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February 20, 2008 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-02-20

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The Michigan Daily - michiganclaily.com

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - 9A

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com Wednesday, Fehruary 20, 2008 - 9A

team eels

Daily Sports Writer
During the Michigan hockey team's warm-up skate
at practice, Wolverine associate head coach Mel Pear-
son scans the ice for Chad Kolarik's light blue jersey.
He feeds the alternate captain passes to shoot as the
team circles the ice to loosen up.
But against Lake Superior State Saturday, Kolarik
fell to the ice in the third period and sustained a ham-
string injury that could bench the senior for four to
five weeks, Michigan coach Red Berenson said.
The injury means Kolarik - who has played in 156
consecutive games - will miss the first contest of his
Michigan career.
So for Pearson, it was strange not to see him on the
ice yesterday, during the team's first full practice since
the injury.
"I was looking around today to see who I was going
to fool around a little bit with and he wasn't there,"
Pearson said. "It was a little different."
For senior captain Kevin Porter, Kolarik's room-
mate, it will be the first time all year the senior duo
won't play on the same line. When asked if it would
be strange playing without him this weekend, the
reserved Porter paused before switching to another
For junior Travis Turnbull, Kolarik's likely replace-
ment, the injury will be an opportunity to step up and
improve his already career-best year. Though many
thoughtcfreshman Aaron Palushaj, the team's assist lead-
er and second-line right wing, would take Kolarik's spot,
Turnbull skated with the first line in practice yesterday.
Turnbull's experience is one of the many reasons
Berenson would give him the edge over the freshman.
Berenson said he expects Turnbull will step up his
game playing alongside Porter the same way he did
with last year's leading scorer.
"He's played with good players before at times and
done well," Berenson said. "Any time we put him with
(former Wolverine) T.J. (Hensick) he seemed to play
well. So I think Turnbull has a good chance at fitting
in pretty easy."
But no matter how well Turnbull fills the role,
Kolarik is struggling being out of the action.
"It's a little tough," Kolarik said. "You're playing

Daily Sports Editor
Three straight wins can change a
lot of people's perceptions - at least
that's what the Michigan men's bas-
ketball team hopes. After heading
toward one of the worst records in
program history, the Wolverines
have turned their season around in
the last two weeks.
It even prompted Ohio State
coach Thad Matta to call Michigan
"the best seven-win team (he'd) ever
seen" after the Wolverines upset his
Buckeyes Sunday.
Despite the recent streak, the
Wolverines have an 8-17 record and
sit in the bottom half of the Big Ten,
meaning John Beilein's rebuilding
project still has a long way to go.
Before the Wolverines' come-
from-behind win over Iowa last
Thursday, The Michigan Daily spoke
with ESPN analyst and former Okla-
homa State guard (1997-2000) Doug
Gottlieb about the Michigan's prog-
ress under Beilein.
"It isn't the Xs and Os. It's the
Jimmys and the Joes. (They) defi-
nitely don't have players. I think
they have guys that, frankly, aren't
great fits for the system. The players
aren't good enough. It's not that one
individual player isn't good enough,
but you have two or three Big Ten-
caliber players. That's not enough."
"The only question will be wheth-
er he can bring in equal talent, more
than he brought in his first year
at West Virginia. Recruiting has
changed in that guys are committing
much earlier now than they did five
years ago. Now guys are committing
after theirjunior year,inthe summer,
and not even waiting until the early
signing day. (Michigan) was operat-
ing under the premise that it didn't
have a lot of scholarships available.
Then some opened up (with end-
nic Price, K'Len Morris and Jerret
Smith off the team), but now there's
very few players left worth getting."
"It's refreshing to hire a guy
everyone appreciates since he's been
able to do it with ... his style guys,
which are not top-SO guys, McDon-
ald's All-American guys. Is it a good
hire? Yeah, the guy's a good basket-
ball coach if he can get kids that can
play his system. Can he win a nation-
al championship and can he do it
competing in tle Big Ten, which is
a league that I think is really down
this year but is going to get a lot bet-
ter? That's a good question because
the league is as bad as it's going to
"I think so to a certain extent,
because I was in high school when
the Fab Five was playing. There was
nothing cooler than the gold shorts
with the 'M' emblem on them. Who

didn't have those?"
See GOTTLIEB, Page 10A

Senior Chad Kolarik's hamstring injury will keep him out for four-to-five weeks. Junior Travis Turnbull will likely replace him.
Michigan State, you're playing for a regular season ic approach. His passion to help the team makes it even
title and you can't be apart of it. (It's) definitely frus- tougher for Kolarik to watch a Michigan hockey game
trating, but you just got to be a cheerleader." from the other side of the glass for the first time since he
The Abington, Pa., native is a vocal leader and is often arrived on campus in 2004.
credited for raising the team's intensity with his energet- See KOLARIK, Page 10A

New indoor facility lets 'M' practice through winter

Daily Sports Writer
Winter is usually a dead time
of year for the Michigan men's
golf team. But a new indoor prac-
tice facility in the basement of
the U-M Golf Course clubhouse
has given the Wolverines a com-
petitive advantage.
Before this year, winter prac-
tice in Ann Arbor involved occa-
sional trips to a local indoor
driving range and putting prac-
tice on a small green in the base-
ment of the clubhouse. This
made it hard for the team to pre-
pare for its spring season, which
usually begins in Puerto Rico
against tough competition from
schools in warmer climates.

