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November 06, 2006 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-11-06

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

DAILY SPORTS BREAKS DOWN THE WEEKEND THAT WAS
2B - Monday, November 6, 2006
SAID AND HEARD AT
a Kati
We saw Ball State as
a MAC team and took Bruzdzinski's 21 ki
them for granted."night's upset of No
hitter also record
move her into sev
- Fifth-year senior offensive lineman RUEBEN Mihigai
RILEY on Michigan's poor showing against the Michiga
Cardinals on Saturday.

HLETE OF THE WEEK
ie Bruzdzinski
VOLLEYBALL
lls led the Wolverines in Saturday
.12 Minnesota. The junior outside
ed 3 service aces in the match to
venth on the all-time record list at
n with 110 on her career.

I

Small expectations, big excitement at RU

ne school litcthe torch that
started college football.
The
other has
carried it
ever since.
One
school has,
made justI
one bowl
game since_
1978. The
other has
made one in JACK
every year
since 1975. HERMAN
At one
school, a
seven-win season prompts joy-
ous celebration. At the other, it
prompts calls for the coach's head.
Today, both teams remain
undefeated and headed for major
matchups against also-unbeaten
rivals.
The second, as you might have
guessed, is Michigan. The first, as

you might not have, is Rutgers.
Yes, the Scarlet Knights - the
perennial college-football door-
mats that have endured more
jokes than the Ford Edsel - are
8-0.
And as much as I enjoy the tra-
dition, pageantry and success of
Michigan sports, there's one thing
I envy about my home state's
school: They're not just doing
well, they - and New Jersey - are
having tons of fun doing it.
It hasn't started hawking vita-
mins, urging kids to say their
prayers or ripping of its shirt, but
Rutgersmania is running wild
over the Garden State.
Normally saddled with low
expectations, Rutgers captured
the state's attention last year
when it posted its first winning
record since 1992. Now, New Jer-
sey is on full alert.
Something has filled the air
in the state (and I'm not talking
about the smell of garbage). It's

the talk about Rutgers football.
Is running back Ray Rice a legit-
imate Heisman Trophy contender?
Two ticketsfor $425, didn't they
used to pay you to take them? Um,
we're sure this isn't a dream, right?
At Michigan the questions
haven't been nearly as fun.
How big are Adrian Arrington's
legal troubles?Is Ron English leav-
ingfor Michigan State? We can't
lose to Indiana - can we?
Even talk after Saturday's win
was depressing. It wasn't "Wow,
we're 10-0," or "If we win one
more game, we're going to play in
what could be one of the greatest
games of all time." It was "We
should've beaten Ball State by
more than that," and "We almost
lost."
The sad thing is that, at a
school with sky-high expectations
like Michigan, that's always the
way it's going to be.
Even if Rutgers loses Thursday,
fans will still be pleased with this
season. I can't say the same for
Michigan.
Take for instance last year's
basketball team. I was as discour-
aged as anybody to see the 16-3

Wolverines patently fall apart at
the end before making a disap-
pointing run at the NIT title. I
mocked their apparent affinity for
the runner-up tournament with-
out mercy. But 200 other teams
and their fans would have loved
nothing more than just a nibble of
that postseason action.
And what about hockey? Most
teams would have been thrilled
to be one of the 16 teams to make
the NCAA tournament. But most
fans would admit disappointment
when the Wolverines lost 5-1 to
North Dakota in the first round
last year.
Or even football. Surely, Illinois
fans would have been pleased
with a 7-5 record and trip to the
Alamo Bowl. But do that at Michi-
gan, and fans want to fire Lloyd
Carr.
And that brings us back to this
year.
As Rutgers nears its historic
matchup with Louisville this
Thursday, the headlines have
screeched across the Star-Led-
ger, New Jersey's largest paper.
"As Rutgers flirts with glory, the
bandwagon nears SRO," read one.

And "Schiano is Jersey's mil-
lion-dollar man" topped a story
detailing how hitting incentives
will reward coach Greg Schiano.
He'll have a paycheck double that
of any other employee of the state
waiting for him, with the next
highest salary going to his boss,
the school's president.
Now to Michigan fans, this
might not seem all that spectacu-
lar. But until recently, Rutgers
football enjoyed treatment from
the state that would have made
the late comedian Rodney Dan-
gerfield feel well respected.
The Scarlet Knights hail from
a state where many high schools
commit what amounts to blasphe-
my in some others places - play
football on Saturday afternoons.
Just a few years ago, a number of
professors and students led a push
for Rutgers to get out of the big-
time athletics business and give
up Division I-A football. On a per-
sonal note, I can't say that I knew
one bona fide Rutgers fan when
growing up, even though I lived
just 40 minutes from campus.
To put it in perspective: 118,910
See HERMAN, PAGE 6B

