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January 18, 2007 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-01-18

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8A - Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Home
not so
sweet
By IAN ROBINSON
Daily Sports Writer
Few squads have a home-ice advantage like
the Michigan hockey team.
Yost Ice Arena has traditionally been one
of the most intimidating venues for visiting
teams.
Despite this edge, the Wolverines have
struggled to sweep home series, especially after
dominating the weekend's first game - which
is exactly what happened against Northern
Michigan this weekend.
"We have been playing together for four
months now, and we know what to expect,"
senior captain Matt Hunwick said. "We've had
some letdowns, at home especially, against
teams we should beat. Tonight was no different
... there is a seriousness that we need when we
get out on the ice, and I think we lacked that."
The Wolverines haven't lost on the opening
night of weekend home series but are just 1-3 in
the final game this season.
"It's pretty unacceptable and disappoint-
ing," senior Kevin Porter said. "This used to be
the toughest place to play, but this year, there
have been numerous teams that come in here
and beat us in our own rink."
Michigan has already lost five home games
- the most at this point of the season since
1988.
From listening to postgame comments, it
sounds as if the games are over before the
puck drops. The Wolverines have pointed to
not being mentally ready to win and failing to
match the visiting team's desperation.
"We weren't playing with enough despera-
tion," Michigan coach Red Berenson said fol-
lowing Saturday's loss. "We weren't playing
with a sense of urgency. Then, when you start
doing that, you start trying to do too much
yourself, so you're not playing together."
Against Northern Michigan on Saturday,
the Wolverines were frequently called off-
sides, infractions that signal a team is not in
sync. Those violations killed offensive chances
before they could start - critical mistakes for a
team that didn't score until the game's waning

Swimmers out
of water the key
to success

By MATT JOHNSON
Daily Sports Writer
With most of the season
behind the Michigan women's
swimming and diving team and
the Big Ten Championships
coming up in early February, one
would expect the Wolverines to
tone down their training to get
some rest before the most impor-
tant part of their schedule.
But don't tell that to Michigan
coach Jim Richardson.
Last week, the Wolverines
completed their most intense
week of training to prepare for
the Michigan Invitational.
More important, the rigor-
ous practices will help Michigan
with the conference champion-
ship meet around the corner.
The training is unique because
Richardson incorporates whathe
calls "dry land" work in addition
to practice in the pool. It involves
a lot of dumbbell work with many
repetitions done at a low weight,
according to seniors Kaitlyn
Brady and Lindsey Smith.
"It's unusual and different
from what most people are out
there doing," Richardson said.
"But I have a lot of confidence in
the program."
The team does the program
every day, and coupling that with
normal workouts in the pool can
be exhausting. When questioned
about the workout right after
another long day of practice, nei-
ther Brady nor Smith appeared
too excited about it. But they
know it's beneficial.
"It's tough but in the end you
know it's going to be worth it,"
Brady said.
Said Smith: "It's easier to get

in shape with the dry-land work-
outs."
Richardson said he first heard
about the program from a friend
of his who is a conditioning
coach. He liked the system so
much that Michigan has used it
for about four years.
The extra conditioning also
helps prevent injuries in the pool
by making the Wolverines stron-
ger and more durable.
"We've been able to eliminate
about 95 percent of our shoulder
problems, and we've swum faster
with it," Richardson said.
If the extra work affected
the team's performance over
the weekend, it was in a nega-
tive sense. Out of four teams, the
Wolverines finished third. But,
Richardson wasn't fazed by the
meet's results.
"We put in our hardest week
of training this week," he said
after the meet, clearly not -con-
cerned by the team's finish. "We
had some swimmers just do awe-
some."
No. 10 Michigan now must
travel to Evanston to try and get
back on track against Northwest-
ern this Saturday.
It will be a test for the Wolver-
ines for two reasons.
. One, Michigan is looking for
momentum going into the Big
Ten Championships.
Secondly, because the team's
training has been geared to help
more for home meets, the trip to
Northwestern will not be easy,
Richardson said.
"The most important thing is
that we can maintain our land-
training here at home, and on the
road, that would be a little more
difficult."

