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January 18, 2005 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-18

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The Michigan Daily - SportsTuesday - January 18, 2005 - 3B

Yaftali notches two wins
in her Michigan debut

Entertainment value
of sports can't be beat

By Max Kardon
Daily Sports Writer
There's nothing like getting started on the right foot.
Nina Yaftali - a junior transfer from UCLA - made
two strides in the right direction in her first dual match for
Michigan. On Saturday afternoon, Yaftali and the No.20
Michigan women's tennis team kicked off the season in
style, dispatching the DePaul Blue Devils, 5-2.
Michigan has been known to come out of the gates
strong, having won its last 10 season openers and 14 of
its last 15 season starters coming into Saturday's meet.
A sizeable crowd arrived at the Varsity Tennis Center to
enjoy the season-opening festivities and watch the Wol-
vermes extend the streak to 11.
"We were all anxious to start competing," senior
co-captain Leanne Rutherford said. "Everybody's been
working hard, and there's a real desire to win. It's great to
finally get out on the court and see what we can do."
It did not take long for Michigan to reap the fruits of
its labor. Shaking off the rust from winter break, the Wol-
verines sparkled in the morning doubles matches.
Yaftali and sophomore Elizabeth Exon set the tone
early in No. 3 doubles by quickly downing DePaul's
Bojana Murisic and Brenda Leung, 8-2. Senior Michelle
DaCosta and sophomore Kara Delicata, Michigan's top
duo, followed Exon and Yaftali's success. Their 8-2 vic-
tory over Beatrix Csordas and Gergana Ganeva guaran-
teed Michigan the team point for doubles play.
Rounding out Michigan's doubles sweep was the No.
2 pairing of senior Leanne Rutherford and junior Debra
Streifler. They overcame Marina Pareshkavova and Petra

Rehusova, 8-4, to improve their team-leading doubles
record to 7-3.
Having secured the doubles point with their morning
sweep, the Wolverines rode their success into singles
play. Streifler was the first to down a Blue Demon in
No. 6 singles match, dispatching Bojana Muricic, 6-1,
6-0, in a dominating performance to extend the Wol-
verines' lead.
Yaftali followed up her doubles success by excelling in
No. 5 singles with a, 6-1,6-3, victory over Leung. DaCos-
ta sealed the day's success as she took command of her
match against Csordas. DaCosta kept Csordas on the run
to secure a, 6-2, 6-2, win.
"I felt a little tight today," DaCosta said. "I want to play
more relaxed next time. It's a little different playing in
front of a large crowd. I still pulled out the win and know
what I need to do to be more satisfied with my play."
Despite her discomfort, DaCosta improved her season
record to 6-4. Her control of the tempo from the baseline
wore Csordas down and showed why DaCosta has a No.
44 national ranking.
With a 4-0 lead and the win already in their pocket,
the Wolverines had mixed success with the win already
in their pocket. Exon struggled to rattle DePaul's steady
Pareshkevova. Pareshkevova stayed steady during the
long volleys that extended the tightly contested games.
Unable to capitalize on her opportunities to break Paresh-
kevova, Exon dropped the match, 6-3, 6-3.
Delicata fell to Ganeva, losing her early first-set
momentum after dropping a lengthy tiebreaker in the
second set to lose, 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3.
Rutherford managed to go the distance against Rehu-

Junior Nina Yaftall won her singles and doubles
matches In Michigan's 5-2 victory on Saturday.
sova and won in three sets, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, to round out the
Wolverines' 5-2 victory.
"We did a good job today," Michigan coach Bitsy Ritt
said. "It was a good start. Today's match against a very
competitive DePaul team is a good measuring stick for
where we are as a team. We have to maintain our ener-
gy and intensity to reach our goals for this season, and
sweeping doubles and sealing the win in singles shows
we're heading in the right direction."
With a 1-0 record, the Wolverines will have to main-
tain their intensity this Saturday when they clash with a
dangerous Vanderbilt squad at home.