4

Skiiers learn to fly on club team

By COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
For theDaily
They went from hittingbrick walls
to walking on water.
The seniors on the Michigan co-
ed waterskiing team know what it's
like to fall. Four years ago, when they
joined the team with only recreation-
al experience, each learned the art of
competitive waterskiing. Clutching a
rope and trailing a boat at more than
30 miles per hour, they crashed until
they learned to land.
"Falling is like hitting cement,"
senior Caroline Haverkate said.
"When football players crash, they're
on the ground in half a second. When
we crash, we're flyingthroughthe air
upside down, thinking, 'This is going
to hurt.'
"The first time you land, though,
you're so excited because you actu-
ally held on. You get more guts, and
you keep going and hit it harder and
harder."

Now led by experienced upper-
classmen, the Wolverines had their
best season in recent history after a
come-from-behind performance at
regionals and a sixth-place finish at
the Division II National Champion-
ships.
The Wolverines were still two
places out of national contention
prior to the find round of men's jump
skiing. With a 95-foot jump, senior
Matt Vivian helped the Wolverines
move into fourth place in the Mid-
west Region - and secure a trip to
Sacramento for Nationals.
"The last two or three spots for
Nationals were between us, Mar-
quette, Kansas and Michigan State,"
junior Kasey Coates said. "It was a
huge deal because no one knew who
was going to win. We worked really
hard all summer long, and our goal
was to get to Nationals."
Inadditiontoqualifying, Michigan
accomplished another season-long
goal by earning the Midwest Region

Spirit Award. Using both Michigan
football chants and original cheers,
the Wolverines earned the award for
having the most team pride. Senior
Andrea Buras said that winning the
trophy contributed to the team's
regional meetsuccess.
"The Spirit Award is just for fun,
but it brings the whole team togeth-
er and gets everyone behind every
single skier," Buras said. "The more
encouragement you have going in,
the better you feel about skiing."
Two weeks later, Michigan fin-
ished sixth at Nationals. Senior Lin-
seyWard placedsecondinDivision II
for women's trick, continuing a string
of solid team finishes in trick skiing
that began in the regular season.
"For the past four years, Purdue
has been No.1 in skiing in every event
(in conference competitions)," Ward
said. "This year, it was pretty cool to
see our women's team beat Purdue
in trick pretty much every time. We
were the best women's trick team in

the Midwest."
The team traveled to ski schools
in Florida and Louisiana in the off-
season to learn from professional
waterskiers. They practiced five days
per week during the season, dividing
into small groups based on athletes'
preferred events. Until mid-October,
the Wolverines prepared for Nation-
als, braving Michigan weather to go
to the lake on weekday mornings.
"It's 40 degrees outside, and it's six
in the morningbecauserthat'scthe only
time we don't have class,"said Haver-
kate, describing late season practices.
"It's cold. We wear our winter coats
out into the lake, and then we jump
into the water. It's kind of crazy."
On the road to Nationals, new ski-
ers became some of the largest con-
tributors.With the absence ofacoach,
the upperclassmen - whounderstood
what it was like to crash as freshmen
- taught the underclassmen how to
ski competitively. This season, the
Wolverines saw their regional and

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sional pain of the learning curve.
Like other upperclassmen who
worked past the painful landings
of waterskiing, Buras said of suc-
cess in her sport, "You feel like
you're flying."
FIELD HOCKEY
From page 1B
Nancy Cox said. "Having had to
overcome all of her health issues all
year long... stepping on and playing
two minutes here, four minutes, six
minutes here -every time the kid '
steps on the field, she makes a sig-
nificant contribution to the success
of Michigan field hockey."
The Wolverines left every-
thing they had out on the field.
Cox thought the possibility of this
beingche seniors' lastgame of their
careers might have weighed on
them. But she discounted the pos-
sibility of fatigue or the freezing
temperature as factors contribut-
ing to the loss, even asserting:
"The weather is Michigan
weather, and we're proud to play in
it because it's Michigan weather."
Despite being knocked out of
the conference tournament, Michi-
gan still has a chance to go to the
NCAA Tournament. But instead of
controlling their own destiny, the
Wolverines will have to depend on
the selection committee.
"Well, we certainly didn't make
the likelihood of (being selected)
very high, but I hope that the
selection committee looks at the
strength of our schedule," Cox said.
"When you look at the strength of
our schedule compared to all the
teams in Division I hockey, we play
the second-hardest schedule in the
country."
The NCAA selection committee
will announce the 16 teams advanc-
ing to the tournament on Tuesday
evening.

Presented by:

Mabitat for Humaniyto help
rebuild the Gulf Coast

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This Year Featurinq the

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