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April 03, 2006 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-04-03

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6B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - April 3, 2006

Freshman sparks big win over Iowa

Blue can't escape
middle of the pack


By Jamie Josephson
Daily Sports Writer
Yesterday against Iowa, Michigan
coach Bruce Berque put him on the ros-
ter to play in his first singles contest of the
dual-match season.
But freshman
Mike DePietro M 7
appeared unfazed.
No. 29 Michigan
was looking for a
victory following a
disappointing defeat on Saturday at the
hands of Minnesota, 5-2.
But Mike DePietro appeared unfazed.
The first set was so tight that it had to
be decided in tie-breaker fashion.
But Mike DePietro appeared unfazed.
After his match, though, the freshman
came clean.
"I admit, I was a little nervous in the
beginning - being my first time playing
(in a dual-match singles contest)," DePi-
etro said. "But you've got to get through
that and realize you're not going tohave
many opportunities to get out there. So
Continued from page 1B
but the showings ofthe middle- and long-
distance runners in California were less
surprising, but even more impressive.
The Wolverines captured one automatic
and one provisional national qualifying
time as well as eight automatic regional
qualifying times.
Redshirt junior Rebecca Walter,
who captured an automatic national
bid in the 10,000-meter run, led the

you've got to take advantage of the ones
you have."
The rookie certainly thrived in this
opportunity, defeating Iowa's Kyle
Markham, 7-6 (1),6-4. The victory added
fuel to Michigan's fire, and the Wolver-
ines swept the Hawkeyes at the Varsity
Tennis Center, 7-0.
DePietro stayed calm and composed
throughout the match, relying on several
groundstroke winners that consistently
caught the lines with precision.
"Mike's been narrowing the gap
(between him and the other freshmen) a
bit;' Berque said. "Particularly in practice
last week, he was beating several guys. So
we were more confident in giving Mike
a crack."
The win came after Michigan's first
Big Ten loss of the season, to the Golden
Gophers on Saturday.
"(Yesterday's match) was important not
only to win the match but to do it in the
right way" Berque said. "It was important
that we showed no signs of (Saturday's)
loss (yesterday) in terms of the way we
approached the match competitively and
way. She took second place with a
career-best 33:09:61, nearly two min-
utes better than her previous career
mark of 34:52:82.
The end result was certainly remark-
able, but the way in which she captured
it may have been even more astound-
ing. Pacing herself from the very
start, Walter got stronger as the race
progressed, running her second 5,000
meters 21 seconds faster than her first.
Associate head coach Mike McGuire
has come to expect great things from

bounced back emotionally."
"Bouncing back" was a gross under-
The Wolverines (4-1 Big Ten, 10-7
overall) didn't have a single blemish on
the scoreboard yesterday against Iowa
(0-4, 5-8). Michigan swept the doubles
competition, with a dominating victory
from the No.8 duo of junior Brian Hung
and sophomore Matko Maravic. Michi-
gan's top-dog tandem made it look easy
against J.P. Ritchie and Brett Taylor. It
rolled over the Hawkeyes, 8-2, improv-
ing the Wolverine duo's doubles record
to 13-4.
At No. 2 doubles, junior Ryan Heller
and freshman Andrew Mazlin made a
strong statement that they, too, are com-
ing into their own as a strong partner-
ship. The duo's 8-6 edging of Iowa's
Chaitu Malempati and Bart van Mon-
sjou sealed the doubles point for the
Wolverines. Mazlin's strong serves com-
bined with Heller's improved net game
proved to be too much for the Hawkeyes
to handle.
"I think we've really improved,' Heller
his experienced runner but even her
race caught him off guard.
"Nothing surprises me with Rebec-
ca," McGuire said. "But I think her
time was faster than we both expected.
She just ran the second-fastest 10,000-
meter in the nation so far."
Walter was not the only Wolver-
ine with a performance worthy of the
national level.
Fifth-year senior Ana Gjesdal took
runner-up in the second heat of the
10,000-meter run with atime of34:38:41

