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March 30, 2006 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-03-30

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12A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 30, 2006

N SOFTBALL
In victory, softball still
seeks steady production

0

6

By David VandeVusse
Daily Sports Writer

Michigan senior Carly Strub is in her second season as a Wolverine after transferring from Hartwick College.
ransfer feels right at home

Sophomore Samantha Findlay's two-run blast over
the rightfield fence proved to be the difference in the
Michigan softball team's home opener against Bowling
Green on Tuesday.
Senior catcher Becky Marx made it back-to-back
bombs when she hit a solo shot on Michigan's next at-
bat, helping to secure a 3-0 victory.
But it wasn't a day of instant
offense for the 12th-ranked Wolver-}
ines. The two home runs came withth'
two outs in the fifth inning and the
score tied at zero.
One of the team's mottos is "Win
every inning." But the team failed to
do that in the early frames. Michigan
batters connected for several hard-hit balls, but few
turned into base hits.
Sophomore centerfielder Alessandra Giampaolo had a
solid at-bat in the third, but came away empty-handed.
After three nice cuts went foul, Giampaolo smacked
what appeared to be a slicing single to left. But Fal-
cons outfielder Emmy Ramsey was in good position and
made the catch.
Senior Stephanie Bercaw was the victim of a good
defensive play as well. In the second inning, Bercaw
pounded the ball hard into the dirt, but Bowling Green
pitcher Hayley Wiemer snatched it and threw to first for
the out.
The Wolverines did manage to get three runners on
base in the fourth, but they were left stranded after
Bowling Green retired two straight Michigan batters.
"We'd like to see us hit better throughout the lineup,"
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said. "We need to hit
for a better team average. All of these kids can hit better
than we've seen this season."
Michigan has relied on late-inning runs for several
recent victories.
At the Louisville Classic last weekend, the Wolver-
ines played four innings of scoreless baseball against
Toledo before exploding for 10 runs in the fifth and sixth

innings combined. Michigan also needed two runs in
the sixth to defeat Middle Tennessee State, and a tally
in the eighth took down Eastern Michigan in two of the
team's close wins.
In their last three games, the Wolverines are aver-
aging better than three hits per inning in the final two
frames.
"We've been letting a few innings go by before we
have kicked in and engaged," Hutchins said. "We've
got to do a better job competing right from the get-
go."
A lack of early-inning production has caused Michi-
gan to play some very close contests. Early in the sea-
son, that cost the Wolverines several wins. But timely
hitting and clutch pitching down the stretch have led the
defending national champions to five victories in the
past week.
HOT PITCHING: The pitching staff has been on fire as of late.
Junior pitcher Lorilyn Wilson has started in four of
Michigan's last six games, recording victories in each,
including her third straight shutout against Bowling
Green.
Wilson surrendered four hits to Falcons players
in the first two innings, but she refocused and didn't
allow a base runner for the rest of the game. Wilson
is currently riding a 25-and-one-third inning shutout
streak.
"Lorilyn is doing what we need from her," Hutchins
said. "And we definitely welcome the one-two punch (of
Wilson and top pitcher Jennie Ritter)."
Ritter has come on strong as well. In her last two out-
ings, both wins, she posted totals of 17 and 14 strikeouts
respectively, while giving up just six hits.
The pitching staff has conceded just two runs to oppo-
nents in the last five games - both of which came with
one swing of the bat against Middle Tennessee State.
MoVIN' ON UP: With Tuesday's win, Hutchins moved
into a tie for eighth place on the all-time victories list of
NCAA softball coaches with an impressive 958th win.
Hutchins is the only coach from a northern school in the
top eight, and one of just two from the Big Ten confer-
ence. She can take sole possession of the eighth spot
with a win this Sunday against Minnesota.

