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February 13, 2006 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - February 13, 2006 - 38

.Desperate Cagers
get unexpected aid

Changes on
Carr's staff

By Ian Robinson
Daily Sports Writer
With 15.2 seconds left in the first
half, Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett
looked to her newly expanded bench

to put someone in the
game to protect Ashley
Jones, who already had
two fouls.
Before Friday's game,
Burnett would've had
trouble finding some-
one to fill in because

i
O
B O

Kelly Helvey, Ta'Shia Walker and Katie
Dierdorf all suffered season-ending inju-
ries, cutting the active roster to seven
players.
But the assistance of three volleyball
players and two walk-ons expanded the
roster to 12.
On Friday, Burnett called on sopho-
more Lyndsay Miller, who holds the vol-
leyball program's record for most blocks
in a season, to spell Jones.
"I was pretty nervous," said Miller,
who was named to Michigan's All-State
basketball team in high school. "We just
went to practice (Thursday), so we weren't
sure what we were doing. We didn't know
the offense. We knew a little bit of what
to do when we're warming up."
Wearing a No. 52 jersey without a
name on the back, Miller entered the
lineup to cheers from the more than
3,000 spectators.
"It's funny because you know they
have athletic talent, but you never think
(that they would be on the basketball
team)," said junior volleyball player
Danielle Pflum, who was in attendance
to support her teammates.
After freshman Stephany Skrba con-
verted a free-throw attempt to make it a
two-point game, Miller guarded forward
Alice Jamen. Miller played off her oppo-
nent to assist with help-side defense as
Ohio State brought the ball up the court.
After Ohio State's Brandie Hoskins
BUCKEYES
Continued from page 1B
"It's like, 'Oh my gosh, we're going to
be playing with seven? What if we get
in foul trouble? If somebody goes down,
what are we going to do?' "
Except for the final 10 minutes of the
contest, most observers wouldn't have
known that anything was wrong. The bench
was filled, the Wolverines were competing
hard, and the game was close.
It all began with Michigan's hot start.
After opening their Jan. 6 contest against
Ohio State 0-for-13 from the field, the
Wolverines' shooting couldn't have got-
ten much worse. In fact, it got much bet-
ter. Michigan doubled its field-goal output
from the first half of its previous game
with the Buckeyes and knocked down 5-
of-9 attempts from beyond the arc.
"They made shots," Ohio State coach
Jim Foster said. "Because of their inju-
ries, they know they are going to get a
significant number of minutes. And then
you just go out and play, and it's like bur-
den-free basketball."
After closing the first half of the
teams' first meeting by letting Ohio
State go on a 9-0 run, the Wolverines

was whistled for traveling, Jessica Min-
nfield set up for a last-second shot, but
she lost the ball out of bounds as the
first half ended.
Miller's 15.2 seconds to close out the
first half was the only time that any of
the five new players received.
Although she did not play any basket-
ball this year before going to practice on
Thursday, Miller and the other two vol-
leyball players on the basketball team
- middle blocker Megan Bowman and
setter Mara Martin - had successful
high school careers. According to vol-
leyball coach Mark Rosen, Miller could
have pursued a collegiate basketball
career if she hadn't chosen volleyball.
The most competitive basketball that
the trio has played since high school
was intramural basketball, where they
finished second last year.
WHO'S WHO OF THE WHO'S THAT: In
addition to the three volleyball players
added, two walk-ons were added to the
roster prior to Friday night's game. One
of them was Renee Dean, who served
as a team manager before she donned a
uniform. The other walk-on was Lind-
say Sklar. The Franklin native was on
the team roster last year and earned
University Athletic Academic Achieve-
ment honors but did not play.
BENSON RE-EMERGES: It took just 11
minutes before Carly Benson scored her
10th point of the game on a floater in
the post. It was the first time the fresh-
man hit double figures in points since
her 12-point performance in a Dec. 13
victory over Fordham. Benson finished
Friday's game wvith 12 points in just
17 minutes of play. Eight of her points
came in the first six minutes, when
Michigan led by four.
Double duty's been done before: The
last Michigan athlete to compete on both
the basketball and volleyball teams was
Anne Poglits. Poglits lettered in volley-
ball from 1996-99 and in basketball in
1996-97.
reversed course in this game.
Down 31-21 following Buckeye junior
Brandie Hoskins's lay-up, the Wolver-
ines shut down Ohio State's offense and
went on a run of their own.
They closed the first stanza with a 9-1
run and entered the break trailing by just
two points.
And Michigan didn't let up after the
intermission. Sophomore Janelle Cooper
nailed a three to open the second half and
give Michigan a 33-32 lead. That was the
last time the Buckeyes trailed.
Immediately following Cooper's triple,
Buckeye center Jessica Davenport con-
verted a three-point play. After a turn-
over by Wolverine sophomore Melinda
Queen on the ensuing possession, Ohio
State countered with a 3-pointer from
senior Ashley Allen.
But Skrba and Michigan would not go
away. The Ontario native made a lay-up
off a Cooper dish.
The Buckeyes weren't fazed and
extended their lead to nine points with
a 3-pointer from sophomore Marscilla
Packer and consecutive buckets from
Hoskins. Skrba came right back with a
soft jumper in the lane to cut the lead to
seven, and Cooper followed that with a