said. "(Yesterday), Andrew played very
well. He definitely had his Wheaties (yes-
terday) morning. That really helped me
out since I didn't really play my best. I
think we're really there for each other and
know what we need to do to help each
other out."
Despite his modesty, Heller also
impressed with his singles performance
against Ritchie. Berque moved Heller up
in the roster to the No. 2 position, where
the co-captain won his third consecutive
singles victory in stride, 6-3,6-2.
"Ryan has been playing a lot better the
whole year, especially this last month,'
Berque said. "He's playing a lot more
high-percentage tennis and cutting down
on his errors because of the shots that he's
At every other singles position, Michi-
gan posted a "W,"including a hard-fought
three-set victory by Hung.
Despite Saturday's loss, Michigan fol-
lowed DePietro's unfazed example with
its Sunday sweep - ending its weekend
homestand with an undeniable exclama-
tion point.
- 12 seconds better then her previous
career best. The time was good enough
for a provisional national qualifier and
was yet another step toward the Wolver-
ines' goal for the season.
With aspirations of lifting another
Big Ten Championship trophy at sea-
son's end, the Wolverine's start has
them headed down that track.
"We had a great meet," McGuire
said. "We came to California to get
regional marks early in the season, and
we certainly accomplished that today."

By Mark Giannotto
Daily Sports Writer
To be the best, you have to beat the
In recent weeks, the Michigan wom-
en's tennis team has had the oppor-
tunity to make a
statement in the -
Big Ten standings.
And yesterday,
for the second
weekend in a row,
the Wolverines
made the wrong kind of statement.
No. 32 Michigan (3-2 Big Ten, 9-6
overall) fell to No. 40 Iowa 5-2. It was
the Wolverines' second straight dual-
match loss to a ranked conference
opponent. Last weekend, No. 6 North-
western shut Michigan out 7-0.
"I knew (Iowa) would be a good test
for us," Michigan coach Bitsy Ritt said.
"We came up short, so I'm disappoint-
ed with the result."
The highly anticipated matchup
of the contest was the No. 1 singles
match, which pitted Michigan junior
Kara Delicata, who is ranked No. 97
in the country, against Iowa junior Meg
Racette, ranked No. 33 in the nation.
But Delicata failed to put together
the complete match she would've need-
ed to defeat a player of Racette's level.
Racette won in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3.
The loss put Delicata's singles record at
1-4 in Big Ten play and 9-15 overall.
"I thought Kara had her opportuni-
ties in the second set, but she couldn't
capitalize on them," Ritt said. "Kara
needed to redeem some of her unforced
errors, but wasn't able to do that.
Racette is a good player, and you have
to play well to beat her"
Straight sets were a prevailing theme
for both teams in the singles competi-

tion. Besides Racette's victory at No. 1
singles, the Hawkeyes also got straight-
set wins at No. 3, 4 and 6 singles.
Michigan's lone singles point came
from freshman Chisako Sugiyamo,
who defeated Iowa freshman Kayla
Berry in straight sets, 6-4, 6-0.
"(Sugiyamo) has been playing more
consistently lately," Ritt said. "She's
done a good job and has been able to
come in as a freshman and make a dif-
ference for us"
The outlook for the Wolverines was
not as bleak when the match got under-
way. Michigan claimed the doubles
point courtesy of an 8-3 win by senior
Debra Streifler and Delicata and an 8-5
win from the duo of senior Nina Yaftali
and freshman Lindsey Howard.
Sugiyamo's 19th singles win of the
year gave the Wolverines an early 2-0
Unfortunately for Michigan, it would
be its only two points of the afternoon.
"We played well in the doubles, and I
was surprised we didn't perform better
in singles," Ritt said. "I was surprised
it wasn't a more competitive match."
On Saturday afternoon, the Wolver-
ines made easy work of Minnesota,
defeating the Gophers 5-2. Michigan
won four out of the six singles matches
and collected the doubles point.
But the Iowa loss kept the Wol-
verines in the middle of the Big Ten
pack. Michigan now trails Northwest-
ern, Indiana and Iowa in the confer-
ence. Despite the loss, the Wolverines'
uncertain status in the standings does
not have them concerned.
"We're focused on playing well,"
Ritt said. "If you look at the big pic-
ture, you lose focus on what's impor-
tant. We're just focused on the next
match. If you focus on winning and
losing, you lose."

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