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September 07, 2005 - Image 21

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-07

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The Michigan Daily - SportsWednesday - September 7, 2005 - 21A.

M FIELD HOCKEY
Qualified freshmen
. make quick start

By David Spielman
Daily Sports Writer
Many freshmen find the pace of
college to be faster than their high
school pasts. But for the six first-year
players set to compete on this year's
field hockey team - Stephanie Hoyer,
Michaela McDermott, Erin Dallas,
Sarah Wilhite, Heather Wiley and
Paige Pickett - the transition applies
to their sport as well. The speed of
their new college lives is matched by
the speed of the new game that they
will witness on the college field.
"The intensity and the game speed
that the girls will see on a daily basis
are very different than their high
school experiences," first-year Michi-
gan coach Nancy Cox said.
Despite the faster and more physi-
cal competition, Cox expects her new-
est players to step in and contribute
right away. She plans to tap the talent"
pool of the freshmen class to fill the
void created by the departure of 2004
Big Ten offensive player of the year
Jessica Blake.
The credentials of the freshmen
bode well for their success.
Hoyer was named Colorado's 2004
Player of the Year by The Denver Post,
and McDermott was named Ohio's
2004 Player of the Year by The Cleve-
land Plain Dealer. Dallas gained all-
state first-team honors three times in
New Hampshire, and Wiley gained
San Diego Hall of Champion All-CIF
second team honors in 2004. Wilhite
earned 2004 NFHCA High School All-
America second-team honors, while

Pickett earned All-Southwest Prepara-
tory Honors in 2003 and 2004.
"We are expecting the freshmen to
make an immediate impact with their
scoring prowess," Cox said. "I think
all the kids will progress to where our
intended goal is - to be in the Big Ten
championship and to make a run at the
NCAA Championship - so we have
high hopes for these kids."
The group will rely heavily on its
cohesiveness, which shouldn't be dif-
ficult considering many of the women
played together in various national
events throughout their respective high
school careers.
"We're a really close group com-
ing in, which should boost the team
morale over the next four years,"
Wilhite said.
Said McDermott: "It's comfort-
ing to know that everyone's going
through the same types of things so
we can all relate and help each other
through it all."
The women themselves believe that
they're ready for the new speed of their
lives both on and off the field.
"So far, everyone's doing awe-
some," Hoyer said. "It's different than
high school, but it's not overwhelm-
ing, and I think all of us have adjusted
pretty well."
But, as these freshmen are likely to
discover, errors are inevitable during
one's first year.
"It's okay to make mistakes
as long as you learn from them,"
McDermott said.
That goes for all of the new Wolver-
ines in Ann Arbor.

The first two rows already know what it takes to make the Big House an intimidating place to play. The rest of the crowd, not so much.

SINGER
Continued from page 17A
people take charge, others will follow. This espe-
cially goes out to the freshmen in the higher rows
- I distinctly remember how quiet it was in row
94, even during the Ohio State game in 2003.
Timing is everything: Too often, the crowd
begins to get warmed up just as the ball is snapped.
This is too late to have any impact on the play. The
noise should begin while the opposing offense is
in their huddle, making it difficult for them to hear
the play that's called. Then, the screams should cre-
scendo and reach their peak just as the quarterback
reaches the line because this is the moment where
the crowd is most likely to cause problems for the
opposition. And remember, when the Michigan
offense takes the field, you get to rest your voice. So
go all out when the defense takes the field.
Students lead; Alumni follow: Yes, the rest
of the stadium is quiet. Yes, this makes it more
difficult to create a raucous atmosphere. But this
does not mean students should sit back and let the
alumni's laid-back attitude take over. An all-out
performance by the student section would easily
make up for the relative silence emanating from the

