2B -Sports Monday - Monday, September 25, 2006
Water Polo wants Big Ten and you
By Michael Eisenstein
For the Daily
Locker room chatter is solely
A coach's countdown leads
up to it.
National club championship
hopes rely on it.
For the Michigan Men's club
water polo team, winning a Big
Ten championship is the only
way the Wolverines can enter the
National Club championships -
the team's benchmark for success
in recent years.
In club water polo, only the win-
ners of conference tournaments are
invited to the nationals, making it
imperative to win the conference
Intensifying the race to the
nationals is Michigan's loss last
season in the Big Ten Champion-
ship game to Michigan State -
preventing the Wolverines from
winning a Big Ten title for the
third year in a row.
With last year's season-end-
ing loss leaving a bitter taste in
its mouth, Michigan cannot think
about anything besides returning to
the National Club Championships.
And that requires a return trip to the
conference title game.
It's a reachable goal considering
the success the water polo team has
had recently. Michigan has won
three National Club Champion-
ships, six Big Ten Championships
and has four second-place finishes
in the Big Ten in the past 15 years.
Led by co-captains and Big Ten
first team members John Thomas
and Dan Kurdys, new coaches Drew
Hansz and Bob Sala have the team
hitting its stride two tournaments
into the season.
The first tournament for the Wol-
verines took place two weeks ago in
East Lansing, where Michigan State
hosted the Spartan Invitational.
"Everyone was a little rusty
because it was our first tournament
and the coaches were just starting
to get a feel (for the team)," Zat-
koff said of the team's 2-2 perfor-
But the Wolverine Invitational,
held last week, was a much dif-
Zatkoff said he felt strongly that
the team performed much closer to
its potential in the most recent tour-
nament. Zatkoff also said the per-
formance was even more impressive
because of the tough week of prac-
tice preceding the Wolverine Invita-
tional, resulting in the team playing
tired. Returning starter junior John
MacDonald was enthusiastic in
reaction to the better overall show-
ing by the Wolverines.
But Michigan's loses to No. I
Michigan State and No. 2 Grand
Valley State show that the team
must play even better in order to
make the National Club Champion-
ships. For now, the Wolverines have
fixed their focus on beating their
main rival, Michigan State, whom
they will likely face in the Big Ten
Championships, and there are still
three more tournaments for the
12th-ranked Wolverines to continue
Looking to the future, the team
also has good prospects for the years
to come. Freshmen Paul Reynold,
Ben Cousineau and Matt Rowlend
are the future and have already
begun to contribute this year.
This cycle of good talent com-
ing into the program is not out of
the norm for water polo. Accord-
ing to Zatkoff, most people on
the "A" team have about eight
to ten years experience. But if
people without experience want
to get involved in water polo, a
"B" team also exists. It consists
mostly of people with only swim-
ming experience, often because
their high school did not have a
water polo team. Zatkoff said the
easiest way to get involved is to
check out the team's website and
fill out a recruitment form.
But for right now, with 53 days
until the Big Ten tournament, Mich-
igan only has a conference champi-
onship on its mind.
The WTIC109an 19aftg
Athlete of the Week
Namet Lucia Belassi Team: Field Hockey
Hometown: Paysandu, Uruguay Class: Junior
Why: Belassi's overtime goal gave Michigan a 2-
1 victory over No. 20 Iowa. The goal was the third
game-winner of Belassi's career. With the win, Michi-
gan reached .500 on the season and started the Big
Ten season 1-0. Belassi is tied for the team lead with
four goals on the season. The Uruguay native leads
the Wolverines with 12 shots on goal.
Date Event Location Time
9/27 M Soccer vs. Detroit Ann Arbor 7 p.m.
9/29 W Cross Country @ South Bend 4:15 p.m.
9/29 M Cross Country @ South Bend 5 p.m.
9/29 Field Hockey State College 6 p.m.
@ Penn State
9/29 W Soccer vs. Purdue Ann Arbor 7 p.m.
9/29 Volleyball @ Minnesota Minneapolis 7 p.m.
9/29 M Tennis @ Ann Arbor TBA
9/29 W Tennis @ Ann Arbor TBA
9/30 W Rowing @ Columbus TBA
9/30 Ice Hockey-Blue/ Ann Arbor 7:30 p.m.
