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September 22, 2005 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-22

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 22, 2005 -13A

'M'

welcomes back Boyles

By Tim Reid
For the Daily
Expectations are high for the women's soccer team as
it heads into conference play this weekend. The Wolver-
ines are looking to improve on last season's third-place
Big Ten finish and qualify for their ninth straight NCAA
bid. Adding to this season's expectations is the return of
senior midfielder and tri-captain Stephanie Boyles, who
was redshirted last season after suffering a torn ACL
during summer club competition.
"It was really hard (sitting out last season) when we
were lacking leadership," Boyles said. "It was hard not
being able to contribute on the field."
Though her presence on the field last season may have
been missed, Boyles is taking full advantage of her lead-
ership role on this year's squad and has already made a
significant impact.
"I can be out there and contribute," Boyles said. "I
know what (my teammates) are looking for and need. I
can lead with more direction."
* Although possessing a commanding authority on the
field, Boyles approaches her role as a captain with humil-
ity, striving to lead by example.
Coach Debbie Rademacher praised Boyles's contribu-
tions this season.
"She's doing great," Rademacher said. "She's a vocal
leader for us. She's competitive, and the team respects her."
The contagious energy and positive attitude Boyles
exudes off the field makes her teammates' respect for
her easy to understand. Her ability to recognize the dif-
ference between criticism and encouragement comple-

ments her ability to be a team leader.
The remaining two tri-captains, senior Therese Hea-
ton and junior Katelin Spencer, expanded on the benefits
of Boyles's redefined role.
"She's is a great leader," Spencer said. "I'm a junior,
so I'm learning from (Boyles and Heaton) and stepping
into the role as well."
As a senior team member, Boyles brings motivation
and enthusiasm to the team atmosphere. But her techni-
cal skills will also pay off tremendously as the season
progresses.
"It's helpful having that experience and leadership in
the middle of the field," Heaton said. "She can play the
ball on a dime. She's got deadly set pieces that can make
or break a game."
Perhaps the greatest benefit Boyles's return will bring
to the Wolverines this season is the chemistry she shares
with her fellow captains. Together, the tri-captains cre-
ate a cohesive leadership unit, and each individual brings
something unique to the team.
"We all bring a different element," Heaton said. "All
three of us balance each other. I'm a competitor, Steph's
organized and energetic, and Katelin's nurturing."
Rademacher emphasizes the profound influence the
tri-captains will ultimately have on the team's success
this year.
"We expect our captains to lead the team," Radem-
acher said. "All three have a lot of energy and are really
enthusiastic. They're the pulse of the team. Our team
will do as well as their leadership."
With Boyles back, this year's squad and its dynamic
team leaders may exceed everyone's expectations.

Junior Katelin Spencer - one of three captains for the Wolverines - expects the return of Stephanie Boyles to spark the team.

As lose ground in playoff race

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Twins man-
ager Ron Gardenhire isn't one for team
meetings or speeches at this stage. He will
send his players out for the final 11 days of
this disappointing season and just observe
who's still giving their all.
And maybe, the skipper hopes, Min-
nesota will shake up the playoff picture
in the process.
Michael Cuddyer homered, hit three
doubles and drove in four runs, and the
Twins beat the Oakland Athletics 10-4
yesterday to snap a three-game skid.
The A's began the day trailing the first-
place Los Angeles Angels by 1 1/2 games
in the AL West. The Angels played a late
game against Texas.
"This was a good win for us," said
Gardenhire, whose club is already elim-
inated from postseason contention after
winning the AL Central the past three
years. "To come out and score some
runs and get a lead, we haven't done that
very often. It was fun. The guys got to
run the bases."
Cuddyer finished with a career-high
four hits and homered against Oakland
for the fifth time this season. After his
solo shot in the second inning, he fol-
lowed with three doubles for his third
career four-RBI game. He was intention-
ally walked in the eighth.
Matthew LeCroy added three hits and

two RBIs for Minnesota, which had lost
five of six. The Twins tagged Joe Ken-
nedy in taking a 7-0 lead in the fifth, and
avoided a three-game sweep.
"Cuddyer killed us all year. He was
pretty much a one-man wrecking crew,"
A's manager Ken Macha said.
Scott Baker (2-2) pitched five effective
innings to win for the first time in five
starts. He retired 12 of the first 14 batters
he faced, allowing a one-out single to Jay
Payton in the second and a leadoff single
by Dan Johnson in the third.
Bobby Crosby returned to Oakland's
lineup after sitting out Tuesday to rest
his fractured left ankle. He singled and
scored in Oakland's three-run fifth, when
Jason Kendall added a two-run double
and Nick Swisher hit a sacrifice fly.
Mark Ellis homered leading off the A's
eighth for his 11th of the year.
A's center fielder Mark Kotsay became
defensive when someone suggested Oak-
land didn't exhibit the kind of energy
most would expect in the middle of a
late-season pennant race.
"We didn't come out flat," Kotsay
said. "They came out and swung the bats
well. How can a team come out flat when
we know what's on the line? It's Sept. 21,
and we're 1 1/2 games out. They jumped
out on us and never let up. They kept
their foot on our neck and never let us

breathe."
Kennedy (3-4) didn't last long in his
sixth start for Oakland. He allowed six
runs and five hits in 3 1-3 innings.
The lefty, who joined the A's in a trade
with Colorado on July 13, began as a
reliever with the team and then moved
into the rotation Aug. 27. After winning
his first start at Baltimore, he has gone
0-4 in five outings - the losing streak
is his worst since dropping four in a row
last year with the Rockies.
Kennedy's poor performance shows
just how much the A's miss right-hander
Rich Harden, sidelined since Aug. 19
with a strained muscle in the back of his
throwing shoulder. Harden began the
year as the team's No. 2 starter behind
Barry Zito, but he might not pitch again
this season.
The Twins loaded the bases in the third
when Jason Tyner and Jason Bartlett drew
consecutive one-out walks, then LeCroy
singled. Justin Morneau drove in a run
with a grounder, and Cuddyer followed
with his sharp double to left.
Cuddyer hit a solo homer in the second,
his 12th. While he would have liked to
.get another chance at the plate to try for
five hits, Cuddyer insists he's just deter-
mined to help the Twins finish strong.
"We've got a lot of things to play for,"
he said. "We want to finish .500."

AP PHOTO
Twins third baseman Michael Cuddyer struggled earlier in the season, but he helped lead Minnesota to its 10-4
victory over the A's, going 4-for4 with four RBI.

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