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March 13, 2006 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-03-13

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 13, 2006 - 3B
Topsy-turvy week in sports ends on a high note

You know those weeks
where it just feels like
you're on a roller coast-
er. One moment a bird poops on
your shoulder, and the next, you
find a $5 bill on a cold morning.
Well, I had one of those weeks.
Let's start on Sunday. Everything
was going fairly normal. I was
returning to school after a restful
break and then boom, my friendM
Larp instant messages me in the VEN
middle of the afternoon. He told The Spor
me Kirby Puckett had suffered a Col
stroke, and it didn't look good for
our favorite pudgy baseball player. I try not to get
too wrapped up in athletes since they, inevitably,
will let you down, and Puckett was the greatest
reason why.
He was revered like no other athlete in
Minnesota's history. Puckett led the Twins
to two World Series titles and participated
in the community more than any sports -
figure. Hell, he stayed in the Minneapolis
area for the frigid winters. In short, he was
the balls.


But then things started to unravel.
He got glaucoma, a condition only
a pot smoker on the level of Cheech
and Chong or Chris "the Birdman"
Andersen could really want and
appreciate. He had to retire since
hitting a blazing fastball or seeing
the spin on a curveball needs two
working eyes. After that, he began
to slip from the spotlight and only
TT reappeared for all the wrong rea-
3ONI sons. His wife divorced him, claim-
-Monday ing he had threatened to kill her
mn while also maintaining various mis-
tresses. This wasn't the lovable guy
everyone cheered on for 12 great years. Then
in 2001, he was arrested for dragging a woman
into a restaurant bathroom and groping her. He
got off, but his sparkling-clean image now had
the bird poop on it.
I wouldn't say I was devastated, but I was
disappointed. I mean, I named the family dog
after him. Granted this wasn't quite the same
as Bob Costas naming his son after him, but
still, it stings a bit. A Minneapolis radio per-
sonality put it best in a 2003 article in Sports

Illustrated: Puckett's reverence and subse-
quent fall from grace in Minnesota "makes us
(Minnesotans) look a little stupid."
But when I heard the terrible news of his
stroke and then his death, I didn't think
about his trial or his cheating ways. No, I
thought of Jack Buck pronouncing, "We'll
see you tomorrow night" during game six
of the 1991 World Series, a game Puck sin-
glehandedly won. So even though he wasn't
the nicest guy in the world, and at worst, a
terrible husband, he was still Puck, and he
still meant a lot to Minnesota.
But the week got a little better with more
sports news. Barry Bonds came to the rescue
for me. Personally, I think this guy is quite
an a-hole, but he provides great unintention-
al humor. This week's saga revolved around
excerpts from a book chronicling Bonds'
delve into steroid usage. That isn't the funny
part - everyone with two working eyes
and a bit of common sense knows he had
to be on the juice. But the best part was
the actual quotes from Game of Shadows.
As Bania on "Seinfeld" said, "Gold Jerry,
gold!" Here's a quick sampling of the best I

read. Number one, Bonds is evidently a rac-
ist despite growing up in an affluent, mostly
white suburb, having a white wife and white
girlfriend and his best boyhood friend being
white. The slugger's recurrent use of the
phrase "Did I f----stutter?" is great to
imagine since you know he thinks he's being
incredibly clever. And finally, Bonds' side
girlfriend claimed his "head itself seemed to
be getting larger, and the plates of his skull
bones stood out in bold relief" as he used the
'roids. That was obvious to everyone as he
transformed into a human bobble head over
the past five to six years.
I want to get this book. It would be the first
non-school book I've bought in three years.
But that high was brought down by the
events of the week for Michigan athletics.
Evidently, basketball coach Tommy
Amaker was and is trying to take the heat
off football coach Lloyd Carr. You could've
thrown hockey coach Red Berenson in with
Amaker if his team hadn't swept Ferris State
this weekend.
One play summed up the whole season for
Amaker's team. In the Indiana game, forward

