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February 19, 2007 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-02-19

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, Feburary 19, 2007 - 3B

eels
Lions
roar
By ALEX PROSPERI
Daily Sports Writer
Achilles heel.
Never has one phrase so vividly
illustrated a season.
The No. 9 Michigan women's
gymnastics team's Achilles heel
has been its inability to put togeth-
er four strong rotations successful-
ly in one
meet. PENN STATE 195.9
Friday MICHIGAN 195.525
night, the
ninth-ranked Wolverines scored
a season-low 48.350 on the beam
and lost the lead and the meet to
conference foe Penn State, 195.900
to 195.525.
It's the fifth time in six meets
that the team has had one event
that was substantially worse than
the other three.
"We have to concentrate on the
mentalchoreographythat's in their
heads when they're performing on
beam," Michigan coach Bev Plocki
said.
The reason for the third-lowest
score on any event this year for the
Wolverines canbe attributedtotwo
falls. It was the second-straight
meet that a Michigan gymnast fell
on beam.
"You can't be up there thinking
'Don't fall,"' Plocki said. "You have
to be thinking aggressive, confi-
dent, technical things. You need to
be telling your brain what you want
your body to do."
Two weekends ago, the Wolver-
ines did well in three rotations but
poorly on beam.
Three weekends ago, Michigan
yet again did excellent in three
rotations, yet had a subpar score on
floor.
And in the first two meets of the
year, the Wolverines posted scores
of 48.250 and 48.225.
The achilles has also been a
problem for Michigan physically.
The physical aspect refers to the
thickest and strongest tendon in
the human body. But it's also the

Lady Vols top

Netters
By CHRIS MESZAROS
Daily Sports Writer
Saturday's match started out
smelling like roses for the Michi-
gan women's tennis team, but soon
eroded into an awful stench in a
match dominated by No. 26 Tennes-
see, 6-1.
The Wolverines pickedup anearly
doubles win, with seniors Jenny
Kuehn and Kara Delicata defeating
Tennessee's Ghizela Schutte (8-2).
It was the duo's first time playing
together in doubles play.
But momentum quickly swung
cross-court after Tennessee picked
up the remaining two doubles
matches to take an early 1-0 lead in
the overall match.
Michigan dug itself into a deeper
hole with two quick losses in singles
play. By meet's end, Kuehn was the
only Wolverine to pick up a win for
Michigan.
"A majority of the team didn't
compete well," Michigan coach
Amanda Augustus said. "Tennessee
just competed harder than we did."
Kuehn provided the lone bright
spotintheWolverines'loss,standing
out in both her matches. She defeat-
ed Tennessee's Blakeley Griffith (6-
4, 4-6, 6-3), the No. 12 player in the
nation, to claim the sole victory for
Michigan. The match was the most
competitive in the meet, as both
players vied for supremacy at No. 1
position. Her win cements her posi-
tion as the backbone of the team.
"Jenny's such a talented player,"
Augustus said. "This was a big win
for her. Both players played a great
game; it was quite a victory for her."
The win will boost Kuehn's rank-

in rout
ings in the FILA Collegiate Ten-
nis Rankings, and help to build her
confidence as she continues to adapt
to her new life as a Wolverine after
transferring to Michigan for her
final season.
Despite the loss, Augustus said
that Michigan (3-2) will learn a lot
from the recent adversity.
"This loss hurts us in a way that
inspires us to get better," Augustus
said. "This will motivate the team to
work harder."
Sophomore Chisako Sugiyama
suffered a rare loss that ended her
seven-game winning streak. How-
ever, she did not go down without
a fight, narrowly losing both sets to
Schutte (6-4,7-6).
"This match was good for (Sugi-
yama) today," Augustus said. "Even
though she lost, it will keep her hun-
gry."
Augustus plans to go back to the
fundamentals, emphasizing the
importance of a clear mind as her
players take the court. By replicat-
ing conditions on the road and being
mentally prepared for any endeavor,
she hopes to level the playing field
on unfamiliar grounds.
"If teams are of a similar playing
level, the more mentally tough team
wins," Augustus said.
The loss against the Volunteers
(4-1) is Michigan's second straight
followinga 6- defeat to Notre Dame
on Wednesday. The setbacks are a
blow to the Wolverines, whichbegan
the season on a high note with an
upset over then-No. 12 Vanderbilt.
The team faces another tough
test on Friday, as they welcome No.
6 Northwestern to the Varsity Ten-
nis Center.

