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October 05, 2006 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-10-05

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Thursday, October 5, 2006 - The Michigan Daily - 9A
Spikers adjust 'D' during skid

By Dan Feldman
Daily Sports Writer
After following a 13-0 start with a
four-game skid to begin Big Ten play, the
Michigan volleyball team may change
its lineup.
Sophomore Kerry Hance was replaced
at libero by freshman Megan Bower
before the second game of the Wolver-
ines's loss to Wisconsin Saturday, despite
starting the entire season at libero.
Michigan coach Mark Rosen didn't
see a significant difference between the
two in the game and is not sure who will
be the libero this weekend when Michi-
gan hosts Northwestern and Illinois.
The player who does not start at libero
will be the defensive specialist, a role
nearly identical to libero.
But the libero is in the game for five-
and-a-half rotations, while the defensive
specialist plays only three, so Rosen
anticipates the two could alternate
between those positions based on who is
playing well at the time.

According to Rosen's assessment
of the three main skills required of a
libero, Hance has been slightly better at
passing, while Bower has been a slightly
better defensive player. Their serving
has been fairly equal.
Hance has been expecting a battle for
the position all along. Junior Stesha Sel-
sky, last year's libero, beat out redshirt
sophomore Mara Martin to start at set-
ter, but Hance was ready to challenge
Selsky if necessary.
She also realized all four freshmen
on the team (Bower, Cassie Petoskey,
Veronica Rood and Kirstin Wagner) had
the skill set to compete for the libero
position.
"I've been competing the whole time,"
Hance said. "...I knew Megan Bower
was going to want to be on the court,
like every other player on the team."
And Bower has played like she wants
more playing time.
"Bower's done a very good job defen-
sively, and it's given her more opportuni-
ties because of that," Rosen said. "She's

also been getting consistently better as a
passer and developing in that role. That's
certainly given us the opportunity to try
to start using her a little more. That's
probably the biggest factor in the whole
equation."
But Hance is in no hurry to return to
the defensive specialist role she played
last year. She's been practicing with
associate head coach Leisa Rosen in the
mornings, working on her digging abil-
ity.
Bower has missed some practice time
this week with strep throat, but played
last weekend with the condition.
"If we were playing (Wednesday) it
would (be a factor in playing time),"
Rosen said. "But we're not playing
(Wednesday). We're playing on Friday
and Sunday.
"We have to wait and see and see
if they're both healthy and then who
we feel like is going to make the most
impact on that given night. ... The sick-
ness has nothing to do with it. She'll be
fine to play. She'll be ready to go."

ANGELA CESERE/Daily
Sophomore Kerry Hance is battling with freshman Megan Bower for starting libero.

Home success earns
Pumford spot on road

By Michael Eisenstein
For the Daily
Nick Pumford's parents probably
knew that their son would end up on
the links before he was even born.
With six aunts, six uncles, both
parents and an older brother that play
and a grandmother who owns a driv-
ing range, it was inevitable that soph-
omore Pumford would find himself
wielding a golf club at a young age.
At age eight, old Pumford began
his golf career. He went on to wits
Division III All-State honors three
times and to be a 2004 Michigan Mr.
Golf candidate at St. Charles High
School in Michigan.
The only question was when Pum-
ford would get to make his first start
for the Wolverines. After finishing
second at the Wolverine Intercolle-
giate while competing unattached,
the question has been answered.
He will start this weekend at the
Wolf Run Intercollegiate.
The first word Michigan coach
Andrew Sapp used to describe Pum-

ford's performance is "spectacular,"
and there isn't a better way to put it.
Pumford had a four-under-par
score of 209 (67-71-71) and tied for a
tournament-high 13 birdies in just his
second tournament as a Wolverine.
Capitalizing on his long game off
the tee by converting on his putts was
particularly important for Pumford,
who feels his short game is his weak-
ness.
"The big difference for him this
year than last year is that he's putting
a lot better than he has in the past,'
Sapp said. "He worked really hard
on his golf swing this past spring and
summer.
And the difference was obvious.
But despite his fast start to the
season, Pumford has yet to prove
hinself completely. He hasn't played
yet played in a tournament where his
rounds count toward the team score.
"He works really hard and is a
good teammate to everybody" Sapp
said. "Now we'll find out how well
he'll contribute from a scoring stand-
point."