9/30 Football @ Minnesota Minneapolis 8 p.m.
9/0 Volleyball @ WisconsinI Madison 8 p.m.
9/30 M Soccer @ Santa Barbara, 10 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Calif.
9/30 M Tennis @ Ann Arbor TBA
9/30 W Tennis @ Ann Arbor TBA
9/30 W Golf @ Ann Arbor TBA
9/30 W Tennis - Pre-Qualify- Los Angeles TBA
ing - Riviera/ITA All-
10/1 M Tennis @ Ann Arbor TBA
10/1 W Soccer vs. Indiana Ann Arbor 1 p.m.
10/1 Field Hockey @ State College Noon
10/1 W Tennis @ Ann Arbor TBA
10/1 W Golf @ Ann Arbor TBA
Penn State avenges last season's loss
By Mirgim Jusufi
For the Daily
If it was looking for a redeem-
ing victory, the Michigan wom-
didn't find it
verines hit the road Sunday for
their Big Ten season opener,
only to get pounced on, 4-1, by
No. 9 Penn State.
Coming into the game, Mich-
igan's defense had yet to allow
a first-half goal all season. But
the Nittany Lions were not too
keen on keeping the Wolver-
ines' streak alive, scoring in
the 38th minute to head into the
half up by one.
Penn State took advantage of
Michigan's sluggish second-half
start by firing seven straight
shots and earning two corners.
As a result of the offensive bar-
rage, the Nittany Lions scored a
goal in the 57th minute, leaving
the Wolverines with a two-goal
Down but not out, Michigan
quickly bounced back when
senior captain Katelin Spencer
snuck in a goal off a rebound
in the 61st minute to bring her
team within one.
With less than 20 minutes to
play, Michigan brought up the
offense hoping for a late come-
back But Penn State capitalized
on the Wolverines' adjustments
by counter-attacking, which
eventually led to a one-on-one
ThewNittany Lions pulled
away with their third goal in
the 78th minute, and finished
off the Wolverines in the 87th
minute with another goal.
The Nittany Lions may have
been helped by their wish to
avenge their loss to Michigan
last season in the Big Ten Tour-
nament. The Wolverines beat
a previously undefeated Penn
State squad on penalty kicks
"Penn State is a good
team," Michigan coach Debbie
Rademacher said. "We were in
the game at 2-1 and let up two
unanswered goals when we
were pressing offensively."
Michigan sophomore goalie
Madison Gates made six saves
for a career-high performance
in the loss. Penn State outshot
The 4-1 loss is Michigan's
first loss by three or more goals
since late in the 2004 season (a
5-2 loss against Ohio State in
the Big Ten Tournament).
Michigan (0-1 Big Ten, 4-4-
2 overall), now in the midst of
a three-game losing streak, had
not lost a conference opener
since the 2001 season. But the
impressive play of Penn State
(1-0, 6-2-2) ended that.
After a tough stretch in which
Michigan has suffered losses to
No. 1 Notre Dame (Sept. 17),
No. 9 Penn State and Oakland
(Thursday), the Wolverines
will have two home games this
weekend to snap out of it.
Michigan will have its first
chance at redemption on Friday,
Senior captain Judy Coffman and her fellow Wolverines fell to Penn State, 4-1
when No. 25 Purdue comes to
Ann Arbor. A win would bring
both Michigan's record against
top-25 teams (1-2) and confer-
ence record (0-1) back to .500
on the season. The Wolverines
will try to avenge a one-goal loss
Continued from page 1B
i n e, o ntine directorythey were willing to admit.
inCircle, n"My theory is that Iowa did some-
and networking thing to the lights," she said smiling.
community from "The scoreboard was still on, so the
the Alumni Cpower wasn't the issue. I've never
h AALUMNIASSOCIATION ever been in anything like that."