Sports are often referred to as the world's
finest form of entertainment - Earth's pre-
mium drama.
While this assessment may be as clich6
as opening a column
with a broad and
unsubstantiated but
overriding stand-alone
statement, it's most
definitely true. The
most engaging aspect
of any sport is its
unpredictability. GENNARO
Hollywood has FILICE
been overrun by trite The SportsTuesday
productions for a long Column
time. And recently,
movie-making has reached an all-time low,
spawning the "slasher showdown" genre
which features such genius work as "Freddy
Vs. Jason" and "Alien Vs. Predator." (When
does "Gremlins Vs. Chucky" hit the silver
screen?) Television's present lineup offers
nothing better. If you're not into "reality,"
forensics or sex with older women, your only
viewing option is "Seinfeld" reruns.
But every day in the sporting world,
something parallels the end of an M. Night
Shyamalan flick, providing a wholly unfath-
omable outcome.
The last few days provided multiple
jaw-droppers: Peyton Manning, who set an
NFL record by throwing 49 regular-season
touchdowns, was completely shut down by
a depleted New England secondary; Wake
Forest ended North Carolina's winning
streak at 14 in convincing fashion; and the
Bulls (yeah, they have continued to play
basketball since Michael Jordan retired) won
their seventh straight game.
But the two most unbelievable incidents
of the last seven days - the issues that had
me beaming as brightly as any 20-something
woman after an episode of "Sex in the City"
- came from off the field.
Both items bombarded me in under an
hour on Friday afternoon ...
Although I can't exactly recall what
Thursday night entailed, I know something
that the night definitely did not include: my
nightly news update, "SportsCenter." So
when I awoke on Friday at 4 p.m., I was
completely oblivious to Thursday's sports
news. After an intensive hydration process,
my mind was ready to catch up. Or at least
I thought it was. The first story I saw almost
made my head explode.
ESPN took me to a parking lot where the
media had cornered Randy Moss at his car.
At first, I let out a sigh, believing that the net-
work was just continuing to overcook Moss's
rump romp. But this wasn't exactly the case.
The reporters were asking about the $10,000 .
fine that Moss had received from the NFL.
What ensued was a comical script Larry
David couldn't have composed:

Reporter: "Write the check yet, Randy?"
Moss: "When you're rich, you don't have
to write checks."
Reporter: "If you don't write checks, how
do you pay these guys?"
Moss: "Straight cash, homey."
Then - when asked if he was upset about
the fine - Moss took it to a whole new level.
"No, it ain't (expletive that rhymes with
and includes the word "hit");" Moss said. "It
ain't nothing but 10 grand. What's 10 grand
to me? Next time, I might shake my (exple-
tive that ladies don't possess)."
This was unprecedented. You see, league
fines usually play out like morality in '80s
sitcoms: By the end of the day, everyone
learns their lessons, apologizes and hugs
it out. But one must remember that this is
neither "Charles in Charge" nor "The Won-
der Years" - it's sports, the world's zaniest
entertainment. Therefore, there's no set sys-
tem of action; anything can and will happen.
A few minutes later, while I was pleading
with God to let Moss get in the endzone on
Sunday (a prayer that, unfortunately, went
unanswered), ESPN returned my jaw from
a brief stint in the locked position back to
the floor.
Contrary to ample predictions, South-
ern Cal quarterback Matt Leinart - who
has already won the Heisman Trophy and
two national titles - announced live on
ESPNews his decision to return to school for
his senior season.
At this point, Ijust figured that I'd yet to
break slumber from Thursday night. But
classic hangover symptoms (slanted eyes,
aching head and last night's clothes) reas-
sured me that I was awake.
While Leinart's decision to stay was
admirable, and overwhelmingly beneficial
for both Southern Cal and college football, it
was hard to believe.
A projected top-five pick, Leinart had at
least $10-$15 million of guaranteed signing-
bonus loot and the realization of a life-long
dream staring him right in the face. Ten to
15 million dollars - enough dough to cover
at least the next 1,000 Moss shakedowns.
But Leinart, like every other character in
the sports industry, is unique and therefore
These stories are why my passion for
sports never fades. It's difficult to find
rehashed story plots in the world of sports.
There's something new every day, and I live
for this spontaneity.
I don't watch "The O.C." or "CSI"
I rarely shell out $10 for a movie ticket.
Theater seldom tickles my fancy.
I spend my free time immersing myself
in the world's most amusing and impulsive
drama: sports.

