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October 04, 2005 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-04

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 4, 2005

TREVOR CAMPBELL/Daily
Michigan golfer Christian Vozza helped the Wolverines win their first tournament in more than four seasons.
Vozza helped by caddy Dad

Delaney
quickly
settles
into role
By Kevin Wright
Daily Sports Writer
When the public address announcer
introduced freshman Stacy Delaney as
the new Michigan pitcher in the bottom
of the sixth inning against Canisius on
Sunday, the crowd gave a large roar in
anticipation.
And Delaney didn't disappoint.
Entering the pitcher's circle at Alumni
Field for the first time donning a Mich-
igan uniform, Delaney struck out the
first Griffin hitter of the inning with
a sweeping curveball that danced off
the outside corner of the plate as Brit-
tany Bonetto half-heartedly swung at
the pitch.
"It was a great feeling to actually
pitch a game at Alumni Field," Del-
aney said. "It was definitely a differ-
ent atmosphere than when I pitched in
high school. But it's great to be here
and to be able to pitch here."
After walking the next Griffin bat-
ter, Delaney settled into a groove, get-
ting Rachelle Barrientos to ground out
to senior third baseman Grace Leutele
and striking out Ashley Bonetto.
The freshman continued to exude
confidence in her pitches during the
seventh inning. She struck out the
side with two of the Canisius bat-
ters only able to watch as the ball
snapped into senior catcher Becky
Marx's glove and the umpire signaled
the strikeout call.
Not only did Delaney get a taste of
Michigan softball in the Wolverines'
first game on Sunday, but Michigan
coach Carol Hutchins also had her
start the following contest against
Eastern Michigan.
Delaney began the game against the
Eagles where she left off after shutting
down the Canisius hitters.
In the first inning, she got off to a
rocky start, allowing Lauren Clark to
reach first base on a single. But Delaney
didn't let the disappointment of allow-
ing her first hit of the day affect her, and
she struck out Nikki Denman to end the
Eastern Michigan threat.
As Delaney continued to cruise
through the Eagles' lineup, she also got
a much-needed boost from junior catch-
er Tiffany Worthy in the second inning.
With Heather Han on first base and
just one out, the Eagles were poised to

44

By Bryan Hamilton
For the Daily
Picture this.
You're in the semifinals of the Michigan Amateur
Championship
You are down three through eight holes.
Who would you want caddying for you? Tiger Woods?
Phil Mickelson? Your coach?
Or how about your father?
It turns out, the latter was exactly what Michigan
senior Christian Vozza needed in the Michigan Amateur
Championship in June. The father-son combo caught fire
on the back nine of the match-play semifinals, where
Vozza posted five birdies in a seven-hole stretch to edge
Michigan State's Jimmy Chestnut, 2-and-1.
"We were just in the zone together," Vozza said. "We
were high-fiving, smiling and having a good time out
there. It couldn't have been better."
But it did get better. The come-from-behind surge
proved to be the defining moment of the tournament, and
Vozza went on to claim the championship in the final
round. Vozza attributed the victory to his style of play
and the support he received.
"My goal going into the tournament was to attack
the golf course." Vozza said. "I knew that if I stayed
aggressive, I would have a good chance to make a lot of
birdies. Plus, having my father there really helped my
confidence."
It was fitting that Vozza's father was there for his son's
greatest victory to date. After all, Vozza's father first
introduced his son to the game of golf many years ago.
"When I was barely old enough to walk, my dad would
take my brother and I out on the course and tell us to just
have fun," Vozza said. "He was always very supportive

and wanted us to enjoy the game."
His father's support extended beyond simply taking
Christian golfing as a youth.
"My whole family has been incredible in supporting
me throughout my golfing career," Vozza said. "They
have traveled to watch me play tournaments in Oregon,
California and Puerto Rico. I think my dad has only
missed two tournaments of mine in four years playing
here. It's been incredible."
With such support, it should come as no surprise that
Vozza has enjoyed such incredible results. Vozza has led
the Wolverines in overall scoring average in each of the
past two seasons, with a career-best of 74.72 last year. But
he may recently have accomplished his greatest achieve-
ment in his time at Michigan. Two weekends back, at the
Wolverine Intercollegiate, Vozza took first place overall
and helped Michigan post its first tournament victory in
more than four years. It was a decisive win for the Wol-
verines, and they coasted to an Il-shot win over the 15-
team field. In fact, the title was impressive enough for
Golfweek Magazine to tab Michigan the "men's college
golf team of the week."
"I know that winning the Amateur this past summer
really gave me a boost of confidence and motivated me to
do well this year." Vozza said. "It's an honor to win, but
it's really all about the team and how we do together. It
was nice for us to finally get a win."
When Vozza walked off the course that weekend with
an individual title in hand, he had helped two teams to
victory - the Wolverines and his parents. Vozza got
to share his first collegiate victory with the teammates
that took him golfing when he was a child and watched
him take home the Amateur Championship last summer.
Greeted with smiles of joy and pride, Vozza was con-
gratulated by Mom and Dad.

MIKE HULSEBUS/Daily
Freshman pitcher Stacy Delaney impressed in her Michigan pitching debut.

score. But when Han tried to steal sec-
ond base, Worthy gunned her down
with a perfect throw.
In Delaney's last inning of work,
she once again surrendered a base
hit when an Eagle reached first on an
infield single, but the freshman buck-
led down again and struck out the next
batter and got the final Eagle to face
her to ground out to Leutele.
Although Delaney allowed a base
runner in all five innings that she
pitched, she managed to keep the
Eagles from capitalizing on their
chances to score.
"I thought that she pitched better
in the first game than the second,"
Hutchins said. "She looked like she
was steering her pitches a little bit (in
the second game) and getting behind
hitters. She's going to help us, but she

has to improve."
Though the action Delaney has seen
during the fall tournaments has not
been as intense as it will be when the
season starts in the spring, she said
she realizes that she can benefit from
the fall by learning how to pitch at the
collegiate level and finding techniques
and mechanics to adjust.
The freshman also said that, with
the increased pressure, she will need
to improve her mental approach to
pitching by not letting the little things
that go wrong affect her while she
stands in the pitcher circle.
"I definitely have things to work
on," Delaney said. "I need to work
on being able to consistently throw
my pitches when I want. I also need
to strengthen my mental make-up. But
things can only get better from here."

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