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April 03, 2006 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-04-03

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2B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMondav - April 3. 2006

1

1"

CLUBSPORTSWEEKLY
Love of the game drives program

hlte ofthigane ail
Athlete of the Week

Name: Mike DePietro
Hometown: Bloomfield Hills

Team: Men's Tennis
Class: Freshman

By Jessica Asbill
Daily Sports Writer

The varsity baseball team kicked off its
conference season this past weekend when
it took on Northwestern. But it's not the
only baseball team on campus looking to
compete successfully in its conference.
The Michigan club baseball team also
prepared itself for the Great Lakes North
Conference. Next weekend, it battles
Michigan State in Ann Arbor. The game
is important for gaining a top position in
the conference standings.
Senior Trevor Scott has come a long
way from playing for a consistently top-1G
program at Novi High School to finding his
role on the club baseball team.
When Scott randomly met Chris Joseph,
Gabe Kloet and Matt Ransweiler at Michi-
gan, he never would have guessed he would
DANCE FLOOR
Continued from page 1B
Their collective hopes and dreams were
smashed as both highly anticipated games
ended up being blowouts.
But this time, it was much worse than a
mere disappointment.
When someone finds out Santa isn't
real, he at least has warning signs to see it's
coming. Saturday blindsided sports fans
and made the best NCAA Tournament in
recent memory into another average sport-
ing event in the matter of six hours.
It would be like walking downstairs
hoping to find Santa, only to see your
parents having sex under the tree. It wasn't
just disappointing; it was also shocking.
The first 60 games of the Big Dance
were exciting and heart stopping, rallying
people around a sport that many felt was
dying with the emergence of the one-and-
done college athlete.
Nobody thought Saturday would be any
different.
All four teams had incentive to play
well. Somehow, each team felt disre-
spected.

soon collaborate with them to create a club
baseball program. Joseph graduated last
year, but Kloet and Ransweiler remain on
the roster with Scott.
Scott explained they founded a club
team because of the lack of other options to
pursue baseball at the collegiate level. They
were unable to compete at the varsity level
an didn't want to play intramural softball.
Players join the team for various rea-
sons. Some want to play in college but are
unable. Others train with the hope of play-
ing on the varsity in the future. Some just to
have fun playing the sport they love.
"A lot of guys use club as a way to train
before trying out for varsity," Scott said.
"Others are from the varsity but left because
they weren't receiving the playing time they
desired. Winning is always more fun, but
the goal of most guys is just to have fun."
As one of the co-founders, Scott took on
All four teams were entering their
respective games with luck on their side.
Somehow, each team won a game that
included a near-buzzer-beater scenario.
And all four teams looked primed to
take advantage of their time in the spot-
light. Somehow, none of the Final Four
participants were part of the pre-NCAA
Tournament hoopla, and after flying under
the radar, they hoped to grasp their time in
the limelight.
But just two teams showed up on Sat-
urday, and unfortunately for the millions
viewing from their homes, they were play-
ing in different games.
Big Baby Davis looked fatigued after
jogging out for pre-game introductions.
The combination of him absorbing the
week long media attention and outweigh-
ing UCLA's starting lineup proved to be
too much for him to overcome.
And George Mason seemed to be
immobile on the court. After all, it's hard
to move around on a broken slipper.
So Saturday's games proved that a per-
fect NCAA Tournament was, in fact, too
good to be true.
But the truth is, the Big Dance has still

more responsibility than the average player,
acting as pitcher, coach and club president.
The team began their second season
2-1 after finishing last season 12-3. Last
year was primarily a year for the team to
develop.
"I think the team has good chemistry
this year" Scott said. "It is a lot of fun just
being out there with the guys and hanging
out on the bench together."
Last season, the team had more experi-
ence, but this year's team has more skill.
More than 100 players tried out but
just 27 made the team. The club recruit-
ed from a much larger pool of skilled
players than their first season. By adver-
tising with banners at festivals and at
the club sports forums, as well as by
word of mouth, the team attracted a lot
of quality and passionate players to the
program.
been uber entertaining.
One bad day of games shouldn't sour
fans toward the rest of the Tournament,
especially if the lone game remaining is
the final matchup.
The two teams left are the teams play-
ing the best right now, too, nobody can
argue that.
Florida's balance has carried it through
the Tournament with relative ease. The
combination of Al Horford and Joakim
Noah on the inside and Lee Humphries's
lethal outside shooting creates a pick-your-
poison situation for opposing teams.
UCLA holds arguably the nation's top
defense. Coach Ben Howland has this
year's Bruins playing John Wooden-like
ball, and the perimeter attack of Farmar
and Afflalo gives UCLA fans hopes of
putting another banner on the already
crowded rafters of Pauley Pavilion.
So put the disappointment of Saturday's
games behind you: Tonight is the perfect
night for redemption.
We all got over Santa not being real:
I'm pretty sure getting re-energized for the
last leg of March Madness isn't too much
to ask.

