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November 14, 2008 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-11-14

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, November 14, 2008 - 5A

Michigan's focus
on faceoff circle
paying off

CLIF REEDER/Daily
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Patrick Sperry stopped two penalty shots in Michigan's 4-3 shootout win over Wisconsin in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
Sperry's PK heroics key in win

M' advances in Big
r Ten tourney after
toppling Wisconsin
By CHANTEL JENNINGS
and ROGER SAUERHAFT
Daily Sports Writers
MADISON - Michigan goal-
keeper Patrick Sperry has made
his fair share of significant stops
in his career.
But the redshirt junior made
the two biggest saves of the sea-
son Thursday night to propel No.
2 seed Michigan past Wisconsin,
4-3 on penalty kicks, after the
teams battled to a tie in the first
round of the Big Ten Tourna-
ment.

Sperry stood on the goal line
beneath the lights with his uni-
form drenched by rain after 110
scoreless minutes. He stopped
the Badgers' second and fifth
attempts. The Wolverines hit four
of five.
"I've been a goalkeeper for a
long time," Sperry said. "There's
cues you pick up, different things
that the forward gives away -
maybe it's body position or just
the way he looks.
"It's kind of a mind game either
way. They're trying to fake you
out, and you're trying to read
them and call their bluff."
Wisconsin junior goalkeeper
Alex Horwath was not as sharp.
Junior forward Peri Marosevic
scored the final goal, and it was no
surprise to Michigan coach Steve

Burns.
"When Peri Marosevic steps up
to take your fifth, that's money in
the bank," Burns said.
Although Marosevic sealed
the win, open looks were limited
for the Big Ten's second leading
scorer.
From the onset, Wisconsin (1-5-
1 Big Ten, 9-8-2 overall) focused
on their defensive backfield to
stifle Michigan's offensive trio of
Marosevic, junior Mauro Fuzetti
and senior Jake Stacy. Each time
the Wolverines advanced the ball
on offense, they were met by a
flurry of Wisconsin defenders and
struggled to find open shots.
Badger defenseman Andy
Miller said because the Michi-
gan forwards found shots at the
beginning,

Wisconsin shifted more play-
ers to the backfield. The Badgers
wanted to limit Michigan's one-
on-one match-ups and shots on
goal.
This was not the first time this
season Michigan and Wisconsin
remained tied through 110 min-
utes this season.
On Sept 27, the two teams
opened the Big Ten season with a
1-1 tie. This time, the Badgers' sea-
son ended.
"I am feeling unbelievable,
Marosevic said. "This is probably
one of the best feelings asa soccer
player I have ever had."
Michigan (5-1-1 Big Ten, 13-4-3
Overall) advances to the semifinal
against Indiana tomorrow at the
McClimon Memorial Track and
Soccer Complex.

