The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 20, 2006 - 5B
'M' stumbles in tight match at Alabama
By Katie Field
Daily Sports Writer
In the final match of the afternoon, with
Michigan and Alabama tied 3-3, there was an
enormous weight resting on sophomore Allie
But she fought hard not to buckle under the
Scoring a win in the first set against Ala-
bama's Natalie McElveen, Shafner put the
22nd-ranked Wolverines in sight of a final
nonconference victory over No. 35 Alabama
at the UA Tennis Complex Sunday. In the sec-
ond set, Shafner tried to put the match away,
but McElveen came back to win in a tiebreak-
er and send the match into a third set.
The final frame posed greater problems
for Shafner. Unable to rebound from the
second-set loss, she struggled as McElveen
climbed to a 4-3 lead. McElveen held serve
twice more and granted the Crimson Tide an
The close 4-3 loss was not as tough a pill
to swallow as one might think. Michigan
women's tennis coach Bitsy Ritt was proud of
"Allie Shafner played a great match," Ritt
said. "The match didn't go our way, but I
thought it was a great college match. It obvi-
ously would have been great to win, but this
motivates us to continue to work hard."
A close finish looked far off after Michigan
saw the Tide jump to an early 3-0 lead. But
three Wolverines brought the team back to life.
In her 76th career victory, senior Debra Strei-
fler earned Michigan's first point and kept the
Wolverines in the game by defeating Shelley
Godwin, 6-1, 6-4. Junior Elizabeth Exon con-
tinued the trend by bettering Mari Muller 6-3,
6-1. A final victory came from freshman Chi-
sako Sugiyama, who defeated Andrea Brenes,
6-4, 6-4. The combined effort pushed Michi-
gan into a 3-3 tie with Alabama.
After losing the doubles point, Michigan
looked for wins in the singles matches to
make up the loss.
"It's tough going into the singles when you
need to win four out of six against a good
team on the road," Ritt said. "That's chal-
Junior Lindsey Smith was one of a number of Wolverines to garner All-America honors at the NCAA
Championships in Athens, Ga.
Quic start not
enough at NCAAs
Sophomore Allie Shafner dropped the deciding match in Michigan's 4-3 loss at Alabama.
By Jessica Asbill
For the Daily
The Michigan women's swimming and
diving team started the NCAA Champion-
ships on Thursday with solid performances,
putting the Wolverines in excellent posi-
tion to advance in the standings on Friday.
As the tournament progressed, the team
advanced as high as 13th place, only to fall
to 17th after failing to qualify anyone for
the final day's events.
Auburn won with a total of 518.5 points,
and Michigan finished with a total of 67.5
points. The Wolverines' 17th-place result
represented a step back from their tie for
14th place at last season's NCAA meet.
The 200-yard freestyle relay team of
juniors Kaitlyn Brady and Lindsey Smith,
freshman Hannah Smith and senior Abby
Seskevics kicked off the weekend by fin-
ishing in eighth place. The squad attained
Michigan's first All-American honor of the
championships and its third All-American
honor in this event in four years.
"I thought they swam well ... they fin-
- ished eighth and they're All-Americans,"
Michigan coach Jim Richardson told
MGoBlue.com. "That is something to be
really proud of."
The 400-yard medley relay team of
Brady, Lindsey Smith, sophomore Jus-
tine Mueller and freshman Payton John-
son carried Michigan's momentum into
its performance with a 12th-place finish,
which garnered an All-America honorable
Brady and Lindsey Smith won the only
individual honors of the day after their fin-
ishes in the 50-yard freestyle earned them
each All-America honorable mentions. But
Brady's fifth-place finish in the event ended
her 20-race winning streak.
Elyse Lee - the only Michigan diver
competing - finished 25th out of 40 com-
petitors in the one-meter springboard pre-
liminaries. It was quite an accomplishment,
considering Lee was the first Michigan
diver to compete in the tournament in two
"I am really proud of the girls," Richard-
son said after the team's day-one finishes.
On the second day, the team gained even
more ground with outstanding performanc-
es in the 100-yard butterfly, the 200-yard
medley relay team and the 400-yard indi-
vidual medley relay.
Brady finished fifth in the 100-yard indi-
vidual butterfly, adding a third career and
first individual All-American honor to
her career totals. Brady attacked the start
and led for the first 50 yards, but the even-
tual champion, Georgia's Mary Descenza,
passed Brady to win the event for the sec-
ond year in a row.
