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November 11, 2005 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-11-11

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November 11, 2005
sports.michigandaily. com

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. . . . ........ . .... . . . . ..........

Spartans cut short
Blue's postseason

Michigan goaltender Billy Sauer will likely face more shots than normal due to the wider ice surface of the Berry Events Center where the Wolverines will face Northern Michigan.
Widerrpresents test for Cers

By Anne Uible
Daily Sports Writer
EVANSTON - As the clock wound
down on Northwestern's field over-
looking Lake Michigan, only one word
described the Michigan men's soccer
team's emotions:
The fifth-seed-0 GAT
ed Wolverines
saw their hopes of wining the Big Ten
title and a bid to the NCAA Champion-
ships dashed yesterday when they lost
to fourth-seeded Michigan State 1-0 in
the first round of the Big Ten Champi-
As the Spartans took the field in cel-
ebration of the win, Michigan players
dropped to their knees and hung their
heads in disbelief.
"Looking at the season on the whole,
I'd say that certain expectations were
higher than where we finished," Michi-
gan coach Steve Burns said. "I'd say
that we underachieved. Expectations
were high, leadership was good, and
then we began to struggle. I think we
tried to pull it back together, but at that
point we missed a pretty crucial part
of the development of the team and we
never really had enough consistency in
our starting lineup to be able to find
our true form."
Although Burns pointed to the
team's inability to find its form as the
Wolverines' primary problem in the
game and overall this season, he also
saw a problem with the team being able
to finish at the goal line.
"We didn't have that type of season
or game where we were able to capi-
talize on our chances," Burns said. "At
times, it sounds redundant to continue
to talk about it, but you continue to
work on it and have confidence in your
players and hopefully you see it on the
field. And we didn't see it."
The first 25 minutes of the game

was a battle of trying to earn posses-
sion of the ball. Both teams had their
moments of control, but neither team
could hold on to the ball for more than
three touches.
Michigan State ended the game of
tug-of-war by reinforcing their attacks
with defensive players and took con-
trol of the final 20 minutes of the first
half. Being forced into the defensive
end, the Wolverines had problems
transitioning into any kind of attack
because the midfielders were forced
too far toward their own goal. Michi-
gan managed to hold the Spartans
scoreless at the half.
As the final 45 minutes were posted
onto the scoreboard, Michigan State
continued with its domination on the
attack end. Senior goalkeeper Peter
Dzubay played a crucial part of the
Michigan defense, coming off his line
several times to protect the goal.
However, one ball was able to slide past
Dzubay to give the Spartans the win.
In the 53rd minute, Spartan Doug
DeMartin received a perfect ball
crossed to him by Matt Kreikemier.
Dzubay came out of his box in a one-
on-one situation and DeMartin slipped
the ball in the far corner of the net
to give the Spartans the game's only
After the goal, the Wolverines
broke down into emergency-mode and
had trouble transitioning into attack.
Michigan racked up three yellow cards
following the Spartans' shot, but their
aggressive efforts did not help.
With the final zeros glaring down on
the team, the Wolverines slowly picked
themselves off the ground and headed
for their bench to embrace their fellow
"It's tough to lose," senior Trai
Blanks said. "We all came in with
pretty high expectations. But it's been
a fun four years, and I'll never forget
my experiences."

By Mark Giannotto
Daily Sports Writer
This weekend is a pivotal one for the Michi-
gan hockey team, which faces perhaps its toughest
challenge of its season.
The Wolverines (3-1-1 CCHA, 7-1-
1 overall) travel to Marquette to face H
Northern Michigan. The trip presents
many potential pitfalls for the young v
nucleus that comprises this year's team.
Not only does Michigan have to suf- -Tg
fer through a grueling eight-hour bus
ride into the Upper Peninsula, they Brny 1
must also contend with an Olympic- "
size ice rink.
The ice surface at the Berry Events Center is 200
by 100 feet, which is 15 feet wider than Yost Ice
Arena. When the Wolverines traveled to Alaska-
Fairbanks earlier this season, they faced the same
disadvantage. Though the wider ice surface helped

quick forwards like junior T.J. Hensick and fresh-
man Andrew Cogliano, Michigan freshman goal-
tender Billy Sauer had some trouble adjusting.
To combat the troubles they had in Alaska, the
Wolverines left for Northern Michigan on Thurs-
day morning to get two practice ses-
sions on the unique playing surface.
EEKtNfl Michigan also believes that playing
on an Olympic-size ice rink already
r x° will ease the transition period on
this road trip.
"We felt a lot better with the big
'' t ice surface during the.Saturday game
in Alaska," senior captain Andrew
Ebbett said. "We feel a lot better
about it because of that game."
The No. 2 Wolverines play a desperate Northern
Michigan team, which was swept last weekend by
Michigan State. Up until that series, the Wildcats
were undefeated and ranked in the national polls.
Michigan knows that the Wildcats are not to

be taken lightly. Last January, Northern Michi-
gan ended the Wolverines 22-game CCHA home
winning streak. The Wildcats were also picked to
finish third in the CCHA behind Michigan and
Ohio State this year. However Northern Michigan
should not surprise the Wolverines - the players
and coaches are well aware of what the Wildcats
are capable of.
"They will be the toughest team we will have
played up to this point," Michigan coach Red Beren-
son said. "That is what we're getting ready for."
Northern Michigan's fast start was due in large
part to freshman goaltender Bill Zaniboni. He has
lessened the impact of the loss of last year's goal-
ie and CCHA Player of the Year Tuomas Tarkki.
Zaniboni was recently named the CCHA Player of
the Month for October, compiling a 5-0-0 record.
Even after the sweep in East Lansing, he has a 1.85
goals against average with a .927 save percentage.
Luckily, the Wolverines have an offensive strategy
See WILDCATS, page 10


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