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October 26, 2006 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-10-26

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10A - Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Senior anchors Blue

4

By ROBERT KAITZ
Daily Sports Writer
Starting every game over the
four years of a collegiate career is
no small feat. And neither is lead-
ing a team on and off the field,
anchoring a midfield depleted by
injuries.
Senior co-captain Katelin
Spencer is doing just that for the
Michigan women's soccer team,
although she is quick to deflect the
credit.
"There have been a lot of people
around me who made me better,"
Spencer said about her success at
Michigan.
Her teammates and coaches
aren't going to let her off the hook
that easily.
"Katelin is an all-around great
leader and a consistent player,"
junior midfielder Sarah Banco
said. "She might getoverlooked,
but she is invaluable if she were
taken off the field."
Michigan coach Debbie Radem-
acher added: "For us, she's been
great as a defender and midfielder,
being able to excel at both posi-
tions. She's always been willing to
do what's best for the team."
Versatile and selfless are two
apt words for Spencer.
In addition to starting all 84
games of her career, the Brighton
native has served as a team cap-
tain for the past two seasons.
As a defensive midfielder, her
mainresponsibilities arekeepingthe

team out of trouble in the defending
third and transitioning the ball to
her attackers. Allowing just 16 goals
in 18games, the Wolverines cangive
Spencer a chunk of the credit for the
defensive success.
"She wants to attack, but she's
so dependable staying back," said
Banco, a fellow captain.
In addition to her defensive
prowess, Spencer has shown offen-
sive pop, too. Her goal total of two
(a career high) might appear small,
but she is just one of five Wolver-
ines with multiple goals.
Even more amazing is how she
tallied these scores. Despite her
relatively small 5-foot-5 stature,
she scored both goals on head-
ers. Against Indiana on Oct. 1, the
senior won an air-ball over numer-
ous Hoosier defenders and found
the back of the net to tie the game.
"She's athletic and has a great
vertical leap," Rademacher said.
"She is pretty brave to be fighting
defenders in the box to get a head
on crosses."
Losing midfielders Danelle
Underwood and Jamie Artsis to
injury was a big setback for the
unit, but younger Wolverines
have contributed in their absence,
thanks to a little help from the
midfield's elder stateswoman.
"Kristin (Thomas) and Kylie
(Neschke) have stepped up unbe-
lievably," Spencer said. "I'm there
with the experience and can give
them guidance."
Thomas, a sophomore, notched

her first collegiate points on Sun-
day with a goal and an assist in a
dramatic 2-1 overtime victory over
Ohio State.
So, let's recap.
Skilled and hardworking.
Check.
Leader on and off the field.
Check.
A gifted singer. Check?
Yes, her versatility isn't just
limited to the pitch. She excels
with another kind of pitch. Since
her freshman year, the vocal per-
formance major has performed
the national anthem on the team's
Senior Day.
"We always try to get her to
sing, and we keep on asking her,
but she only does it once a year,"
Banco said.
This year's rendition on Oct.
15 had a little extra meaning. As
Spencer closed the curtains on
this special tradition.
"She wows the crowd with her
singing and then on the field, too,"
Rademacher said.
Spencer's interestsforwhere she
wants to pursue a singing career
include an animated feature film
(watch out, Jasmine and Ariel) or
the opera. If her future success in
the singing department can match
her accomplishments on the soc-
cer field, there's no predicting how
far she can go.
For now, the focus is on notch-
ing her 85th consecutive start at
in-state rival Michigan State on
Friday.

4

Popeney leads
on the field and
from the bench

Confident Harriers
focus on Wisconsin

By JAMIE JOSEPHSON
Daily Sports Writer
If four years have made anybody
on the Michigan men's soccer team
older and wiser, it's "Pops."
Senior co-captainBrian Popeney
came into Michigan like everyone
else - one of the best players on
his high school team with expec-
tations of starting for the Maize
and Blue.
But as a freshman, Popeney
played in seven games, starting
just one. For the remainder of his
Michigan career, Popeney would
spend most of his time coming off
the bench.
Instead of hanging up his cleats,
the Canton native tied them tight-
er.
"Everyone coming in expects
to be a starter," Popeney said. "So,
there is a little bit of disappoint-
ment. But at the same time, it was
a good learning process. I had to
accept (the situation) and learn
how to help the team in whatever
way I could."
Though he has not started,
Popeney has played in 13 of 18
games so far this season. But the
senior has made valuable contri-
butions to the team even when he's
not tallying minutes on the field.
Michigan coach Steve Burns said
that Popeney's leadership extends
from confronting teammates in
the locker room to being a motiva-
tional cheerleader on the sideline.
Popeney was named a co-captain
this season.
"It can be very difficult for a
player to come into Michigan that
has expectations of (leaving with
stats that show) he had a great
career and that doesn't material-
ize," Burns said. "That says a lot
about the character of the person
when he realizes that his reaction