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faceoff
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~aporusso and 'Said fellow sophomore forward
Carl Hagelin: "The worst feeling
ohlberg leading ever is to lose the puck after a draw
and start chasing."
2off men for Blue Hagelinand Caporussohave dis-
played the sense of urgency needed
By GJON JUNCAJ to win faceoffs against quick-hand-
Daily Sports Writer ed opposing centers throughout
their time under Berenson's tute-
ough 10 games, the message lage. Both won the majority of their
nk in for the No. 8 Michi- draws last season. And despite a
ckey team (4-2 CCHA, 7-3 subpar performance last weekend
), and it is Western in Alaska, Hagelin has still won
s the most half his faceoffs this season,
it has been Michigan at "Some of it's technique, obvi-
past two Michigan ously," Pearson said. "Some of it's
s. smarts and having some bite and
have to win Matchup: getting your nose dirty ... Some of
eoffs. WMU 1-6-3; it's natural. Some guys have good
ring Michigan 7-3-0 instincts and are good faceoff guys
's , game When: Tonight, just coming in."
t Western 7:35 p.m. Freshman David Wohlberg is a
;an (0-3-3, Where: Yost prime example of the latter. Spend-
at Yost Ice Ice Arena ing about half the season center-
the Wol- ing the fourth line, Wohlberg has
s' biggest won nearly 60 percent of his 78
vement from last season has faceoffs. Now that he has moved to
n the circles. They are win- wing on the second line, his quick
1percent of their faceoffs, up hands will become quite an asset
8 percent a year ago. if the referees remain quick to the
ause of lineup shuffling last whistle.
and a freshmen class that New rules this season stipulate
ed six forwards, Michigan that an icing team cannot change
led to win draws. It was one lines after the whistle blows the
few weaknesses on an other- play dead.
uccessful team. Teams that commit penalties
had so many new guys last are now taking ensuing faceoffs
nd so many things going on in their defensive zones. Pearson
ceoffs were sort of put to the said the coaching staff has put
rner a little bit," assistant greater emphasis during prac-
Mel Pearson said. tices on draws because of the rule
ras a hole that Michigan changes. He and Caporusso attri-
Red Berenson struggled to bute the early season success to the
d became one of his biggest increased repetition.
eves. Berenson took it one step fur-
Wednesday, Berenson point- ther Wednesday, indicating that
a 1993 NCAA Tournament an attitude adjustment has played
t Maine. A Wolverine for- a role in the Wolverines' marked
ost a faceoff in the defensive improvement.
nd left the opposing center, "I think a lot of these guys,
ored a goal. Maine went on before they got here, thought
the game in overtime. It's a faceoffs were just faceoffs," Beren-
example of the importance son said. "Now they're realizing,
ng attention to detail. 'that faceoff cost us a goal,' or 'that
s season, sophomore forward faceoff scored us a goal.'"
Caporusso has been the And while the Wolverines had a
rines' leader with a stellar poor weekend in Alaska, winning
cent clip, and he has clearly just 43 percent of their draws, the
red a more conscious effort coaching staff's preaching appears
teed on the draw. to be getting through.
a just bearing down and "Coach has .been talking with
ng that every team cares us for two years about how impor-
about faceoffs," Caporusso tant faceoffs are," Hagelin said. "I
No team is going to take any think everyone goes with a mind-
f lightly, no matter where set that they've got to win every
re in the standings." faceoff."

" New recruits fit coach's offensive scheme,

By ALEX PROSPERI
Daily Sports Writer
Last year, Michigan coach John
Beilein received commitments
from three high school players,
two of which have made an imme-
diate impact for the Wolverines
- freshman guards Stu Douglass
and Zack Novak. Both have played
nearly 20 minutes a game.
Beilein expects similar results
from next year's class.
Michigan received four National
Letters of Intent during the first
day of the early signing period on
Wednesday - high school seniors
Darius Morris, Matt Vogrich, Blake
McLimans and Jordan Morgan.
Beilein said he thinks the four
will blend well with the team and
improve Michigan's defense, pass-
ing and shooting ability.
Morris,thehighest-ratedrecruit
of the four, is a6-foot-4 guard from

Los Angeles. He averaged 20.6
points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists
per game as a three-year starter
and isconsidered one of the top-15
point guards in the nation on both
rivals.com and scout.com.
He should have a chance to
compete for a starting spot since
fifth-year senior point guards
David Merritt and C.J. Lee will
exhaust their eligibility this sea-
son. Sophomore Kelvin Grady has
been a spark off the bench, but
Morris may offer a more complete
package.
"Darius is an ideal fit for how
we play," Beilein said through the
Athletic Department. "He is a big,
athletic and skilled guard. He has
the ability to shoot from deep and
score off the drive. He handles the
ball and he sees the floor well and
is a very unselfish player."
Michigan also added a shooter
in Vogrich, a 6-foot-4 guard from

