February 15, 2005
Don't be too shocked
when Horton returns
By Gabe Edelson
Daily Sports Writer
Thirty-five saves on 42 shots. An .833
save percentage. Seven goals allowed.
These don't appear to be the numbers
of one of college hockey's elite goalies, let
alone statistics worthy of the sixth overall
choice in last summer's NHL Draft. But the
hard numbers don't always tell the story.
Though Michigan goalie Al Montoya is
the owner of the above-mentioned figures
from last weekend's road series against
Nebraska-Omaha, the junior alternate cap-
tain can boast of some impressive results
from the two-game set: two wins, zero
losses and a combined 16>saves on 17 shots
in both third periods.
Montoya was outstanding late in both
games, but his play was extraordinary on
Saturday. The goalie stopped several odd-
man rushes and made a couple of acrobatic
post-to-post saves, allowing the Wolverines
to come back from a 3-1 deficit for the win.
But the spectacular has become routine for
last season's team MVP.
"(Montoya) was huge," sophomore T.J.
Hensick said after Saturday's sweep-clinch-
ing victory. "(But) that's what we expect of
Al. He's a big-time goalie, (he) plays in big-
time situations and he proved himself."
Michigan coach Red Berenson doesn't
fault Montoya entirely for the five Nebras-
ka-Omaha goals that came in the first peri-
ods of the weekend's games - including
two on the Mavericks' initial three shots
on Saturday. Berenson holds the defense
largely responsible for breaking down in
front of the netminder.
"Al is a victim of his team's play a lot
of times," Berenson said. "He can't make
a mistake. Every time he makes a mistake,
the puck goes in the net and the light goes
on. That's a dilemma when you're a goalie.
"The hard thing for a goalie is you can't
get those goals back. If you're a forward
and you make a mistake and they score
one, you know that he's trying hard to get it
back. But a goalie can't do that"
On Friday, two of the Mavericks' goals
came on deflections, while another was the
result of a short-handed breakaway. In Sat-
urday's game, Montoya allowed a rebound
goal in traffic and let in another breakaway
score. While Montoya would have pre-
ferred to stop all the shots he faced, those
are the kind of goals that aren't usually
blamed on the goalie.
And, more importantly, Montoya kept a
sense of the moment, stepping up when it
mattered most. He stoned the Mavericks'
David Phillips on a one-timer from the
slot with four minutes left in Saturday's
tied game and followed up by clearing
the rebound. When Nebraska-Omaha
goalie Chris Holt was pulled with a minute
Michigan goalie Al Montoya stopped 16 of 17 third-period shot attempts against
Nebraska-Omaha during last weekend's sweep of the Mavericks.
remaining and Michigan up by one, Mon-
toya refused to fold under the pressure of
an extra attacker. Senior alternate captain
Brandon Rogers's cross-checking penalty
with 10 seconds left on the clock left Michi-
gan two men short, but the Mavericks were
unable to tie the game before the final horn
"If it came down to goalkeeping, I think
Al Montoya made the difference when the
game was on the line," Berenson said.
But Berenson is most satisfied with
Montoya's approach to the game. In par-
ticular, the coach has been impressed with
Montoya's ability to shake off mistakes by
hitting the mental "reset" button.
"You're going to give up a bad goal or a
weak goal once in a while," Berenson said.
"It's how you react to it (that matters). And
that's the thing I like about Al. He's shown
that he doesn't like (giving up goals) any
more than we like it, but he puts it behind
him and he moves on. And a team plays
better in front of a goalie like that."
Despite record, Cagers have heart
Mattu fast, Mattu furious
Now that Michigan point
guard Daniel Horton plead-
ed guilty to a misdemeanor
charge of domestic violence yester-
day, his legal troubles appear to be
coming to a close. He still faces up
to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine
when he is sentenced on March 9,
but according to his lawyer, Gerald
Evelyn, probation and counseling
are much more likely.
What does this all mean? Well,
now it will bring to the forefront
the matter that has been on the
minds of everyone with an interest
in the Michigan basketball team:
Horton's status with the team.
When the charges were first
brought against Horton on Jan. 25,
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker
announced that he would suspend
Horton "pending further review."
