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September 08, 2004 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-08

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September 8, 2004
sports. michigandaily. com

SPe £&i y r a i


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Blue refuses
to take Notre
Dame lightly
By Sharad Mattu
Daily Sports Editor
Even though Michigan avenged its 2002 loss to
the Fighting Irish last season, the memory of the
25-23 heart-breaker at Notre Dame Stadium still
stands out in Braylon Edwards' mind.
"It's one thing to hear about tradition on TV, but
it's another thing to be a part of it," Edwards said.
"It hurt me that we lost, but going into the locker
room and seeing grown men crying - it touches
you and forces you to believe that this rivalry is
something special.
"You will win games against Notre Dame, Ohio
State or Michigan State, but the games you lose you
will never forget. Even though we won last year,
that game two years ago is still in my mind."
Last season, Michigan used a pair of losses from
the previous year - to bitter rivals Notre Dame
and Ohio State - for extra motivation. The Wol-
verines got their revenge on both teams, and now
are out to make sure those two teams don't return
the favor.
That's why, even though Notre Dame struggled
mightily in a loss at BYU last Saturday, the Wol-
verines maintain that the Irish are still a team to
fear, particularly on the road in South Bend.
"We were mad (two years ago), just like Notre
Dame is going to be when we go down there,"
Michigan receiver Jason Avant said. "We felt like
we threw the game away. They played a good game,
but we were pumped up and thought about it the
whole summer after. We came out and performed
last season, and I'm sure Notre Dame is going to do
the same this upcoming week."
Avant even called it "an honor" to play Notre
Dame, and his teammates agreed.
"It's a special feeling, because this is such a great
game between the two teams," offensive lineman

Poker and Pistons top
my list ofpet peeves

Senior Braylon Edwards is confident that freshman quarterback Chad Henne will be able to handle the road.

David Baas said. "It's overwhelming almost. You
have to be calm and level-headed when you go in
there in order to not get over-excited."
Composure will be especially important consid-
ering the likelihood that true freshman Chad Henne
- who is suddenly Michigan's most experienced
quarterback and has been moved up to No. 1 on the
depth chart - will start again on Saturday.
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr did not know Gutier-
rez's status on Monday morning, but seemed to hint
that the job is now Henne's.
"You're always competing," Carr said. "As an
injured player, you face the challenge that when
you're not there, somebody is practicing and play-
ing in your stead. And so, you know, you have to

make determinations as a coach."
Edwards and Carr both praised Henne for his
presence in the huddle and quick mastery of the
playbook, and both believe that the raucous atmo-
sphere won't rattle him like it would most freshman
"It's going to be a change to go on the road and
play in their stadium, with the tradition and the
atmosphere," Edwards said. "Playing here, it's kind
of the same situation - the only difference is that
he's going to have 90,000 or 100,000 people chant-
ing the other direction.
"Once he gets a series under his belt and gets
a chance to play in that atmosphere for a couple
plays, I believe he'll be OK."

Garden State of Mind
s Mase put it best (over and over
again) at last weekend's MTV
Video Music Awards, "Wel-
come Back."
Being back on campus is a nice
change for me, especially following one
of the longest sports-related summers of
recent memory. I'm still a little bitter, so
you'll have to bear with me.
It began in May, with the highs and
lows of the NBA playoffs - my beloved
New Jersey Nets against the overwhelm-
ingly boring Detroit Pistons.
The Nets go down 0-2. It's a low
point, but I've still got faith.
The Nets reel off three straight,
capped off by a 127-120 overtime-thrill-
er at the Palace. I'm higher than Ricky
Williams at a Snoop concert.
Next, the Nets go back home and lose
the potential series-clinching Game 6.
Back down to where I started, and los-
ing faith.
To end it all, the Nets pull a disap-
pearing act in Game 7 that would make
David Copperfield proud, and play
themselves out of the playoffs. Coinci-
dentally, the same night that the Pistons
knocked the Nets out happened to be
the same night that a dozen or so of
my friends from school (Pistons fans)
decided to call me after the game, just to
say hello. Go figure.
A few weeks later I find out that Ken-
yon Martin has been traded and is head-
ing west to join the Denver Nuggets.
Words can't describe my anger.
So for me, as far as sports are con-
cerned, it hasn't been a good summer.
I've tried my best to keep my head up
while watching the Nets crash and burn,
but it hasn't been easy.
Maybe that's why my view of other
sporting headlines of the past several
weeks is a little tainted. But nonetheless,
here are a collection of my thoughts
- some recent, and some not-so-recent:
The World Series of Poker officially
takes over ESPN primetime.
I hate this thing more than staying
in class the entire time on the first day
of school. I don't know what's worse
- watching the World Series itself, or
watching that damn countdown-to-the-
"main-event" timer that has nested its
way onto the bottom line on ESPN. I'll
admit it - I liked watching the World
Series last year, when it made its debut.
ESPN aired the whole tournament in
a quick seven episodes. But this year, I
had to suffer through weeks of ridicu-
lous tune-up Hold 'Em tournaments,
just to get to the first round of the "Main
And just when I thought this couldn't
get any worse, I turn on the TV to see
other variations like stud poker and
Omaha. What's Next? Go Fish? Another

