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October 06, 2008 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-10-06

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2B - October 6, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

'M' earns first Big Ten win since '06

Give small
sports the
they merit

T he Michigan women's
soccer team will take the
field at the university's.
new soccer complex on South
State Street this Friday, and for
the first time this season, the
Wolverines will play a real home
The new U-M Varsity Soc-
cer Complex,
with practice
and competi-
tion fields for ." e
both the men's
and women's
teams, was
supposed to be
ready before NATE
the season SANDALS
began. Now
that the com-
plex is about ready, some might
say it's "better late than never."
But that's not the whole story
The captain of the women's
soccer team, Katie Miler, wrote
a viewpoint last month (A team
without its field, 10/22/2008),
which raised troubling questions
about the Athletic Department's
Miler was right to express her
displeasure with the way the Ath-
letic Department has handled
both soccer teams thisyear.
The old varsity soccer field
disappeared last spring when
construction began on a new
indoor football practice facility
next to Schembechler Hall. The
Athletic Department planned to
simultaneously build a new soc-
cer complex with competition
and practice fields, complete with
lights for night games, west of the
tennis complex.
The new fields were supposed
to be ready for both team's home
openers. But when that time
came, both the men's and women's
teams were forced to host games
at local high schools - some more
than 20 miles away - and at East-
ern Michigan University.
Even worse, the teams are
practicing on Mitchell Field and
the outfield of Ray Fisher Stadi-
um. Neither of those fields comes
close to reaching the standards
needed to train successfully and
safely at a Division-I level (Miler
wrote that the women's team suf-
fered seven ankle injuries in just
two days of practice it Mitchell
The Athletic Department said
construction on the new fields

was delayed because of unfore-
seen problems obtaining con-
struction permits, including
issues with wetlands. Early last
month, the Athletic Department
told The Michigan Daily that the
new fields would be completed by
last week.
That estimate was only a few
days off, but the situation is still
quite troubling and indicates a
pattern might be emerging.
Last year, the baseball and soft-
ball teams weren't able to hold
their home openers as scheduled
because the facilities weren't in
playable condition. The weather
played a role, but it didn't cause
a huge hole in the outfield of the
softball field.
Of course, it's hard to control
construction delays, obtain per-
mits and deal with all the bureau-
cratic difficulties of working
through issues with the Board of
Regents and the city.
What's worrisome is the Ath-
letic Department's choice to
improve its revenue programs at
the expense of its non-revenue
While football, basketball and
hockey bring in the money, the
Athletic Department has to real-
ize that the smaller sports are the
heart of Michigan athletics.The
majority of Michigan's athletic
accolades have been for smaller
sports. The last two national
championship teams on this cam-
pus were softball (2005) and field
hockey (2001).
Few students on this cam-
pus have ever gone to a women's
soccer game or a men's gymnas-
tics meet, but they've probably
interacted much more with the
athletes from those and other
non-revenue teams than from the
big three, whether in residence
halls, in class or walking across
Hundreds of small-sport ath-
letes come to Michigan for an
education and the chance to
represent this university on the
playing field. The least the Ath-
letic Department can do is make
sure that all those athletes have
the facilities and opportunities
expect and deserve at a top uni-
That can start by keeping
promises to all the teams, not just
the ones that fill the coffers.
- Sandals can be reached
at nsandals@umich.edu.

Sperry posts shutout
in team's second win
against ranked
opposition in four days
Daily Sports Writer
After a l-0 shutout of No. 20 Indi-
ana Saturday, the Wolverines' sec-
ond win over a ranked team in four
days, Michigan is wondering if it
will crack the top 25 in the national
After a dismal 2007 season, the
Wolverines (1-0-1 Big Ten, 8-2-2
overall) earned their first win over
a Big Ten opponent since November
"That will take care of itself,"
Michigan coach Steve Burns said.
"They know that that is a success
that can trap you."
The Wolverines' defenders have
done the trapping lately, allowing
just one goal in a 3-1 upset of No. 8
Notre Dame last week. And on Sat-
urday, Michigan earned a shutout
against the Hoosiers at Bill Arm-
strong Stadium in Bloomington.
"Mike Holody and Julian Robles,
our two center backs, are playing
great," Burns said. "And you have to
give credit to our defensive midfield-
er Alex Morisset. He played with a
tremendous amount of heart." .
Burns estimated that Morisset
ran about a dozen miles over the
course of the game.
"We just tried to stay tight with
their center fielders, and we knew
they had a quick left back," the
senior said. "We just stayed tight
with those three guys, and we were
able to shut them down"
While the defense stole the
show, senior Jake Stacy scored the
match's only goal just 78 seconds
into the match. Stacy charged from
the top of the penalty box an con-
nected on a well-placed cross from
From Page 1B
payoff," Rosen said.
Helped along by Paz's dominant
spike, the Wolverines held the lead
for much of the third game until
two devastatingservice errors cost
Michigan the game, 26-24.
Wisconsin raced out to an early
lead in the fourth game until the
Wolverines tied the game at 19.
Michigan seized their newfound
momentum and put the Badgers'
backs against the wall with a
match point opportunity.
The match point looked like
redemption for Michigan, who
failed to put Wisconsin away on
two similar match point opportu-
nities in Madison last year.
But again, the Wolverines just
couldn't close the door.
"We couldn't get points when
we need them," Paz said. "Then
the crowd came in, and we couldn't
get [the momentum] back."
With a newly energized crowd,
the fifth game held much of the
same for Michigan as the Badgers
polished off their comeback with a
15-10 victory.
After the young Wolverine
squad notched 13 consecutive wins
to start the season, back-to-back
losses were a new experience.
But it just made redemption that
much sweeter.