Richardson told MGoBlue.com he was
satisfied with Brady's effort in the 100-yard
"For somebody who didn't even place in
the top 16 in the event last year, (Brady's
performance) is a tremendous accomplish-
ment," Richardson said. "She did a great
job. That is the second-best time and the
second-fastest time in the history of the
conference. It was just a really good per-
Brady and the 200-yard medley relay
team of Mueller, Lindsey Smith, and Car-
olina Sierra finished 10th overall, but in
the consolation round, the team set a new
school record of 1:40.02.
Mueller also finished with a strong perfor-
mance in the 400-yard individual medley. She
finished 16th overall with a time of 4:24.34 in
the consolation final after finishing 14th in the
preliminary with a time of 4:17.23. The per-
formance was her second career All-America
honorable mention in the event.
On the final day of the championships,
the Wolverines failed to advance past the
preliminaries, terminating any hopes of a
It proved to be difficult, but Michigan (7-3)
still managed to win three of the six needed.
"We performed well, and, unfortunately,
we came up short," Ritt said. "We're on a roll
now. We've had a couple of good wins. I'm
proud of the team. It didn't go our way, but
I'm proud of how we fought and competed.
Next time we're in this situation, I believe
we'll be able to come through."
Heading into the Big Ten season, the
loss at Alabama could prove to be valuable
experience. Michigan heads to East Lansing
Wednesday looking to keep the momentum
gained from the singles victories for an early
season Big Ten win.
0 WOMEN'S TENNIS
Succesful Streifler leads by example
By Ian Robinson
Daily Sports Writer
Some people love the thrill of competi-
tion, and Debra Streifler is one of them.
The senior captain of the women's tennis
team spends as much time on the court as
Of her 10 singles matches in the dual sea-
son, six have gone to a decisive third set.
That doesn't seem to bother her. She has
won five three-set matches.
"If one set doesn't go my way, I just try to
fight back," Streifler said. "I just mentally
prepare myself to be out there as long as I
possibly have to be out there."
In addition to a 5-1 record in three-set
matches, the senior is in the midst of seven-
match winning streak.
But after she won her fifth-straight set she
wasn't aware of the fact.
She doesn't revel in her past accomplish-
ments. Instead, she prefers to look ahead to
her next opponent.
"I prepare for every match the same way,
whether it's a top-10 team or someone who
is not ranked," Streifler said. "Every match
for me is another way for me to go out there
and have a good time."
It isn't surprising that the Highland Park,
Ill. native, who moved into eighth place in
school history with her 75th career singles
win on Thursday, doesn't pay attention to
her spot in the record books.
"When I'm done with my career here, I
am not going to remember what number I
am in Michigan history, which is such an
honor," Streifler said. "It is going to be how
the team does. I could be winning matches
but if the team isn't winning, it doesn't mean
anything to me."
Although Streifler prefers not to talk
about her achievements, Michigan coach
Bitsy Ritt believes Streifler is currently
playing the best tennis of her career.
Streifler hasn't been a mainstay in the
starting lineup for her entire Michigan
career. Before this year, she never played
above No. 5 singles, but her recent play has
made her a fixture in the rotation and a force
at No. 3 and 4 spot.
"She's a smart competitor, and she is good
at picking apart her opponents' weakness-
es," Ritt said. "She knows how to win and
play a lot of different styles."
Junior Elizabeth Exon points to Strei-
fler's mental toughness as the source of the
"She is such a fighter," Exon said. "She is
intense and never gives her opponent any-
Combining that fighting spirit with a
potent forehand, a backhand to set up said
forehand and the ability to move up to the
net to attack has translated into success in
both singles and doubles for the right-hand-
Before this season, Streifler didn't com-
pete in No. 1 doubles, but it appears she has
found a suitable partner.
After debuting at No. 1 doubles with junior
Kara Delicata against UNLV on March 3,
the duo has compiled a 3-2 record in its last
"I am more of a laid-back person on the
court, and she is going (and) going all the
time, and it really helps me to get my energy
up," Delicata said.
Whether it's singles or doubles, Streifler
has shown that she is prepared to do any-
thing she can to lead her team to victory.
Streifler and her teammates will start
their Big Ten season when they travel to
East Lansing on Wednesday.
Green sweep, red
win for Netters
By Jamie Josephson
Daily Sports Writer
In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day weekend, the No.29 Michigan men's
tennis team left their opponents a bit green.
Green with envy, that is.