With three consecutive tourna-
ments coming up on the schedule
for the Wolverines, Pumford will
have a chance to establish him-
self in team play and possibly go
on to accomplish his goal for the
season - to play in the rest of the
team's tournaments.
But last year was a much different
story for Pumford. He didn't make
any starts, describing it as a "learning
experience."
But it was the competitiveness of
the sport and the fact that hitting the
links is often a very humbling expe-
rience that have kept Pumford moti-
vated to keep playing golf.
"It's a game of highs and lows, and
it's the highs that keep me coming
back," Pumford said.
Even with last weekend's effort
securing a spot in this week's start-
ing lineup, Sapp said he's worried
that Pumford may get the jitters in
his first event away from campus.
But there's no need to worry. After
all, the game of golf is in Pumford's
blood.

Twins centerflelder Torii Hunter misplays Mark Kotsay's line drive, which allowed Kotsay to score on an inside-
the-park home run.
0y 0
History repeats itself
for Hunter in loss to A's

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Right after two of his
Minnesota teammates hit back-to-back home runs,
Torii Hunter tried to be the hero.
Instead, the Gold Glove center fielder made an
ill-advised dive for a sinking line drive. Sprawled
on the turf, he could only watch as Mark Kotsay
circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run
that lifted the Oakland Athletics over Minnesota
5-2 yesterday for a 2-0 lead in their AL playoff
series.
"It was the worst feeling in the world. You can't
do anything about it," said Hunter, who -blamed
himself for this devastating defeat.
A's starter Esteban Loaiza slipped in the sixth
inning, surrendering consecutive solo homers to
Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau that evened
the game at 2.
But with Jason Kendall on first base, two outs
in the seventh and reliever Dennys Reyes pitching,
Kotsay hit what should have been a single. Hunter,
bothered by a sore left foot this season, charged
forward.
"There's only one person in this league that can
make that catch, and it's Torii," said Cuddyer, who
watched from right field. "Although it's as close as
you come, he's not Superman."
The five-time Gold Glover missed - by a lot
- and the ball rolled to the wall. Kotsay raced all
the way around to give Oakland a 4-2 lead.
"Once you commit, you're kind of in no-man's
land, and it's best to go," said Kotsay, also a center
fielder. "He went, and for his sake, unfortunately,
the ball took off."
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Said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire: "When he
goes after a ball, I don't second-guess him. Ever."
The A's handled the Boof - Bonser, that is
- and here's the truth: These perennial playoff
underperformers have arrived at yet another elimi-
nation game. They're 0-9 in those since 2000, los-
ing four straight first-round series.
"This team knows what to do," said Eric Chavez,
a regular on all four of those clubs. "We're hard-
nosed baseball players that like to play the game.
I don't think anybody here, regardless if they've
been in this position, is going to take Game 3
lightly."
The series shifts west Friday, with Twins right-
hander Brad Radke taking his broken shoulder
socket to the mound for possibly the final time of
his 12-year career. Dan Haren, in his first postsea-
son start, will pitch for Oakland.
Bonser, a rookie, struck out three in six innings,
giving up two runs and seven hits. Sidearmer Pat
Neshek, who took the loss, started the seventh
before yielding to Reyes.
The A's - who got an RBI double from Marco
Scutaro for the second day in a row - tacked one
more on in the ninth when Nick Swisher doubled
against Juan Rincon and scored on Joe Nathan's
wild pitch.
Huston Street worked the ninth for his second
save in as many days after blowing I1 chances dur-
ing the regular season. He gave up a single to Jason
Bartlett and a walk to Luis Castillo, but retired
Nick Punto on a popup on a 3-2 pitch with AL bat-
ting champion Joe Mauer on deck.

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