September 14, 2005
By Ian Robinson
Daily Sports Writer
Last night's volleyball match was the story of two
In the first two games, Michigan failed to hit over .150.
In each of the final two games, the squad notched hitting
percentages above .333.
The Wolverines used their solid:EAsTERN MICHIGAN I
hitting in the final two frames toMICHIGAN 3
hold on for a 30-25, 25-30, 30-25,
30-18 victory over Eastern Michigan at Cliff Keen Arena.
"In the last two games, we started to let go and play,"
sophomore Lyndsay Miller said.
Michigan coach Mark Rosen attributed the team's
undisciplined play early in the match to the team's youth.
But he will not accept that as an excuse.
"I think it was hard for us to get a rhythm going in
any of the first games," Rosen said. "We were so forced
in the first two games. The team deserves credit for get-
ting out of it."
In the first game, the Wolverines capitalized on Eastern
Michigan's mistakes and sloppy play. The Eagles posted
12 first-game errors and hit just .068.
Sophomore Katie Bruzdzinski helped the team get off
to a hot start with two straight service aces near the begin-
ning of the first game. Her first ace of the match was the
50th of her career.
Michigan won the first game on a point that included
two impressive digs by sophomore Stesha Selsky and a
collision between Selsky and junior Danielle Pflum. The
point culminated in an attack error by Eastern Michigan.
"(Selsky's) defense was borderline phenomenal at
times, and she was playing through some migraine head-
ache problems," Rosen said.
The Marymount, Calif., native tallied 27 digs last night.
Her second dig of the match was the 500th of her colle-
In the second game, Eastern started to get some momen-
tum, and the Wolverines could no longer rely on the oppo-
sition's errors to keep them in the game.
The Eagles posted a second-game hitting percentage
of .222 and committed just six errors. The Wolverines
continued their mediocre performance with a .140 hit-
ting percentage, coupled with 17 errors in the second
Through the middle of the third game, it appeared that
Michigan's struggles would continue. The team trailed 5-
10, but two straight kills by Miller and one of Bruzdzins-
ki's three service aces sparked a 25-15 Michigan run that
culminated in a third-period victory.
Rosen considered Miller's performance in the latter half
It's just the
same old song
When Chad Henne's fourth-down pass fell to the turf and
ended any chance of a comeback, I - like just about
everyone else in the student section - stood in silence
while Notre Dame's players, coaches and fans celebrated in the Big
House. The game was over for at least two minutes before I finally
turned away from the field and made my way up to the exit.
For some inexplicable reason, I never saw Saturday's loss coming
- even though it made it six straight sea-
sons with a September nonconference loss.
But that's not the trend that bothers me
the most. Sure, Michigan - ranked third
in the polls just a week ago - now has
no real chance at the national title, but the
Big Ten title is still there, and the Wolver-
ines have always been able to bounce back
from early-season woes. On top of that,
the defense put together a good second
half for the first time since last year's Pur-
due game, and the offense - even with all SHARAD
the injuries - has way too much talent to MATTU
be that bad again. Mattufast,
But that's all the optimism you're going Ma turfos
to hear from me. I've got to get back to Matu fuous
that annoying trend. Since the 2001 season, in its 12 biggest games
- four against Notre Dame, four against Ohio State and four New
Year's Day bowl games - Michigan has a putrid 3-9 record. What
kind of national power wins its biggest games every leap year?
How many times am I going to have to hear from my mom what
Regis Philbin had to say about Notre Dame's win over Michigan?
And don't think that the only difference between losing to Ohio
State and losing to Minnesota is that a loss to the Buckeyes hurts
our pride a little more.
It makes recruiting in the Midwest more difficult because
Ohio State and Notre Dame are Michigan's biggest competitors.
Imagine if a recruit saw last weekend's game, then this weekend
sees Notre Dame beat Michigan State and the following Saturday
watches Ohio State beat Iowa. Sure, there's probably enough talent
for all three schools, but even top programs go through hiccups,
and Michigan has been at least very good for a very long time.
Anyone who saw Oklahoma lose to TCU or Florida State and
Miami play in an all-time ugly game knows how swift the fall
from the top can be.
