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September 04, 2007 - Image 18

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-09-04

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6B - Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Michigan Daily
Gates locks down
mighty Fighting
Irish offense in tie

0

Junior Brandon Fellows finished fourth for Michigan on Friday, running over 20 seconds faster than at the start of last season.
Michigan runners miles
ahead lf ast year's 1mes

By CHRIS MESZAROS
Daily Sports Writer
Replacing four-year starter
Megan Tuura was enough of a
challenge for junior goalkeeper
Madison Gates.
Starting her campaign against
No. 2 Notre Dame could have been
menacing.
Yet Gates was able to stifle the
potent Irish offense, earning a 0-
0 stalemate to open the Michigan
women's soccer team's season.
The Baldwinsdale, N.Y., native
parried all 10 shots she faced.
"Madison had an awesome
game," senior captain Lindsay
Lottrell said. "When you have a
goalie playing great, it gives the
rest of us so much confidence."
Gatesneeded allthesupportshe
could get in the opening minutes
of the second half when the Fight-
ing Irish's offense posed their
greatest threat to the Wolverines.
Gates's diving save off a shot from
Notre Dame's Kerri Hanks proved
to be the highlight of the day.
But it was the crossbar that
was Gates's biggest help as Notre
Dame's Brittany Bock missed her
mark on a header.
"Madison made a couple of key
saves and didn't give up many
rebounds," Michigan coach Deb-
bie Rademacher said. "It was
definitely the best game of her
career."
Michigan's defense, led by
Lottrell, also hindered the Irish
offense. It applied pressure to
Notre Dame's forwards, especial-
ly Hanks, who led the NCAA in
goals and assists last season.
The Michigan defenders forced
Notre Dame to take low-percent-
age shots, abating the pressure
facing Gates.
"The defense was amazing,"
Gates said. "It makes us such a
good team to have a solid defense,
especially since they were really
strong on their marks."
As good as Michigan's defense
was, it wasn't until the second
overtime that the Wolverine

4

4

By COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan men's cross coun-
try team started the year on the
same course as in 2006 - but a
faster-paced race proved the Wol-
verines are already ahead of last
season.
Michigan kicked off the season
on Friday by hosting the 10,000-
meter Michigan Open and had a
top team time that was more than
20 seconds faster than now-junior
Brandon Fellows's winning time
last season.
Fellows and senior Victor Gras
finished together in 31:53, with
Gras in the third position and Fel-
lows fourth overall.
Gras said the Wolverines ran
faster than last year because they
paced themselves with the eventual
first- and second-place runners,
both from Eastern Michigan.
"Last year, they took it out really
slow, and this year, we started going
at a good pace from the get-go,"

Gras said. "The (Eastern Michigan
runners) made the whole race faster
for everybody."
Just five Wolverines competed,
while the rest of the team ran unat-
tached. By running unattached in
non-scoring meets, athletes still
have the option to redshirt the sea-
son if they suffer an early-season
injury.
Junior Lex Williams, an All-
Big Ten runner last season who
ran unattached on Friday, finished
three seconds behind Gras and Fel-
lows to match his fifth-place finish
at last year's Michigan Open.
The times were personal bests
for all three of the top-five athletes,
an accomplishment that was more
impressive because the team is just
starting its training season.
"It's really just been running
miles, so we haven't yet been doing
anything too hard," Fellowssaid. "It
looks good to be able to run faster
than last year without having done
any workouts."
Three ofMichigan's potentialtop-

five runners - senior Mike Woods,
junior John Black and junior Sean
McNamara - did not run in the meet
due to minor injuries. All three will
be instrumental to qualifying for
the NCAA Championship meet, a
goal the team has been unable to
accomplish since 2004.
After finishing second in the
2006 Big Ten meet, Michigan fiz-
zled in the NCAA regional to end
its season earlier than expected.
Starting this season faster than
expected, Gras said the team will
work at a steady pace so Michigan
is at its best in November.
"I'm really excited - this is prob-
ably the best team we've had since
I've been here, but it'sjust going to
be a matter of getting it together,"
Gras said. "Our goal is to run well
at the end of the season, which is
something we haven't been able to
do the past two years because we
failed to make Nationals."
Michigan is off until Sep. 14
when it travels to East Lansing for
the Spartan Invitational.

EMMA NOLAN-ABRAHAMIAN/daily
Senior Melissa Dobbyn had an opportunity to break a scoreless tie with a free kick
in the second overtime.

offense hit its stride.
Senior Melissa Dobbyn direct-
ed a pass to fellow senior Katie
Bohard, who had beaten the
Irish defense, when the Notre
Dame goalkeeper interfered with
Bohard, giving Michigan a free
kick and a chance to win.
But Dobbyn's effort sailed over
the net, stifling Michigan's best
attempt to notch the upset win.
Despite the tie, the Wolverines
were pleased with their perfor-
mance, especially given Notre
Dame's talent.
"It was important for our team

to know that we could compete
with a top team," Rademacher
said. "We came out to play with
the same fury and aggression as
Notre Dame did."
It was especially important to
evaluate how the new starters at
midfield and goalkeeper would
play against a top national pro-
gram.
"We have a great group of play-
ers and have a lot of talent," Lot-
trell said. "We were fighting with
them throughout the game but
this game also gives us something
to build from."

Frosh gets first in opener

By JASON KOHLER
Daily Sports Writer
How does the women's cross
country team follow up its fifth-
consecutive Big Ten Tile and a
third-place finish in the NCAA
Championships?
With a first place finish from
a freshman runner who wasn't
around to experience last year's
success.
In her first collegiate race at the
Wolverine Open on Friday, Dani-
elle Tauro raced her way to first
with a time of 18:22.
"For a freshman to win the
whole thing shows how well Dani-
elle ran," fifth-year senior Erin
Webster said.
Four other Michigan runners
finished directly behind Tauro to
dominate the top five.
"It was great to see the girls
with the block 'M' on their shirts
and to know that they were my
teammates," Tauro said.
Michigan coach Mike McGuire
decided to use the Wolverine Open

as an early opportunity to test his
young runners, resting veterans
like Webster, who won the Big Ten
Championship last year, and red-
shirt junior Nicole Edwards, who
finished 12th in the NCAA Cham-
pionship.
"We have a good combination
of established veterans and talent
of first- and second-year runners,
which will make for agood blend,"
McGuire said.
Many of the young runners,
including Tauro, ran unattached
from the University so that they
would not exhaust their redshirt
in case of an early-season injury.
Their success will provide the
team versatility and depth later in
the season.
"I think in our sport, you need
to have a continuation of differ-
ent individuals step up," Webster
said. "We don't know who our top
five are going to be on any given
weekend. It really takes everyone
fighting for a spot because you can
never guarantee that one individu-
al will be there next weekend."

Along with the young talent, the
team returns a core of senior tal-
ent, including senior Alyson Kohl-
meier, Edwards and Webster.
"They're goingto be our leaders,
no doubt about it," McGuire said.
"They are going to be at the front
of the pack in every race."
Because Michigan's top run-
ners didn't compete, little can
be inferred about the team from
Friday's race. But the early-season
meet proved that the Wolverines
don't necessarily need their best
runners to perform well.
The runners who sat out on Fri-
day will join the rest of the team to
begin their season Saturday at the
Indiana Open.
For now, the young runners can
enjoy the success of the first meet.
But the veterans are not shy to
point out that the season has just
begun.
"For being this early in the sea-
son, it was a good effort, but we
definitely have a lot more to come,"
Webster said. "It's not going to be
the best we run all season."

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