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September 14, 2006 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-14

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Thursday
September 13, 2006
sports.michigandaily.com
sports@michigandaily.com

SPORTmS

5A

" ESSOCCER
Unlikely hero
nets OT upset

EMMA NOLAN-ABRAHAMIAN/Dall
Senior linebacker Max Pollock (51) celebrates his first career touchdown with teammates John Thompson (49) and Johnny Sears (25) during
Michigan's 41-17 victory over Central Michigan on Saturday.
Pollock's TD well-eared

By Jamie Josephson
Daily Sports Writer
Doink!
That was the sound of the
Michigan men's soccer team's
first major upset victory of the
season.
With the score tied at one goal
a piece at the end of regulation,
Michigan and No. 14 Kentucky
took their battle into overtime
in Lexington, Ky. The Wolver-
ines found a new hero at the 96th
minute - and an unlikely hero
at that.
Sophomore Alex Morriset
found himself wide open from
35 yards out of the Wildcats'
goal. Not known as a scorer,
Morriset decided to take a shot.
With Kentucky's goalie leaping
into the air to attempt the save,
Morriset's knuckleball banked
off the underside of the crossbar
and snuck into the net, giving the
midfielder his first career goal as
a Wolverine and Michigan a huge
upset win against Kentucky, 2-1.
"Here's Alex, and he's not
a goal scorer," said Michigan
coach Steve Burns, chuckling.
"He is a central midfielder that is
a great defender. ... He certain-
ly has more yellow cards than
goals, and that's his role."
Michigan (4-3) notched its first
upset against a top-15 team this
year in its first overtime contest
of 2006. The Wolverines also
served Kentucky (5-1-1) its first
loss of the season.
"I think more than anything,
the win reinforces the belief, the
confidence and the attitude that
we are a good team, and we will
continue to be a good team,"
Burns said. "Sometimes that is a
challenge when you have young
players on the field. They all
come from winning programs,
but suddenly they are thrown
into an environment where they
suffer a couple of losses. That's

really what this victory means
... reinforcing the attitude that
they can win these games."
Michigan drew first blood at
the 36-minute mark. Sophomore
Steve Bonnell made a long run
down the right side of the field
and played the ball to freshman
Mauro Fuzetti in the middle.
The rookie dribbled to the right
of a Kentucky defender, found
a seam to shoot through and
launched a shot across his body
that went into the upper-left cor-
ner of Kentucky's net. Fuzetti's
first goal of the season gave the
Wolverines a 1-0 lead.
"Mauro is a goal scorer and
one of the top three finishers on
the team," Burns said. "Mauro
had the keeper beat right when
the ball left his foot. He's been
in that situation before this year
and usually passes the ball to
other players. But we've been
telling him, 'That's your shot.
You take the responsibility and
do it because you can.' "
But before Michigan could
blink, the Wildcats responded.
Kentucky earned a corner kick
just two minutes later. Off of
the corner, a Kentucky player
hit the ball up in the air, and the
Wildcats' Riley O'Neill snapped
a header toward the goal. Michi-
gan goalie Patrick Sperry tipped
the shot, but the deflection wasn't
enough, and Kentucky evened
the score at one.
With the score tied, the sec-
ond half became a very physi-
cal, back-and-forth battle. By the
end of the game, the two squads
committed a total of 43 fouls.
Sperry also made some great
saves to keep Michigan in the
game, tallying a total of six on
the day. A crucial stop came in
the early part of the second half,
when O'Neill had the ball again,
six or seven yards. off to the
See WILDCATS, page 12A

By Matt Singer
f Daily Sports Editor
At Michigan, walk-ons are
lucky to get one chance to
shine.
Last Saturday, senior line-
backer Max Pollock got his
opportunity. And he took advan-
tage.
With just under 12 minutes to go
in the Wolverines' matchup against
Central Michigan, Pollock lined up
for his second snap of the game.
Michigan held a comfortable 34-
10 lead, and the coaches decided
to give the hard-working walk-on
some reps in front of the Big House
crowd.
What happened next was vin-
dication for anyone who still
believes in the underdog.
Lining up as Michigan's left out-

side linebacker, Pollock dropped
back into coverage as Chippewa
quarterback Dan LeFevour took the
snap and rolled to his right. LeFe-
your looked downfield and fired the
ball in Pollock's direction. Pollock
leaped, raised his arms and made a
fingertip grab that would have made
any wide receivers' coach proud.
Suddenly, the 6-foot-1 218-
pounder with just three games
worth of garbage-time experience
found himself just 12 yards away
from paydirt.
Pollock raced toward the left cor-
ner of the endzone as Central Michi-
gan wide receiver Justin Gardner
gave chase. Just as Pollock reached
the goal line, the ball appeared to
come loose. But thereferees signaled
touchdown, and pandemonium
ensued as the Wolverines mobbed
Pollock, celebrating a touchdown

from the unlikeliest source.
"I mean you always know you're
going to get an opportunity some-
time' Pollock said. "And you
always just visualize something like
that, in your fantasy or your dream.
And I guess you just gotta make the
most of the opportunity."
After the game, Pollock said he
had no recollection of the sequence
of events that led him to Michigan
Stadium's endzone.
"Truthfully, I don't remember
- I'm completely blurry about the
play," Pollock said. "I really have
no idea what happened and I'm
still kind of blurry about it."
Even though he didn't recall
the details, the score was a
sweet reward for Pollock's toils
as a walk-on. Day-in and day-
out, Pollock practices with for-
mer four-star recruits and NFL

prospects, with little-to-no hope
of ever seeing his name on the
two-deep depth chart.
But the slim playing-time pros-
pects don't slow Pollock down.
According to starting linebacker
Shawn Crable, Pollock's motor
never stops running in practice.
Even the biggest, strongest and
fastest Wolverine linebackers are
amazed by Pollock's energetic
attitude on the practice field.
"He plays real fast, he plays
hard," Crable said. "A lot of line-
backers look at him, even though
he's not starting (because) when
he plays, he plays with heart. I
look at him, I look at the way I
play, and I think I play at a high
rate. But when I look at him,
there's a higher rate that I can
go.
See POLLOCK, page 12A

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