8A - Thursday, September 20, 2007
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
By JACK HERMAN
Daily Sports Editor
With his brother and former
Michigan football captain Pat
standing outside the Michigan Sta-
diumtunnel,tightend Mike Massey
had a family affair awaiting him
when he stepped off the bus before
But with about 100 former play-
ers also waiting, the rest of the team
joined the reunion.
Looking to lift the spirits of the
bruised and battered Wolverines,
a group of alumni ranging from
Rick Leach to Tyrone Wheatley
greeted the Michigan team and
offered words of encouragement as
it entered the stadium before its 38-
0 romp of Notre Dame.
Although it seems like a simple
gesture, the Wolverines needed it
after starting the season 0-2 for the
first time since 1998.
"You want fan support, but they
aren't going to be happy when you
lose - that's just how fans are,"
senior running back Mike Hart
said. "But when you have your fam-
ily, when they stick behind you and
keep you strong, there is nothing
better than that."
considersformer players a part of the
"Michigan Football family." Know-
ing they've been through highs,
lows, good, bad, wins, losses and just
about everything in between, Carr
relies on alumni to help his players
through tough times.
So far, they've backed up the
The week leading up to the Notre
Dame game, wide receiver Adrian
Arrington spoke ,to former Michi-
gan stars Charles Woodson and
Braylon Edwards about the team's
struggles. Former safety Marcus
Ray tried to inspire the current
Michigan secondary to play with
the characteristic Michigan tough-
ness after the two heart-breaking
losses that started the season.
on and off field
By RYAN PODGES
For the Daily
Before the season began,
Michigan field hockey coach
Nancy Cox expected this year's
freshmen to contribute imme-
diately. And after an impres-
sive pair of victories over the
No. 15 Mich-
No. 16 Con-
necticut in SEKHON
Ky., last week-
end. Fresh- °
Way and Van-
career goal and Sekhon's sec-
Way, a native of Newman-
stown, Penn., was the only
Michigan freshman to play on
the U.S. Under-21 Team this
Sekhon, a native of West Van-
couver, B. C., was the leading
scorer for the British Columbia
Under-19 Provincial Team and
won a silver medal at the 2007,
U-19 Canadian National Field
"Those opportunities for
those players have made a sig-
nificant difference in where
they started out at the begin-
ning of the season, in terms of
their hockey intellect," Cox said.
"I think last weekend was huge
for our freshmen group because
what they see now is that we can
compete with any team in the
As with all freshmen, the ini-
tial adjustment to a new school
and a new team was a challenge
for the duo.
"It was a little overwhelming,
playing with girls I have never
played with before and getting
used to the new coaching style,"
Way said. "It can be alot to han-
dle at one time, but off and on the
field, everyone is so supportive
and has made it alot easier."
For Sekhon, the adjustment
was more unusual.
"Canada doesn't really have
the whole university sports
thing," she said. "It was pretty
cool to see all the fans and such
a big athletic atmosphere. I was
pretty overwhelmed at first,
but now I love everything about
Although their teammates
anticipated a strong group of
freshmen, Way and Sekhon's
athleticism and early success
have been a pleasant surprise
"They have exceeded my
expectations," senior co-cap-
tain Lucia Belassi said.
She emphasized the impres-
sive ability of the freshman to
rise to the level of competition
and quickly adapt to the rest of
"I don't think of them as fresh-
men," Belassi continued. "They
have taken on a leadership role
and don't rely on the seniors."
Cox is encouraged by the way
her freshmen have been playing
and by how the team has com-
peted with the top teams in the
The Wolverines defeated No.
9 Old Dominion, and Cox pur-
posely schedules the country's
top four teams the beginning of
each season to prepare every-
one for the challenges of Big Ten
Although the games, ahead
will be another difficult test for
the freshman players, Way isn't
"We're all so competjtive that
we all try to motivate each other
to be better and push.each other
before games," she said.
Tight end Mike iassey and the rest bf the Wolverines were greeted before Saturday's game by about 100 football alumni in an7
effort to reverse the team's fortunes following its 0-2 start.
