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March 13, 2006 - Image 9

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-03-13

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MEN's TENNIS:
Tennis team cannot keep up
with the Texas two-step.
PAGE 3B

THE SPORTSMONDAY COLUMN:
The world of sports offers highs
and lows. Just ask Matt Venegoni.
PAGE 3B

GYMNASTICS:
Despite high team score,
Michigan falls to nation's best.
PAGE 5B

SPORTS AYu iuU

I

Friday's Game
MICHIGAN 6, Ferris State 4

Saturday's Game
MICHIGAN 3, Ferris State 2

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Blue sweeps
ICers advance to semis

Buodogs

By Mark Glannotto
Daily Sports Writer
It was as if time slowed down in the
final 3.6 seconds of the game.
Ferris State defenseman Adam Welch
received the puck off 'the final faceoff
and unleashed a slap shot at the Michi-
gan net.
All Michigan senior captain Andrew
Ebbett could do was watch from his
knees.
"I was thinking 'This can't happen in
my last game at Yost,' " Ebbett said.
And luckily for Michigan, it didn't.
Welch's shot went wide of the net, and
the Wolverines escaped with a 3-2 ,win
and a two-game sweep of Ferris State to
advance to the CCHA semifinals.
The sweep was Michigan's first since
the weekend of Dec. 9 against Nebraska-
Omaha. It sets up a matchup with Michi-
gan State next Friday at Joe Louis Arena
in Detroit. In addition, the victory likely
assured the Wolverines a spot in their
16th consecutive NCAA Tournament. A
loss in this second-round series would
have put Michigan's chances in serious
doubt.
Since beginning the season 9-1-1, the
Wolverines had struggled with consisten-
cy, going 11-12-4 to close the year. But
the sweep showed that, when they want
to, the Wolverines are capable of piecing

together more than one win in a row.
"I really think our team was more
focused tonight on doing the team
things," Michigan coach Red Berenson
said. "We were better on faceoffs, we
had fewer turnovers, we had more hits,
we forechecked better. ... We got stron-
ger as the game went on, and I think our
team got a lot of confidence from this."
The Wolverines (13-10-5 CCHA, 20-
13-5 overall) jumped out to an early
1-0 lead in the first period Saturday
when senior alternate-captain - Brandon
Kaleniecki notched his 17th goal of the
season. The tally came at an unusual time
for Michigan: during the power play.
In recent months Michigan had been
woeful with the man advantage (one for
its last 26), but Saturday it proved to be a
difference-maker.
"The power play looked good tonight,"
Berenson said. "It's good to score early.
We scored on one of our early power
plays, and that got us going."
The Wolverines' second goal also
came courtesy of the power play when
junior T.J. Hensick used a nice feed from
sophomore Chad Kolarik to tally his
16th goal of the season and tie the game
at two.
"We focused a lot during the week off
(on the power play)," Hensick said. "The
guys stepped up on the power play. It's
See BULLDOGS, page 4B

Bidless M
has nobody
to blame
The hopes and dreams for the seniors' last chance
Tat March Madness came crashing down Sunday
night when Wisconsin-Milwaukee became the
final team announced to the NCAA Tournament's field
of 65.
But even though the team convened together to watch
the Tournament selection show last night, its dancing
plans were ruined long before
Jim Nantz failed to call its
name.
So who crushed these
hopes? Who ended the goal
this veteran-laden team
seemed so focused on achiev-
ing? Who derailed the Wolver-
ine team that looked so poised
to make noise in March when
it started the season 16-3?
A biased selection commit-
tee? Hardly. Teams with better SCOTT BELL
resum6(Cincinnati) were left out Too Soon?
as well.
An increasing trend of smaller conferences stealing
bids from the power conferences? Wrong again. The
"big six" conferences gobbled up 26 of the 34 at-large
bids.
Bad luck and injuries? Even though they may have
been present, good teams know how to fight through
those obstacles.
Michigan has nobody to blame but itself for a return
trip to the NIT.
Wolverine fans should look no further than the
uninspired and disappointing performances that closed
Michigan's basketball season.
After beating defending national runner-up Illinois
as the end of Michigan's season came closer to reality,
the Wolverines were listed as locks by most prognosti-
cators.
But the bid that was labeled a lock ended up just
being a crock.
In my dealings with locks, though, I have found that
they can be damaged or picked. If you try hard enough
to get out of a locked area, you can probably get out.
The Wolverines proved this theory to be true. They
seemingly were trying harder to get out of their lock
status than some teams try to get in the tournament.
Ohio State played undoubtedly its worst game of the
conference season when it hosted Michigan at Value
City Arena. But the Wolverines responded to Ohio
State's 39-percent shooting performance with an even
worse 37-percent showing.
Still, Michigan was in the driver's seat to March
Madness. All it had to do was beat, at home, an Indiana
team struggling to find its identity.
But the combination of Tommy Amaker being out-
coached by Mike Davis - who was deemed worthless
by his own fans - and none other than Daniel Horton
stepping up to make plays, brought Michigan even
closer to the dreaded bubble status.
Even after failing their first two tests, the Wolverines
just needed to beat a Minnesota team that they had
.beaten twice before. Both of those times, Michigan was
shorthanded. This time, it had its entire team.
But just like the prior two games, Michigan seemed
inspired to prove to people that it could, in fact, throw
away a season that looked so promising just weeks
before.
It did just that.
And Sunday, Michigan paid the consequences.
Anyone pointing a finger at anything not associated
with the Michigan men's basketball team is just wrong.
Are there at-large teams that got in that Michigan is
better than? Definitely.
I nearly soiled myself in shock when I saw the words
Air and Force pop up during the selection show. And
the announcement of Utah State just seconds later
almost.caused an encore performance.
But as I left Conseco Fieldhouse on Thursday follow-
ing Michigan's completion of the year-end meltdown
hat trick, I told myself that no matter what, I wouldn't
complain.
The Wolverines had a plethora of chances to make
See BELL, page 5B