Association. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN Michigan clearly had momen-
tum when the outage occurred. But
it was apparent that the Hawkeyes
turned the tables on the Wolverines
after play resumed. Iowa denied
Michigan a shot or corner oppor-
tunity for 25 straight minutes after
the outage and during that same
time span, the Hawkeyes took eight
shots, picked up five corners and
Michigan coach Nancy Cox
attributed much of Wolverines'
loss in momentum to the break that
To play: Complete the grid so that every row, column transpired from the outage.
and every 3x3 box contains the digits 1 to 9. time completely took the momen-
tum out of our kids' sails," Cox
There is no guessing or math involved, said. "I told them all week that
:. . ...r-:,.i .- +n orrnA I i . .. -. ,:a d l when Iowa comes out, they're
from last year in West Lafayette
against the Boilermakers (2-
0, 9-1-2), who are coming off
yesterday's overtime victory
against Minnesota. Michigan
follows up with a game versus
visiting Indiana on Sunday.
going to come out incredibly
motivated and that they had to
meet that motivation and exceed
it. Our kids were doing a good job
of that, and then the stoppage in
time happened. When Iowa came
back out (after the stoppage), we
didn't come out with the same
type of aggressiveness."
Just when it looked like both
teams would fail to score in over-
time, Fox crossed midfield and
came down the crowded right
sideline with the ball. Maneuver-
ing her way between two Iowa
defenders, she flipped the ball to
Belassi, who was there to knock it
through for the third game-winner
of her career.
The win marked the Wolverines'
fifth victory in the last six games,
and also the fourth straight time
that Michigan has beaten Iowa dat-
ing back to2004.
"It was just relieving," said
Belassi of scoring the goal to finish
off the Hawkeyes. "I just wanted
it to go in. I didn't care about any-
Continued from page 1B
Following the early goal, Michi-
gan rode the wave of confidence to
widen its lead against the Hoosiers
(0-0-1, 4-3-2). At 18:10, senior Kevin
Hall ran behind Indiana's defense and
received a pass from freshman Peri
Marosevic. From about four yards
out, the co-captain's shot found the
lower right portion of the net to give
Michigan a 2-0 advantage. Burns
said that the goal was setup by touch-
es from at least four different players,
testifying to a great team effort.
"The ball movement almost mes-
merized the defenders, who couldn't
keep up with the play," Burns said.
"That's what we call 'good soccer.' "
In the 23rd minute of the game,
Michigan had a golden opportunity
to earn a third goal. Sophomore Jake
Stacy got a serve from sophomore
Steve Bonnell on the right side of the
field. Getting in behind the Indiana
defenders, Stacy entered a scrum
withthe goalkeeper and several other
players. The forward found the ball,
turned 90 degrees and struck a solid
shot with his left foot, but the ball hit
the post and went out-of-bounds.
Taking advantage of Michigan's
missed chance to score again,
Indiana rebounded. In the 33rd
minute, the Hoosiers' Kevin Rob-
son earned a penalty kick after
a Michigan foul. The infraction
proved costly for the Wolverines
- as Robson nailed the shot to put
Indiana on the board.
Heading into the second half with
a 2-1 lead, Michigan was just 45 min-
utes away from achieving its Holy
But at 67:18, the Hoosiers woke up
the Wolverines from their dreams of
victory. Once again, Robson provid-
ed the dagger, sinking a shot into the
upper right corner of Michigan's net
from 25 yards out.
Burns said that despite the two
Indiana tallies, Michigan goalkeeper
Patrick Sperry had a notable perfor-
"Both of the goals that Indiana
scored... any goalie wouldn't be able
to stop," Burns said. "Sperry's angles
were great, he covered all the right
was very sure-handed."
With the score dead even at
two at the end of regulation, the
game was sent into overtime.
After 10 minutes elapsed with
no score, the game went into a
second extended period.
Despite Michigan out-shoot-
ing Indiana in overtime, 8-3, and
demonstrating a higher level of
physical and mental fitness than
the Hoosiers, the Wolverines just
couldn't find the back of the net.
With three seconds remaining
in the second overtime period,
Holody shot a full volley from
20 yards out that missed going
in the net by about a foot and a
Eighteen inches. That's all that
stood between Michigan and victory.
But earning a tie against Indiana 4
- a nationally recognized program
that boasts seven all-time NCAA
Championships (second only to St.
Louis's 10) - is a feat to be celebrat-
ed for a young Michigan team look-
ing to make a run in the Big Ten.
"Overall, this year more than any
other year, the Big Ten is really up
for grabs," Burns said. "In (yester-
day's) Big Ten opener for Indiana, we
snubbed them with a tie.... The Big
Ten will be determined by if you can
get a point on the road.... This puts
us in a good position for the restoflthe
Big Ten season."
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