Junior Nellie Kippley finished second overall in the all-around, but it wasn't enough to defeat Penn State at home.

tendon that has been the grounds
for two Wolverine injuries this
season. Senior Lindsey Bruck and
Sarah Curtis both suffered season-
ending injuries to their Achilles
tendon earlier this season.
"We have a very young team,"
Plocki said. "The injuries we have
had have impacted beam as much
or more than any other event. We
lost our top four kids on beam out
of six, (so) you are bound to have
some inconsistencies, but we just
have to get back on track and work
at building the confidence. Physi-
cally they are fine, mentally beam
is the most mental event that we
do."
The Wolverines got off to a hot

start Friday night, posting scores
of 49.100 and 49.150 on vault and
uneven bars, respectively.
On vault, sophomore Tatjana
Thuener-Rego scored a career-best
9.900, and on the uneven bars, both
Thuener-Rego and fellow sopho-
more Becky Bernard scored 9.900.
On their fourth and final rotation,
floor exercise, Michigan scored
well again, led by junior Nellie Kip-
pley who putup a career-best 9.875.
But it was during the third rotation
that the team's Achilles heel kicked
in and prohibited the Wolverines
from moving into double-digits in
wins for the year.
Although Michigan (1-2 Big Ten,
9-2 overall) lost for the first time in

at least six years after leading fol-
lowing two rotations, the weekend
did have some positives.
Thuener-Rego won her fifth
straight bars title and third all-
around of the season.
Bernard won her third bars
title of the season and senior Carol
McNamara had a season-best 9.850
on vault.
But in order for the Wolverines
to continue to move up in the rank-
ings, they will have to eliminate
this Achilles heel.
"We have got to stop worrying
about wining or losing and start
performing and just do what we
do," Plocki said. "We have to rise to
the level of competition."

Blue wins six events
in non-scoring meet

The No. 1 Michigan women's
track and field team will no longer
be competing at the U-M Indoor
Track Building this seaason. But
the Wolverines went out with a
bang during the Harold Silverstein
Invitational on Saturday.
Michigan won a total of six
events, and the top performance

came from sophomore Tiffany
Ofili. The Ypsilanti native won the
60-meter dash in 7.45 and was 0.01
seconds shy of an NCAA provision-
al standard.
This weekend's event was non-
scoring and just a preparation for
next weekend's Big Ten Indoor
Championship in Champaign.

GAA
From page 1B
Miami finishes the regular
season with a series at Northern
Michigan, while the Wolverines
head to Columbus.
No MO' JOE: Yesterday's game
marked the end of a 12-year
"Home-and-Joe" agreement
between Joe Louis Arena and Lake
Superior State. Under the terms
of the deal, the Lakers would play
one game each season in Detroit
against Michigan or Michigan
State instead of in Sault Ste. Marie.
While Lake Superior State is
technically the home team in these
matchups, it hasn't enjoyed much
of a home-ice advantage. Michigan
has gone undefeated in games in
the series.
"I'm sure their coach is looking
to when they play both games at
home," Berenson said.
When the agreement was made,
Lake Superior State was a hock-
BIG TENS
From page 1B
were that close in the race."
Michigan also placed first and
second in the 200-yard freestyle
on Saturday. Sophomore Bobby
Savulich won his first individual
Big Ten title in 1:35.99 after setting
a pool record in the preliminaries,
and sophomore Sal Barba finished
second in 1:36.32. Savulich also
placed third in the 100-yard free-
style.
"It was great to go out there
and win," Savulich said about his
strong individual performance. "It
was huge to be able to do it with
my teammates, with Sal getting
second and Evan (Ryser) getting
eighth."
After trailing Ohio State by 14
points and Minnesota by one after
the firstday, the Wolverines surged
ahead of both teams to lead the
meet after Saturday's events, tally-
ing 405 points to Minnesota's 403.
Michigan began Sunday night's
competitionbyearning55 pointsin
the 1,650-yard freestyle, with Pat-
ton earning first place, freshman

ey powerhouse, winning NCAA
Championships during the 1991-
92 and 1993-94 seasons. But since
then, they have made just one
NCAA Tournament appearance.
In exchange for the games at the
Joe, Mike Ilitch - whose company
Ilitch Holdings Inc. operates the
arena - agreed to fund part of the
expansion of Lake Superior State's
Taffy Abel Arena.
NOTES: Sophomore Danny Far-
dig's goal on Friday night was his
first in his last 46 games. Before
the contest, he was the only player
who played forward in every game
without a goal. He knocked in a
rebound in the first period to give
Michigan an early lead.... With his
two-point performance on Friday
night, sophomore Andrew Coglia-
no became the third player on the
teamtonotch 40 points this season.
It's the first time the Wolverines
have had three 40-point scorers
since the 1997-98 season when Bill
Muckalt, Mark Kosick and Booby
Hayes reached that mark.
Charlie Houchin finishing third
and sophomore Christian Sprang
taking fifth. With four events
remaining, Michigan temporar-
ily lost the lead to Minnesota, but
regained its first-place standing
before the last event.
All the senior swimmers and
divers participating in their final
Big Ten meet were honored at the
beginning of Sunday's competi-
tion. No Michigan swimmer was
on the list. Yet, despite their lack
of experienced leadership, Michi-
gan fell just shy of sealing its first
championship in four years, and
effectively removed its role as
underdog, a stigmathe Wolverines
have struggled with nearly the
entire season.
"I think we really outswam
the expectations of everybody
here, and the guys just swam their
hearts out," Michigan coach Bob
Bowman said. "I couldn't ask for
more. Obviously, we want to win
this meet, and that's what Michi-
gan deserves, and we'll find a way
in the future to do that."
Added Savulich: "Minnesota is
a hell of a team, but we all know
we'll be back next year."

