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March 24, 2008 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-03-24

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4B - March 24, 2008 )j . : 2 The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
'We stick together, no matter what happens'

4

From Page lB
scoring grind-it-out goalie battle,
like Saturday night's 2-1 champion-
ship game win over Miami (Ohio).
And in those wins, they've
proven they can come back in the
third period or maintain a slim lead
against relentless pressure.
Usually, Michigan wins when its
top scorers, seniors Kevin Porter
and Chad Kolarik, take over the
game. But the championship game,
where the goals came from the sec-
ond and fourth lines, showed that
the entire team can pull its weight.
Michigan wins with its own
style. And its able to play its game
because everyone is on the same
page. Even during a rough stretch
in February, the Wolverines stuck
together.
Michigan wins because that's
all it knows and that's all it cares
about. Not stats, not personal
awards. Just winning as a team.
"When the game is on the line,
we're the team that wants to win,"
freshman Louie Caporusso said.
"We play desperate hockey when
it's needed and we won't take no for
an answer."

The poise of Michigan's 11-
member freshman class has been
the most impressive aspect of the
team's play all season. First-year
players make up almost half the
roster and their contributions have
been crucial to Michigan's success.
But why has this year's fresh-
man class contributed when so
many in the past struggled to find
their footing at the collegiate level?
The answer is simple. From day
one, Porter and Kolarik didn't treat
them as freshmen - they treated
the youngsters as Wolverines.
There are no freshmen, sopho-
mores,juniors or seniors this year.
There is just the team.
"We talked about it Thursday
night - this is our family," junior
Danny Fardig said. "We want to do
everything with each other. The
biggestpoint was that we stick
together, no matter what happens."
Caporusso, one of those first-
year players, agreed.
"When you love the guy next to
you and you love the guys you're
playing with, you're going to play
unbelievable hockey."
Now, Michigan will face its
toughest test, going after the fifth

and final goal it set for itself before
the season: a trip to the Frozen
Four and a shot at the National
Championship.
Before the season, no one
thought this year's team would
amount to much. The Wolverines
were picked bythe coaches and
media to finish fourth in the CCHA.
Capturing the No. 1 overall seed
for the tournament was such a far-
fetched notion it wasn't even worth
thinking about.
Asked what he would have said
in September if someone had told
him Michigan would be four-for-
four in accomplishing its goals so
far, Kolarik didn't hesitate.
"I would have laughed at you,"
he said.
Most people would have.
But when you hear the entire
roster speaking in terms of "we"
and "our," not "me" and "my," it's
hard to doubt this team's chances of
accomplishingthat last goal.
And the Wolverines - all of
them - will be the ones with the
last laugh.
- Sandals can be reached
at nsandals@umich.edu.

4

The Michigan hockey team awaits the presentation of the Mason Cup after its 2-1 victory over Miami (Ohio) at Joe LouisArena
Kelly, Jaeger also receive honors

From Page lB
everyday in the pool and out of the
pool."
With the win, Brunemann
picked up her third All-American
accolade of the three-day Champi-
onships.
Her performances were central
to No. 11 Michigan's ninth-place
team finish. The Wolverines com-
piled 130 points with Arizona (484)
winning the meet.
The Championships featured
fast times across the board for the
Wolverines.
Sophomore Margaret Kelly
picked up All-American honors
with her seventh-place finish in
the 200-yard individual medley.
She recorded the second-fastest
event time (1:57.27) in Michigan

history, missing her own record
by less than half a second. The
extremely tight and fast final nar-
rowly missed the NCAA record by
.03 seconds and just over two sec-
onds separated second and eighth
place.
Fifth-year senior Melissa Jaeger
joined Kelly in the consolation 100-
yard butterfly. Jaeger and Kelly
dominated the race, finishing first
and fourth in the heat and ninth
and 13th overall.
"I couldn't have been happier
with that race," Jaeger said. "I was
just so glad that Margaret was in
that heat with me. That makes
things so much easier, when you
have a teammate next to you."
In her first and last NCAA
Championships, Jaeger claimed
six honorable mention All-Ameri-

can honors. As a transfer student,
Jaeger wasn't allowed to compete
until this season, but her perfor-
mance was well worth the wait.
She swam solidly in her two indi-
vidual events and four relays.
The Wolverines' ninth-place
showing marks their second top-
ten finish since 1999. At the begin-
ning of the season, Michigan was
not considered a top contender.
Depth was a question, but the Wol-
verines found the answers as the
season progressed.
After finishingsecond at the Big
Ten Championships last month,
Michigan led all Big Ten squads in
the final team standings.
"We weren't really focusing on
(the team finish), we were focusing
on swimming well," Richardson
said. "That was the byproduct."

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