Graham Brown tried to heave a pass down the
court. Instead, it hit a scoreboard speaker.
Wow, just wow. That's embarrassing.
Then the Wolverines choked in their
opening round matchup against Minnesota,
burying any chance at dancing in the tour-
ney. Amaker's crew is destined for the NIT
again, and a team with a decent amount of
talent was wasted. I didn't need to watch the
selection show to know I wasn't heading to
the tourney with the team.
I'm not trying to have a pity party for
myself. But this was my senior year, and
Michigan sports have officially let me down
with the basketball team failing to make the
field of 65.
But sports redeemed the week for me like
they usually do. On Saturday, my high school,
the St. Thomas Academy Cadets won the boys
state hockey tournament, allowing me to end
the week on a high note despite the ups and
downs. Sure, I'm not in high school anymore,
but I have to take the wins and championships
where I can if Michigan won't fill that void.
' -Matt can be reached at mvgoni@umich.edu.

Deuces wild: 'M'
drops Marquette

Texas schools tack two losses on Blue

By Jamie Josephson
Daily Sports Writer

By Eileen Hengel
Daily Sports Writer

Two hours.
That's the average time of an
average basketball game or swim
But a tennis match? No.
In a contested match, the clock
can run well into five hours. But two
hours was all the No. 23 Michigan
women's tennis team needed Sat-
urday to shut down injury-riddled
Marquette 7-0 in Milwaukee.
In fact, two proved to be the
magic number for the Wolverines.
The squad stopped each opponent in
two sets, with just one Golden Eagle
winning more than two games fac-
ing a Wolverine.
The Michigan twosomes, finding
much-needed success, provided the
momentum early for the team by hit-
ting their serves and working the line.
They beat the Marquette doubles 2-0
and put the Wolverines up one early.
In just their second win this sea-
son as the No. 1 duo, junior Kara
Delicata and senior Debra Streifler
defeated the Golden Eagles' Lauren
Little and Maria Calbeto 8-2.
"We were up 2-1 early," Streifler
said. "And we were in a game that
was probably lasting upwards of 15
minutes. The score kept bouncing
back and fourth between ad-one and
deuce. Finally, we broke (Calbeto
and Little) and basically didn't look
back for the rest of the match."
The ,win - when added to the 8-2
decision from sophomore Allie Shafner
and freshmen Chisako Sugiyama - gave
Michigan the first point.
"We had been working on doubles
all week," Michigan coach Bitsy
Ritt said. "And I was really proud
Continued from page 1B
field, with a time of 16:24. Kohlmeier
and Webster were both named All-
Americans for their performances in
the event.
Webster, who at one point was 15th out
of 17 runners, held her pace and continued
to move up in the field. She took advan-
tage of the fact that many runners did not
pace themselves well.
"I think had we gone out slower, the
times would have been a little bit fast-
er," Webster said. "(The pace) made
the last kilometer more difficult. And
instead of going faster at the end, we
all went slower."
Edwards was able to put together a
sixth-place performance in the mile
(4:42.67). With about three laps to go, she
neither gained nor lost ground and held
her sixth-place spot. The finish earned the
Wolverines three points.
"I was fairly tired during the race;'
Edwards said. "I was ranked seventh
(going into the race), so sixth place is
moving up. I ran a decent time while I
was tired, so I am satisfied."
Erdman also picked up an All-
American honor with her seventh-place
finish in the 800-meter run. Her time
of 2:08.21 earned Michigan two points
for the meet.
Senior Jennifer Williams set a new
personal best with 4,028 points in
the pentathlon. She was also named
an All-American, finishing ninth
among the field. Freshman Bettie
Wade came up with 3,917 and placed
14th in the competition.
After one season of hard work and the
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with the way (the squad) competed.
Throughout the week, we had been
focusing on our first-serve percent-
age and our returns, and I think that
showed in the doubles match, as
well as the singles."
The Wolverines proved too much
for the Golden Eagles. They shut
out every opponent in both the dou-
bles and the singles. Coming off the
doubles win, No. 1 single Delicata
led the Wolverines to a fast start,
beating Calbeto, 6-1, 6-1. Streifler
and the rest of the squad followed
suit to finish off Marquette.
The match, was a much-needed
relief for the Wolverines, who faced
a number of tough squads earlier
in the season. Opening the winter
with three losses in five games -
including ones against No. 8 Notre
Dame and No. 24 South Carolina
- Michigan saw itself looking at
one of the toughest starts in pro-
gram history.
"I think those games early in the
season were important," Streifler
said. "It's always difficult to take a
loss but, at the same time, we had to
look at the end result.'These were
going to be the teams that we would
face in NCAAs, and this was the
level we needed to learn to compete
at in order to win. Now, I finally
feel that we are at a point were we
see that we have a good team, and
there is that potential to be great if
we just concentrate on each match
when it comes."
Ritt said she stressed throughout
the week that the most important
game of a college career is the next,
and even though the Wolverines shut
down the Golden Eagles, Michigan
will not forget to prepare for its next
opponent, Western Michigan.