LAKERS
From page 1B
nobody that's going to catch
them," Berenson said. "I wish
we'd do that more."
Hensick took over the scor-
ing reigns soon after, notching
a highlight-reel 4-on-4 goal.
The alternate captain split
the defenders, patiently played
the puck until Laker goaltender
Jeff Jakaitis went down and
then slipped it past Jakaitis's
left skate for a resounding 3-0
Michigan lead.
Sandwiched between the
two goals was a stifling Wol-
verine penalty kill. Lake Supe-
rior State didn't get a single
shot off during its power play,
the best chance getting blocked
by senior Tim Cook.
The lone Laker tally came in
the third period when Dan Eves
whipped a wrister over Sauer's
blocker. Sauer made 35 saves
for the game.
On the other end of the ice,
Jakaitis - who leads the coun-
try with a .937 save percentage
- stopped 23 shots. The All-
American netminder bested
the Wolverines Friday night
with sharp saves and smart

positioning.
But Hensick found the cure
for Jakaitis yesterday on Mich-
igan's second shot of the after-
noon. The Hobey Baker Award
candidate flicked the puck
straight in the air in front of
Jakaitis and swatted it in. The
goal was reviewed for a high
stick, but stood as called.
"Their defenseman, he didn't
tie me up," Hensick said. "He
just let me stand there. I found
the puck, and with my hand-
eye coordination, I should be
able to do that."
Hensick and his teammates
now stand second in the CCHA,
one point ahead of No. 11 Miami
(Ohio) and four points ahead of
No. 6 Michigan State. Notre
Dame clinched the regular-
season title Friday night.
The key to locking up the
runner-up position and getting
a chance in the NCAA Tourna-
ment will be returning to the
steady success that kicked off
2007.
"I know this team is capable
of playing with the best," Hen-
sick said. "Other times, we're
bad. ... If we can consistently
play down the stretch here,
we'll have the chance to do
some damage."

BROMWICH
From page 1B
Saturday, he ran right back
down the court and converted a
Smith pass into a lay-up. And with
just more than one minute remain-
ing, he converted two clutch free
throws to extend the Michigan
lead to five.
Senior Brent Petway sometimes
has trouble staying involved in a
game all the way through. But the
forward recorded two blocks in
Indiana's first three possessions.
And after fouling Hoosier forward
Mike White 25 feet from the bas-
ket (giving him two free throws)
and missing a short jumper with
just two minutes remaining, Pet-
way responded by taking a charge
from White on the next posses-
sion.
Sophomore Jerret Smith com-
mitted a horrible turnover, throw-
ing the ball directly to guard Errek
Suhr with Michigan up by three
and just 50 seconds remaining in
the game. But after White con-
verted the lay-up on the other end,
Smith, and the Wolverines' NCAA
Tournament hopes were put on
the line.
The Romulus native calmly
sank two free throws, putting the
Wolverines back up by three and
forcing Indiana to do what coach
Kelvin Sampson called "the hard-

est thing in the world ... to get a
three when you need a three."
Individually and collectively,
the Wolverines conquered adver-
sity on Saturday. Amaker's press
conference helped explain why.
"We have a saying with our
team, 'Next play,' " Amaker said.
"Whether it's a good play or a bad
play, that's the beauty of basket-
ball, it's moving, it's continuous
and you have to be able to move
onto the next play mentally. Some-
times those plays can linger and
cause you to have a few other neg-
ative plays. I was trying to make
sure that we were focused on the
next play and I thought our kids
did that very well."
For a coach who doesn't often
give noteworthy answers, Amaker
hit the nail on the head with this
one.
Previously, the Wolverines
haven't responded positively to
negative plays.
When faced with adversity, they
have been known to crumble.
Their heads often hang, their
shoulders droop and their play
suffers.
But not Saturday.
Not in this game, with any
dreams of the Dance ready to dis-
appear with a loss.
Not Michigan?
- Bromwich can be reached
at dabromwi@umich.edu

HOOSIERS
From page 1B
half.
Part of Indiana's woes were
due to the absence of point guard
Earl Calloway, who dressed for
the game but did not play due to
a shoulder injury.
"There's no question they
are different (without Callo-
way)," Amaker said. "Calloway
is very tough with the ball, and
he can penetrate. I think they
would have been in much bet-
ter rhythm had he been on the
floor."
Indiana junior D.J. White, a
Big Ten Player of the Year can-
didate, was also held in check.
After dominating the paint in

the Hoosiers' 76-61 win over the
Wolverines earlier in the sea-
son, White had just seven points
and four rebounds on Saturday.
He was saddled with foul trou-
ble for a large portion of the sec-
ond half.
After the game, Michigan
players reflected on just how
important this win could prove
to be, knowing that a loss would
have been the nail in the coffin
for its still-slim NCAA Tourna-
ment chances.
"In order to get where we
want to go, we had to come and
get (a win) in this game," Harris
said. "If we hadn't have gotten
it, I don't know what our mind-
set would have been. I don't
know how we would have taken
it if we had lost."

D D
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