But this November, adminis-
trative offices moved out of the
clubhouse basement and freed
up space to build the indoor
practice facility.
The 2,000-square foot area
has an expanded practice green
with 10 holes, six of them on
slopes to mimic outdoor greens.
Players can also chip short dis-
tances from artificial turf around
the green to work on their short
games. A retractable hitting net
with a video system and mir-
rored walls allows the Wolver-
ines to work with coaches on
their swings.
"It's been tremendous for us,"
Michigan coach Andrew Sapp
said. "Guys have told me they've
practiced their short game three

times as much as they have in
the past."
Sapp said the new facility will
also help Michigan in recruiting.
Many players from the south and
west are hesitant tocome to Ann
Arbor because they can't prac-
tice year-round.
"One of the first questions
I get is, 'what do you do in the
winter?' " Sapp said. "Now that
we can show them a short-game
facility, it's really beneficial."
But the Wolverines have no
set practice routine in their new
facility. Sapp said players work
individually on putting and chip-
ping. The team still goes to the
driving range for work on drives
and longer shots.
Junior Nick Pumford noticed

the improvement in his game
while playing in Florida this past
weekend withjunior Bill Rankin.
Many players on the team travel
at their own expense to play dur-
ing the winter.
"My short game was night-
and-day different," Pumford
said. "It's unbelievable."
Rankin believes the new facil-
ity will help the Wolverines keep
pace with teams from warmer
climates that can practice out-
doors all year.
"Now, we don't have the
excuse that our fundamentals
won't be in line," Rankin said.
"We used to assume that other
teams would chip and putt bet-
ter than us."
Michigan hopes the extra

work will pay off in the spring
Next weekend, Michigan
heads south to play in the Puerto
Rico Classic, where it has strug-
gled in the past. The Wolverines
finished second to last in 2007
and last in 2006.
But Michigan is coming off its
strongest fall season in recent
years, winning two tournaments
and finishing in the top five in
two others. Couple that with the
extra winter practice time and
expectations are higher going
into the spring. Michigan is cur-
rently ranked 35th by Golfweek,
the team's highest ranking of
Sapp's six years in Ann Arbor.
But Sapp knows the Wolver-
See FACILITY, Page 10A

Soph. fights temper in climb to No.1

Daily Sports Writer
At 16, sophomore Mike Sroc-
zynski left his home in Chatham,
N.J., and moved to San Antonio,
Texas, to attend Roddick Tennis
Academy on scholarship.
"(Living with Sroczynski)
was fun,
but a little
dirty," said SROCZYNSKI
Drew Daniel,
at the Acad-
emy. "But he YEAR: Soph.
improved a
lot." HEIGHT:
And since 6-foot-6
he arrived at W
Michiganlast WEIGHT:
year, Sroc- 220 pounds
zynski has
to improve.
He was in
and out of the lineup last season,
playing mostly in the No. 5 posi-
tion. But this season, Sroczynski
has been a dominant force while
playing at the No. 2 and No. 3
positions. He was the only Michi-
gan player to win a singles match
against No.1 Virginia on Feb. 3.
Last Sunday, Sroczynski got a
huge opportunity. Based on his
undefeated record this season,
Michigan coach Bruce Berque
put him in the No. 1 slot for the
first time in his careerBut Sroc-

zynski lost the match 7-6, 6-3 to'
Vanderbilt's Ryan Preston.
"I think it was his worst com-
petitive match of the year," Ber-
que said.
Berque attributed the loss to
Sroczynski's lack of confidence
during matches.
Sroczynski has historically
struggled with his demeanor
during competition.
"I used to have a hot temper,"
he said. "I used to scream and
yell and get pissed off on the
As a Wolverine, Sroczynski
has controlled his temper but has
struggled to stay positive.
"When he came to college he
was hurt, his confidence was low
and he was out of shape," Berque
In his match against Notre
Dame last year, Sroczynski was
tied with his opponent through
the first set - but his attitude
affected his game.
"Toward the end of the first
set, he missed out on an opportu-
nity on a big point," Berque said.
"And after that, the match was
Berque has formed new ways
of countering Sroczynski's ten-
dency to give up. He uses video
recordings to show Sroczynski
exactly where and when a match
turned sour.
But videos can only do so
"There's no substitute for win-
ning," Berque said. "As he wins
more and more matches, he will
get more and more confident."

Berque knew that Sroczynski
would be a tough project from
the start. While recruiting the
sophomore, Berque saw natural
power and raw ability but also
some deficiencies in his game.
"If he was willing to work on
(his game) and make some tech-
nical improvements, I felt that
his potential was through the
roof," Berque said.
And with his intimidating 6-
foot-6, 220-pound frame and
booming voice, Sroczynski has
the ability to carry the rest of his
"He's usually going to be the
biggest emotional presence on
the court," Berque said.
His congenial personal-
ity makes Sroczynski a respected
part of the squad.
Two years ago, after his offi-
cial visit to Michigan, the play-
ers on the team begged Berque to
offer him a spot.
"He's the guy I always want to
sit with at dinner," freshman and
doubles partner Jason Jung said.
Physically, Sroczynski is the
largest member of the men's ten-
nis team, but his play still needs
to grow if he wants to be the best
sive play and court mentality are
just some of the areas Berque and
Sroczynski continue to focus on
in practice.
But if his improvements from
last season to this year are any
indication of his potential, he's in
good shape.

- urt demeanora

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