More good than bad, Blue wins opener

By Jamie Josephson
Daily Sports Writer

Though the No.51 Michigan men's ten-
nis team defeated No. 63 Western Michi-
gan by a score of 5-2 on Saturday, the
theme of the day was "firsts."
The win against the Broncos (0-1) not
only gave the Wolverines (1-0) their first
dual match victory of the season, but it
also marked first-year Michigan coach
Bruce Berque's first collegiate dual match
victory as a head coach. Berque was a
member of the Illinois coaching staff for
the last six years. He replaced previous
coach Mark Mees, who resigned last sum-
mer after five seasons at Michigan.
Despite the win, Berque thinks that the
team has much more room to improve.
"I think there was a little bit more good
than bad," Berque said. "One positive
was that we had a great start in doubles.
1 We had good energy and good emotions,
which was one of the things we talked
about. That gave us a little boost to give us
the doubles point."
By winning two out of three doubles

matches, Michigan secured the doubles
point with a come-from-behind victory
(8-6) by the tandem of senior Josef Fisch-
er and freshman Matko Maravic at the
No. 2 spot. Down 5-2 to Western Mich-
igan's Jose Orozco and Tim Bradshaw in
the eight-game pro-set, the Michigan duo
was able to swing the momentum back in
its favor and break its opponents in sev-
eral games.
"We just said to keep the ball more in
play," Maravic said. "We knew we could
beat those guys."
Sophomores Brian Hung and Ryan
Heller also won their doubles match, 8-4,
against Western Michigan's Tommy Den-
nis and Brady Crosby.
"Firsts" was also a theme for Maravic.
In addition to his doubles victory, Maravic
won his first singles dual match as a Wol-
verine. At the No. 4 slot, Maravic domi-
nated Bradshaw in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2.
The freshman's superior service-and-net
game frustrated his opponent and sealed
the victory for Michigan.
"(Maravic) is a stud," Berque said.
"That's exactly what we're looking for.

Matko set the standards on how we
should be playing as a team. He came (to
Michigan) at a pretty high level, and he's
improved quite a bit since then. It's really
nice to see someone show some of the
things they've improved when they get to
a match situation."
Ranked No. 69 in the nation, senior
Michael Rubin served up an impressive
performance at No. 1 singles. Playing
against Orozco in an evenly matched con-
test, Rubin's aggressive style of play proved
to be the extra push he needed to beat the
Broncos' top player, 6-4, 7-5. After break-
ing Orozco to get to 6-5 in the second set,
Rubin held his serve for the win.
"I've always believed that if I play my
best, then I'm a tough guy for opponents
to match up with," Rubin said. "And that's
the message that coach sent me out with
today: to go out, enjoy myself and play my
game. I think when I do those things, the
results take care of themselves."
Hung also went undefeated, winning
his No. 2 singles match in a three-set nail-
biter, 6-4, 1-6, 7-5. After dropping the
second set to Crosby, Hung came out with

a vengeance in the third, winning three
straight games. Crosby fought back to tie
the set at three, but Hung held strong with
several key aces and took home another
victory for Michigan.
Senior captain David Anving hardly
broke a sweat in a 6-1, 6-1 rout of Alejan-
dro Staub.
As the associate head coach at Illi-
nois before coming to Michigan, Berque
helped lead the Illini to four NCAA cham-
pionships, six Big Ten Conference crowns
and an NCAA-record 64 consecutive dual
match victories. In his 13 years of coach-
ing, he has not been part of a team that was
not among the top 20 squads in the nation.
As a result, Berque has vocalized high
expectations for Michigan.
"I told the team before the match that I'll
be satisfied if all players compete hard and
play with energy, emotion and discipline,"
Berque said. "That did not happen today.
So, overall I'm disappointed because it's
not where we want to be ... I want these
guys to raise their expectations to meet
what I expect of them. I wouldn't say that
if I didn't think they were capable of it."

Gennaro Filice can be reached at

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