"We definitely have a good chance of
winning (the) conference this year" Scott
said.
In order to advance to region play,
the team must maintain a high standing
as it competes against mostly Michigan
schools, like Michigan State and Western
Michigan. It plays each team in the confer-
ence three times, and if it is ranked high
enough, it advances to regions. If success-
ful in regional play, the team can advance
to nationals.
"Sure, we want to win the conference
... but ultimately we just want to have fun,"
Scott said.
So, as the saying goes, "Sometimes it is
not whether you win or lose, but how you
play the game."
With this in mind, the team looks to win
the conference, but only as a bonus to the
fun it has just playing the game they love.

6 >

NOTES

Why: In his first career dual match, DePietro earned a 7-6(1), 6-4
victory over Iowa's Kyle Markham at No. 6 singles to help the Wol-
verines defeat the Hawkeyes handily on Sunday. His victory sealed
the deal for Michigan and propelled them to finish the weekend strong
after a loss to Minnesota on Saturday.
' Schedule
Date Event Location Time
4/3- W Golf Rancho Mirage, TBA
4/4 @ Northwestern Invitational Calif.
4/4 Softball Kalamazoo 3 p.m.
@ Western Michigan (DH)
4/5 Baseball @ Central Michigan Mt. Pleasant 3 p.m.
4/7 Softball vs. Indiana Ann Arbor 4 p.m.
4/7 Baseball @ Minnesota Minneapolis 7:35 p.m.
4/7 M Gymnastics Norman, Okla. 8 p.m.
@ Team and All-Around Finals
4/7- M Track and Field Austin TBA
4/8 @ Texas Relays
4/7- M Track and Field Durham, N.C. TBA
4/8 @ Duke Invitational
4/8 W Rowing vs. Columbus TBA
Southern Cal and Tennessee
4/8 W Tennis vs. Purdue Ann Arbor 11 a.m.
4/8 Softball vs. Indiana Ann Arbor 1 p.m.
4/8 M Tennis @ Purdue West Lafayette 2 p.m.
4/8 Water Polo vs. Hartwick Ann Arbor 1:35 p.m.
4/8 Baseball @ Minnesota (DH) Minneapolis 3:05 p.m.
4/8 W Gymnastics @ Ann Arbor 6 p.m.
NCAA Northeast Regional
4/8 Water Polo vs. Harvard Ann Arbor 6:30 p.m.
4/8 M Gymnastics Norman, Okla. 8 p.m.
@ Individual Event Finals
4/8- M Golf West Lafayette TBA
4/9 @ Boilermaker Invitational
4/9 W Tennis vs. Illinois Ann Arbor 11 a.m.
4/9 M Tennis @ Illinois Champaign 1 p.m.
4/9 Softball vs. Purdue (DH) Ann Arbor 12 p.m.
4/8 Water Polo vs. Brown Ann Arbor 12 p~m.
4/8 Baseball @ Minnesota Minneapolis 2:05 p.m.

Rowing collects first
victories of the season
The No. 6 Michigan women's
rowing team grabbed its first wins
of the spring season with sound vic-
tories over No. 13 Michigan State
and Duke in the ACC/ Big Ten
Double Dual in Columbus on April
Fool's Day.
The win over the Spartans earned
the Wolverines a Challenge Cup
point.
During the second race of the day,
the first varsity eight lost in a pho-
to finish to No. 3 Virginia on the
Scotio River.
The team started the spring sea-
son with a last-place finish against
Princeton and Brown last weekend.
The Wolverines will return to
Columbus next weekend for dual
races against Tennessee and South-
ern Cal.

