On March 17,
The SportsMonday Column
Dominant pitching and solid hitting
enables Michigan to sweep Ohio in
the teams' first meeting since 1953.
SPORTSC I TDAY
March 21, 2005
Super 6 Shoter
MICHIGAN 4, O iw i 2
Michigan tops Ohio State
for CCHA playoff crown
By Jake Rosenwasser
Daily Sports Writer
DETROIT - After Michigan senior Jason Ryznar scored an
empty-net goal with less than a second remaining in Michigan's
4-2 victory over Ohio State, Wolverine goalie Al Montoya left
the net he had been guarding so closely. He skated throughout his
zone and along the boards with his hands raised in celebration.
He even banged the glass with his goalie stick as the 16,000-plus
fans in attendance at Joe Louis Arena - most of whom were
clad in maize and blue - cheered. And because the final buzzer
hadn't sounded yet, all Ohio State could do was watch.
And after the formality of a faceoff, the Wolverines players
flipped their helmets and gloves in the air and continued the celebra-
tion of their third CCHA tournament victory in the last four years.
With Saturday's win, No. 4 Michigan (30-7-3) avenged its loss to the
No. 10 Buckeyes (27-10-4) in last year's CCHA Tournament final
and wrestled the Mason Cup back to Ann Arbor.
"Last year was tough, watching them skate around with the
Cup," Michigan forward Jeff Tambellini said. "We came out, played
hard and got it done. Any time you can beat Ohio State - with that
rivalry they have with Michigan - it's a great feeling"
Yesterday, the NCAA Selection Committee set the bracket for
the NCAA Tournament. The committee placed Michigan in the
Midwest region as the No. 2 seed in the four-team Grand Rap-
ids regional. It is Michigan's record 15th-straight tournament
appearance. Michigan will play the Midwest No. 3 seed Wis-
consin. Despite the loss, Ohio State is a No. 3 seed in the West
regional and will take on No. 2 Cornell.
The Wolverines took the lead early in the third period when
Tambellini - the tournament's Most Valuable Player - flipped
a shot at the Ohio State net from deep in the corner. The puck
took a fortunate bounce off of Ohio State defender Jason DeSan-
See BUCKEYES, page 4B
This Michigan team has
come a long way in a year
ETROIT - After Friday night's
semifinal win, junior Jeff Tam-
bellini said what everyone in the
room was thinking. When talking about
the possibility of playing Ohio State in
the finals of the
ment, the for-
that a lot of the
guys on the team
still had a bad
The worry throughout all of this season
has been that Michigan would fall back
into old habits from last season.
Last year's squad was, by almost all
standards, disappointing. The Wolverines
limped into the postseason, going 5-4-1 in
their last 10 regular season games. On top
of that, they didn't win a single game in
either of their last two series. Then, in the
best-of-three series to open up the CCHA
tournament, Michigan lost a game to
Nebraska-Omaha at home, and Michigan
just doesn't lose games at Yost. Plus, with
their season on the line, the team was down
2-1 to the Mavericks heading into the third
period of a game they eventually won.
But when Ohio State beat the Wol-
verines in the finals of the Super 6 one
year ago, the Wolverines were left with
that "bad taste." After playing well in
the Northeast regional, Michigan failed
to make it to the Frozen Four for the first
time since 2000.
So that was the fear. It was the feeling
that I had at the beginning of the season,
it was what I was thinking at the end of
January when Michigan went 2-2-2 in a
period of six conference games and it was
definitely what I had come to expect when
See HERBERT, page 4B
Michigan junior forwards Jeff Tambellini and Brandon Kaleniecki celebrate Tambellini's third period goal that gave
Michigan a 3-2 lead over Ohio State in the CCHA Tournament Final. Michigan went on to win 4-2.
taste in their
mouths from last
year's title game.
Caught up in the Game
By Mark Glannotto
Daily Sports Writer
ST. LOUIS - He pointed at the Michigan stitched
into his singlet and let out a deep breath. As he waved
to the crowd, one got the feeling that senior Ryan
Bertin and the Michigan wrestling team had just
removed a giant burden from their shoulders.
Since last year's NCAA Wrestling Championships,
when he failed in his bid to repeat as national champion,
Bertin had been consumed with regaining his title. For
that matter, the entire Wolverine team had been trying to
remove the stigma of not being a tournament team.