To begin the weekend, Michigan slaughtered intrastate rival Mich-
igan State in a 7-0 sweep Friday at the Varsity Tennis Center. Then
the Wolverines kept the ball rolling in their contest against Harvard in
Cambridge, Mass. yesterday. After jumping out to an early 3-0 lead,
Michigan nearly squandered it. But in nail-biting fashion, Michigan
squeaked by the Crimson, 4-3.
"Once again, we did a great job competing under pressure," Michigan
coach Bruce Berque said. "Harvard is not ranked very high, but this is still
a good win. They definitely are a good and dangerous team."
With the win against Harvard (3-6), Michigan (2-0 Big Ten, 8-6 over-
all) improved its record in 4-3 matches this year to a perfect 3-0. Fresh-
man Andrew Mazlin proved once again to be the Wolverines' hero,
repeating his clutch performance from Michigan's 4-3 victory against
Western Michigan on Jan. 21. The rookie demonstrated his maturity
in a tight three-set match against Harvard's Sasha Ermakov, defeating
him, 6-3,3-6,6-3, to secure the win for Michigan.
"Once again, the match was on the line," Berque said. "Just like in
the Western Michigan match, Andrew had great composure, played
smart, and played aggressively."
Michigan jumped out to an early lead by winning the doubles point,
2-1. The No. 2 duo of Mazlin and junior Ryan Heller hardly broke a
sweat in their match, crushing the Crimson's Dan Nguyen and Brian
Wan, 8-2. But after the tandem of freshman Scott Bruckmann and
junior Steve Peretz fell to Harvard's No. 3 doubles team, the double's
point rested on the shoulders of the Wolverines' dynamic duo at the No.
E WATER POLO
Closed door at close
range key to rivalry loss
By Eileen Hengel
Junior Ryan Heller and doubles partner Andrew Mazlin helped get
Michigan off to a hot start when they cruised to an 8-2 victory.
an's second honor of the season. The co-captain was recognized for
tallying victories in three of his four matches against No. 10 Texas and
Yesterday against Wan, Hung handled the No.2 Harvard player, 6-4,
"For a brief time, Brian was making too many errors at the net,"
Berque said. "But I think overall this year versus last year, he's better at
playing through his strengths at singles, which makes it easier for him
to come to the net. Last year, he was a little hesitant to do that. But now,
he's more focused within a match. He's so much better this year that
when he gets up on someone, he continues to stay focused and stick to
Daily Sports Writer
The scenario was the same each time: The
Michigan guards fed the ball into the drivers
located five feet from the net; the drives rotated
their arms back and took the shot. But shot after
shot failed to break the goal line, bouncing off
the palm of the Indiana goalie or the goal post.
"I'm flabbergasted we lost that game," Michi-
gan coach Matt Anderson said. "It's the same as
the basketball team going to the charity stripe
and shooting 20 percent. (The team) had open
cages that they should be able to make with
their eyes closed."
Playing in front of a crowd filled with St. Pat-
rick's Day cheer on Friday, the No. 15 Michi-
gan water polo team (15-7) lost to regional rival
No. 19 Indiana 6-4 at Canham Natatorium. The
loss was just the second in history for the Wol-
verines against the Hoosiers. The Wolverines
defeated the Hoosiers 11-7 in the teams' first
meeting this season on Feb. 4.
Despite freshman Julie Hyrne's hat trick and
a lob over the head of Indiana goalie Jackie Pyrz
by junior Shana Welch to start the game, Michi-
gan failed to penetrate the goal line in both the
third and the fourth quarters. Welch attributed
the loss to the offense.
Leading the Wolverines with four goals,
Welch started Michigan off with a lob shot that
was quickly followed by another goal into the
right corner of the Matadors' cage. Welch fin-
ished the tournament with 13 goals, including
four goals in the California Lutheran win and
three in the win over Slippery Rock. The Wol-
.erines defeated the Kingsmen, 14-4, and the
The second loss of the weekend for Michigan
came in the early morning match against No. 7
San Diego State, 13-0.
During the San Diego game, the Wolverines
faced many of the same problems as they did
in the Indiana game such as breaking through
the defense and finding the right opportunities
to score. Michigan failed to notch a single goal
against Aztec junior goalie Sarah Kilgore.
"In the first half, we only gave up four goals,"
Anderson. "Defensively, giving up four goals to
a top-10 team, I'll take. Offensively, we were
Playing behind sophomore Sally Stone for
most of the season, freshman goalie Kristen
Davis was forced to the front after Stone got
hurt during the UCSB Gaucho Invite Feb. 25
After putting on what Anderson described