rest of the Big House.
When the keys stop jingling, the noise must
go on: Another common Big House phenomenon
- the crowd actually gears up for a third down,
but the visitors convert, and the fans fall into a
stupor for the remainder of the drive. If there's
any time the defense needs your help, it's after
they've given up a key third-down conversion.
Keep the noise coming because one crowd-
induced penalty or mistake could bring the oppo-
nents' drive to a screeching halt.
Defend our turf: Nothing is more frustrat-
ing than a quiet Big House when the opposition is
backed up in the north endzone. Students, this is
our turf. Visitors should have nightmares about get-
ting pinned on our side of the field. Picture it: Notre
Dame takes the field for a first-and-10 at its own
four yard line, and Michigan Stadium is so loud
that the players can't hear the quarterback's signals.
Noise is important regardless of where the play is,
but the students' impact can be the greatest when
the enemy is right in front of us.
When players ask, they should receive. Play-
ers make it obvious when they need you the most,
waving their arms up and down, begging for more
noise. So follow their lead. During Saturday's

game, the kickoff team tried to pump up the crowd
prior to every kick, only to be largely ignored. Wav-
ing your hat isn't enough ... so open your mouth
and make some noise!
Notre Dame or Eastern, the Big House should
be rockin': I'm not delusional. I know the Big
House will be especially hyped for rivalry games,
and that's part of what makes those matchups spe-
cial. But this doesn't mean that the fans should take
the other games off. Last year's San Diego State
game proved that any team can give Michigan a run
for its money. Fans are quick to blame the Wolver-
ines for looking past lowly opponents and then do
the same thing when Eastern Michigan or Illinois
rolls into Ann Arbor.
Be proud, Michigan students. Consider the
postigame sore throat a battle wound and dull
the pain with some alcohol afterwards. Worry
about the opposite sex after the game. For three
hours, on seven Saturdays a year, the team you
love (and I know you love them) needs you.
Show them you care.
- Singer will happily buy throat lozenges for any-
one who leaves the Big House with a sore throat on
Saturday. He can be reached at mattsing@umich.edu.

RYAN WEINER/Daily
In his first start for the Wolverines, center Adam Kraus blocks Northern Illinois safety
Dustin Utschig to open the field for Michigan running back Kevin Grady.
* KRAUS
Continued from page 17A
coach Lloyd Carr gave the edge to senior Rueben Riley. Kraus and senior Mark Bihl
were given the opportunity to compete for the starting job, so Kraus remained opti-
mistic. When Riley hurt his wrist at the start of spring practices and missed a lot of
the spring, the coaches decided to move him to guard.
Kraus competed with Bihl for the starting spot all of spring practice, and he
didn't find out that he was starting against Northern Illinois until the night before
the game.
"I don't think (my parents) knew until today," Kraus said on Saturday. "They're
obviously excited and happy for me. I don't know if the rest of my family even knows
that I played today."
After the game, Kraus said that he "had a great time." But during the week, the
focus was on his family and the starting job. Kraus claimed that it wasn't difficult to
focus on football because he knew that his family was safe and because the coaches
and staff were supportive of his situation. Still, the concentration that he showed all
week impressed teammates such as fellow lineman Adam Stenavich, who called his
focus on the practice field "amazing."
"When you forget about all that - your home is gone and all that has gone wrong
- and just focus on football, it's kind of weird because football doesn't seem very
important," Stenavich said. "But he did a good job."

SECONDARY
Continued from page 17A
who was listed as a starter or a backup.
With so many newcomers in the rotation,
mistakes were bound to happen, but the
unit needs to take shape 'quickly with
Notre Dame coming to town Saturday.
The Fighting Irish were able to move the
ball with ease in its game against Pitts-
burgh and will provide a challenge to the
unsettled secondary.

"When you look at the statistics,
you'll see great balance with the people
that got the football," coach Lloyd Carr
said of Notre Dame. "The tight ends
got the ball, the wide receivers got the
ball, and the backs got the ball in the
passing game."
Although it's possible the Wolverines
did not show all of the wrinkles in their
defense, Saturday will be a true test to
see if last year's problemsare a thing of
the past or still haunting the team.

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