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April 09, 2008 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-04-09

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8A - Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

4

All business at last practice

Senior Samantha Findlay's home run gave the Michigan softball team a solid 4-1 lead against Central Michigan yesterday at
Alumni Field. The Wolverines went on to win 4-3, their 33rd victory oftthe season.
RBI record in victory

The team busses were
parked outside Yost Ice
Arena Monday, ready to
take the Wolverines straight to the
airport after practice.
And while talkingto the media
after their afternoon skate, their
minds seemed
to already be in
Denver.
Maybe that's .
why Kevin '
Porter didn't
realize Monday A
was his last
practice at Yost
Ice Arena. COURTNEY
"You know RATKOWIAK
what, I didn't
even think
about it," Porter said, half-sur-
prised, half-laughing. "Not until
you said anything."
Porter's last practice as a Wol-
verine went largely unnoticed
because all year, the team has
refused to look back. All season,
Michigan has accepted its Cinder-.
ella story but refused to dwell on it.
It started in the first game, the
win against then-No. 2 Boston Col-
lege, when a team picked to be one
of the best fell to ateam with 12
freshmen.
It started as soon as Louie Capo-
russo, playing in his first game asa
Wolverine, scored the game-win-
ning goal in overtime to lift Michi-
gan over the Eagles.
It started with a 3-1 record and
a No. 3 ranking heading into the
home opener.
"I don't think any of these kids
will be outstanding," Michigan
coach Red Berenson said about the
freshmen at CCHA Media Day in
October. "But if they're not notice-

able, then they're
playing well."
Sixty-four fresh- DAY
man goals and 117 COUNTDOWN
first-year assists . TO DENVER
later, it's obvious
why lookingback
seems a little silly.
So instead of the season, and they've refused to
seeing where this season at Yost let themselves stop, look back and
began, let's see how it ended. reflect on how far'they've come.
It was Monday afternoon, two The players went straight from
hours before the team boarded a the arena to the bus to the airport
chartered plane to Denver. At the Monday afternoon, and like that,
end of practice, Porter stayed on their season on their home ice was
the ice, shooting at third-string finished. After six months, it came
goalie Shawn Hunwick. He and so suddenly it was hard to believe
three freshmen were the only ones until the ice was empty.
left. In his final Yost post-practice
Porter sometimes plays best- interview of the season, Berenson
of-seven shootouts with Hunwick deflected a question about what
after practice. But on this last day the last practice meant to him by
on his home ice, Porter scored just simply saying it was good to get out
once. He stayed out a little longer on the ice and have a productive
and tried to be a little better, but practice before the trip.
still finished 2-for-12. Even with 24 years worth of
"I guess he kind of beat me memories and ten Frozen Four
today," Porter said. appearances, he wasn't looking
That's probably one of the only back.
times all season Porter could say And 10 minutes after most of the
that about someone, and he said it team had left, Porter finally came
with a smile on his face. He didn't off the ice and sat on the table near
have a reason to say it after his the locker room stairs for the final
unstoppable, five-goal weekend at time, wearing his light blue Michi-
the NCAA Regionals in Albany. He gan practice uniform.
won't be saying it Friday night at "It's my last time skating here,
the Hobey Baker Award ceremony. practicing here as ateam," he said,
And none of the Wolverines will repeating what he had just realized
be saying it Thursday night. a few seconds before.
Why? Because this team is He paused, but barely missed a
too focused on the game to get beat.
distracted by how well they've There was no time for reflection.
played to get to the Frozen Four. "I guess it's pretty sad, but it'll
The Wolverines refused to look be great going to Denver," he said.
back at last season. They refused to
buy into the hype when they were - Ratkowiak can be reached
ranked first just a few weeks into at cratkowi@umich.edu.

Two-run shot gives
senior captain 156
RBIs for career
By ANTHONY OLIVEIRA
Daily Sports Writer
Down 3-1 in the count, senior
captain Samantha Findlay took a
hard whiff.
The
crowd let CMIUG 3
out a loud M ICHIGAN 4
sigh.
On the next pitch, she swung just
as hard. This time she didn't miss.
Findlay's shot barely cleared the
fence in left-centerfield, bringing in
two runs to make her the Wolver-
ines' all-time RBI leader with 186.
More importantly, she gave the
Michigan softball team an insur-
mountable 4-1 lead in its 4-3 win
over Central Michigan yesterday
afternoon.
"I, didn't even know, to tell you
the truth," Findlay said about the
record. "It's great anfl I don't want
to shun it aside, but I'm worried
about winningthe game."
Michigan's pitching almost gave
them a reason to worry as sopho-
more pitcher Nikki Nemitz strug-
gled against the Chippewas.
Despite striking out the side in
the first inning, Nemitz couldn't
keep that edge.
Central Michigan (5-1 MAC,