And it's not as if Michigan is dominating all the other teams on
its schedule. While 9-3 seems to be their record of choice in recent
years, the Wolverines could have been 7-5 just as easily as 11-1. Last
season, Michigan came from behind to beat Minnesota, Purdue
and Michigan State, but it fumbled away the Notre Dame game and
lost on a last-second field goal to Texas in the Rose Bowl. And even
though Ohio State beat Michigan soundly last year, the Wolverines
were the better team all season and were playing for the Big Ten
title. In 2003, they were ranked 23rd and down 28-7 in the fourth
quarter to Minnesota and ended up in the Rose Bowl.
Last year, with the quarterback and running back positions
completely open at the start of the season, it was hard to imagine
the Wolverines ending up in the Rose Bowl like they did. But even
though they made it to Pasadena, put together a memorable come-
back against Michigan State and did it all with freshmen at those
two positions, the lasting memories of the season are losses in the
three big games, particularly to Ohio State and Texas to close the
If that doesn't make clear the importance of rivalry games and
bowl games, look at John Cooper, Ohio State's football coach until
2001. Despite a gaudy 111-43-4 record in 13 seasons, Cooper was
just 2-10-1 against Michigan and 3-8 in bowl games. When Jim
Tressel was hired to replace him, one of the first things he did was
appear at a basketball game and tell the crowd he was looking for-
ward to traveling to Ann Arbor to beat Michigan, even though the
game was about nine months away. Needless to say, a mediocre
Ohio State team beat a Michigan team playing for the Big Ten title
that year. Now, Tressel is 3-1 against the Wolverines, 3-1 in bowl
games and has won a national championship. He's so popular,
he could hand a thousand dollars to every one of his players on
national television and keep his job.
So now that the chance to buck the trend against Notre Dame
has passed, I'm looking ahead toward the Buckeyes. If Michigan
is destined for a 9-3 season as usual, let's save the comebacks for
Ohio State and whatever bowl game the Wolverines wind up play-
ing in. Comeback wins over Minnesota and Purdue are great, but
that would be something to celebrate.
Redshrt freshman setter Mara Martin notched 51 assists In last night's 3-1 win over against Eastern Michigan
at Cliff Keen Arena.
of the match to be crucial to the team's victory.
"I thought Miller did an excellent job and really stepped
up at times," Rosen said.
The sophomore middle blocker registered 14 kills and
posted a team-high hitting percentage of .429. Miller also
contributed two solo blocks and seven block assists.
Redshirt freshman setter Mara Martin offered up two
quick sets to Miller that ignited the Michigan rally.
"(The quick set) was flowing real well," Miller said. "If we
needed a point, we could go to the quick set and get one."
The team carried that energy through the rest of the
"Once you get momentum, you get on a power trip to
start winning," Martin said.
Michigan took control of the fourth game from the get-
go with a 6-1 streak to open up the frame and maintained
control with a 7-2 run in the middle of the game to make
the score 18-8.
The Wolverines posted a fourth game hitting percent-
age of .355, but the most impressive stat might be holding
the Eagles to a .000 hitting percentage in the final period.
With last night's victory, the team wrapped up a four-
game homestand, in which the team went undefeated after
three victories in the Michigan Nike/Pepsi Invitation last
"One of our goals is to win at our home," Miller
said. "This is our house, and it is important for us to
0 WOMEN'S SOCCER
Humble Underwood shines in new role
By Daniel Bromwich
Daily Sports Writer
Gatorade High School Player of the
Year in Michigan.
Three-time all-state first-team selec-
tion for soccer.
But even she gets anxious under the
"I was actually really nervous,"
freshman Danelle Underwood said. "It
was our first really big game, and there
was a huge crowd there."
Underwood settled down pretty quick-
ly and later became part of Michigan
women's soccer history by netting the
game-winner against Texas in the first-
ever night game at U-M Soccer Field.
But she doesn't want to take much
credit for it.
"I guess I just happened to be in the
right place at the right time, and I got
the goal," Underwood said. "We played
well as a team."
