8A - Thursday, April 5, 2007
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com E
PLAYERS: Fab Fiver lauds choice
From page 5A past few days. But he added that if The Fab Five member offered his
- -Michigan can keep its three recruits opinions on what fans might expect
Udoh didn't seem to think Wol- to go along with its new coach, the from Michigan under Beilein next
verine fans had much cause for Wolverines could do some special season.
concern. things in the future. "The style of play will probably
"I've talked to Manny and Kelvin One familiar face from Michi- change," King said. "(Beilein) men-
a couple times," Udoh said. "They gan's past echoed those sentiments tioned he goes to the strength of the
ain't leaving. They're coming." while speaking highly of the new team. PersonallyI think this team is
Like Beilein, Udoh said he hadn't hire. probably a guard-oriented team, so I
had a chance to speak with Legion, "I think they made an excellent look for it to be more up-tempo."
who has been too busy to reach the choice in Beilein," Jimmy King said. No matter what style Beilein sees
fit to employ withhis newroster,the
Wolverines hope to enjoy the same
success their new coach has had in
the past, reaching the Sweet 16 and
Elite Eight while at West Virginia.
"The guy's been to the Sweet
16, he's been where we're trying to
go," freshman K'en Morris said. "I
think he's got the system to fit our
team so that he can take us farther
than where he's been."
Alessandra Giampaolo has a .500 on-base percentage this year, hitting in the lead
off spot for the Wolverines.
finally leading off
By ANTHONY OLIVEIRA
Daily Sports Writer
It took 137 games, but junior
Alessandra Giampaolo has finally
returned to her comfort zone in
the lineup - almost like going
back to the sunny shores of south-
Batting behind former Wolver-
ine lead-off hitter Tiffany Haas for
two seasons, the centerfielder got
her chance at the top spot for the
first time in her Michigan career
this past February.
And she never looked back.
With her aggressive style at the
plate, Giampaolo sets the tone as
the leadoff hitter for Michigan
every game. The Pasadena, Calif.
native has reached base 15 times
in 28 attempts in the first inning
since taking over the position.
"I like starting the game, being
the first person to see the pitcher
and being the first person with the
opportunity to get on," Giampaolo
said. "I've been lead-off type my
whole life, soit wasn't that hard of
a transition. It's my favorite part
of the lineup."
While most players can scout
the pitcher from the dugout before
their at-bat, Giampaolo doesn't get
that opportunity batting lead-off.
But she actually may be better off
not seeing any pitches at all.
"There was one time when I
didn't see any of the pitcherswarm
up," Giampaolo said. "I just went
up there and said, 'I'm just going
to swing. I don't know my timing
at all.' And I ended up getting a
hit on the first pitch. I think (bat-
ting first) lets me get loose a little
more, makes me more aggressive.
If I'm not thinking about it too
much, then I'll hit it."
But the centerfielder's success
doesn't stop in the first inning.
She has hit safely in 25 of 28 games
since being promoted to the top of
Giampaolo improved her bat-
ting average from an already
impressive .325 to a formidable
.456. Her on-base percentage also
rose over the .500 mark,
The shift to the junior's natural
spot has built a strong 1-2-3 punch
at the top of the lineup.
"It's been great so far," junior
Samantha Findlay said. "When
Alessandra gets on - and wheth-
er it's (Rebekah Milian) or Molly
(Bausher) that usually punch her
over - then I put the ball in play to
keep her moving. We're just doing
a good job at executing the plays."
neck, the former Polytechnic Pan-
ther has executed her own plays as
well, recording16 doubles, already
equaling a career-best. Hitting the
ball in the gap rather than out of
the park, she is well on her way to
break the single-season doubles
record of 24 set by Sara Griffin 11
"She's very tough," Michigan
pitcher Nikki Nemitz said. "She's
got a good eye, and if you put it
anywhere near the plate she's
going to do something with it."
Said Findlay: "(She's like) Ken
Griffey Jr. because he's so deter-
mined. He makes solid contact all
the time. He's a competitor and
likes to win and that's how she
When Giampaolo isn't in the
batter's box, she tries to lead the
team with her voice. As one of
three captains, she makes sure
she's heard whether it's in the
dugout or in center field.
"She's awesome on the field
leading," Nemitz said. "She's loud.
I can hear her from the mound,
but I haven't really tested how far
I can hear her."
