18A - The Michigan Daily - SportsWednesday - September 7, 2005
Four hands better than two for 'M' *
By Daniel Bromwich
Daily Sports Writer
Shot. Saved by the crossbar. Rebound. Diving save.
Rebound. Another save. A third rebound. Goal.
It was an inauspicious start for freshman goalie Madi-
son Gates. Not even five minutes into her first collegiate
start, she had already let in her first goal. But for the next
85 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtime
periods, Gates played flawlessly, repeatedly turning
away shot after shot from Texas A&M.
It was not necessarily the ideal first game, starting
against an aggressive, physical team ranked No. 6 in the
country. But Gates was able to overcome her initial nerves
and held the Aggies without a goal the rest of the game,
allowing her team to come back and get the 1-1 tie.
"I was nervous at first," Gates said. "But slowly, inten-
sity and adrenaline took over, and I just played."
She knew it wasn't going to be easy to play her first
game against a team like Texas A&M, and, when the
first goal was scored at 3:34, it was time for a gut-check.
"I'm pretty mentally strong," Gates said. "So after I
get scored on, I just stay confident, and I know I'll get
back on my game within a couple minutes."
Junior goalkeeper Megan Tuura has a lot of experi-
ence in goal and knows how hard it is to get scored on
"It's really hard to come back from a goal like that,"
Tuura said. "So I thought she did an amazing job to come
back the way she did and stay strong in there."
Before the weekend games, Tuura was named Big
Ten Defensive Player of the Week for a school-record
fourth time. So it might have surprised some to see the
freshman Gates in goal on Sunday. But Michigan coach
Debbie Rademacher wanted to put Gates in, and she got
just the results she wanted.
"We definitely need to have two goalkeepers with
experience in case there is an injury," Rademacher said.
"And those two are both training really hard and com-
peting really well, and they both have strengths that can
help us, so we want to make sure that Madison gets expe-
rience as well."
One commonly used strategy is to go easy on fresh-
men, bringing them along slowly and only giving them
action after part of the season has passed. But that was
not what Rademacher did with Gates.
"We are just going to kind of throw her in there,"
Rademacher said. "We put her in against one of the
top teams in the country, and she did great. We're
going to play it by ear with (Tuura and Gates) and
just kind of take it week by week, look at our oppo-
nents and our matchups."
One of Gates's goals is to at least split playing time 50-
50 with Tuura this season. And due to her performance
on the practice field and in the game on Sunday, she
looks like she could reach it.
"Right now, they are both training so hard and play-
ing at such a high level that we really feel comfortable
regardless of who's in there," Rademacher said. "Once
we get to the playoffs, we will probably lean towards
one, but right now, we feel great about both of them."
The Wolverines want to win the Big Ten Champion-
ship this year. In order to do that, they need to have a
goalkeeper they can trust. But the women's soccer team
might have just found their advantage over the competi-
tion. They have two.
Junior Megan Tuura will be part of the two goalie rotation this season.
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Oklahoma's opening day loss sent the
Sooners tumbling from the top 10 of the
Associated Press poll-for the first time
in almost four years, Auburn stumbled
all the way out of the rankings while it
only took Charlie Weis just one game to
get Notre Dame back in.
And of course, Southern Cal. is still
USC has been No. 1 for 20 straight
polls dating back to late in the 2003
season, leaving the Trojans one short of
the record set by Miami from 2001-02.
USC received 61 of 65 first-place votes
in the poll released Tuesday. No.2 Texas
got the other four first-place votes.
The 18th-ranked Sooners dropped
11 spots in the AP media poll after a
17-10 loss at home to TCU Saturday.
The last time Oklahoma, which has
played in the last two Bowl Champi-
onship Series title games, wasn't in
the top 10 was Dec. 2, 2001.
"Sometimes it concerns you that
when you have won for a period
time, the players start thinking you
have a right to win," Sooners coach
Bob Stoops said. "You have to earn
it every play, and I say that every
week. We didn't go out there and do
it last week, and TCU played harder
and tougher than we did."
Auburn, coming off an undefeated
season and No. 2 final ranking, had
its 15-game winning streak snapped
by Georgia Tech, 23-14. After start-
ing the season ranked 16th, the Tigers
have now been relegated to "others
Ray Ratto of The San Francisco
Chronicle was one of eight voters to
drop Oklahoma and Auburn out of the
first regular-season poll.
"I have a real hard time looking at
a team that's 0-1 and keeping them in
the poll," he said. "I don't think you get
points for losing your opener.
"When they get back to 4-1.and 5-1
they'll be back in."
AP TOP 25
(first-place votes in parentheses)
1. Southern Cal. (61)
2. Texas (4)
4. Ohio State
7. Virginia Tech
11. Florida State
15. Arizona State
17. Georgia Tech