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September 04, 2008 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-09-04

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10A - Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

iDA - Thursday, September 4, 2008 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Edwards, nearing
return frominjury,
says foot will be fine

6
I

Former Michigan
star wideout
missed three weeks
of preseason
BEREA, Ohio (AP) - For
nearly five minutes, . Braylon
Edwards was his swaggeringself.
Bursting, as always, with
confidence, Cleveland's wide
receiver met with reporters
yesterday for the first time
since severely cutting his right
foot during a post-practice
mishap on Aug. 9, an injury that
sidelined him for more than
three weeks.
Edwards assured everyone
he'll be ready for Sunday's opener
against Dallas.
Any limitations?
"Next question," he snapped.
Edwards talked more freely
about his friendships with
Cowboys wideout Terrell
Owens and Olympic pool pal
Michael Phelps as well as the
lofty expectations being heaped
upon the Browns and their high-
octane offense.
"Ithinkwecanbetremendous,"
he chirped.
Onlywhenhewaswalkingaway
did the former Michigan wide
receiver show any vulnerability.
As he headed toward the locker
room door, Edwards was asked if
he felt lucky that his injury wasn't
worse.
"Whew,' le said. "Not even
a question, it was so close to my
Achilles."
Edwards returned to practice
Monday along with Pro Bowl
quarterback Derek Anderson,
who has recovered from a
concussion suffered on Aug. 18
against the New York Giants.
Running back Jamal Lewis is
also near full speed after missing
two weeks with a hamstring
injury. He was limited during
Wednesday's workout.
The Browns are banking
on the Anderson-to-Edwards
connection being special again.
For Cleveland, that hookup
means as much as Tony Romo-
to-Owens does to the Cowboys.
Edwards said he and Anderson
had no trouble shaking off the
rust during their first practice
despite not being on the field
together for weeks.

They spent the offseason
working on their timing and
Edwards expects them to be
roaring by kickoff Sunday.
"It's not a concern," Edwards
said. "D.A. and I have been
playing together for a while now.
We got a chance to get into a
rhythm earlyonthis year. He and
I are in somewhat of a rhythm
and coming back out there we felt
good when we ran our routes. I
don't think it will be too bad. We
have some days to get ready, we'll
be all right."
But Cleveland's hopes for a
big season were nearly dashed
when Edwards, running sprints
in his socks, was stepped on by
teammate Donte' Stallworth
following practice three weeks
ago.
Stallworth's cleats ripped
through the soft tissue on
Edwards' heel, leaving a nasty
gash alongside his Achilles
tendon that required numerous
stitches and an overnight stay in
the hospital.
Edwards didn't offer any
specifics about the injury. He said
it has healed and won't slow him
down.
A 6-foot-3, 215-pounder with
breakaway speed, the 25-year-
old Edwards is often compared
to a younger Owens, who at
35 is still one of the NFL's top
playmakers.
Just as Edwards was asked
what it will be like to be on the
same field with Owens, he was
interrupted by teammate Shaun
Smith.
"Bump that," Smith yelled
across the locker room. "Tell
them you make plays, too, B."
Unable to practice while his
foot recovered, Edwards was
confined to his home where he
watched game film and endless
hours of the Beijing Olympics.
"Because of the injury, I had to
catch all of it," he said, smiling.
A few years ago, he became
friendswith Phelps, who was also
in Ann Arbor.
Edwards said he worked out
with Phelps, who won eight gold
medals in China, for a short time.
A very short time.
"Once," he said. "It wasn't fun.
First of all, he works out at 6 a.m.
He's in the pool by six. Too much
swimming. After 30 minutes,
I started playing on the diving
board."

Freshman Bryn Bain in a game last year as a senior at Eastern High School in Voorhees, N. J Bain is one of three Eastern grads that make up this year's freshman class.
New Jersey trio sticks together

By NICOLE AUERBACH
Daily Sports Writer
VOORHEES, N.J. - Three girls
gossiped, laughed and finished
each other's sentences as they sat
crammed in a hometown restau-
rant booth in late July.
They planned out their workouts
for the afternoon.
They worried if they'd hate their
roommates, just as any other soon-
to-be freshmen would.
But these weren't just any three
18-year-old girls heading off to col-
lege together.
Hannah Dawson, Jess Allen and
Bryn Bain make up the Michigan
field hockey team's entire incoming
class.
The girls all grew up in southern
New Jersey and attended Eastern
Regional High School in Voorhees,
where they played varsity field
hockey for one of the country's
most prestigious programs.
UNPARALLELED SUCCESS
Eastern has won nine straight
state titles since 1999. The team has
been consistently ranked in the na-
tional top 10, occasionally reaching
No. 1.
But the program's claim to fame
isn't a trophy or a top ranking - it's
a record.
Easternowns the nation'slongest