Since the suspension began, when
asked about Horton's status with
the team, Amaker has continually
said that nothing has changed.
Yesterday, pressed with the same
questions, Amaker said that he
would have to meet with Athletic
Director Bill Martin and other
University officials before a deci-
sion is made. But then he seemed
to slip, saying that "we'll be wel-
coming him back at some point."
Now, it shouldn't surprise any-
one when (notice that I didn't even
bother to say "if") Horton returns
to the team. He wouldn't be the
first student-athlete to get a second
chance in Ann Arbor, and he won't
be the last.
That said, I can't think of a time
.when the correct course of action
is less clear than it is now with
Horton. Does it really make sense
to suspend a player when charges
are brought against him - when
he is supposed to be "innocent
until proven guilty" - and then
have the suspension end when he
pleads guilty? Of course not.
But then, there never seems to
be any rhyme or reason with these
cases involving athletes. So let's
answer two questions: (1) How
important is Horton to the team?
and (2) how important are the
The answer to the first question
is easy. Horton is Michigan's best
player and clear-cut on-court lead-
er. To understand his importance
to the team, simply look at the last
six games the Wolverines have
played without him (all losses). For
the first four games, the team was
as lost and as hopeless as any team
I can remember watching. Then,
against Illinois and Michigan State
last week, Amaker had no choice
but to slow the pace down and
literally guide the team through
The answer to the second ques-
tion is a little trickier. When
Amaker suspended Horton,
Michigan still appeared to be in
the hunt for a tournament bid, so
Amaker should be commended for
not letting that interfere with his
decision. And now that the rest
of this season's games have little
meaning, I expect him to remain
suspended. But next year, Amaker
will need Horton as much as Hor-
ton may need Michigan. While
this season's struggles are under-
standable, the fact remains that
patience has to be close to running
out. Michigan is going to miss out
on the NCAA Tournament again,
which would make next year "the
year" for the third consecutive
year. Amaker is being scrutinized
more closely now than ever before,
and that will only intensify next
So there you go. I'm expecting
to hear the typical "this is Horton's
first brush with the law, he has
paid the price and he has learned
from his mistakes" comments in
the future. If you somehow miss
these comments, just stick around
Ann Arbor. It's only a matter of
time before you'll get another
~cla~&nce thear it.
Sharad Mattu's next column
O lbfor another three weeks,
but in the meantime he'll be blog-
ging like crazy. He's not allowed
to mention the web address here,
so if you want it, contact him at
ON WOMEN'S HooPs
Imagine you've had 15 papers in the past two months
and you didn't pass 14 of them. You wouldn't feel too
great; your confidence would be a bit shaken.
That has been the situation for the Michigan women's
basketball team. over the past two months. The Wolver-
ines have fought hard night in and night out, yet they've
won just once in fifteen games since Dec. 11.
But one thing can be said about Michigan's troubles
- the Wolverines have given their best effort every time
they have taken the court.
"We have told our kids that we want them to play hard
all the way through (0:00), and they are doing it," Michi-
gan coach Cheryl Burnett said after her team's 76-55 loss
to then No. 14 Minnesota on Feb. 6.
Said sophomore Kelly Helvey: "We're just trying to
play hard. We know that we're down, but we're not going
to be out. That's one thing about our team, we are never
going to quit."
Going into the season, Michigan knew that the year
would be difficult. With seven freshmen accounting for
70 percent of the roster, the Wolverines skipped the intro-
ductory courses and moved right to the 400-level courses
on the court.
"I said really early in the year that we have to accept the
fact that we are young and never use it as an excuse," Bur-
nett said after her team's 76-61 loss to No. 23 Penn State
on Feb. 3. "Our team is what it is, and we are expecting
our young players to play like veterans, and we're coach-
ing that way."
Although they will not make excuses, the Wolverines
have a brutal schedule, taking on some of the toughest
teams in the country every week. Michigan plays Big Ten
bottom-dwellers Northwestern, Indiana and Wisconsin
just once and must face four top-25 ranked Big Ten teams
twice. According to the RPI rankings, Michigan has the
27th toughest schedule in the nation - the type of sched-
ule onlyepIeysd.by.4iev nation's top squads. Hawaii and
Northwestern are the only two teams with tougher sched-
ules than the Wolverines that have records under .500.