13-12 overall) came out aggressive
against the sophomore. And while
the offense couldn't figure her out
the first time around, it didn't take
long soon after. Chippewa hitters
combined to put up eight hits and
three runs in her 4.2 innings. Even
though Nemitz is one of the most
composed on the squad, Hutchins
said the sophomore didn't have that
same thick skin yesterday.
"Part of it was losing my edge,
but a lot of that was that I was
trying to guide my pitches,"
Nemitz said. "I wasn't trusting
them, letting them rip and believ-
ing that I could actually do it."
Central Michigan took the early
lead in the third when a grounder
rolled through Nemitz's legs to
drive in the runner from second.
But luckily for Michigan (7-1
Big Ten, 33-4), the senior captains
played longball.
With a runner on second in the
bottom of the third inning, senior
Alessandra Giampaolo had the best
at-bat of the afternoon. After foul-
ing off four pitches, one to the left
and three to the right, Giampaolo
smacked the ball 10 feet inside the
right foul pole for her first home
run of the season.
Other than the two home runs,
the Michigan offense had just one
.more hit the rest of the game.
And as Nemitz continued to let
runners on in the fifth, the lack of
Michigan offense became a grow-
ing concern.

After getting two outs on back-
to-back Chippewa batters, Nemitz
allowed three straight singles and
two more runners crossed home.
Hutchins had no choice but to put
freshman Jordan Taylor in the cir-
cle.
It turned out to be a good deci-
sion
Taylor threw a four-pitch strike-
out with two outs in the fifth
against the first batter she faced.
But despite notching seven-strike-
outs in 2.1 innings, she hit trouble
in the seventh frame.
Taylor allowed a one-out single
to Central Michigan's Christina
Novak. During the next at-bat,
Novak stole second and advanced
to third on a wild pitch without
Taylor even knowing.
But Taylor quickly recovered and
struck out the next two batters to
seal the win.
Though Michigan came'out with
the victory, Hutchins expects the
Wolverines to come out today with
more emotion against Bowling
Green at 4 p.m. today.
"I was most disappointed that we
didn't have the passion and enthusi-
asm thatyou need to havewhenyou
walkout onto this great field in that
Michigan uniform," Hutchins said.
"We were fortunate with the win.
We got the right people out at the
right time, we hit the ball over the
fence and got some bigRBIs."
And none were bigger than Find-
lay's.

Coach reacts to recruiting jabs

One-and-done without a title

By IAN ROBINSON
Daily Sports Editor
There seems to be a misunder-
standing of what it means to be
a gentleman in Big Ten coaching
circles.
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel,
in response to a
question about NOTEBOOK
whether there
is an agreement among confer-
ence coaches not to recruit each
other's verbal commitments, said
last week, "I guess only between
gentlemen."
Yesterday, Michigan coach Rich
Rodriguez defended his recruiting
practices.
"If not being a gentleman is
recruiting a guy 'til the end, 'til
Signing Day, particularly after he
visits - guilty as charged," Rodri-
guez said.
Tressel was reacting to com-
ments Purdue coach Joe Tiller
made on Signing Day about Rodri-
guez recruiting players who had
already made verbal commitments
to the Boilermakers.
Rodriguez denied knowing any-
thing about such an agreement.
"I didn't get a memo from the
Big Ten or a handbook that says
'This is how you're a gentleman,' "
Rodriguez said. "I feel pretty proud
about how we recruit."
He alluded to a situation involv-
ing John Weinke, a quarterback
prospect who had originally com-
mitted to Michigan. After Rodri-
guez was hired, Weinke signed
with Iowa.
"I didn't say that guy's not a gen-
tleman," Rodriguez said.
TOO SOFT: It might just be a
spring scrimmage, but Rodriguez
was not pleased with his team's
intensity Saturday.
"I thought it was soft," Rodri-

4

Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez addressed the media in the full team meeting
room in Schembechler Hall after yesterday's spring practice.