to that (disappointment) is every-
thing. Popeney realizes that it is
his attitude that determines the
mood of the team, and he is so pos-
itive. It is one of those things I get
choked up about."
Burns points to Michigan's Oct.
15 game against Northwestern as
an example of Popeney's leader-
ship style. After giving up a goal
just 10 seconds before the first
half ended, the demoralized Wol-
verines slowly came off the field.
down 2-0 at halftime. But the co-
captain ran over from the bench
and started yelling, "Jog off! Keep
your heads up!"
"That's so valuable," Burns
said. "It is one thing when coaches
say those things to you but quite
another when teammates and
peers say that to you. That is Brian
Popeney. He is such a class leader
within our program."
Though Michigan would go
on to lose the game by the same
score, Popeney's role as team
motivator has proved invaluable
for a struggling young Wolverine
team. Michigan (0-2-3 Big Ten, 5-
9-4 overall) has not won since its
Sept. 20 game against Oakland.
Popeney recognizes that his con-
tributions as a veteran leader are
even more vital when a young
team can't seem to dig itself out of
a hole.
"When the season is not going
the way you expect it to like this
year, it is very easy for everyone
to stray off in their own ways,
and the team falls apart a little
bit," Popeney said. "We've tried to
focus on keeping everyone close
and making sure we realize how
good the team actually is. We need
to make sure that we keep on com-
peting."
When he gets playing time,
Popeney makes every minute

By MICHAEL EISENSTEIN
For the Daily
Its training has changed.
Its attitude has changed.
Now, the No.18 Michigan men's
cross country team is confident the
results will change this weekend at
the Big Ten Championships.
Lastyear's fifth place finish was
extremely disappointing for the
Wolverines.
"We were young and really inex-
perienced," said junior co-captain
Mike Woods, explaining last year's
performance.
Sophomore Lex Williams added
that the team was running tired
last year, which is why coach Ron
Warhurst changed the way the
team practiced this season.
Warhurst is decreasingthe mile-
age that the team runs leading up to
the meet so that Michigan will not
be runningtired again.
But this is not the biggest change
to the training regiment. Earlier in
the season, Warhurst had the team
running 40 more miles per week
than it did last year, increasing
the Wolverines mileage from 65 to
100-105 miles per week in order to
establish a good base for postseason
meets.
"Their (No. 18 Michigan and
No.1 Wisconsin) high school times
were similar so it was a matter of
uppingthe mileage." Warhurst said.
"You're not goingto beat them run-
ning60 when they're running 120
and they're just as talented."
But the change in training by
itself is not enough. The Wolverines
have altered their attitude on the
course and now they know that
they can run with the best.
"It's a new team compared to last
year," Woods said. "Our freshmen
(and redshirt freshmen) have really
stepped it up.... We're fearless.
We're a kamikaze team."
And Woods will definitely be
running with that attitude against
the favored, but beatable, defend-
ing national champion Badgers

this weekend.
"Wisconsin has a lot of things up
in the air," Woods said. "The team
hasn't seen three or four runners
yet, so I think they're vulnerable....
I think we have a shot to win."
Warhurst doesn't know what to
expect from these untested Wis-
consin runners. He says they could
either be injured, diamonds in the
rough or anything in between.
"We'll know 15 minutes into
the race," Warhurst added. "And
if (Wisconsin runners Tim Nelson
and Matt Withrow) are out, then
they are vulnerable."
The last thing Michigan is
changing this weekend is its strat-
egy to take down Wisconsin - or at
least finish in second.
Williams believes that if Michi-
gan has a few runners (most likely
Williams and Woods, according to
Warhurst) running with the Wis-
consin pack in the top 10, and the
Wolverine pack follows up to finish
in the teens, then the Maize and
Blue have a shot at bringing home a
Big Ten Championship.
But despite the team's confi-
dence, beating the top-ranked Bad-
gers will be a difficult task. With
four returning All-Americans and
the potential individual national
champion on its team, Wisconsin
is the favorite to defend its nation-
al title.
"I don't know if we have the
firepower to beat them," Warhurst
said. "It's an uphill battle to think
we can beat them."
Even with the changes in train-
ing and attitude, one thing that
hasn't changed from lastyear is
Warhurst's expectation for Michi-
gan on Sunday: "For the boys to run
their ass off."

Brian Popeney has scored two goals on the season. He also has one assist for Michigan.

count - on both sides of the ball.
Before his career at Michigan,
Popeney had always been a central
attacking midfielder. But with that
position occupied, Popeney had
to learn quickly to adapt to other
positions.
His role has ranged from defen-
sive midfielder to attacking mid-
fielder to forward this year. With
two goals and one assist on the
season, Popeney certainly hasn't
lost touch with his attack game.
But it's on the defensive end that
Burns sees the veteran's greatest
improvement.
"Where Brian has improved is
his willingness to do the defen-
sive tracking work," Burns said.
"He realizes that every play could
be the most important play in the

game, even if that means put-
ting pressure on one of (the other
team's) players."
Though the senior plans to
retire his jersey for a suit and tie
in law school next year, Popeney
said that he will take his experi-
ence playing for Michigan with
him wherever he goes.
"The things I will take away
from this experience are time
management. ... All the friends I
made here. ... And just the honor of
competing for Michigan."
Popeney hopes to finish off his
final game at the U-M Soccer Field
with a victory against Penn State
on Saturday. The Wolverines face
the Nittany Lions at 7 p.m. in their
last regular season contest before
the Big Ten Tournament.

TU I uui 1 -IrI

The University of Michigan
LfSA College of Literature, Science, and the Arta
presents a public lecture and reception

I I ULPJ n I igg1L' . ~ RUL1 pIV '1

The 1922 silent classic by F.W. MURNAU will feature a
live orchestra conducted by renowned silent film
composer GILLIAN ANDERSON.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27 AT 8:00 PM*
S~e lthnst : j "

TIURS0i OCIOBER 26, 2006 4:30 PM
EAS HALL AU0I0RIUM,#1324
FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL (734) 615-6449

I

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