M [ine .with youth ,%l emcompettion
Turnovers, especially, have hampered the Wolverines, but
the team is still trying throughout its games. Despite trail-
ing by huge margins in the second half of some games,
Michigan has found a way to trim leads to single digits in
The Penn State game epitomized the season for the
Wolverines. Michigan battled the Lady Lions through-
out the first half, shutting down Penn State's best player,
Tanisha Wright, and took a 28-25 lead at halftime. But
when the second frame started, Michigan surrendered 51
second-half points, and Penn State shot 50 percent from
the field. The Lady Lions led by as many as 22 points,
but Michigan continued to work and trimmed the lead to
eight. Instead of packing the game in, Michigan forced
turnovers and tried to keep Penn State on its heels. But just
as the season has gone, Michigan fell behind by too much
and could not pull out a win.
"We're right at the edge," forward Ta'Shia Walker
said after the Penn State loss. "We just need to find that
niche to win. If we can break that little barrier, we will
The silver lining.alhestraggles for Michigan is
that it can only get better. Going back to her tenure at
Southwest Missouri State, Burnett has a track record
of turning arou d:r td-the recruiting class
for next year is supposed to be one of the best in the
Big Ten. The seven freshmen and sophomore Helvey
have seen the lowest of the low. With their experience
they should be able to bounce back quicker, and soon
they'll have Michigan at the top of the Big Ten stand-
ings instead of the bottom.
The University of Michigan
Department of Recreational
Sports Intramural Sports Program
$9.00 - doubles
$35,00 per team
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SME S SWIMMING AND DIVING
By Anne Ulbie
Daily Sports Writer
Freshman backstroker Dane Gren-
da has some big shoes to fill.
Even though Grenda is still rela-
tively new to the Michigan men's
swimming and diving team, coach
Bob Bowman has already predict-
ed that he will become the team's
best backstroker after junior Chris
DeJong graduates next year. But with
the expectations mounting, Grenda
has been extremely successful under
"He's come in and improved more
than anyone on the team from a per-
formance standpoint," Bowman said.
"He has set very high standards and
expects a lot from himself at practice
The Delaware native has already
dropped four seconds in his best event,
the 200-yard backstroke - a time cut
that is usually achieved only after a
long taper or during a shave meet.
"I never would have imagined that
I'd be this far along at this point in
the season," Grenda said. "It will be
exciting to see not only what I can do,
but what the rest of the freshmen can
do at the (Big Ten) Championships."
While Grenda's transition from
high school to collegiate swimming
may seem like it has been easy, he
explained that it has been a difficult
process to undergo.
"I'm not used to waking up at 5:30
in the morning to come to practice,"
Grenda said. "We didn't do that
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in high school. I also never lifted
weights or did dry land workouts. So
this has been a pretty big step for me.
But it seems to be working out for
Grenda attended Salesianum High
School in Hockessin, Del., and led
his swimming team to the Delaware
State Championship last year after
winning two individual events - the
200-yard individual medley and 100-
yard backstroke. One of Grenda's
reasons for swimming in college was
the fact that his older brother, Tyler,
was on Notre Dame's swimming
team, and Tyler convinced him it was
a great experience.
But when Grenda signed on with
Michigan, he didn't even know who
would coach him. He had been recruit-
ed by the retired Jon Urbanchek, and
it was uncertain who the successor
would be for the following year.
"I knew that (Urbanchek) was going
to go," Grenda said. "But I didn't real-
ize that (Bowman) was in the run-
ning. I had a lot of confidence that Jon
and the athletic department wouldn't
make a bad decision."
Although Grenda's relationship
with Bowman is one of mutual respect,
the two have intense personalities that
tend to clash once in a while.
"I love swimming for Bowman,"
Grenda said. "But sometimes he gets
mad and yells at me, and there are
some points when I just want yell
back at him. But I think that just
makes me want to swim faster and
Senior captain Michael Galin-
do has been impressed with the
freshman's work ethic and desire to
achieve his goals.
"Grenda is a funny kid," Galin-
do said. "He'll have one of the best
practices of his life and then just get
$30,00 per team
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