thing: Why the hell does ESPN air this
thing three months after it is played
in Vegas? Are they hoping that you'll
watch MSNBC or flip through News-
week one day in the meantime and have
the winner spoiled for you? What's
next? ABC airs the Super Bowl in April
and expects you not to figure out the
winner in the meantime? And just for
the record, when did poker even become
a sport?
Dikembe Mutombo was traded to
the Houston Rockets.
Most shocking part of this news? Not
that the Bulls center and giant string-
bean was traded, but more so that he's
still in the NBA at all. Have you seen
Mutombo lately? This guy looks like he
can barely stand up on his own, let alone
run down the court. He's skinnier than
an Olsen twin, old enough to apply for
an AARP card and his shot-blocking
ability is going downhill faster than a J.
Lo wedding.
One bright note comes from this
trade: Mutombo can now serve as
a mentor to Houston big man Yao
Ming. Can you imagine a conversation
between these two? Hopefully Yao's
translator can convert deep-voiced, bro-
ken English into Chinese. (Insert hid-
eous Mutombo impression here).
Michigan starts true-freshman
Chad Henne at quarterback and
knocks off Miami (Ohio).
Henne looked good, especially
considering the circumstances, and
will most likely start again at Notre
Dame on Saturday. If Henne continues
playing well, he could conceivably
be a four-year starter at quarterback,
especially if Matt Gutierrez's arm
doesn't get well soon. The best part
about Henne is where he's from
- Wyomissing, Pa. After plucking
Marlin Jackson, Steve Breaston and
now Henne from the great land of the
Nittany Lions, it's safe to say Lloyd
owns JoePa for at least a few years
now. Make sure you tell your friends
from Penn State.
Tiger Woods loses his No. 1 rank-
ing to Vijay Singh after finishing
second at the Deutsche Bank Cham-
pionship this weekend.
First of all, how on earth was Tiger
still number one after a year and a half
of not playing well? Sure, he's played
better recently - finishing in the top
10 in eight of his last 10 outings. But
before that, the guy only finished in
the top 10 twice in his last two years of
majors, and he consistently struggled
for multiple stretches over that time
period. The only thing Tiger deserved
to be No. 1 in is needless SportsCenter
coverage (a category also dominated
by the Lakers, Yankees, Cowboys, and
even ESPN itself - have you seen
this 25'h anniversary crap?). Whatever.
Now that Tiger has dropped into No. 2,
everyone can continue not to care about
professional golf.
That's all I've got for now. Have fun
watching the World Series of Poker.
- Daniel Bremmer can be reached
at bremmerd@umich.edu. If you are a
Pistons fan, don't even bother.

Walter continues to strive for success

By Katie Niemeyer
Daily Sports Writer
Armed with the memory of victory and the
desire to win, 2003 Big Ten champion junior
Rebecca Walter hopes to lead the Michigan
women's cross country team to a repeat of