But after the 2005 NCAA Wrestling Champion-
ships were complete, both Bertin and Michigan
accomplished their goals. Bertin captured the nation-
al championship in the 157-pound weight class, and
the Wolverines finished an impressive second place in
the overall team competition. It was Michigan's best
finish since 1974.
In his championship match on Saturday night,
No. 2-seeded Bertin faced off against No. 8-seeded
Joe Johnston of Iowa. In the quarterfinals, Johnston
scored a huge upset over the No. I seed, Alex Tira-
pelle of Illinois. Tirapelle had beaten Bertin in the Big
Ten Championships two weeks earlier.
Bertin did not allow Johnston to get comfortable, cap-
italizing on a deep shot at the beginning of the first peri-
od. But Bertin was unable to keep the Iowa junior down
for long, and Johnston scored an escape soon thereafter.
The tide in the match turned at the end of the first
Blue bests top-
By Jack Herman
Daily Sports Writer
Senior Ryan Bertin claimed his second-straight NCAA championship in the 157-pound weight class.
coaches told me that he was a gamer," Michigan coach
Joe McFarland said. "He's going to go down as one of the
all-time greats in Michigan wrestling history. He's been
focused all week, and that was his goal. I don't think any-
one could have beaten him this weekend."
With the win, Bertin captured his second national
championship in three years. His tournament last year
was marred by injuries. This season, Bertin entered
the tournament relatively healthy, and the rest of the
field felt the effect of it.
"It's easier to wrestle when you are healthy," Bertin
said. "In this tournament, (being healthy) is a great
The Wolverines clinched second place in the team
competition of the tournament with Bertin's win in
the 157-pound final, and a total of 83 points. The
to face the defending 165-pound weight class champi-
on, Troy Letters of Lehigh. In a tight match, Churella
"I didn't wrestle like I wanted to, and it showed
when I lost the match," Churella said. "You're never
satisfied unless you win the national championship.
I'll remember what this felt like when I'm here next
year, and I'll be ready."
Freshman Eric Tannenbaum'had an impressive debut
in the NCAA Championships, attaining All-American
status in the 149-pound weight class. He made the semi-
finals, before succumbing to Oklahoma State's Zack
Esposito. He finished fourth overall.
The Wolverines' other freshman in the tournament,
Josh Churella, did not enjoy the same kind of success.
Although the No. 3 seed was named an All-Ameri-
All weekend long, the No. 5 Michi-
gan softball team relied on pitchers
Jennie Ritter and Lorilyn Wilson to
lead it to victory. Yesterday's cham-
pionship game at the Kia Klassic was
Yesterday, in the final game of the
tournament, Ritter and Wilson com-
bined to hold No. 1 Arizona (24-2 over-
all) to just two runs and propelled the
Wolverines to a 6-2 victory in Fuller-
This tag-team effort in the champi-
onship game just summed up the duo's
performance all weekend, as Ritter and
Wilson gave up just four runs in six
games, pitching all but two and two-
thirds innings. They led the Wolverines
(27-1) to their first Kia Klassic cham-
pionship and helped extend Michigan's
winning streak to 27 games.
"The key to softball is pitching,"
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said.
"Your pitchers have to keep in you in
the game. And our pitchers are doing
their roles. Both of them have great
Ritter (12-0) started the champi-
onship game for the Wolverines and
had come in to pinch run for Coburn.
But Ritter quickly silenced the Wild-
cats, forcing Arizona third baseman
Jen Martinez to pop out to left to end
"I think if you asked Ritter, she'd tell
you she didn't have her 'A' game going
today or during the weekend," Hutchins
said. "But she made it work with the
best she had. She did a great job staying
one-pitch focused - very important
when you're playing top-notch teams."
The Wolverines came right back in
the next inning. Senior Nicole Motycka
scored on a wild pitch to take a 5-2 lead.
Bercaw added her fourth RBI of the
game on a'single to center and ended
the day 2-for-3.
And as had been the theme all
weekend, pitching came up in the
clutch as Wilson (11-0) stopped Ari-
zona in the final two innings, allow-
ing no runners to reach base and
sealing the tournament victory.
"She came in in the second game to
face the top of the Arizona lineup, and I
can't tell you how tough the lineup was,"
Hutchins said. "I thought her game face
was an A-plus. I was very pleased."
The first game of the day was much
of the same for the Wolverines, as they
defeated No. 11 Texas 7-0 in the semi-
finroridnAThe flood gates brokeonnn