8A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 20, 2005
Streaks on line for
Blue and Panthers
By Anne Uible
Daily Sports Writer
A single loss toward the end of the
season usually won't make or break
a team. A losing streak will.
Tonight, after dropping four
games in a row - the most con-
secutive losses in the program's his-
tory - the Michigan men's soccer
team (6-5-1) takes on the University
of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (8-2-4)
at home in hopes of ending its dis-
mal pattern of dropping games. The
Panthers, on the other hand, look to
extend a five-game winning streak
in their first ever matchup against
In light of his team's current situ-
ation, Michigan coach Steve Burns
is confident in his players' morale,
and said he believes they still have
the will to win games.
"I think the mood is upbeat right
now, which is surprising after a
series of losses," Burns said. "I
think our problems have been called
out and we're trying to make appro-
Those problems that Burns allud-
ed to were the lack of converting
shots on goal by his front third play-
ers and the inability of his team to
work with gaps in opponents' for-
mations. For the past four games,
the Wolverines have racked up a
total of just two goals and have been
shut out in two games.
In light of this disappointing
truth, Burns has conceded that his
team has hit a rough spot but has
remained confident and willing to
have faith in a potential upsurge for
the remainder of the season.
"The interesting thing is that we
are still on track to do well this sea-
son," Burns said. "We reassessed
our goals this weekend, and all of
them are still attainable."
Burns is hopeful that his team can
be successful at the Big Ten Cham-
pionships, which are scheduled for
three weeks from now. But he also
believes that an NCAA seed is still
viable for his Wolverines.
"Anytime you begin to have
doubts about yourself and fear the
lack of potential, it will affect a
team," Burns said. "It causes this
rippling effect that begins to pull a
Fortunately for Burns, his captains
have taken on the role of raising the
team morale and getting them focused
on the importance of winning.
"We have some key leadership
on this team coming from the cap-
tains," Burns said. "The unwaver-
ing confidence in these guys has
kept the team together, and they are
making the rest of the team follow
in their footsteps."
Burns pointed specifically to
junior defender Kevin Hall as one of
the pivotal leaders for pushing the
rest of the team to play with more
than just their physical abilities.
"Hall has these intangible quali-
ties of heart and confidence," Burns
said. "He has stepped up and shown
the guys on the team how to be lead-
ers on and off the field."
Hopefully, Hall will rub off on his
fellow Wolverines tonight and give
Michigan the win it has desperately
needed for the past two weeks.
"Our mantra right now is to not
worry about the future," Burns said.
"We need to work on controlling the
present. Our opponent is not black
and gold tonight. Our opponent is
Senior Rebecca Walter returned to the Wolverines last weekend to place 19th after
recovering from an offseason injury.
Walter 's return
Junior captain Kevin Hall will need to motivate his team to perform at a higherElevel
for the Wolverines to snap out of their current four-game slide.
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By Sara Livingston
Daily Sports Writer
With their leader back, the Wol-
verines are primed to head into the
postseason with a little extra boost of
Led by senior captain Rebecca Wal-
ter - in her first race of the season
- four Wolverines crossed the fin-
ish line for 19th to 22nd places at the
NCAA Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute,
Ind.., on Saturday, ensuring a victory
for the No. 2 Michigan women's cross
Walter - who suffered a broken
metatarsal over the summer - has
been back training with the team for
two months and was eager to finally
be able to contribute to her team.
With Walter back in the lineup, the
Wolverines are guaranteed to have
another out in front for every race.
Walter's 19th-place finish will be a
starting point for her to build from
with the Wolverines heading into the
Big Ten Championships.
"We took the red shirt off, and
there is no turning back now," coach
Mike McGuire said. "For her first
race back in uniform, I thought it
was a solid race. She definitely has
a way to go, but she has time to con-
Walter's presence also gives the
team a small safety net. Now, the
Wolverines know that they have
another top runner who will consis-
tently finish strong, lifting some of
the weight off of their shoulders.
"It's a huge boost having Rebecca
back," sophomore Erin Webster said.
"She is just one more person that we
know we are going to have up there,
and its always good to have one more
person by your side to help you get
there and reach your goal."
Alyson Kohlmeier continued her
successful sophomore season, lead-
ing all Wolverine runners with a
fourth-place finish. After starting
strong, Kohlmeier ran the entire race
out in front - right where she want-
ed to be. With the finish line in sight,
Kohlmeier was still in the front pack
as the runners began to sprint to the
end. Yet with 200 meters left, Cack
Ferrell of Princeton pulled away
from Kohlmeier and ran in for a
third-place finish, beating Kohlmei-
er by 2.6 seconds.
Behind Walter, freshman Nicole
Edwards, senior Ana Gjesdal and
sophomore Erin Webster finished
20th through 22nd, respectively.
Despite getting off to a strong start
and running in a solid position for
most of the race, Webster ran out
of gas in the final kilometer and
dropped back to the tail-end of the
"It's one thing if you have a good
five-kilometer run, but you have to
be able to come through in that last
kilometer," Webster said. "That's
where I really fell short in this race.
I should be up there throughout the
race, but I shouldn't overdo it for the
first five kilometers."
With the bulk of the season behind
them, the Wolverines have their
sights set on the NCAA Champi-
onships. After watching Webster
- as well as junior Arianne Field
and junior captain Katie Erdman -
struggle in Terre Haute, McGuire is
concerned that the runner's fluctuat-
ing performances will hurt the team
down the road.
"We want to get ourselves in a
situation where we're not like a tech
stock - down one week and up
another," McGuire said. "We want
everyone to be consistent from week
However, in many of the Wolver-
ines' eyes, this win gives them an
additional boost of confidence head-
ing into the last leg of the season.
From here on out, Michigan will
be facing nationally ranked teams
every weekend starting with the Big
Ten Championships and continuing
through NCAAs. After defeating
many top teams this weekend, the
Wolverines know how they matchup
with their competition, and they are
confident they will do well in the
"This win is going to give us a
little bit of confidence to know that
our No. 2 ranking is legitimate, and
we deserve to have that," Kohlmeier
said. "But it also puts some pressure
on us because, if we're ranked second
in the nation or we won pre-nation-
als, that means we are expected to
win our conference."