By MARK GIANNOTTO
Daily Sports Editor
At the beginning of the college
basketball season, everyone was
hailing it as the year of the fresh-
men. The revolution began with
Kevin Durant and Greg Oden a
year ago, and now it's become a
full-scale takeover.
There was Derrick Rose, Kevin
Love, O.J. Mayo, Michael Beasley
and Jerryd Bayless,ojust to name
a few. The NBA age-limit rule,
put into effect in 2006, made it
illegal for NBA teams to draft
players unless they are one year
removed from their senior year of
high school. The rule made these
wunderkind AAU players, who
would ordinarily jump straight to
the pros, take at least a one-year
detour to a college campus.
These 18- and 19-year-olds saw
the promise of instant gratification
in the form of a national champi-
onship.
Looking back on Kansas's third-
ever national title, we all should
have known better.
The same scenario played out
just last year. Oden, Mike Conley
and the rest of Thad Matta's mega
recruiting class at Ohio State
fizzled against a veteran-laden
Florida squad in the title game.
Carmelo Anthony and Syracuse
aside, this is what usually happens.
It was not hard to notice how

calm and collected the Jayhawks
- whose rotation didn't includea
one-stop freshman - were down
the stretch, despite being down
nine with just over two minutes
remaining.
There was senior Russell Rob-
inson and his game-saving steal
off an inbounds pass that set up
a Sherron Collins 3-pointer. And
then, of course, there was the shot
of the tournament (sorry, West-
ern Kentucky guy from the first
DANCE FLOOR
with Mark Giannotto
round) by junior Mario Chalmers
to cap off the Jayhawks' late-game
heroics and send the game into
overtime.
On the other end of the court
was the image of Rose. The fresh-
man missed a crucial free throw
in regulation and faded once over-
time began.
To be fair; Memphis had its
share of veterans. Many of its key
contributors, like Chris Douglas-
Roberts and Joey Dorsey, were
seniors with a lot of late-game
experience under their belts.
But the Tigers can't argue they
didn't put most of their eggs into

4

the basket of an uber-talented
freshman point guard who will
likely be a top-two pick in the NBA
Draft. And like most 19-year-olds
under heavy pressure, Rose wilted.
Though the NCAA's talent pool
has expanded, experience still
trumps all in crunch time.
Players like Rose, Beasley and
Mayo will likely have better NBA
careers than someone like Dar-
rell Arthur or Brandon Rush. But
by committing themselves to the
one-and-done theory that has
seemingly "transformed" college
basketball, they also won't win a
national championship.
The argument goes that the
NCAA Tournament is the place
where upsets are plentiful and the
unexpected is the norm. Really,
though, tournament success stems
from being there before.
The seniors on this Kansas team
experienced first-round fizzles
(losses to Bucknell in 2005 and
Bradley in 2006) and then fell toa
more experienced UCLA squad in
the Elite 8 last year.
Guys like Rush and Chalmers
took their lumps in years past and
ended up at the top of thecollege
basketball world.
Don't get me wrong: I love this
new era of one-and-done college
basketball. It's just that Kansas
proved once again that when it
comes to championships, age and
experience still matter.

guez said. "I don't think we hit
anybody."
It's a trend Rodriguez has
noticed throughout spring drills.
The team displayed much more
passion in earlier workouts, butthat
has diminished. In the fall when the
team practices every day to prepare
for games, Rodriguez said he won't
accept that.
"We have a lot more guys inter-
ested in talking about how tough
they are than showing it," Rodri-
guez said. "We have to explain the
difference to them."
He recalled that, when he played
for West Virginia, there were 20
practices in full pads during spring
workouts. Now, teams are limited
to 15 practices, three of them in
shorts.
*"You used to get T-shirts if you
made it (through spring workouts),"
Rodriguez said. "I hit for'20 (prac-
tices), like a badge of honor."
MANNINGHAM COMES CLEAN:
Former Michigan receiver and
NFL prospect Mario Manningham
admitted to using marijuana while

at Michigan, according to profoot-
ballweekly.com.
At the NFL Combine, Man-
ningham told NFL teams he never
tested positive for marijuana. But
the report said Manningham sent a
letter to NFL teams saying he failed
two drug tests at Michigan. He
added that he no longer uses mari-
juana and has passed drug tests
since quitting.
Manningham was once pro-
jected to be a first-round pick, but a
sub-par performance at the scout-
ing combine and off-the-field issues
have many NFL teams worried.
SPRING GAME PLANS CHANGE:
Michigan typically concludes its
springpractices with a spring game
at the Big House that is open to the
fans.
Due to Michigan Stadium reno-
vations, this year's final practice
will not be at Michigan Stadium or
open to the public.
The team will run a 100-play
scrimmage at Saline High School
Saturday afternoon, but the event is
closed to the public.

4

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