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February 15, 2007 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-02-15

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10A - Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
Shootouts:

Second-ranked Irish
hand M' first loss

point

counterpoint yea or nay?

4

By CHRIS MESZAROS
Daily Sports Writer
With one upset win already
under its belt, the Michigan wom-
en's tennis team sought to capture
its second against a potent No. 2
Notre Dame team. A win over the
Fighting Irish would add luster to
an already great start by the Wol-
verines.
Unfortunately, Notre Dame was
simply too much, overpowering
No. 23 Michigan in a 6-1 rout in
South Bend.
"As a team, we played our hearts
out," Michigan coach Amanda
Augustus said. "We competed
really well, but in the end, we just
fell short."
The afternoon started on a sour
note as Michigan lost all three
double matches and failed to claim
the doubles point for the fourth
straight match. But, unlike its
previous matches, the team was
unable to rally from an early defi-
cit to take the match.
Notre Dame kept the pressure
on the Wolverines. The Fighting
Irish won the first match in singlks
play to take a commanding 2-0
lead. Sophomore Chisako Sugiya-
ma's impressive win at No. 2 sin-

gles over No. 31 Colleen Riley was
Michigan's lone win (6-4, 6-3).
"I was definitely prepared for
the challenge of my opponent
and was able to play a very strong
match," Sugiyama said.
Sugiyama's triumph extended
her winning streak to seven in a
row and was the biggest of her
career in terms of rankings.
Despite apparent troubles in
doubles play, Augustus said that
as the team moves into the heart
of the season, its performance will
improve.
"To be successful in doubles, you
need to be able to know the chem-
istry, communication and playing
styles of other players and learn
to play to each other's strengths,"
Augustus said. "These take time,
and we're not terribly concerned
because we have been very close in
doubles."
She was pleased by her team's
performance despite the loss, cit-
ing a number of close matches that
were decided by a few favorable
breaks for the Irish. She was espe-
cially impressed by the way her
team hit the ball and the toughness
it showed when facing adversity.
Junior Allie Shafner's comeback
attempt (6-1, 7-6) fell short for

Michigan, but it certainly showed
the Wolverines' resolve.
"Notre Dame is a very tough
team that plays exceptionally hard
at home and really played well
today," Augustus said.
Nevertheless, the loss is a sting
to Michigan, who had hoped to
begin the season 4-0 with wins
over two ranked teams. Instead,
Michigan fell to 3-1 on the sea-
son, while Notre Dame moved to
6-i. The Wolverines will have to
regroup and regain their confi-
dence after a defeat in which just
one player won her match.
"We're defiantly upset by the
loss," Sugiyama said. "It certainly
hurts, but we now know how top
teams play and that we need to
play harder."
That desire will certainly help
the Wolverines down the stretch,
as they will look to exact revenge
against the Irish, perhaps in the
NCAA Tournament.
"It's good to have this (loss)
early so it fuels the fire for perhaps
a rematch down the road," Augus-
tus said. "It will help to motivate
us in the future."
The Wolverines will look to
rebound on Saturday in Knoxville,
Tenn., against Tennessee.