A

BEN SIMON/[
Senior captain Matt Hunwick and the Wolverines have struggled in the once-cozy confines of Yost Ice Arena.

seconds against the 10th-placed Wildcats.
Berenson called Friday's 5-2 win over the
same Wildcats a team effort because of how
well the Wolverines played together. He used
the same terminology to explain the team's
failure to complete the home sweep.
"We've all got to get on the same track and
stay there," Berenson said. "We can't get on
there once in a while, and then when the train
gets moving, we all decide we're going to go
different directions. ... That's a breakdown all
through the game."
But Berenson has conveyed these messages
frequently this season.
After an early season 6-3 loss to Miami in
the final game of a home series, he said his
team "was not going to beat anybody with that
effort." The RedHawks' penalty kill outscored
the Michigan power play 2-1 in that game and
controlled the pace of play, even when Michi-
gan had the man advantage.
In a weekend-ending loss to Northeastern,

Berenson pointed to some mental "lapses"
that put his team in trouble. Trailing by one
in the final minutes, Michigan tried to bring
goalie Billy Sauer out of the net to have an
extra attacker on the ice, but sophomore Travis
Turnbull was called for a hooking penalty.
Following each loss, the Wolverines state
their resolve to make the necessary adjustments
for the next week, but those adjustments have
translated to just one home weekend sweep.
Porter continued Saturday night to harp on
the need to get the problem fixed.
With just one home series remaining this
regular season before a possible home series
in the CCHA playoffs, Michigan fans will hope
that the team learns how to make that change
soon.
But the team might have to turn this around
to finish in the league's top four to earn a first-
round bye. Right now, the Wolverines sit in
fourth place, just four points ahead of fifth
placed Lake Superior State.

0

Get in shape for les

On the bench, rivalry heats up
By DAN FELDMAN a very, very good team and they probably seen us play against her, so of McCallie's comments. Besides
Daily Sports Writer should get up for every game the that's the only reason why she would taking a shot at the players and
way they play us," McCallie said. "I say that. But we do work hard every their effort, she also appeared to
The Michigan-Michigan State think that they're just a very, very game. And we do fightback." put down Michigan' coach Cheryl
women's basketball game is losing talented, very talented group. I have Said sophomore point guard Jes- Burnett. The Wolverines were rid-
its amiability. a great deal of respect for them ... I sica Minnfield: "No, we play hard ing a 17-game losing streak when
Even though the Spartans have just know when we play Michigan, every game. So I have no idea what McCallie made her comments. If
won the last eight meetings by an that to me, they seem to have career that is about." Michigan's players are as talented
average score of 72-47, it's not all nights and career games and career The consensus among Michigan's as she argues, her stance implies
nice and easy in the rivalry. things happen. We always expect opposition is similar - the Wolver- the losses could be chalked up to
And it starts at the top, them to be at their very, very best ines do play hard every game. Take bad coaching.
While they won't mention each and often times they are." their lackluster 70-51 loss to Illinois Without mentioning McCallie in
other specifically, it seems the two The the numbers don't really sup- two weeks ago. response to a question specifically
coaches aren't the best of friends. port McCallie's assertion. Of the "I'll tell you what - I'll give Mich- about the Spartan coach, Burnett's
Michigan State coach Joanne P. major statistical categories (points, igan a lot of credit," Illinois coach comments, too, had strong-under-
McCallie was very complimentary rebounds, assists, blocks and steals), Theresa Grentz said. "One, they tones.
of the Wolverines at Big Ten Media just senior forward Kelly Helvey has denied us every chance they possi- "There have been coaches that I
Day before the season, but in aback- set a career high against the Spar- bly could. Two, they ran their cuts in have coached against for years and
handed way when she questioned tans (eight assists). their offenses very good. They may year and years," Burnett said. "And
their effort. "I just think that's her not even not have converted on them, but I'll my belief of athletics is that you
"I know they get up for when being objective at all," Helvey said. tellyousomething: Theybusted their develop respect and rapport. (Iowa
they play Michigan State, but I think "She probably didn't even watch tails to run and execute those plays." coach) Lisa Bluder is a great exam-
that's sad in a way, because they're any of the games we play. She's only Then there's the other element ple. I've coached against Lisa Bluder
for years. Lisa Stone at Wisconsin is
another example. We're very, very
dear friends. The coaches respect
each other. The players respect each
other and the fans respect each
other. And that's how I have come
into this job at Michigan is to me the
lessons you learn in athletics. You
speak respectfully of each other,
even in recruiting."
The rivalry used to be more
F( respectful. Michigan and Michigan
State alumnae used to play each
other around the time of the intra-
state rivalry. But hecause of sched-
ulingeonflicts, thedgamehasn'thbeen
r played in a couple of years.
"We thought it was the greatest
4 k thing in the world when Michigan
* State alumni joined us by invitation
to a post-game reception," Burnett
L-rsaid. "That's the kind of mutual
respectum talking ahout."
SrDespite the mixed perceptions of
other games, when the 20th-ranked
Spartans and Michigan tip off at 7
p.m. tonight at Crisler Arena, every-
- one agrees the Wolverines will play
hard.
-.. -n Things might even be classy
afterward, too.
K"We will definitely take the posi-
tion that we will shake hands," Bur-
annnett said. "We're going to play hard
> on the court. And once the game is
over, then we're going to show class
both in recruitment and competi-
tion."
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4

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