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February 02, 2005 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-02-02

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Focus gets 'M' through
long six-game weekends

Lounis pulls double.
duty for Wolverines

By Sara Uvingson
Daily Sports Writer
After a tough loss, most teams sulk for a while,
knowing they have a week of practice ahead of
them before their next game. But the No. 9 Michi-
gan women's water polo team has just several hours
after a defeat to regroup and get focused for its next
match, which is usually later that day. Weekends for
the Wolverines consist of up to six games, starting as
early as 8 a.m. on Saturdays.
The schedule forces the Wolverines to stay focused
and positive while at the same time remaining physi-
cally healthy. An early injury can sometimes sideline a
player for the entire weekend.
"It is important that they are able to get in a groove so
that they don't get injured in the first game," Michigan
coach Matt Anderson said. "That will affect their play for
the weekend. That's the number one goal - you want to
make sure you come out of any game healthy."
The team's small roster - consisting of just 20
players - usually had one or two players sidelined
for a tournament, so injury can greatly affect the
team's lineup and stamina in the water.
"It's hard," senior captain Betsey Armstrong said.
"Everybody would like to be in there and its tough
seeing your teammates in there when you want to be
a part of it.
Freshman Geraldine Hazlett knows exactly how that
feels after having to sit out of the team's opening tour-
nament last weekend due to injury. Hazlett is eager to
re-join the Wolverines this weekend when they head to
California for the Triton Invitational.

"From my perspective I really didn't enjoy it,"
Hazlett said. "I wanted to get in there, and there was
just nothing I could do. But in a way, I'm glad because
it made me realize just how amazing our team is."
The Wolverines prepare for their hectic weekends
by spending just as much time training mentally as
they do physically. In addition to physically keeping
their stamina high, the players mentally prepare to
make sure they know what to expect from their oppo-
nents during various plays.
"We just try to think of different game situations and
different aspects of each team we are going to face,"
Armstrong said. "For instance, we know what some
teams do on power plays, and we need to practice how
to react to that. We will just go through different game
scenarios and keep in mind our old losses."
In order to stay focused and energetic through-
out the weekend tournaments, Michigan has a strict
schedule that it adheres to, no matter where it is travel-
ing. This allows them to always know what to expect
on the road, decreasing their anxiety and allows the
players to instead focus on the upcoming match.
"We tend to do the same thing on all of the trips
so they get into a routine," Anderson said. "This way
they know what time they are going to get up and what
they are going to do throughout the day. So that way, it
doesn't matter where we go, we follow the same type
of daily schedule."
In between matches, it is vital for Michigan to
maintain a positive attitude and a high energy level
for its next game.
"One of the most essential things for our team is to
keep a positive atmosphere," Hazlett said. "If you have
Continued from page 9 CCo
be counted on for all situations and be thin
known as a complete player, not just a now
goal-scorer. So far it's paying off." focu
The results can be seen in Tambel- The
lini's team-leading plus-21 mark in the the1
plus-minus category. After his fresh- J
man year, Tambellini ranked 10th on thir
the team with plus-10, while he was just Ta'S
14th last year with plus-5. gets
"I think his plus-minus will give A
you a pretty good indication that he's shoe
improved (on defense)," Michigan this
coach Red Berenson said. "I think he's perf
a more responsible player than he was. muc
He's a junior now. He's a smart kid. He shot
should have it all figured out. I think Cler
Tambellini has earned trust with our the
defensemen." the
Tambellini has come to realize that on t
hard work in the defensive zone is reward- A
ed with results on the offensive end. last
"I've learned that when you play solid in th
without the puck, things happen for you has 1
on (offense)," Tambellini said. "It's so ter c
key to just be solid in the defensive zone. thec
/Daily It always seems to be the same way: If "1
you play well down here, you're going to forw
get a lot of chances down there." prey