Alessandra's hoping she can be
heard - all the way from Okla-
John Beilein hopes to replicate in Ann Arbor the success he has found atall his previous coaching stops.
From page 5A
Morgantown, W.Va., and begin a
career in Ann Arbor.
"You go with what you feel is
right in your gut and what you
believe," Beilein said. "I think
that there are a lot of similari-
From page 5A
since 1957) and advanced to the
second round with Richmond in
Beilein took over at West Virgin-
ia after a 2001-02 season in which
the Mountaineers finished 1-15
in the Big East. Within just three
years, he had them in the Elite
Eight and followed that with a trip
to the Sweet 16.
Before this past season, West
Virginia lost four starters and 83
percent of its scoring. The team
was picked by many to finish last or
second-to-last in the 16-team Big
"I'm only putting West Virgin-
ia this high - i.e., next to last -
because of Beilein," Gary Parrish of
CBSSportsline wrote. "This team,
The Daily softball beat makes
its predictions for the season
These writers look into the
future to guess who will win
it all - and who will just be
Michigan oerall record
Michiga n Big Ten record
Michigan Pitcher of the Year
Michigan Freshman of the Year
Big Ten Regular Season Champion
Big Ten Regular Season Runner-Up
Big Ten Regular Season Third Place
Big Ten Tournament Champion
Big Ten Tournament Runner-Up
Big Ten MVP
Big Ten Pitcher of the Year
Big Ten Freshman of the Year
Bi TensCoach of the Year
8ig Ten Surprise Team
Big Ten Disappointing Team
Michigan Season Ends Hero
ties in the type of young man and
student-athlete and student that
come from Michigan to the same
ones that I've recruited in all my
years of coaching."
Beilein answered an array of
questions ranging from the issue
of his buyou to how his offensive
Asked about his strategies,
quite simply, is going to be ter-
rible. The only question is whether
things will be down for one year,
two years or longer?"
Beilein the led his team to a 9-7
conference record, good enough
for seventh in the conference. West
Virginia defeated then-No. 2 UCLA
in February (the Bruins stomped
Michigan by 37 points two months
earlier) and went on to winthe NIT
In my mostrecent column, I enu-
merated the reasons former Michi-
gan coach Tommy Amaker should
be fired. I specifically pointed to
X's-and-O's, results and player
development, declaring that Amak-
er fell short in all three areas.
Beilein is widel. considered
one of the best X's-and-O's guys in
college basketball. Other coaches
respect him for it. For an example,
look no further than the NIT semi-
Beilein attempted to get everyone
on the same page regarding his
"I want to set the record
straight," Beilein said. "Please
don't use the word - I love Princ-
eton, it's a great university, (but)
that would be like saying, 'Hey,
if you understand Japanese, you
understand Chinese.' It's differ-
final, where, trailing by two with
two seconds left, he designed a
play that freed Darris Nichols for a
game-winning 3-pointer. It looked
a little different than Amaker's
In terms of results, Beilein's
teams have averaged 25 wins in the
past three seasons and have been
to the Elite Eight and Sweet 16 in
that time, in addition to winning an
NIT championship this year.
"An awful lot of teams have been
watching us play at the end of the
year the pastfew-years," Beilein
That's yo'u'\ic'gan, don't be
Beilein hasn't had the chance to
coach any stars -not a single player
of his has ever played in the NBA.
Eileen Canney, Northwestern
Lauren Delaney, Northwestern
College World Series
Beilein was assertive in his
vision for the basketball pro-
"I brought a couple of NCAA
rings and an Elite Eight ring and
a Sweet 16 ring," Beilein said. "I
passed it around to these guys
today and I said, 'We're going to
put these on as soon as we can.'
But he turned unknowns Mike
Gansey and Kevin Pittsnogle into
household names and crucial con-
tributors on an Elite Eight team.
At Michigan, Beilein will finally
have a talent pool from which to
recruit potential stars. The results
are still to come, but for many, they
don't seem too far off.
"I think he saw this as the elite
level," Patrick Beilein said. "He
did all he could at West Virginia.
(Michigan) is a program that he
can take to Final Fours, and that
really intrigued him."
His father opened yesterday's
press conference by calling his
arrival in Ann Arbor a "thrilling
Coach Beilein, Michigan's more
than thrilled to have you.
- Bromwich can be reached
Ashley Grittith, Penn Stile
tohin Petrini, Penn State
amst as good as
[we're proud of you!]
Tammy Williams. Northmestern
College World Series