But with fans booing the team, Still, actually seeing the support game. The two became friends last
local media calling for Carr's head provided a boost. year when Carr used scenes from
and the national press parachuting "The two weeks before we got "Cinderella Man," in which Crowe
in to cover the resulting circus, a booed," linebacker Shawn Crable starred, to inspire his team.
group of players decided to take ita said. "Then we came in and every- Although Crowe also delivered
step further. Led by Ron Simpkins, body is cheering and got hopes, so a speech, just his presence was
the players joined together to cheer it was kind of exciting for us to see enough. With the former players
the Wolverines. everyone still believing." also in attendance, the players didn't
Carr said he learned of the plan a Carr bolstered the alumni's want to let anyone down.
day beforethe game, and the players efforts with a visitor of his own. "Between that and Russell Crowe
found out just before they left their After actor Russell Crowe called and all that stuff it was 'My God,
hotel that the special guests would to console Carr, the coach invited we really got to win this game,' "
be waiting. the Academy Award winner to the Massey said.
Interested in writing for sports?
Come to our weekly meeting.
Sunday at noon at 420 Maynard St.
From the start, class of 2008 is special
hree years ago, I was
assigned to interview the
five freshmen on the Michi-
team. I was
with the excep-
tion of Stesha
Selsky, all of '
them were taller
they sat during H. JOSE
the interview. BOSCH
my recorder The Bosch
didn't work. But Watch
what I captured
that my recorder couldn't was that
this group was poised to do great
And why not? It was the No. 6
recruiting class in the nation as
ranked by prepvolleyball.com. Four
of the five recruits were in the top
100. Two of them (Selsky and Katie
Bruzdzinski) won player of the year
in their respective states. And three
of them were major contributors on
a team that went 9-1 in nonconfer-
So I didn't feellike I was goingout
on a limb when I figured this class
would lead the Michigan volleyball
team to its first regular-season Big
What I didn't know at the time
was the Big Ten isn't a cakewalk.
The snow-covered Midwest is a far
cry from the sun-drenched West
Coast, but the Big Ten has some of
the nation's perennial volleyball
powers - Penn State, Minnesota
and Ohio State.
After the super freshmen helped
the team to a 20-win season, the
Wolverines fell flat the next year,
finishing 13-16. The class of 2008
wasn't solely responsible for the
down year, but it sure took it per-
sonally. The five fought back for
another 20-win season last year,
even after the injuries hurt the team
at the beginning of the Big Ten sea-
Despite all the words and phrases
that could describe the class of 2008
(talented,tenacious and tall), the one
that still eludes it is Big Ten Cham-
pion. On the surface, this looks like
a major disappointment.
But don't let that fool you. This
senior class may not have the hard-
ware yet, but it's given more to
Michigan volleyball than a trophy
Selsky,Bruzdzinski, Sarah Draves
and Lyndsay Miller not only built on
Michigan coach Mark Rosen's win-
ning tradition, they've transformed
the way the team thinks of itself.
"When we first got here, our team
looked at the Big Ten like, 'Wow, the
BigTen is reallygood,' type of thing,
sort of a justification for not coming
into the top five," Selsky said. "Now,
we look at it, and we're not afraid of
it. We've changed that outlook for
our team this year to say, 'You know
what, OK, so what?"'
This year, the seniors' influence
has translated into Michigan play-
ing, training and even winning bet-
ter than ever before.
Miller called it a "grittiness" the
team didn't have last year when a
12-0 start didn't translate into con-
ference success. This newfound
grittiness has allowed the Wolver-
ines to win, even when they're not
at their best.
Last season, Michigan failed to
take a five-game match. But four
weeks into this season, it's already
3-0 when it goes the distance. And
in two of those matches, the Wol-
verines came from behind, includ-
ing last Saturday's win over Georgia
So there's reason to believe the
Wolverines can finish above .500in
conference play for just the second
time in Rosen's eight-year tenure.
The seniors can't do it all on their
own, of .course. Freshman setter
Lexi Zimmerman will be just as
important for conference success as
the four startingseniors.
But the class of 2008 is front and
center this weekend for the start of
the Big Ten season. It's time for the
four to shine and help propel the
program to even greater heights.tr;
"Are they good enough?,", Rosen
asked of whether this class is the
greatest in the program's history.
"Surebut that's somethingyouhave
to go out and prove."
This weekend will be the seniors'
- Bosch can be reached Middle blocker Lyndsay Miller is part of a senior quartet that has helped elevate
at firstname.lastname@example.org. Michigan volleyball to new heights.
Law Day 2007
Wednesday, September 26th
1 lam-3pm at The Michigan Union
Meet with over 100 law schools plus
local test preparation services
Collect application information and
explore law education options
Visit The Career Center's website for a
list of schools scheduled to attend
(www careercenter.umich edu)
6ecause.ne day can make all the difference!
For more information contact us at:
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is conducting an in-clinic research study' evaluating an
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