anythin,

g

ANGELA CESERE/Daily

but trivial
n a recent interview, White Sox manager
Ozzie Guillen essentially said that there's no
such thing as a good coach. All that matters,
he insisted, are the players.
Guillen then cited Joe Torre
who had a losing record
until he joined the Yankees,
and Phil Jackson, who won
with Jordan in Chicago and
Shaq in Los Angeles but now
struggles to survive with just"
Kobe, as examples.
While Guillen goes too
far, I do believe that coach-
ing doesn't make all that bigS SHARAD
a difference - at least when MATTU
it comes to the professional The Sports ondct
ranks. TeSot~na
In college sports, however, Column
it's all about the coaches.
Lloyd Carr and his coaching staff don't just pick
the plays. They also pick the players. The players
on the field five years ago, this year and five years
from now were, are and will be completely differ-
ent. But the coaches can stay the same.
It's why, when you think of Duke basketball
and Penn State football, you first think of Mike
Krzyzewski and Joe Paterno instead of J.J. Redick
or Michael Robinson. Redick and Robinson will
be long gone next year, but Coach K and JoePa
aren't going anywhere.
And this is why, as soon as Tyler Ecker was
tackled to end the Alamo Bowl, one thing mat-
tered more than anything else: What would hap-
pen to the Wolverines' coaching staff?
It took an entire month-and-a-half, but every-
thing finally seems to have sorted itself out.
Last season's offensive and defensive coordina-
tors, Terry Malone and Jim Herrmann, are leaving
to coach tight ends and linebackers for the New
Orleans Saints and New York Jets, respectively. It's
not clear whether Malone and Herrmann chose to
leave or fled before they could be fired or demoted,
but the two have deserted Ann Arbor nonetheless.
Defensive backs coach Ron English, widely
viewed as an excellent coach and recruiter, was
on the verge of joining the Chicago Bears, but
instead will step into Herrmann's role.
Mike DeBord, who was the Wolverines' offen-
sive coordinator in 1997 when they won the
national title, will replace Malone. The past two
seasons, he has served as Michigan's special
teams coach and recruiting coordinator.
And, perhaps most importantly, quarterbacks
coach Scot Loeffler isn't going anywhere. There
had been rumors that the New England Patriots
had contacted him to be their quarterbacks coach.
On the surface, these changes seem pretty under-
whelming. Although Carr never ended up havingto
fire or demote anyone, I had hoped that if changes
were necessary, Carr would find someone new who
was daring enough to shake things up.
But to call the changes that did happen a mere
reshuffling wouldn't be fair, either. And in English
and Loeffler, Carr might have two up-and-coming
coaches who have already done a lot and have the
chance to make a difference for years to come.
In 2004, on his way to becoming an All-Ameri-
can, safety Ernest Shazor often credited English
for helping him develop into a star. Last season,
Michigan's secondary was young and banged-up
all year long, yet English's .unit found a way to put
together a solid campaign.
And without Loeffler, Michigan's Rose Bowl
run in 2004 may not have been possible. When
Chad Henne was forced to start at quarterback as
a freshman, the Wolverines seemed destined for
an up-and-down year. But instead, Loeffler helped
Henne not just survive, butthrive. Henne's num-
bers that year were about as good as senior John
Navarre's were the year before.
When last season ended, everyone on the mes-
sage boards said that Malone and Herrmann had
to go. In the end, the two did just that. But it may
end up being the two coaches that aren't going
anywhere who make 2005 nothing more than an
aberration.