Wolverines finally play
with their heads up

It's been a long time coming, but
Michigan finally did it - a win by
playing the ultimate team game.
So many times during the Wolverines'
funk - which has lasted
since early December - the
team hasn't played on the
same page. Passes went awry,
the forwards didn't covert
the defenseman's backs, the
defense couldn't keep the
puck in the offensive zone
- the list of gaffes was end-
less.
But during Saturday night's JAM
playoff game against Ferris D
State, the Wolverines lookedJ
up for their teammates rather Ja
than putting their heads down and try-
ing to win the series on their own. And
with the depth of talent on Michigan's
roster, once the Wolverines start playing
together, it can be downright scary for
opponents.
All three of Michigan's goals Satur-
day were the result of playing heads up
hockey. Freshman Jack Johnson's game-
winning goal came off of a pass from

ME
)o;
nes

junior T.J. Hensick, giving him a wide-
open shot on Bulldogs' goaltender Mitch
O'Keefe. In recent months, both Johnson
and Hensick helped to keep the Wolver-
ines afloat with a perpetual
slideshow of their individual
talents. They have a tendency
to try to win games solo,
but once Hensick looked up
and saw Johnson streaking
down the ice to his left, his
"eyes lit up," and he fed the
defenseman for his 10th goal
of the season and Hensick's
S V. 34th assist.
WD Even the power play finally
clicked with the Wolverines'
On... newfound sense of team.
Looking back at the two earlier goals,
both scored on the power play, they were
created by pinpoint passing and hustle
in front of the net. It was the first time
in 2006 that I actually had hope for the
Wolverines' power play success.
But this teamwork extends beyond the
offensive end of the ice. One of Michi-
gan's biggest problems has been covering
See DOWD, page 4B

RODRIGO GAYA/Daily
Captain Andrew Ebbett celebrates after a goal during Friday night's game against Ferris State.
Looking back
The last time the Michigan hockey team swept a weekend series:
The Michigan basketball team-was 7-0 and a lock for the NCAA Tournament.
Jim Herrmann was still the defensive coordinator for the football team.
Skier Bode Miller had as many medals as tie does now.
0 The Detroit Pistons were on pace to win 72 games.
8 Billy Sauer and Tyler Swystun were stil 17 years old.

Individual runners shine
brighter than team finish

0 MEN'S GYMNASTICS
Seniors end careers
on high and low note
By Colt Rosensweig sad at the same time, ... I think everyone
Daily Sports Writer felt that and fed off it, this being Senior

By Chris Herring
Daily Sports Writer

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Going into the NCAA
Indoor Championships, Michigan women's track and
field coach James Henry said he didn't expect the Wol-
verines to win the national title, but rather "expecting
to do well."
Henry can't be too upset with the results his team
put up over the weekend in Arkansas.

jneet, you need outstanding performances."
The distance medley relay provided the team's
highest finish. Erdman, Edward and freshmen Amber
Hay and Geena Hall finished 11:14.47, barely holding
off Baylor and Villanova for fourth place.
The relay came after Erdman, Gall and Edwards
had already run in preliminary events, possibly tiring
them for the DMR.
"We rolled the dice a little bit by using people in
the medley that had run in previous performances,"

Senior Night for the Michigan men's
gymnastics team was picture perfect in
everything but the final score.
Despite Michigan's second-highest
team score of the season,the eighth-ranked
Wolverines lost to No.3 Ohio State, 214.3-

C

(Night) and our last home meet. I had a
bunch of guys come up to me and say,
'That was for you,' after a hit set. That
felt good and definitely motivated me,
because I wanted to be at my best and do
well."
After a typically strong perfor-

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