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November 06, 2006 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-11-06

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Spikers salvage
weekend with
upset win
VOLLEYBALL 3B

Herman contrasts
undefeateds
RU and UM
SM COLUMN 2B

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Monday, November 6, 2006

michigandailI

Wake-up
call should
help Blue
T his wasn't how it was supposed to he.
Eight points wasn't supposed to be the
margin of victory, not with the spread set
at 33.
Part of the second-string defense was expect-
ed to play late in the fourth quarter, but in mop-
up duty, not on the game-defining drive.
And after 665 consecutive
carries without a fumble,
running back Mike Hart
wasn't supposed to cough
it up in the end zone for a
safety.
That fact was clearly
etched on LaMarr Woodley's
face as he walked off the field
following Michigan's goal- KEVIN
line stand. W IG~
Mouth guard hanging
from his mouth, eyes turned The Sixth Man
heavenward, all he could do
was shake his head in disbe-
lief with a look that simply said, "How could we
let this happen?"
While Saturdayscared Wolverine nation, every
championship team has to be tested. You never
know when it will come, but you can be sure it
will happen. An unheralded team will sneak up
and spark public criticism. The 1997 Michigan
squad had Iowa push it to the brink. The 2005
Texas unit barely fended off a pesky Texas A&M
team. The 2001 Miami National Champions nar-
rowly defeated Boston College.
These Wolverines, by their own admittance,
desperately needed a wake-up call. Since the
Notre Dame game, they've slowly toned down
their level of play from their complete domina-
tion in South Bend.
True, Michigan definitely missed Mario Man-
ningham's ability to stretch the field, and the
weather in Ann Arbor last weekend limited the
offense's continuity. Michigan coach Lloyd Carr
thought his players looked tired in the unimpres-
sive 17-3 victory against Northwestern.
After adopting the 12-game schedule, the Wol-
verines don't have a bye week this season, but
someone forgot to tell them. Because Saturday, it
sure looked like Michigan was in the first stretch
of a two-week bye.
No matter how many times they spew the
overused mantra, "We're taking it one game at a
time," it's clear that the Wolverines had already
glanced past Ball State and Indiana.
Just ask quarterback Chad Henne.
"You could tell that guys were just like, 'Aw,
this is going to be a blowover,' " Henne said. "Ball
State played a heck of a game."
The Cardinals might have played their best
game of the season, but Ball State doesn't really
deserve the credit for the final margin of victory.
Michigan should never have let Saturday's game
get as close as it did.
Carr and the players have shrugged it off as
nothing more than an isolated phenomenon.
Even after the game, some of the players still
maintained their focus on each week's game.
But the play on the field doesn't reflect the
talk.
Dropped balls, false starts and holding penal-
ties are all keys to killing drives, and the Wolver-
ines did their best to employ them all, especially
in the second half. Carr pointed to the benefit
of playing the second-string defense late in the
game, but the score forced Henne to take every
snap from center.
See WRIGHT, Page 53

MICHIGAN 34, BALL STAT 26
NEARLY UPENDED
'M' barely wins, staysunbeaten

By STEPHANIE WRIGHT
Daily SportsEditor
In what should have been a
blowout win, Michigan showed
how the nation's No. 2 team
can almost lose to an unranked
Mid-American Conference
opponent.
Commit eight penalties.
Drop easy passes.
Keep playing inexperienced
defenders with a two-score
lead.
Get burned on a pair of deep
throws.
Miss tackles left and right.
Get caught red-handed look-
ing past an opponent.
If not for a late defensive
stand (which also included mul-
tiple penalties), the Wolverines'
undefeated season might be
over.
Instead, Michigan kept its
National Championship hopes

alive with a 34-26 victory over
Ball State in Michigan Stadium
on Saturday.
"I definitely believe it was a
wake-up call," senior co-cap-
tain LaMarr Woodley said.
"We've got to remember who
we were at the beginning of the
season. We were that team that
was ranked No. 14. Now we're a
team that's ranked No. 2.
"Coming into this game,
everyone was talking about
the hype about Michigan-Ohio
State and kind of overlooked a
team like Ball State. If you disre-
spect ateam, (it's) goingto come
out here and give it (its) all."
That'sjust what the Cardinals
did. After the Wolverines built
a seemingly comfortable 31-12
lead midway through the third
quarter,they started bringingin
their second-string defenders.
Ball State (3-3 MAC, 3-
7 overall) wasted little time

exploiting their inexperience.
Cardinal receiver Dante Love
blew past cornerback Johnny
Sears to grab a wide-open, 54-
yard touchdown pass from Ball
State quarterback Nate Davis.
Even though Michigan's lead
hadbeencuttojust12 points,the
backup Wolverines remained in
the game. And the Cardinals
burned them again. Davis found
receiver Terry Moss for a 62-
yard completion to the Wolver-
ines' two-yard line. This time,
freshman cornerback Stevie
Brown was caught out of posi-
tion.
Two plays later, Ball State
had pulled within eight points
with just under nine minutes
to go.
"We played some young guys
that we wanted to see play, and
they made some mistakes," MIKE HULSEBUS/Da
defensive coordinator Ron TOP: Senior Steve Breaston had seven catches for 50 yards on Saturday.
See CARDINALS, Page 5B BOTTOM: Junior Mike Hart rushed for 154 yards and a touchdown.