JEREMY CHO/Daily
TOP: Jessica Minnfleld goes up for a jumpshot during the Wolverines' loss to Ohio State.
ABOVE: Mara Martin and Lyndsay Miller watch the action from the bench on Friday night.

three to cut the lead back down to four.
The deficit was trimmed to three a few
minutes later, after a Skrba put-back.
"She's a good player," Davenport said
of Skrba. "She played really well tonight
both offensively and defensively. She
brought a lot of energy."
Said Burnett: "Stephany really had
some great moments, and her final (stat)
line tonight was incredible."
But then fatigue set in. After its scorch-
ing first half, Michigan hit on just 2-of-12

second-half treys and went without a field
goal until Cooper's driving layup with
less than seven minutes to play.
"(Michigan is) a resilient team," Foster
said. "I've told my team since the begin-
ning of the season they're going to get
somebody before the season is over."
Nobody would deny that Michigan
played hard, just as they do every game.
And with more efforts like the one on
Friday night, that first, elusive Big Ten
win could be just around the corner.

0 WATER POLO
Blue suffers through winless trip out West

By Eileen Hengel
Daily Sports Writer

A trip to California doesn't always
prove to be an escape.
The No. 7 Michigan women's water
polo team (6-4) couldn't escape the real-
ity of losing; their goal was to go 2-2. But
even that mark proved unattainable as
the Wolverines dropped all four of their
matches this weekend at the Stanford
Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif.
In its first close game of the season,
Michigan could not escape the clock;
the Wolverines failed to find the time
to net a goal to send the game into over-
time, suffering a 7-6 loss to No. 11 San
Jose State.
The match's turning point came in
the final stanza, when freshman Mary
Chatingy scored two clutch goals from
the top of the post to put the Wolverines
within one.

"Basically, (coach) Matt (Anderson)
called a timeout," Chatingy said. "(He)
said that we were going to be execut-
ing a shooting play from the top with
me in the shooting position. The whole
team knew we needed the goals, and we
all realized what we needed to do to get
anyone in the position to score."
The elation was short-lived, as the
Wolverines were whistled for an ejec-
tion that gave the Spartans an opportu-
nity to run out the clock.
"We weren't able to finish," Ander-
son said. "(The game against San Jose
State) was purely a game lost because of
lack of experience. Come fourth quar-
ter, if we have a good look at the cage,
we have to score. We can't just shoot it
and hope it goes in."
Throughout the game, Michigan
continued to answer San Jose State's
attacks. The Spartans jumped out to a
2-0 lead because of Michigan's inabil-

ity to score. The Wolverines bounced
numerous shots of the post in the game's
opening two frames, resulting in a 2-0
lead for the Spartans heading into half-
time.
Scoring the first goal for the Wolver-
ines, just 34 seconds into third period,
freshmen Sharayah Hernandez capital-
ized off a counter-attack, but San Jose
State answered the goal less than half a
minute later to make the score 3-1.
Capitalizing on a Michigan power
play, junior captain Shana Welch netted
a goal, which the Spartans immediately
answered. Michigan tied the score in a
span of 1:17 late in the third with goals
from Welch and senior Megan Chapman
to tie the score at four.
The tournament brought together the
nation's top women's water polo pro-
grams. Michigan opened the competi-
tion against the third-ranked Stanford
Cardinal. After jumping out to an early

lead off a shot from Welch, Michigan
soon fell behind when Stanford scored
the next nine goals. The Wolverines
lost, 12-4.
"We were leading arguably the best
team in the nation," Anderson said.
"We came out and got aggressive, and
when we scored the first goal, we kind
of stepped back and. (the Cardinal's)
took that opportunity
and got aggressive."m
Michigan also faced
tough squads in No. 2
Southern Cal and No. 11
Arizona State. The Wol-
verines lost to the Trojans, one
16-3, while the Sun Devils
upset Michigan 13-7.c .. . offee
Prior to the tourna- soups,
ment, the Wolverines.
drowned unranked Cal-
ifornia Santa Cruz 16-3 V
on Friday.

- Sharad Mattu can be reached
at smattu@umich.edu.

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