This weekend, the No. 28 Michigan men's ten-
nis team learned the true meaning of the "Don't
Mess with Texas" mantra, the hard way.
After dropping a 5-2 contest to No. 10 Texas
on Thursday, the Wolverines hoped to get back
on the victory train against No. 60 Texas A&M
in College Station on Saturday. But the Aggies
upset Michigan in d6ja-vu fashion, 5-2.
"We were hopeful we could've won one of the
matches this weekend," Michigan coach Bruce
Berque said. "Both (Texas and Texas A&M) are
very good teams. There were definitely some
positives. If nothing else, this tough schedule
will be a huge learning opportunity for the
team. The team was competitive in every match.
Overall, the difference (between winning and
losing) has not been that much."
The Aggies took the lead against Michigan (6-
6) in the doubles competition and never looked
back. A&M's duo of Marcus Lunt and Connor
Pollock decisively handled the Wolverine tan-
dem of freshman Scott Bruckmann and junior
Steve Peretz, 8-3.
But the No. 15 pairing of sophomore Matko
Maravic and junior Brian Hung continued their
doubles dominance at the No. 1 position on the
Michigan roster. With an 8-4 romping, they

improved their daunting doubles record to 9-3
this season.
"Overall, they've been having a phenomenal
year," Berque said. "It's been a little unfair that
they have had to shoulder the burden of winning
the doubles point for the team. But they played
very well (on Saturday)."
But the duo's victory was all for naught.
At the No. 2 slot,junior Ryan Heller and fresh-
man Andrew Mazlin were unable to fend off the
Aggies' duo of Matt Bain and Jerry Makowski.
Berque said the Wolverine pair failed to make
adjustments early and soon found itself down in
a deep hole, 7-3. But Heller and Mazlin fought
back to tie the score at seven.
Down 8-7 but ahead 30-0 in the game, Michi-
gan had a chance to force the contest into a tie-
breaker. But execution mistakes drained the
Wolverines' hopes of a comeback victory. Heller
and Mazlin were edged, 9-7 giving A&M a 1-0
lead coming into the singles competition.
With the teams playing in 85-degree heat
on outdoor courts, Berque said the conditions
favored A&M. Michigan couldn't handle the
Aggie onslaught that hardly skipped a beat on
the singles end, winning four out of the six sin-
gles matches.
Maravic and Hung were unable to translate
their doubles success onto the singles court
at the No. 1 and 2 positions, respectively. The

Michigan rookies also found trouble, with Maz-
lin and Bruckmann both losing in straight sets.
There were two bright spots for the Wolver-
ines, including Heller's impressive performance
at the No. 3 position. The co-captain, defeated
A&M's John Nallon, 7-6 (6), 6-4.
At No. 5 singles, Peretz also found success.
After dropping his first set to Mohamed Dakki,
the veteran bounced back in the second. The
tight contest was decided in a third-set tiebreak-
er, and Peretz found himself on the winning end
of the match, 3-6, 6-4, 1-0 (8). With the win,
Peretz improved his team-leading individual
singles record to 8-4.
"Ryan and Steve both competed well," Ber-
que said. "Steve was physically struggling after
being worn out from his long match on Thursday.
But given that, he did a very good job mentally.
Ryan played smart in that he adjusted well."
Although the Wolverines have lost three con-
secutive matches, Berque does not believe their
record is an accurate ieflection of their develop-
ment and progress.
"I think we're becoming a very good com-
petitive team that works hard, and it will pay off
in Big Ten (competition)," Berque said. "What
matters is not a great win-loss record. I want
to learn from the competition. We're definitely
getting better, and they're keeping their spirits
up.... I think the guys will be ready to go."


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