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October 19, 2005 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-19

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6B - The Michigan Daily - SportsWednesday - October 19, 2005

As seen on TV: Spikers swept away

By Max Kardon
Daily Sports Writer

COLUMBUS - In order to win
an evenly matched contest, one team
must find a competitive edge. This can
be achieved by many means, but it is
most efficient to
exploit the other
team's mistakes.
This weekend, the
sharp play of No.
4 Penn State and
No. 18 Ohio State
blunted the edge of the Michigan
women's volleyball team.
In a nationally televised contest, the
Wolverines (3-6 Big Ten, 9-9 over-
all) were unable to manufacture an
upset at Rec Hall in State College to
celebrate coach Mark Rosen's 450th
career match. Penn State (8-0, 17-2)
lived up to its top billing on Friday
night to remain undefeated in confer-
ence play.
"Obviously they're a tough team,"
Rosen said. "We had to shuffle our
squad up because one of our key
players got injured last week, but our
performance was only reasonably
Although sophomore Katie Bru-
zdzinski had another strong showing

- recording a team-leading total of
15 kills and 11 digs to tally the 15th
double-double of her career - Penn
State was able to limit its mistakes
around the net to keep the Wolverines
at a safe distance for all three games.
The Nittany Lions swept the match 3-
0, finishing each game with at least a
seven-point advantage - 30-23, 30-
15, 30-23.
The Wolverines then headed to
Columbus for a showdown with Ohio
State Saturday night. All three games
were within Michigan's clutches, but
the Wolverines were again unable to
maintain their edge when each game
reached its decisive climax.
The Buckeyes channeled the
energy of that afternoon's rousing
homecoming football victory over
Michigan State to put on an impres-
sive performance for an enthusiastic
home crowd.
This home-court advantage may
have been a crucial factor, as the fans
became heavily involved at key points
of the match that ensued.
The Wolverines' effort was high-
lighted by a strong debut by 6-foot-5
sophomore middle blocker Rachel
Draves. Draves took advantage of her
expanded role en route to a career-
high 10 kills, but the Wolverines were

unable to score when the games were
on the line.
"We played well at times, but we
didn't compete well," Rosen said.
"There's a difference between play-
ing well and competing well. We did
enough to put ourselves in a position
to win the match, but, when it really
counted, we couldn't put it away."
The score in the first game was
knotted 20 times, with the Wolverines
holding a late 22-20 lead, but they
soon found themselves down 28-27.
The Buckeyes took the game with two
consecutive points for a 30-27 vic-
"We've been showing that we are
able to play at the level of good teams,"
redshirt junior Erin Cobler said. "It's
one thing to play with them, and it's
another to be able to beat them."
All but one of Michigan's losses
this season have come against top-25
In the second game, the Wolverines
battled back from a nine-point deficit
to take a late 27-26 lead on a charge
led by Bruzdzinski and sophomore
Lindsay Miller. The Buckeyes tied it
up at 27 and sealed the match victory
with three straight points to win the
game 30-27.
"Getting on the doorstep's not good

Sophomore Katie Bruzdzinski paced the Wolverines with 15 kills and 11 digs.

r .

enough," Rosen said. "We've got to
get our foot through the door."
With the match already out of
hand, the Wolverines knocked down
the door to start the third and final
game. Draves contributed three kills
to help Michigan build an imposing
19-11 lead, but the Buckeyes refused
to be intimidated. Ohio State pushed
its game into high gear after the Wol-
verines took a 29-26 lead, one point
away from avoiding the sweep. Michi-
gan proved unable to seal the deal,
and the Buckeyes snatched a 30-29
lead with four straight points. Miller
came through with a clutch kill to tie
the game at 30, but was unable to keep
the Buckeyes' broom out of the closet.
Ohio State finished its comeback, tak-
ing the next two points to ensure its
match sweep with a 32-30 win.
"A good competitive team won't
let the game slip away in that situ-
ation," Rosen said. "We've got to
take a look in the mirror, coaches
and players alike, and decide what
direction we want to go because we
just aren't competing at a high level.
We're good enough to beat these
teams, but we're not doing it. It's a
mental block, and we need some bet-
ter leadership to overcome it. It's dis-
appointing if nothing else."
By Chris Herring
For the Daily
EVANSTON - Even the fans in the
bleachers could hear the message Mich-
igan field hockey coach Nancy Cox was
yelling to Lucia Belassi as the sopho-
more forward was pacing up the field.
"Get here, get here!" screamed Cox,
referring to the sideline.
Belassi did just
that, receiving an
outlet pass and the
making a quick
pass to the middle of the field, where
Katie Morris was able to knock home
Michigan's second goal of the game. It
was this type of nearly perfect execu-
tion that enabled the Wolverines to ruin
Northwestern's Senior Day by beating
the Wildcats for a 14th straight time, 6-
1, on Sunday.
The team's six goals were a season-
high, and the win was the team's third
straight. The victory was a team effort.
Five Wolverines scored against the
Wildcats, including a pair of goals by
Kristen Tiner.
Tiner scored the first goal of the game
midway through the first half. Nearly
seven minutes later, the Wolverines suc-
cessfully stopped a Northwestern penal-
ty corner and drove the ball up the field.
It was then that Belassi hustled to corral
the pass on the sideline, which allowed
her to find a wide-open Morris for the
team's second goal and a 2-0 lead.
"The execution (of that play) was just
beautiful hockey," Cox said. "It's kids
knowing where the outlet lane is, hit-
ting the outlet target and then our kids
finishing. Those are the moments you
live for when you are coaching. It was a
tremendous execution of what we need
to do on a more consistent basis."

Mary Fox was also able to find the
net prior to halftime as well, giving the
team a three-goal lead going into the
Michigan came out on fire in the sec-
ond half. Tiner, Belassi and Erin Dallas
all scored goals in the first five minutes
of the second half, which put North-
western out of the game for good.
"I thought that our passing patterns
and our possessions really enabled us
to break the circle and capitalize on our
scoring opportunities, and we really fin-
ished in front of the goal," Tiner said.
"We used our (penalty) corners well."
The team held Northwestern to just
a goal, and the Wildcats weren't able to
score until the 61st minute of the game,
when all 'had pretty much been decided.
The team will travel to Berkeley,
Calif., this weekend, where it will take
on California on Friday and Pacific on
Though the win this week was nice,
there is still some room for improve-
"I feel like we are doing really well
right now, but we still have to work on
our finishing skills inside the circle,"
Belassi said. "(We) also (need) to com-
municate more on the field, so hopefully


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