2B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 21, 2005
Rugby: Inspiration for 'The Victors'
By Colt Rosensweig
Daily Sports Writer
When rugby captain Andrew Finn injured his knee
12 months ago, he thought his entire senior season was
over. And not without reason - he had torn his ACL
and LCL, both of which had to be reconstructed.
"The referee at the game said it was the worst injury
he'd seen in his entire life," Finn said. "And my father,
who played for 30 years, also said he'd never seen an
injury that bad."
But thanks to the superb play of his teammates
during the regular season, Finn will be able to play
rugby this year. The men's rugby team, whose season
normally ends in the fall, is headed to nationals this
April. And Finn, who has been inspiring his mates
from the sidelines all season, participated in his first
match since the injury against Pittsburgh this past
Saturday. It was a friendly match and didn't affect
"Rugby is the best sport in the world," said senior
Wes Farrow, a flanker on the team. "I like rugby way
more (than American football) because it's a more free-
flowing game, and it's pure competition. You need your
whole team to win games."
Rugby is the ancestor of football, as well as the inspi-
ration for the Michigan fight song, "The Victors," which
was written following a rugby match.
The sport is played by fifteen players from each team
on what looks like an extra-wide football field. Points are
scored on tries, two-point conversions and drop-kicks.
A try, which is worth five points, is achieved by touch-
ing the ball down after crossing the opposing team's
end line. Tries are followed by two-point conversion
attempts. Drop-kicks are worth three points and are the
equivalent of field goals in American football. Opposing
players can be tackled, but only in specific ways.
"There's a lot more strategy when you're tackling
someone, because you're trying to gain possession of the
ball more so than stopping them from getting that extra
yard or meter," senior outside center Aaron Turk said.
"You can't block, you can't pass it forward and, when
you get tackled, you have to release the ball after a sec-
ond," Finn said.
Everything seemed to come together for the team
this season, except, of course, on the injury front.
The team went 11-0 and won the league. Its average
win margin was 55-7, and just two teams - Michi-
gan State and Bowling Green - scored more than 10
points against Michigan. It triumphed over Bowling
Green, a team ranked 17th in the nation, to win the
"Winning Midwest allowed Finn to play with us
for nationals," Farrow said. "We won one for 'The
But the team hasn't always been so dedicated and for-
"In 1998, we could barely field a team," president of
the rugby club, junior Brett Barna said. "Now we have
60 members, and our level of competition has grown
over the years."
From being a club mostly for fun, the rugby club has
become populated by hard-working, serious players who
are hungry to win.
"Starting in 2000-2001, there was a small group
of guys that started taking rugby and the club here at
Michigan a lot more seriously," Turk said. "They are
the ones that taught us how to play when we came in.
Everyone has made up their mind that they're capable
of doing whatever it takes, and we're all willing to put
in the effort now."
"This year is far and away the furthest the collegiate
team has ever gone (in competition)," Finn said.
The rugby team, literally, went far as well. Over
spring break, some of the players traveled to Thailand to
aid in tsunami-recovery projects.
"(Traveling) overseas with a group of 32 guys that you
know well, play rugby with, care about (and) to use that
unity and that athleticism to actually be on the ground,
helping people affected by the tsunami, was amazing,"
Barna said. "If we'd stayed there another week to two
weeks, we could've finished just about everything they
had to do."
On the pitch, the team hopes to improve on commu-
nication, fluidity, and moving the ball more quickly. But
these are minor tweaks, not large problems.
"One of our strengths as a team is we're really solid
from top to bottom," Finn said. "Every single (player) in
our top-25 is a really outstanding athlete."
The team is in the final eight for nationals. They will
compete in Santa Cruz, Calif., on April 15. If they win
there, they will compete for the national championship
at Stanford at the end of April.
.Athlete of the Week
Name: Ryan Bertin Team: Wrestling
Hometown: Broadview Heights, Ohio Class: Senior
Why: Bertin won his second national title in the 157-pound
weight class at the NCAA championships on Saturday in St.
Louis, leading the Wolverines to a second-place finish over-
all - their top finish since 1974.