unbeaten streak in high school field
hockey history with 153 straight
games. Its winning streak against
in-state opponents is equally im-
pressive.
From 1998 to 2007, Eastern won
208 consecutive games against
New Jersey opponents, a streak
that ended last November.
"In the beginning, I guess I
didn't realize how great a program
it was and how much they'd accom-
plished," said Allen, who speaks
just as confidently as she attacks
the net. "Over the years, after learn-
ing how we were nationally known
and had gone so long without losing
a game, it kind of just hits you and
made you work harder. You wanted
to be good, just as good as the girls
who came in before you."
Playing for such an esteemed
program can be a taxing experi-
ence.
The trio spent summers partici-
pating in programs within the Unit-
ed States Field Hockey Association,
like Futures teams, which seek po-
tential Olympic athletes. In July,
Bain, Allen and Dawson all went
to Junior National camp, a highly
selective elite training program in
Virginia Beach.
And while the girls improved
their skills in these national devel-
opment programs, they realize it
was largely their high school expe-
rience that prepared them for col-
legiate competition.
In recent years, other former
Eastern field hockey players have
gone on to play for colleges like
James Madison and Iowa, two of
the top10 teams in the nation.
Former Michigan captain and
defender Lori Hillman (2002-2005)
also played for Eastern.
One of the major benefits, of
playing for a highly touted program
like Eastern's is that the players get
used to media attention. The team
was heavily covered by local news-
papers and even by the New York
Times. Bain admitted she hates be-
ing interviewed after those experi-
ences.
"It was definitely a lot of pres-
sure, more than I think I could han-
dle;" Dawson said. "Over the years,
it just kept building up and building
up. We didn't really pay attention
to the records, but the newspapers
and everyone around us did."
Fortunately, the three had a
strong support network surround-

ing them as they dealt with pres-
sure, on and off the field.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Field hockey is more than just a
passion in Voorhees - it's a family
affair.
All three girls were introduced
to the sport at a young age by fam-
ily members, and each discovered
her love for the game in a different
way.
Dawson has four older sisters
who all played high school field
hockey, and all went on to compete
at the collegiate level. The self-
proclaimed "big Big Ten fan" grew
up on the sidelines of her sisters'
games, and even met Eastern field
hockey coach Danyle Heilig at age
eight - giving her a glimpse of the
future.
Allen's mother, Hope, played
field hockey for Iowa, and she al-
ways encouraged her daughter to
'give the sport a try. Allen excelled in
soccer and field hockey at a young
age, but she eventually had to quit
soccer because both are fall sports
in New Jersey. She has never given
the decision a second thought.
Bain's older sister played field
hockey in high school, and her trip-
let cousins, who graduated from
Eastern, all play together as seniors
for No. 7 James Madison.
"They always kept a stick in my
hand," Bain said.
Eastern has benefited from the
tight-knit community and active
families surrounding the Voorhees
area to create an excellent field
hockey program. The majority of
its players come from the towns of
Berlin and Gibbsboro, which make
up about 20, percent of the student
body.
"There's been lots of sisters and
cousins," Heilig said with a smile.
"A lot of families.'
THREE PUZZLE PIECES
Michigan coach Nancy Cox first
visited Voorhees in search of a tal-
ented midfielder.
She couldn't have predicted that
she'd find future impact players at
forward and defense, too.,
"Every time you'd watch Bryn
play there were Jess and Hannah
there as well" Cox said. "It was
hard to watch Bryn without seeing
the other two."

No. 9 Michigan adds depth to
each area of the field this season
with the Eastern trio.
Allen is a forward, constantly at-
tacking the net. She scored 84 gols
and tallied 31 assists during her
four-year high school career.
"The thing about Jess Allen is,
she's relentless and has the ability
to finish," Cox said. "Those kids are
few and far between."
Dawson, a defender, patrolled
the backfield for Eastern through-
out her high school career. She re-
ceived defensive player of the year
honors from local and state news-
papers.
"Hannah Dawson is just a true
blue-collar, relentless defender,"
Cox said.
Like Allen and Dawson, Bain's
high school stats were remarkable.
She collected many accolades while
at Eastern, and Bain led her team
in scoring her senior year with 28
goals and 19 assists. It makes sense
that Cox was first drawn to such a
standout midfielder.
But even though they each have
impressive rgsumgs, it's their pres-
ence as a unit that instills fear in op-
ponents.
"They are all tremendous play-
ers," Heilig said. "They've all been
contributors with what they've
brought on the field and off the
field...There was a bar established,
and they reached it, if not raised it
a little bit."
ANOTHER FOUR YEARS
Right now, they're all smiles.
That may not always be the case
over the next four years.
Bain, Dawson and Allen will
compete, study and hang out to-
gether. Since they have been team-
mates and friends since middle
school, you'd think they might have
wanted to take a break from one
another.
"In the beginning, I always
wanted to go do my own thing" Al-
len said. "Then I realized, it didn't
really matter. It's so comforting to
have two teammates who know
how you play and know how you're
feeling."
All three girls talk about the dif-
i ference between familiarity on and
off the field. Knowing the tenden-
cies of each other's play leads to
on-field success, but helping each
other through personal issues and
problems creates an even stronger
bond. over the summer, the girls
discussed worries about being
freshmen at a large university.
"You can't really ask (new
friends), 'Does this outfit look
good?' if you're going out," Dawson
said. "These two will tell me if it re-
ally looks good or not. They're not
scared to be honest with me."
All three realize they won't get
along the whole time. They ex-
pect ups and downs, like any other
friendships.
"I'll probably get sick of them,"
Bain said with a smile.
Both former coach Heilig and
current coach Cox find the situa-
tion unique but ripe with potential.
"The dynamics are interest-
ing because obviously the three of
them are very familiar with one
another," Cox said. "They know
their strengths and weaknesses as
'human beings. I think the biggest
challenge for all three of them will
be integrating into the fabric of our
team."
Bain said their focus heading into
the season is on meeting and getting

to know all their other teammates.
"We're going to make new
friends when we're there," Bain
said defiantly. "We're not going to
latch onto each other. No team likes
a clique?'

I

I
I

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