'W' gave Michigan the
opportunity to control its own destiny in the Big Ten, and there-
fore, provided me with the ability to drop my third (and most
time-consuming) class of the fall term: BCS 101. Like anybody
else, I'd much rather kick off the new year in New Orleans,
Tempe or Pasadena than in central Florida. And before Wis-
consin lost, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure
out how Michigan would earn a BCS at-large bid. Countless
hours that I could have used to study for English 370 and English
417 went by the wayside thanks to the unbelievably outlandish
intricacies of BCS 101. Now that the Big Ten's automatic bid is
Michigan's for the taking, I don't have to constantly worry about
Jeff Sagarin's computer and I sleep like a narcoleptic baby.
Although it's nice to be able to ignore this BCS jargon that has
engaged every brain cell in my head (at this point, they are a lim-
ited commodity) for the last month this wasn't the most profound
effect that State's Badger bashing had on me.
In the days before Saturday's final home contest, it became
more and more apparent to me that the Northwestern game
would be the final time I'd be able to roll out of bed and into the
Big House. A senior with limited credits left at my disposal, I'm
not going to be able to live my dream of returning for one final
football season (and a fifth year of school, as well). Northwestern
was my last hurrah as an undergrad. While I know I'll be return-
ing to Michigan Stadium in the future, there's no guarantee that
it will be in the near future. And this fact stared deeper into my
eyes as last week progressed.
On gameday, the emotions really started flowing.
Walking down State Street, I began to reminisce on the first
time I encountered this Maize and Blue zoo. When I hit Hoover
Street, the Michigan Marching Band's pregame "Step Show"
captured my thinking.
Once I entered the gates on Saturday, I put on my game face
and strolled to up the press box. During the game, my emotions
stayed subdued due to my immediate interest with the play on the
field.
But, in the fourth quarter, I was blindsided by an usher and
went into a emotional tailspin.
With just under seven minutes left in the game, I left the press
box and headed down to the field. But on my way out, an usher
flashed her pearly whites with a smile and shot me a "See ya next
year."

seeing the usher a year from now. This was it.
I spent the game's final five minutes gawking at the Michigan
student section from field level, wishing I was one of the many
freshman I could easily point out.
After the game, my depression continued to mount as some of
Michigan's senior players shared their own sentimentality with
me.
Walking through the Crisler Arena parking lot after my post-
game interviews, I can honestly say that I was more dejected
leaving Michigan Stadium than ever before (yes, I'm including
the 2001 loss to Ohio State and the 2002 drubbing at the hands
of Iowa). One of the great chapters in my life - four years of live
Michigan football - was coming to a close.
My friends at home shared in my despair - one even said he
teared up at the game's conclusion.
So we sat there brokenhearted for a few minutes.
But then, out of nowhere, Sparty came to the rescue.
Watching the Michigan State blowout brought us hope and
glee. And it completely changed my spin on this column.
I was planning on writing a dejected, I'll-miss-you-Big-House,
senior sendoff. And this piece probably would have been fol-
lowed by a few days of moping and contemplating what future
fall's would be like without a steady dose of Michigan Stadium.
But Michigan State's win - and my ensuing mood swing
- made me realize that there's no point in moping. This team
has a chance to take a second straight trip to Pasadena, and that's
a hell of a way to go out. I must fully enjoy the limited time I have
left in my final football season as an undergraduate student or
I'll be kicking myself down the line. I've got the rest of my life to
yearn for the good old days, and so do you.
Seniors, I know many of you shared my melancholy demeanor
on Saturday afternoon. I know this because, despite the game's
blowout status, the student section stayed full 'til the final second
ticked off the clock.
I know that it's difficult to imagine a year (or many years)
without a single Saturday in the Big House.
But I also know that you must put off any glum feelings at
least until after this football season is over. You have to enjoy the
moment while you're in it.
Although this wasn't my outlook at 5 p.m. on Saturday, by 8
p.m. I was a changed man. And, had you dropped by my house
on Saturday night, you'd have known this by my ear-to-ear grin
and incessant recitals of a certain song:
On the banks of the Red Cedar..
Gennaro Filice has been wearing a Michigan State sweatshirt
for 48 straight hours and he can be reached at gfilice@umich.edu

On Saturday, every senior experienced Michigan Stadium as an

My heart plummeted to my Sperry Topsiders. I wouldn't be undergraduate student for the last time.

D.C. United wins fourth cup

CARSON, Calif (AP) - D.C. United
won an unprecedented fourth MLS Cup
on yesterday, beating Kansas City 3-2.
United spotted the Wizards an early
goal, then scored three times in a seven-
minute span of the first half to move in
front for good.
Alecko Eskandarian scored in the
19th minute to tie it 1-1, then added
another goal four minutes later.
United built a two-goal lead on an
own-goal when a pass by Earnie Stew-
art deflected off Wizards' defender
Alex Zotinca and into the net in the
26th minute.
Kansas City, the 2000 MLS Cup
champion, pulled within 3-2 on Josh
Wolff's penalty kick in the 58th min-
ute. The Wizards were awarded the
kick when United's Dema Kovalenko,
protecting the goal line, used his hand
to knock a shot by Davy Arnaud over
the bar.
Kovalenko was ejected, the first

player sent off in the nine-year his-
tory of the Cup.
Despite being down a man, United
held off the Wizards the rest of the way.
Freddy Adu, United's 15-year-old
phenom, came on as a substitute in the
65th minute to a roar from the crowd of
25,797. He made a run down the side
with the ball late in the game, but goal-
keeper Bo Oshoniyi was able to pick up
the ball before Adu could get off a shot.
It was United's fifth appearance in
Major League Soccer's championship
game, but the first since a 2-0 victory
over Los Angeles in 1999. The only loss
in those five trips was a 2-0 defeat by
Chicago in 1998. Peter Nowak, United's
rookie coach, assisted on both the Fire's
goals and was the MVP of that title
game six years ago.
After Jose Burciaga's curling 35-yard
shot seemed to catch United's defense
napping and gave the Wizards the lead
in the sixth minute, Eskandarian got

United rolling.
His first goal was a workmanlike
individual effort. His second came after
a Kansas City clearing pass bounced off
his arm and toward the Wizards' goal.
Eskandarian, with the Wizards' Diego
Gutierrez tight on him at the top of the
box, controlled a pass from Brian Car-
roll, fought his way around Gutierrez and
boomed the ball into the right upper cor-
ner of the net to draw United even.
He made it 2-1 four minutes later
when he came flying in - arm up - to
deflect the ball as Jimmy Conrad tried
to kick it downfield. As the ball rolled
toward the goal, Eskandarian chased it
down and then shot to the left as Osho-
niyi went left.
The apparent handball went unno-
ticed by referee Michael Kennedy.
The own-goal came when Stewart's
hard cross bounced off Zotinca, who
was rushing back toward the goal, and
the ball sailed past Oshoniyi.

AP PHOTC
D.C. United celebrated its fourth MLS Cup
after defeating the Kansas City Wizards.

:

'n R** ~ .... ~UU 1"I1 II E .E

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