Junior Julian Robles (3), pictured in the Wolverines'1-0 win over Oakland on Sept. 24, was one of the keys to Michigan's victory
over Indiana.

The Wolverines' offense has been
evenly distributed this season, with
10 different players scoring in the
first 12 games.
"You can never complain about
having a lot of offensive weapons,"
.Stacy said. "It helps .for me, and
that's a reason I've gotten a lot of
opportunities to score."
After the early Michigan score,
the Hoosiers (1-1, 5-3-2) pushed
hard to get shots on goal the rest of
the first half, outshooting the Wol-
verines 11-3. But the defense and
redshirt junior goalkeeper Patrick
Sperry took charge and shut Indi-
ized by six crucial service errors,
getting back to a balanced offen-
sive attack- was key if the Wolver-
ines hoped to pull off the victory
in Evanston.
"We really looked like a team
that was intent on getting back on
the win side," Rosen said.
In the victory, Michigan
watched as junior hitter Megan
Bower went down with an ankle
injury at the end of Saturday's
Rosen said the team wouldn't
know how serious the injury was
until sometime this week.
Bower has been a large part of
Michigan's offensive success the
season with 143 kills on the sea-
son, the third-most on the team.
But this weekend it was Paz,
with a team-leading 37 kills, who
kept the Wolverines even on the
year in Big Ten competition.
And Michigan's will need more
of the same from Paz to pull out
victories in its next three games,
all of which are against ranked
opponents. ,
The three-game campaign con-
cludes with a match at No. 1 Penn
State, a rematch of last season,
when the Nittany Lions knocked
Michigan out of its first-ever
Sweet 16 last season en route to a
National Championship.
The outcome of Michigan's next
few games will define the young
team's potential to do damage in
the powerful Big Ten this year.
"It's still early in the season,"
Rosen said. "We're still a very
young team. So, if we can just get
better every game, we're going to
be pretty good."

ana down.
Sperry has played his best soccer
the past five games, allowing just
three goals and racking up 19 saves,
including five on Saturday.
The entire team, even players
who focus mostly on scoring, have
emphasized playing better defense
when the ball is on their side of the
Burns said junior forward Peri
Marosevic and junior midfielder
Mauro Fuzetti, two players who
focus mostly on offense, are also
two of the team's hardest-working

"The last few games, our whole
team has bought into working really
hard defensively," Stacy said.
The Wolverines begin a two-
game home stand against Western
Michigan on Sunday. They will
have momentum from the past two
big wins, but Burns doesn't want
them riding too high.
"My job is to keep the team
focused on what we need to do next,
and that is Western Michigan,"
Burns said. "We'll make sure the
players' feet are on the ground, and
they realize there are still a lot of
games left in the season."

Defense holds No.21
Illinois to one goal

Blue falls to Illini
as young players
step up
For the Daily
MichigancoachGregRyan called
it his team's best game of the sea-
son, but it still wasn't good enough
for a win. Despite strong defense,
the Michigan women's soccer team
fell to No. 21 Illinois 1-0 yesterday
in Champaign.
The loss came two days after a
1-1 double overtime tie againstPur-
due in West Lafayette. Facing one
of the Big Ten's quickest attacking
units Sunday, Michigan (0-2-2 Big
Ten, 3-6-4 overall) was still able to
thwart most scoring opportunities
through skillful'tackling and good
communication. The Wolverines
have notyielded more than one goal
in a single game since a 6-2 rout of
Oakland on Sept.11.
"We were really able to limit
their chances (by) staying tight and
compact,"said sophomore defender
Jackie Carron, who Ryan called the
"linch pin" of his back six.
The game remained scoreless
until the 78th minute, when Fight-
ing Illini forward Jordan Hibrands
scooted a header past senior
goalkeeper Madison Gates' out-
stretched arms.
"It's a challenge having so many
young players, but they rose to the
occasion (Sunday)," senior co-cap-
tain Katie Miler said.
Though the Wolverines couldn't
score Sunday, their offense estab-
lished long possessions, which

allowed Michigan defenders to
enter the Illini zone and create
additional scoring opportunities.
Carron provided a strong offen-
sive threat againstIllinois (3-1, 9-4)
with well-placed free kicks and
Michigan's only shot on goal.
The Wolverines have struggled
with offensive production this sea-
son. They have only two goals in
their last six contests, both coming
off the toes of defenders. Though
Ryan said his top-ranked freshman
class has improved tremendously,
his three starting freshman for-
wards have often failed to convert
on scoring opportunities this sea-
And against Purdue Friday, it
took a sophomore to score the Wol-
verines' only goal. Carron's equal-
izer in the 85th minute, her first
career goal, was booted from the
25-yard line after a futile Purdue
attempt to clear the ball.
Ryan said the Wolverines were
fortunate to stay in the game after
being dominated in the first half.
"The first half we were very
flat and we didn't play well, and in
the second half we gave up a goal
early," Ryan' said. "But we were
able to fight back and get some
Gates stopped a barrage of shots
in the closing minutes, recording
nine saves in the game.
After a tough weekend on the
road, Michigan can only hope that
stingy defense will finally translate
to a win.
"At the beginning of the year,
I wasn't sure if we were going to
be competitive in Big Ten games,"
Ryan said. "But the defense is giv-
ing us the chance to stay in every


Michigan returned to its win-
ning ways Saturday night and gave
Rosen his record-tying 177th win
in a3-0 sweep at Northwestern.
After sometimes-sloppy offen-
ALUMNIASSOCIATION sive play Friday night, character-


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