last year's Big Ten title and a top-three finish
The new Wolverine captain is no stranger to
leading the way for her teammates.
"Rebecca has been the stalwart in our lineup
for two years," Michigan coach Mike McGuire
said. "She was the top runner in the champion-
ship part of the season her freshman year and
her entire sophomore year. She's where we get
things started,"
Walter has already made some lofty achieve-
ments. She has been named to the All-Big Ten
First Team two years running and was an NCAA
All-American as a sophomore. Even after win-
ning the Big Ten individual title with a time
of 20:40.5, almost nine seconds ahead of the
next competitor, Walter has continued to push
"I'm competitive by nature," Walter said. "I
don't like to see a task unfinished. I'm driven
by the result of doing well at something. Any
runner can understand and even people that
don't run can understand, that when you are
successful at something, it's rewarding."
McGuire believes that Walter will transition
well into her new role as captain. Not only is
she a tremendous competitor who continues to
improve, but she also has the interest of her
team at heart.
"She's an elite-level athlete, but she can

relate to people moving up through the ranks,"
McGuire said. "She's good with the freshmen,
looking out for them, and (because of her) the
returning athletes aspire to higher levels. Their
best measuring stick is Rebecca because she
has reached such a high level."
Walter is serious about being one of the
team's captains. She believes that her new
responsibilities this season include more than
just running her own race.
"Katie Irvine and I want to lead by example
by how we do in races," Walter said. "And we
want to keep the team close together. We want
a positive attitude this season."
McGuire, who shows only praise for Walter,
is more than happy with the example Walter
sets for the younger athletes.
"She's extremely coachable, motivated, goal-
oriented," McGuire said. "She has the interest
of the team at heart, and she's a tremendous
competitor. She's got the whole package. She
made a good transition between high school
and college. She was good in high school, but
even better in college, and she continues to get
With the loss of only two seniors from last
year's squad, both McGuire and Walter expect
the team to do well this season, and Walter will
play an instrumental role in any team success
this year.

Rebecca Walter has excelled as Michigan's captain.

Wolverines find defense leads to offense

By Qabriela D'Jaen
Daily Sports Writer

When modest and reserved freshman
Melissa Dobbyn steps onto the field, her
demeanor changes drastically.
Scoring the first goal of the season
for the Michigan women's soccer team,
Dobbyn has displayed exceptional
offensive ability. Junior Therese Hea-
ton and Dobbyn have scored three goals
each this season, but with an additional
assist, Dobbyn leads the team in overall
Even though she has a lot to brag
about, the freshman is not focused on
statistics and believes she can improve
her game significantly.
"Scoring always helps," Dobbyn
said. "But what is important is not los-
ing the ball, helping your teammates out
and making sure you are playing good
In the Wolverines' recent matchup
against Kentucky, Dobbyn scored the
game-winning header during overtime.
Michigan coach Debbie Rademacher
is quick to praise Dobbyn and her apti-

tude for scoring.
"I knew she was going to be a big tal-
ent," Rademacher said. "She has a knack
for scoring. She's dangerous anytime she
gets around the goal."
As the season progresses, Rademach-
er knows that opponents will take notice
of Dobbyn, especially those in the Big
Ten. Rademacher believes Dobbyn will
find herself marked up quite heavily and
will have to work on honing her defen-
sive skills.
"The coach and I talk about my
defensive shape as a forward a lot," Dob-
byn said. "It was hard in the beginning
because everything is a much faster
pace, but I'm starting to get used to it,
and I feel like I click now."
Rademacher explained that the for-
wards are expected to help with defense.
This often proves to be an obstacle for
the new members on the team, since
most forwards are usually focused solely
on the attacking aspect of the game.
This "all-for-the-team" attitude
extends beyond defensive tactics.
Rademacher chooses not to focus in on
the freshman, but rather view all the

players together as a team.
"Whoever is going to help us win
games is all that matters," Rademacher
said. "Whether they are a freshman or a
senior, either way - it's great."
The Wolverines will have two oppor-
tunities this weekend to demonstrate
their success as a team. They will be
hosting the Michigan Classic at the Var-
sity Soccer Field from Friday through
Sunday, where they will face Syracuse
and Boston University.
Although Michigan has not played
either team, Rademacher anticipates two

tough games based on the strength of the
Big East Conference.
"It should be a totally new experience,
but we are at home and are looking to
come out with two wins at the end of the
weekend," Rademacher said.
With injuries sidelining sophomore
defenders Lindsey Cottrell and Katelin
Spencer, the team will lose two impor-
tant starters. Dobbyn and the rest of the
team will have the opportunity to follow
Rademacher's mantra - team defense
begins with the forwards and does not
rest on the shoulders of the defenders.

Tiger Woods, left, lost his No. 1 world ranking to Vijay Singh on Sunday.

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