Finally,
Icers top
Spartans
By AMBER COLVIN
Daily Sports Writer
Afteranempty-netgoalsealedMichigan
State's 7-4victoryinthe fadingmoments of
Friday night's game, the Munn Ice Arena
crowd decided to stretch the Wolverines'
wounds a little wider and let the salt pour
right in.
"YOU
c't MIC HIG AN 4
Scant ,
beat MICHIGAN STATE 7
us!" the
sell-out MICHIGAN STATE 2.
audi MICHIGAN 6
ence
jeered.
It was true. No. 9 Michigan couldn't
beat its archrival, not once in nine games
and almost two years of competition.
The Wolverines had an hour-long bus
ride from East Lansing to let the Munn
crowd's taunting ring in their ears.
Back in Ann Arbor, the team had a late-
night meeting. Something had to change.
"(It was) miserable," senior alternate
captain T.J. Hensick said. "We knew that

Stickers must wait
after shocking loss

RODRIGO GAYA/Daily
Alternate captain T.J. Hensick had a goal and three assists in Michigan's 6-2 win over Michigan
State on Saturday. For the weekend he tallied five points as the Wolverines split with the Spartans.
wasn't our best showing. That's what frus- serving his game disqualification the night
trates this team. When we don't go out and before.
play with our capabilities, we're not going But the biggest difference between Fri-
to get good results." day and Saturday might have been in the
The next night, in the friendly confines first intermission.
of Yost Ice Arena, Michigan (2-2-0 CCHA, Friday, the Wolverines notched two
5-3-0 overall) put together an impressive scores in the first seven minutes of the
team effort for a 6-2 win over No. 5 Michi- game. But somewhere between ending the
gan State - its first victory over the Spar- first period up 3-1 and taking the ice for the
tans in two years. second stanza, they lost it.
Sophomore goalie Billy Sauer stood And the Spartans (2-2-0 CCHA, 4-2-0
strong in the crease. Offensive pairings overall) got it. They outshot Michigan 13-
clicked left and right. Star defenseman 4 that period, tallying four consecutive
Jack Johnson was back in the lineup after See ICERS, Page 6B

By COLT ROSENSWEIG
Daily Sports Writer
Call it mojo. Call it luck.
Whatever you call it, the fourth-seeded
Michigan field hockey team didn't have
it during its frigid Big Ten Tournament
opener on Friday.
No one associated with the team
expected its tournament showing to end
so abruptly on the first day of play. Many
players, especially the seniors, cried
openly as the game ended a minute and a
half into overtime, a 2-1 loss to unranked,
fifth-seeded Iowa on Michigan's own
Phyllis Ocker Field.
For the seniors, their final competi-
tion at home came two days too early. The
game might have been the last of their
careers as well, if Michigan (4-2 Big Ten,
11-9 overall) isn't selected for an at-large
bid into the NCAA Tournament.
The Hawkeyes (2-4 Big Ten, 11-8 over-
all) almost ended the game on a corner
opportunity, with the scoreboard show-
ing no time left in regulation. Though
the ball found the back of the net, the
goal was waved off, and the game went to
overtime.
Iowa made its next corner count. Lau-
ren Pfeiffer, who had scored Iowa's first

goal, blasted a shot from the top of the
circle past goalie Beth Riley at 72:28, end-
ing the game and No.16 Michigan's run in
the Big Ten Tournament.
The Hawkeyes drew first blood, fin-
ishing on a corner at 17:23 of the opening
half. Though the Wolverines played with
an almost desperate sense of urgency
throughout the match, Iowa contained
them.
Senior tri-captain Mary Fox, who nor-
mally weaves through multiple defenders
as if they're standing still, couldn't pene-
trate Iowa's defense. Leading goal-scorer
Lucia Belassi was held to just two shots on
goal. And though, as usual, Michigan out-
cornered its opponent (9-7), the Hawk-
eyes were the team capitalizing on those
chances.
The Wolverines demonstrated their
usual gritty spirit, fighting Iowa all the
way to the end. Finally, with about 12
minutes left in regulation, freshman
Kelly Fitzpatrick knotted the game at one
goal apiece. She pounced on a rebound
near the Iowa cage, stuffing it past Iowa
goalkeeper Lissa Munley as she fell to the
turf.
"Every time (Fitzpatrick) steps on the
field, she's able to finish," Michigan coach
See FIELD HOCKEY, Page 2B

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