But it's a different kind of team
that Underwood plays on now. In high
school, she was the best, the go-to goal
scorer, the unquestioned all-star of the
team. But at Michigan, Underwood is
more of a role player - not yet the
indubitable star. She likes it that way.
"It's different, but I like not being the
best on the team," Underwood said. "It
helps me work harder and push myself
to be better."
Coach Debbie Rademacher is quick
to praise Underwood's effort.
"Her work ethic is really great,"
Rademacher said. "We weren't sure
that she was going to be able to start
for us this soon, but we certainly hoped
it would happen. We knew she was tal-
ented enough, and she's really done a
Underwood has started all five of
Michigan's games this year, scoring
the goal against Texas and notching her
first career point with an assist against
Kansas. Her 12 shots tie her with senior
Therese Heaton for third on the team,
and Underwood tallied six of those
in this past weekend's loss to Miami
(Ohio). But the adjustment to college
soccer has been a big one for her.
"It is such a different game," Under-
wood said. "Especially the physical
nature of it. All the girls are fast, all the
girls are strong, and it just takes time to
get used to."
But Underwood is still learning. One
of her problems is that she doesn't know
just how good she is.
"We're working with her in the air,"
Rademacher said. "She underestimates
her ability in the air, and she can really
Underwood is also working on
knowing where to be when she attacks
and when she defends. Rademacher
describes it as a "work in progress."
She's only a freshman, and that could
explain why Underwood has no specif-
ic long-term goals other than continu-
ing to improve and progress. She has
already gained the trust of her team-
mates and her coach, and they know
they can count on her to deliver when
the pressure is on.
As lights shine down on the U-M
Soccer Field for the first season, a new
job-opening has been created. The
team needs a player who shines bright-
er when those lights come on. And they
might have just discovered one. Even if
she does get nervous first.
Mattu can be reached at email@example.com.
Harris happy to be back on field
By Gabe Edelson
Daily Sports Writer
It was almost exactly two years ago.
On Sept. 6, 2003, the No. 5 Michigan football team had
just demolished Houston by a laughable score of 50-3.
Things were looking good for the Wolverines at the time.
Running back Chris Perry had rumbled his way up and
down the field for 184 yards and two touchdowns. The
defense was riding high after a shutdown performance in
which it recorded a safety and held the Cougars to just 138
total yards. And the team was energized for its upcom-
ing battle with Notre Dame, in which it would memorably
dominate the Irish en route to a 38-0 victory.
But not everybody in Maize and Blue was smiling.
Those were dark days for David Harris, a linebacker and
then-special teamer who suffered a season-ending injury
to his left ACL during the Houston contest. Harris, then a
redshirt freshman, was a mere two games into his playing
career at Michigan when everything came to a screeching
"The most disappointing thing in that game was that
David Harris suffered a knee injury that will require sur-
gery," coach Lloyd Carr said at the time. "David will miss
the rest of the season. That's a big loss for our football
team nt n n Iv (hecse of) the faet that he is a verv nrom-
"I felt comfortable," Harris said. "If you practice hard,
the game comes easy. It's great to get back out there."
The Grand Rapids native recorded a career-high eight
tackles and forced a key fumble with 12 minutes left to give
Michigan an opportunity to close the gap and remain in
the game against the Irish. On a Notre Dame first-and-10,
Irish quarterback Brady Quinn took the snap and handed
the ball off to running back Darius Walker. Harris exploded
through the line of scrimmage, finding a gap between cen-
ter Bob Morton and right guard Dan Stevenson. Walker's
hold on the rock was shaky to begin with, but Harris made
sure to knock the ball away cleanly. Defensive end Rondell
Biggs fell on the pigskin and Michigan took over just 18
yards from the goal line.
"We had a blitz call, and I came through the A gap," Harris
said. "(I) got through real quick and met the runner as soon
as he was getting the handoff. I saw it in his eye that he really
didn't want to run and was fumbling the ball a little bit, so I
batted it out of his hands."
Though the Wolverines were unable to score on the ensu-
ing possession, Harris's performance - which also includ-
ed a third-down assist tackle on Walker that brought an end
to a subsequent Notre Dame possession and set up Mich-
igan's lone touchdown - made an impact on his coaches
"I thought David Harris made a world of difference in