Senior goalkeeper Betsey Armstrong handles the ball in
one of Michigan's four games last weekend.
this positive atmosphere, you are going to play well, you
are going to hold together and your going to create wins.
And that is exactly what we want."
The Wolverines also make sure to focus only on the
task ahead of them, making sure to erase all memo-
ries and emotions pertaining to their previous game,
regardless of its outcome.
"When you are going to play a team, you don't talk
about the game before," Anderson said. "That way
we focus on every game individually, and that allows
them to wipe out the good and the bad and just con-
centrate on what lies ahead."
ntinued from page 9
gs" all game, it will not only be in much better shape
, but, more importantly, in the future. The team should
us on looking for a quality shot each time down the floor.
3-pointers may make the final score look better, but, in
long run, it doesn't help the team get better.
ust one player needs to step up and be the Wolverines'
d option behind senior Tabitha Pool and freshman
Shia Walker. Michigan will be in much better shape if it
someone else who can score inside the perimeter.
kgainst Indiana and Iowa, sophomore Kelly Helvey
wed she has the hustle and will put in the effort to do
against Indiana and Iowa, but she needs to step up and
orm on a consistent basis. Not only will this provide a
ch-needed presence inside the arc, but it will open up
s outside. With freshmen Becky Flippin and Krista
ment already proving they can shoot the long-ball when
offense isn't executing, they should only improve when
Wolverines are driving and dishing it back out to them
he perimeter.
kfter the Indiana game, Michigan took a bit of a regression
week, once again relying on 3-pointers to keep the team
he games against Iowa and Wisconsin. The team definitely
the potential to do what needs to be done - it's just a mat-
Df doing it on a consistent basis. So, hopefully, Burnett and
coaching staff will follow through with their plan.
Being young, we also understand you can take two steps
ward and one step back," Burnett said. "So we want to
vent the one step back."

By Ian Robinson
Daily Sports Writer
As the field in the mile race at Satur-
day's Boston Indoor Games passed the
halfway point, a runner with a Michigan
singlet led the pack of international super-
stars. But instead of senior Nate Bran-
nen or freshman Mike Woods, two of
Michigan's best milers, it was sophomore
Sebastien Lounis.
When the field made the turn for the
race's second half of the race, Lounis ran
off the track.
"I consider my run in the mile a suc-
cess," Lounis said.
How could someone who did not finish
a race consider his performance a success?
Lounis was not competing in the mile
run. Instead, his job as the rabbit was to
pace the field for the first 800 meters.
The amazing thing about Lounis's per-
formance on Saturday was that he had set a
personal record of 1:51.39 in the 800-meter
run earlier in the day at the Boston Uni-
versity Invitational, beating his previous
personal best by about one second. After
finishing the race at 3:15 p.m., coach Ron
Warhurst approached him about pacing the
mile run at 7:30 p.m. The rabbit who was
originally scheduled to perform the duties
had cancelled earlier in the day.
"I surprised him with the rabbiting
duties," Warhurst said.
This was not Lounis's first opportunity
to rabbit a race. He paced for Brannen twice
before but never in this setting. The Boston
Indoor Games is a major international track
meet and was televised on ESPN.
"I introduced him to (two-time Olym-
pic medalist) Bernhard Lagat, who
explained what he wanted the rabbit to
do," Warhurst said.

The rabbit sets a pace so the runners
don't start too quickly or slowly.
During the race, Lounis did his job by
running 800 meters in 1:57.50. Interest-
ingly, Lounis was the only Wolverine men-
tioned on the ESPN telecast of the race.
"He was the talk of the town," Warhurst
said. "He ran a perfect pace."
Although Lounis was pleased with his
own performance, he felt that his team-
mates in the race deserved more credit.
The Michigan athletes who actually
competed in the race excelled. Brannen
set the Canadian mile record and missed
the collegiate record by .11 seconds, while
Woods set a personal record.
"I could stop when it started to hurt,"
Lounis said. "The guys had to keep going.
It's a weird experience for me because I
don't feel like I did that much."
However, Lounis felt the strain of run-
ning two 800-meter runs under two min-
"I was pretty emotionally drained at the
end of the day," Lounis said.
To pace a race, an athlete must have
certain skills.
"It is about keeping your emotions under
control and keeping the pace," Lounis
Knowing it would be shown to national
television audience, Lounis needed steady
nerves to run a successful pace. Another
skill that Warhurst looked for in his rabbit
was the ability to follow directions.
"If you ask (Lounis) to do something,
he will do it to the 'T,"' Warhurst said.
Lounis's performance on Saturday
could provide future opportunities for rab-
biting races.
"I can take him out there next year, and
they can pay his expenses to rabbit any
race they want him to," Warhust said.

Tambellini leads the Wolverines in the plus-minus category
after Improving his defensive play in the offseason.

Sophomore Sebastien Lounis sets the pace for his teammates in the mile.


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