By Eileen Hengel
Daily Sports Writer

Watching her bark commands from the
key during a water polo match, one would
never guess that a year ago senior Carly
Strub was a lowly junior transfer - equiv-
alent to any other incoming freshman on
the team.
Now, Strub helps lead the women's
water polo team in her second - and final
- season donning the maize and blue.
Having transferred from Hartwick
College after the school's president
announced the disbandment of the varsity
squad, Strub found a new home with the
Wolverines following the winter of her
sophomore year.
Strub is also the only women's colle-
giate water polo player to play for two dif-
ferent teams in the NCAA Tournament.
But her first game as a Wolverine
wasn't her first time seeing Michi-
gan in action. Michigan lost 5-2 to the
Hawks in the 2004 Eastern Champion-
ships, ending their hope of reaching the
NCAA Tournament for just the second
time in program history.
Strub was - at the time- a member

of Hartwick's small-time squad.
" We found ourselves in a David and
Goliath situation,"Strub said. "(Hartwick)
had a lot to prove. We had to show that we
were a great program."
After the win, Hartwick's president
decided to keep the program. The Hawks
maintained their varsity status, but Strub
didn't have much to go back to. The school
released the players toward the end of the
season, and all five sophomores trans-
ferred to schools across the nation.
After the transfer, Strub faced Hart-
wick as Wolverine on February 6, 2005 .
Michigan defeated the Hawks 5-3 during
the 2005 season.
"The first time playing (against
Hartwick) was hard," Strub said.
"Everyone understood, and I think
a lot of people would have done the
same thing, which a lot of people did.
But it was weird and awkward."
In the gameStrub scored a goal against
the Hawks defense.
As a Wolverine, Strub found her home
at the top of the key. According to coach
Matt Anderson, Strub's role in her junior
year relied heavily on her versatility, but
as a senior her role became more defined

as the point guard.
"Last year, I felt like (Strub) was what
we needed to get to the NCAA Champi-
onship," Anderson said.
In fact, Strub proved to be part of the
missing element that Michigan needed to
get to the tournament, ending the season
30-6 and sixth in the nation.
Even though it was awkward at times,
Strub admitted she never regretted the
transfer. Still, problems arose when she
faced the challenge of transferring her
classes. The credits she accumulated at
Hartwick transferred as just 60 elective
credits. Strub was forced to retake every-
thing from Psych 111 to Stats 350 -
where she met got to know her teammate
Lindsey Hitchcock outside of the pool.
"She's a very positive person,"
Hitchcock said. "And I think that she
looked at the stressful situation she was
facing as a transfer and decided to see
the good in it."
As the one of the point guards for the
16th-ranked Wolverines, Strub said that
although it's only her second season at
Michigan, she feels comfortable being a
leader. Now, she's on equal footing with
the rest of the upperclassmen.

NIT
Continued from page 11A
has advanced to its second straight
NIT final. Last season, the Game-
cocks won the championship when
they defeated St. Joseph's, 60-57.
"We realize that our challenge
is going to be a very difficult one
with a good South Carolina team,"
Amaker said. "Just watching them
compete and play (Tuesday) night,
this is a team that is on the verge of
many good things this season."

South Carolina (22-15) has relied
on the senior leadership of Tarence
Kinsey. After hitting the game-
winning shot in last year's NIT
final, the 6-foot-6 guard averaged
15 points per game this season and
provided the spark to propel the
Gamecocks into tonight's contest.
"(Kinsey) obviously gives us
points and excellent defense and
timely rebounds," South Carolina
coach Dave Odom said. "In 365
days, what has happened to that
guy in the last year, from a bas-

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ketball standpoint, has really been
amazing. He is hitting more pres-
sure shots more often."
For Michigan, ups and downs
have continued to haunt the team
that looked so promising early in
the year.
After the Wolverines discovered
they did not make the NCAA Tour-
nament field, Amaker told his team
that even though they didn't finish
strong, they still had an opportu-
nity to finish right.
The Michigan seniors have taken
their coach's words to heart.
In Michigan's four NIT games,
the starting five has set the tone for
the rest of the team and the game.
"The seniors are out there, and
they could be playing in their last
game," Brown said. "They go out
and try to set the tempo for the rest
of the guys.... We go out there and
try to set the tempo, and everyone
else on our team kind of follows
from that."
Fast Facts
Michigan NIT tidbits
Michigan last won the NIT
in 2004, beating Rutgers 62-
55.
Michigan won the NIT
in 1997 but vacated the
championship due to NCAA
sanctions.
The Wolverines beat rival
Notre Dame, 83-63, to win
the NIT Championship in
1984.
E If South Carolina wins, it
will be only the second team
since St. John's to win back-
to-back NIT titles.
Daniel Horton earned MVP
honors in his sophomore year
when Michigan won the NIT.
Nine current Michigan
players were on the 2004
championship team.
Michigan has a 2-1 all-
time record against South
Carolina.
Michigan is 6-1 all-time
in NIT games at Madison
Square Garden.

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