The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Friday, November 7, 2008 - 9
Sophomore setter Lexi Zimmerman and the Wolverines host Northwestern and Wisconsin this weekend.
Protecting leads ey
for 'M' this weekend
By MARK BURNS ning, but at the same time we can't
Daily Sports Writer try to do things too differently."
Last Saturday, Michigan
Michigan associate volleyball squared off against then-No. 20
coach Leisa Rosen was talking Purdue, the Wolverines took a
to just one player, but she might well-deserved 2-0 lead heading
as well have been talking to the into the intermission.
entire team. "I thought we were playing well
"You need to stop thinking and going into the break - serving
just start playing," Rosen said tough and defending well," Rosen
after Wednes- said.
day's practice. Northwestern Michigan's comfortable lead
The Wolver- at Michigan quickly evaporated as the Boiler-
ines are coming makers showcased their offensive
off a very disap- Matchup: prowess after the break, hitting
pointing week- Northwestern an average of .359 in the last three
end in which they gao 18-6 sets.
gave away two The key to the match may have
near-wins which When: Tonight been the wide margin in blocks,
could have pro- 7 with Purdue notching 12 more
pelled them into Where: Cliff than Michigan.
third place in the Keen Arena Blocking has been a weakness
Big Ten stand- TV: all season for the Wolverines.
ings. Big Ten Net- In Big Ten contests, Michigan is
But the team work averaging just two per set.
had difficulty But Mark Rosen doesn't see it
closing out its that way.
opponents, a problem that has According to Rosen, his team
plagued the Wolverines all sea- was losing the "serve-and-pass
Michigan (6-6 Big Ten, 18-6 "Whenever we serve, we'd like
overall) is the only team in the to have their setter to be on the
conference to squander a 2-0 lead run, where she is setting some-
in a match twice this season. where outside the 10-foot line and
And the 20th-ranked Wolver- making their passers pass the ball
ines hope that won't happen a off the net," Rosen said.
third time as they host Northwest- But in the match against the
ern and Wisconsin this weekend. Boilermakers,, the Wolverines
"After a weekend of going 0-2, were the ones serving the ball
you're a little bit more urgent," outside the 10-foot line, giving the
Michigan head coach Mark Rosen Purdue blockers time to set up.
said. "You want to get back to win- The same thing happened
against Wisconsin in the begin-
ning of October.
The Wolverines were up 2-0 on
the Badgers and let the lead slip
away. Wisconsin eventually came
out on top in a five-set match.
This weekend Michigan has
a shot at redemption against the
The Wolverines hope to take
what they have learned from these
two heartbreaking defeats and
turn it into two solid wins in the
friendly confines of Cliff Keen
"We don't want to forget (the
losses) but we don't want to dwell
on them," junior libero Megan
Bower said. "We're focusing on
finishing strongly, tryingto take as
much positive out of the matches
as we can."
Over the course of the season,
Rosen and the coaching staff have
implemented game-like situations
into practice. The team scrimmag-
es itself, with the score starting
tied at 17.
"We do a lot of drills where
we try to recreate that situation
(close-out points) in a game when
you're on the court and you get
nerves," sophomore setter Lexi
But Rosen doesn't attribute it
to nerves. He thought his team is
thinking a little too much on the
court, instead of just playing.
"Play hard, play hard, play
hard," Rosen told his team. "If
you guys just play out there, it will
come to you."
Expectations surge after
last season's WNIT bid
By TIM ROHAN Borseth knows it's a simple offense,
Daily Sports Writer but is concerned about its execu-
The clock is ticking and the "You got to move the ball,"
Michigan women's basketball team Borseth said. "(You've got to) take
is down by one point with 20 sec- care of it, make good decisions with
onds to play. Wolverines coach it, get it to the point where you can
Kevin Borseth calmly calls a tim- shoot it or score it, and you got to
eout to fire up his players and strat- make it."
egize. But he knows not to expect per-
But who gets the last shot? fection right from the start of the
"I don't know," Borseth said. season.
"One of them takes it upon their "If there is a bunch of holes in
shoulders to do it. ...They are prob- the boat, you jam a cork in one and
ably going to determine (it) more that cork only holds for so long,"
than I am." Borseth said.
And that's just one of the many He knows he'll have to keep
offensive questions Michigan must pounding the corks down all sea-
answer this year. son, but he also has a feeling for
In his second year coaching in where his team's corks are going to
Ann Arbor, Borseth finds himself pop up. One of those holes is forc-
with a roster loaded with veteran ing turnovers, which gets the team
leadership and poise. That's why he out in transition offense. Right now
can trust his team so much with his the Wolverines aren't getting those
freelance motion offense. easy opportunities.
Borseth's offense generally posi- It's not just the transition game
tions four players on the perimeter that needs work. Senior guard Jes-
and one in the paint. It is less struc- sica Minnfield said getting the ball
tured and dependent on movement. to the post more and driving to the
basket is critical. Michigan has
been known to liveand die by the
One of the big concerns going
into the year for Borseth is if all five
of his players can shoot the basket-
ball. However, he wants his team to
take advantage of what the defense
Perhaps most importantly, with
the loss of Janelle Cooper and Kris-
ta Clement,last year's team's "glue",
Borseth doesn't know who is going
to step up to take the last shot and
mold the identity of this team. The
team starts its search in this week-
end's season opening exhibition
The team will need to find its
identity fast - before the real prob-
lems start and corks start popping
"We don't know who we are,"
Borseth said."We don't know who's
goingto take the last shot.We don't
know where the big rebounds are
going to come from, or where the
big passes are goingto come from"
"I just don't know," he added.