3/23 M Tennis vs. Michigan State
3/23 W Tennis vs. Michigan State
3/24-26 W Golf at Baylor Tapatio Springs
3/24-26 M Swimming & Diving at NCAA
3/24-27 M Track & Field at Florida Relays
3/24-26 W Track & Field at Raleigh Relays
3/25 Hockey vs. Wisconsin at NCAA
3/25-27 M Golf at Furman Intercollegiate
3/25 Baseball vs. Oakland
3/25-26 M Gymnastics at Big Ten
3/25-26 Softball at Louisville Invitational
3/26 Baseball vs. Oakland
3/26 W Rowing at ACC/Big Ten Dual
3/26 W Tennis at Northwestern
3/26 M Tennis at Notre Dame
3/26 W Gymnastics at Big Ten
3/26 Hockey at NCAA midwest
regional (if necessary)
down two to Indiana this season
By Kevin Wright
Daily Sports Writer
The shot clock was counting down from
15 seconds during sudden death overtime
in Friday night's women's water polo con-
test between Michigan and Indiana.
Indiana junior Janis Pardy had the
ball in the middle of the pool, looking
to pass to one of her teammates. As the
clock flashed seven, the Michigan player
defending Pardy dropped back to protect
the four-meter line, and Pardy lofted the
ball into the air. Rotating ever so slightly,
it soared over the water, over the out-
stretched arms of Michigan's senior goalie
Betsey Armstrong and quietly smacked
the back of the net. The crowd at Canham
Natatorium sat silent and stunned while
the Indiana players celebrated. With that
miraculous goal, No. 11 Michigan (6-1
CWPA, 17-10 overall) lost 7-6 to No. 9
Indiana (7-0, 17-8).
"Sudden death is the same as a coin
toss at the beginning of the game," Michi-
gan coach Matt Anderson said. "You call
heads or tails and hope it lands the way
that you called it."
In a matchup between two of the top
teams in the CWPA, Michigan came out
sluggish and didn't show signs of compet-
ing until the last minute of the first half.
Trailing 2-0, the Wolverines found a
spark. Junior Carly Strub scored with 43
seconds remaining, and sophomore Shana
Welch notched a goal on a breakaway
with 23 seconds left. Heading into half-
time, the Wolverines and Hoosiers were
deadlocked at 2-2.
Michigan continued to improve offen-
sively in the third period as junior Megan
Hausmann and senior Sheetal Narsai each
scored to give the Wolverines a 5-4 lead.
In the fourth period, Indiana junior
Emily Schmitt struck back with a goal
with 4:20 remaining to tie the game at
five. Armstrong made a spectacular save
on a breakaway shot with 24 seconds left,
sending it into overtime.
Welch scored first, but Indiana answered
to tie it at six apiece, in the second over-
time, sending it to sudden death.
While the second loss to Indiana this
season was hard for the Wolverines to
take, Armstrong said that the toughness
the team showed was a positive.
"We're proud with the way that we
played," Armstrong said. "We can use it
for a catalyst for the rest of the season. In
our home pool, we had the opportunity to
get the fire back and get ready for the next
couple of tournaments."
Rebounding from the tough loss to rival
Indiana, Michigan hosted the Wolverine
Invite on Saturday. After easily defeating
Brown and Wheaton 8-3 and 14-1, respec-
tively, the Wolverines faced off against
Continued from page 1B
sit on it - we scored early, and then
we came back and scored again."
Michigan received a solid outing
from Wilson in its matchup against
the Longhorns. Wilson pitched a
complete game shutout, allowing
just three hits without walking a bat-
ter. She struck out seven, including
four of the first six batters she "faced
while leading the Wolverines into
the final game.
Michigan started the tournament
just as strong as it finished it, going
undefeated in pool play. The Wolver-
ines topped host Cal. State-Fullerton
3-2 in the first round of the tourna-
No. 7 Loyola Marymount.
In the Wolverines' second tight game
of the weekend, Michigan held a 5-4 lead
going into the fourth period. The Lions
tallied four goals, countering the Wolver-
ines' two goals in the final period. Michi-
gan had a chance to tie when Welch stole
the ball with 23 seconds left, but senior
Jo Antonsen's pass was stolen by Loyola
Marymount's sophomore Katie Hicks,
clinching the Lions' 8-7 victory.
After two heartbreaking losses, the
Wolverines needed an emotionally
charged senior-day game against Califor-
nia Lutheran to raise their spirits. Before
the game, the seven seniors were honored,
and, as a testament to their tight-knit bond,
all of them except for Armstrong scored
at least one goal. The Wolverines defeated
California Lutheran 12-2 and ended the
Wolverine Invite on a high note.
"We've been looking forward to this
and dreading this day for a while," Anton-
sen said. "There were a lot of different
emotions. We're all excited to move onto
the next chapter but sad because we'll be
leaving each other and the program. It's
going to be tough to say goodbye."