Lake Forest, Ill. Accurate from
long range, Vogrich shot 39 per-
cent from behind the arc last year.
Beilein's offense emphasizes
spreading out the defense with
precise perimeter shooters. Vog-
rich, rated the No. 19 shooting
guard in his class and a four-star
recruit by scout.com, could follow
the path of Douglass and Novak.
They were both good shooters in
high school and have already seen
playing time early this season.
"Matt is more than an excellent
three-point shooter," Beilein said.
"He can really stretch the defense
and possesses a good feel for the
game."
McLimans, a 6-foot-10 forward
from Hamburg, N.Y., averaged
16.3 points, nine rebounds, 3.5
blocks and three assists per game
as a three-year starter at Ham-
burg High School. He's currently
attendingprep school atWorcester

Academy in Massachusetts. Scout.
com and rivals.com both rate him
a three-star power forward.
As a strong shooter, McLimans
appears to be the ideal center for
Beilein's motion offense.
"He is a big time jump shooter...
and continues to improve his back
to the basket post skills, which will
give him versatility," Beilein said.
Joining the three out-of-state
players is Morgan, aDetroit native.
The 6-foot-8 forward was a Detroit
Free Press Class A All-State hon-
orable mention selection last year
and was selected as a McDonald's
All-America team nominee. Like
McLimans, Morgan was rated as a
three-star recruit.
Morgan could be more of a
"bruiser" in the paint than McLi-
mans, who may find a home on the
perimeter, like current Michigan
center redshirt junior Zack Gib-
son.

Three questions for Michigan's upcoming season

Michigan's success
rides on seniors,
Phillips, Boylan
By JOE STAPLETON
Daily Sports Writer
Heading into the start of the
Michigan women's basketball
team's season on Saturday at Ken-
tucky, three questions loom large:
Can junior center Krista Phillips'
knees hold up?
In the Wolverines' exhibition
game last Saturday against North-
wood, Phillips didn't start, and she
rode an exercise bike instead of sit-
ting on the bench.
During Phillips' freshman year,
she was plagued by a cartilage
injury and had surgery that sum-
mer. Last summer, she had surgery
to clean out her late-season menis-
cus tear. Michigan Coach Kevin
Borseth thinks Phillips must play
through.
"She wants to play, she wants
to do well," Borseth said after the
exhibition. "She has to play with

what she has."
Phillips isn't too worried about
her knees and said they are feeling
better.
"I've been working with our
strength and conditioning coach
and getting in and doing extra stuff
to keep it strong," she said. "It looks
really good right now."
Michigan's season could depend
onPhillips' health. She ledthe team
in scoring and rebounding last year,
and having a 6'6" presence in the
post can't hurt.
CanseniorsCarlyBensonandJes-
sica Minnfield fill the leadership void
left by the departed senior starters?
They didn't make significant
impacts on the stat sheet, but
Janelle Cooper and Krista Clement
were the team's leaders last season.
Now that they are gone, the Wol-
verines' two returning senior start-
ers must take their place.
Minnfield, the starting point
guard, averaged 10 points per game
last season. But running the point
requires more than just scoring
ability. Minnfield averaged just
over three assists per game last

year, a number that has to go up if
she wants to truly run the offense.
Benson came up big last season
in Big Ten play, leading the team
in scoring in Big Ten Conference
games with more than 11 points per
game. But her scoring was incon-
sistent, especially at the beginning
and end of the season.
"I think they're doing what
they can to try to lead this squad,"
Borseth said. "Do I think they can
lead this team? Yes, I do."
How much ofan impact will Min-
nesota's Miss Basketball, Courtney
Boylan, have this year as a fresh-
man?
Boylan did not expect to play
much in the exhibition game last
week, so when Borseth called her
number early in the first half, she
was surprised.
She didn't play like it.
Boylan came off the bench and
provided the Wolverines with an
offensive spark. She finished with
seven points, three assists and four
steals in 23 minutes. At one point
Boylan unveiled an impressive spin
move on her way to a layup in traf-

fic.
After the exhibition, Boylan said
she had "no idea" she was going to
play that much.
"She did pretty well, she's a
leader, she's got confidence on
the court," Borseth said after the
game. "She's got a long way to go,
but she's learning."
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