Floor exercise key
to Blue's success

By Colt Rosensweig
Daily Sports Writer

The Michigan men's gymnastics team
enters its biggest meet of the season as the
underdog.
And that's the way it wants it.
"I don't think anybody expects a whole
lot from us except us, and that can work
out to our advantage" senior Luke Bottke
said. "All it takes is for one of the teams
ranked above us to take something for
granted, and we'll knock them out."
This Thursday in Norman,Okla.,the Wol-
verines will battle five other teams, including
No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 4 Illinois and No. 5
California, for three spots in the NCAA
team finals on Friday. Michigan begins the
meet on a bye rotation, before moving to the
floor exercise, the best-case scenario.
Michigan coach Kurt Golder was
shocked when, as the fourth-picking team,
he was able to choose the floor exercise for
Michigan's starting apparatus.
"I couldn't believe it," Golder said.
"Usually floor is the first one to disappear.
Floor will go, and then vault will go....
They were our first two picks."
Michigan was confident before, but the
announcement of the event order gave the
Wolverines an extra boost. The floor exer-
cise is Michigan's strongest event - it was
ranked second in the country on floor as of
March 28 - and should allow the team to
begin on a high note.
Starting on the floor also means the
Wolverines will follow normal Olympic
order, which, over the course of the sea-
son, has yielded their best results. Weaker
events, like the pommel horse and parallel
bars, will be "hidden" between the team's
strengths, and there will be no oddly placed
bye rotation to derail the momentum.
"In (the) Pacific Coast (Classic), it
worked where we had the bye because

we were trying to recuperate from high
bar," freshman Kent Caldwell said.
"But it kind of stopped the flow. I think
it's going to be better to focus at the
beginning and then just push straight
through all the way to the end."
The Wolverines are also optimis-
tic about their upcoming performances
on the pommel horse and parallel bars.
Golder believes the Big Ten "debacle" on
parallel bars, where four of the six com-
petitors either came off the apparatus or
fell on their dismounts, was a fluke per-
formance. On the pommel horse, several
gymnasts have reduced the difficulty of
their routines, lowering their start values
but increasing the likelihood that they will
compete cleanly.
Freshman Phil Goldberg, a key com-
petitor on the pommel horse, believes
that even with the lower start values,
the Wolverines will be a force to be
reckoned with.
"It's been shown that you don't have to
be an extraordinary pommel horse team to
beat the best pommel horse team," Gold-
berg said. "You just have to hit your sets.
You don't even have to have a high start
value. If you hit your sets, you'll be fine.
You'll be in there with the top pommel
horse team."
Big Ten vault champion senior Drew
DiGiore, looking to boost the team score
with hit sets on both the pommel horse
and vault, believes a positive attitude will
be crucial to success on the often-trouble-
some apparatus.
"If you are trying not to fall, chances are
you're going to fall," DiGiore said. "But
if you're thinking about how well you're
going to hit (your routine), you're going to
hit it, and it's going to be good. You can't
go in trying not to fall, because you'll be
too tentative and that's how we've been
swinging on pommel horse.... If we get

Michigan hopes that starting on the floor exercise will propel them to victory.

*
0

away from that, it will be good."
Unlike many of the other qualify-
ing teams, the Wolverines are generally
healthy. Those gymnasts with nagging
aches and pains are confident that once the
adrenaline of competition kicks in, they
will be able to perform at their normal
high level.
Every member of the team will need
to bring his A-game because the fight
for each spot in the finals will be fierce.
The top three teams in each of the two
sessions on Thursday earn a place at
team finals on Friday.
"Oklahoma will be very strong at home,
and they've been national champs three of
the past four years," senior Gerry Signo-
relli said. "Illinois has got a few guys that

do some really big sets, so they're going to
have some high scores on certain events.
And Cal - we've bumped them out (of
the Super Six) before in my past three
years here ... but they've been doing really
well this year."
As usual, the Wolverines are confident
in themselves and their teammates. To a
man, their most important goal is to put up
big scores for the team, with any individual
accolades coming as an added bonus.
"I think because we're the underdogs,
people aren't expecting us to make (team
finals);' freshman Joe Catrambone said.
"We have nothing to lose. We'll just go out
there and do our best, and I think we're
going to surprise a lot of teams by bump-
ing the ranked teams that are above us."

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