Ihate ties. You hate ties.
How could anyone like a tie?
You spend sixty minutes watching a hock-
ey game, your heart soaring as
your team succeeds and break- -
ing as the opponent bounces
right back. Before you know it, 'r
the score is even, and you head
to overtime. Excitement floods
the arena, and you spend five
minutes on the edge of your x
seat, waiting for that moment: AMBER
a goal, a decision. COLVIN
But nothing happens. The
five minutes quickly fly by, and
at the end of the night, the scoreboard boasts two
identical numbers for each side.
Fans file out of the arena just feeling awkward.
Are you happy? Are you sad? You can't really be
either.
This happens all the time in college hockey.
There's a tie practically every weekend some-
where in the league.
We've got to get rid of these ties, and there's
just one plausible way to do it: shootouts.
Settle down, all you hockey traditionalists
who are leaping for my throat. Consider it for a
moment.
Shootouts are exciting. Fans gobble them up.
And if there's any fan base in the country that
needs to be rewarded right now, it's hockey fans.
They support this struggling sport day in and day
out while the rest of the sporting world laughs in
their faces.
Players and coaches may not like shootouts.Yes,
it does settle a game's outcome on an individual
basis. I know hockey is, probably more than any
other major sport in America, all about the team.
I love that about hockey. But the team had 65 min-
utes to work this out together.
Besides, I don't hear many people complaining
whentheir team's game-winninggoal comes from
a penalty shot.
I'm not proposing we have a shootout decide
whogoestotheFrozenFour. That'snotfair. Shoot-
outs should only be allowed in the regular season,
not when postseason hopes are on the line.
We're lucky enough to have a perfect shootout
model to follow. The NHL has been using shoot-
outs ever since the lockout ended in 2005.
I'd like to see that same format in the NCAA.
Five minutes of four-on-four overtime (changed
from the current five-on-five overtime), followed
by a shootout. Three skaters shoot for each team
first, and if that doesn't present an outcome, go to
a sudden-death shootout using the entire roster
(except goalies) before repeatingshooters.
Imagine Yost Ice Arena during a shootout. That
old barn would be rocking.
Imagine watching guys like T.J. Hensick,
Andrew Cogliano and Jack Johnson head down
the ice one by one for Michigan.
Imagine erupting in "The Victors" after every
Michigan goal (or save, for that matter).
If that doesn't excite you, check your pulse.
We need forward thinking with hockey. The
game can't stay frozen like the surface it's played
on. So get with the times and get with the shoot-
out.

Yes, shootouts are exciting.
Yes, shootouts guarantee games don't
end in a tie.
Yes, the National Hockey
League uses shootouts.
But, no, college hockey
shouldn't move to a shootout
system.
There are many reasons
for my opinion, but the most a.
important one is this: shoot-
outs aren't hockey. NATE
Hockey is a tean sport; SADAS
each player is part of a unit.
Each skater has a responsibil-
ity to his team at both ends of the ice - offense
and defense.
A shootout is an individual competition, pit-
ting a shooter against a goalie. This inherently
takes away from hockey's essence. Where's the
defense? Half the game just disappears.
If shootouts are so great, why isn't the entire
game just a shootout?
I'll tell you why: because a shootout is not a
sport, it's an offensive skills showcase.
Letting a shootout decide a hockey game is
like having a home-run derby decide a base-
ball game, or letting a game of one-on-one to
five with each team's best player determine the
winner of a basketball game.
Yes, these scenarios would be extremely
entertaining, but they are in no way related
to the games they decide. Why? Because team
sports shouldn't be decided by individual
games.
But ties are so boring, you say. I couldn't
agree more, so I came up with a few possible
tweaks to the current overtime system that
would result in fewer ties.
First, make the overtime four-on-four. This
would create more space on the ice, allow tal-
ented players to be creative and increase scor-
ing chances. The NHL adopted this rule in 1999
with great success.
Just imagine T.J. Hensick, Kevin Porter, Jack
Johnson and Matt Hunwick on the ice against
four-man units from teams like Minnesota,
New Hampshire and Boston University. Now
that would be entertaining.
Not good enough? Still too many ties? Let's
try this: add five minutes. With a 10-minute
overtime, teams would have a better opportu-
nity to establish momentum. If there had been
five more minutes against Michigan State last
Saturday, there's no doubt in my mind the game
would have ended in the Wolverines' favor.
Perhaps the biggest problem with the current
NHL system is the problem the NCAA must
avoid when and if it changes its overtime for-
mat: By the time you get to the shootout, you're
already guaranteed one point.
This waters down the game by rewarding
teams for playing to tie. The great thing about
sports is that you're supposed to play to win.
Well, not in the NHL, apparently.
Shootouts are entertainment. Hockey is a
sport.
If you want to be entertained, go to the circus
and leave hockey alone.

Gain real world e perience at

FRESHMEN!. BUILD YOUR
SOPHOMORES!
JUNIORS! RESUMEL!

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