After a shaky start against Indiana,
Anderson felt that his team's improvement
as the weekend progressed was extreme-
ly important heading into the final few
weeks of the regular season.
"You want to know that you played bet-
ter at the end of the weekend than you did
at the beginning, and we definitely did,"
Anderson said. "We're following the steps
that we have planned - to be able to oper-
ate at the best level come playoff time."
Overall, Anderson was pleased with a
3-2 record and his team's ability to com-
pete with two top-tier teams in the nation
over the weekend.
"We were two bounces away from
defeating two very good top-10 teams,"
Anderson said. "The key is, at the end of
the season, in our final two games against
that type of competition, that the bounces
go our way."
ment before rolling to shutout vic-
tories over No. 24 Fresno State and
Michigan then moved onto the
championship bracket where it
squared off against DePaul. Ritter
tossed a complete game three-hitter
to hold the Blue Demons scoreless,
and Motycka hit a solo home run to
notch the lone score for Michigan.
The 1-0 victory gave Hutchins her
900th career win.
"The best thing to happen to me
is that there were a bunch of alums
out here, all the kids that contribut-
ed to those wins," Hutchins said. "It
was just perfect timing to get that
milestone win today, so that was
W Tennis at Wisconsin
Baseball vs. Oakland
TOMMASO GOMEZ/Daily .
Freshman Justine Mueller finished ninth in the 200-yard individual medley at the
uefinis hes top,-
20 at the NCAAs*
Junior Carly Strub scored three goals on the weekend in Michigan's efforts.
By Anne Uible
Daily Sports Writer
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Questions call Janet:
Swimming coach Jim Richardson
stopped freshman Justine Mueller
before she stepped up on the block for
the 400-yard individual medley with
just one piece of advice for her: "You
Mueller took his words to heart and
swam to three top-20 finishes - includ-
ing two ninth place finishes in the 200-
and 400-yard individual medleys - this
weekend at the NCAA Championships to
become Michigan's top individual leader.
"You have to have a lot of confidence
to swim well in a meet like that," Mueller
said. "If you get ahead of yourself and try
to think further than the race you're about
to swim, you won't do well."
The No. 17 Michigan women's swim-
ming and diving team finished 14th at the
NCAA Championships in West Lafayette
this weekend, marking the Wolverines'
17th top-15 finish in the past 20 years.
With a total of 84 points, the Wolverines
tied with Texas A&M and were only three
points away from Penn State, which held
down the 13 position.
Georgia ran away with the Champion-
ship title after winning four individual
events and claiming victories in all five
relays - something that had never been
done before in NCAA history. With a
final team score of 609.5, the Bulldogs
were more than 100 points ahead of sec-
ond place Auburn.
"It's amazing when you think about the
amount of talent that this meet gathers,"
Mueller said. "It's kind of intimidating,
May 9-4 or August 22-27
At LeaderShape you will...
and you have to keep reassuring yourself
that you deserve to be there."
At the conclusion of the first day of
events, the Wolverines sat in the 10th
position with 39 points after the 200-
yard freestyle relay team of sophomores
Kaitlyn Brady and Lindsey Smith, senior
Amy McCullough and junior Abby Ses-
kevics swam to an All-American finish.
The relay hit the wall in 1:30.55 for a fifth
place finish, just 0.08 seconds behind
Mueller led the Wolverines in indi-
vidual events on the first day with a
ninth place finish in the 200-yard indi-
vidual medley. Mueller held the fastest
time in the event going into the finals
on Thursday night. Her time of 1:57.58
was the second-fastest time swam this
year in the nation.
"I was really happy with my race,"
Mueller said. "In the finals race, all I
thought about was trying to duplicate my
morning swim. I knew that, if I could do
that, I would do well."
The Wolverines dropped to 14th place
on second day of competition after scoring
just 21 points. Smith led the Wolverines
with an eighth-place finish in the 200-
yard freestyle. Smith entered the finals on
Friday night with a personal-best time of
1:46.93, which left her in seventh place.
On the last day of the meet, Michigan
was only able to qualify in the 400-yard
freestyle relay team of Brady, Smith,
Seskevics and McCullough. The team
swam a 14th-place finish, which quali-
fied them for the All-America team.
It was Michigan's third All-American
performance of the Championship and
sixth all-time in the event.
The conclusion of the meet this week-
end marks the end of the team's season,
but several swimmers will be working
toward the World Championship trials,
which are scheduled for April 1-6 in
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