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October 01, 2009 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-10-01

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E

8A - Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

'M' duo reacts to MSU rivalry

Michigan pegged as early CCHA favorite

By COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
Daily Sports Editor
it seems like they can't help it.
Over the past few years, the week
before the Michigan game, Michi-
gan State coach Mark Dantonio or
his players try their best to give the
Wolverines posterboard material.
This week, it was Spartan senior
defensive end Trevor Anderson who
provided the entertainment.
"(Dantonio) told us that if you
haven't played Michigan, within 30
seconds, you'll realize why we don't
like them. After about 15 seconds,
I realized why I don't like them,"
Andersonsaid attheSpartans' week-
ly press conference in East Lansing.
"I mean, just the total lack of respect
they have for our school in general,
not just our program, but in general,
the lack of respect they have for us.
"As an athlete, you go out there
- we're always taught as Spartans,
you know, to respect our opponent,
and just the lack ofrespecttheyhave,
period, is sickening."
But the 4-0 Wolverines haven't
bothered to publicly respond to
Anderson's comments. After all, as
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said
at his press conference yesterday, the
team is too busy concentrating on its
own playto worry about what the 1-3
Spartans are saying off the field.
For their part, redshirt junior line-
backer Obi Ezeh and junior corner-
backDonovan Warrenhaveremained
focused this week on improving this
year's young defense before facing
Michigan State. Both players made
immediate impacts on defense after
they arrived in Ann Arbor. Warren,
coming in as a five-star recruit in
2007, was a Freshman All-American.
And Ezeh, despite the Wolverines'
3-9 record last year, managed to gar-
ner All-Big Ten honorable mention
as a redshirt sophomore.
Now, as two veterans on a team
that consists of almost 70 percent
underclassmen, they are partly
responsible for conveying the impor-
tance of the Michigan/Michigan
State rivalry to their teammates.
Of the two, Warren had the most
to learn about the rivalry's history.
The Long Beach, Calif., native, who
grew up watching UCLA/Southern
Cal battles, said his main exposure

CLIF REEDER/Daiy
Donovan Warren and Obi Ezeh understand the Michigan State side of the rivalry.

to Michigan/Michigan State games
before coming to Ann Arbor was
when he would wake up to watch
the games on television at 9 a.m. on
the West Coast. Back then, he had no
particular rooting interestin mind.
ButEzeh,from Grand Rapids, said
his hometown is split almost evenly
between Michigan and Michigan
State fans. Despite his football alle-
giance, he estimates about five of his
close neighbors fly Spartan flags in
front oftheirhouses.
"When Iget back from a two-hour
drive back, that's the first thing I see,
right by my house, is a Michigan State
flag flying proudly, obviously, because
they won last year," Ezeh said. "Mid-
dle of the night, (I should) go and take
them down or something."
Growing up surrounded by both
sides of the rivalry meantEzeh wasn't
particularly conscious of what he
wore to a Michigan football camp
when he was about 16 years old. After
afternoon drills and 7-on-7 play in the
evening, Ezeh met former Michigan
coach Lloyd Carr for the first time.
They shook hands, and Ezeh
noticed Carr staring athis shirt. Ezeh
glanced down to see what his future
coach was looking at. That's when
the high schooler remembered he
was wearing a cutoff Michigan State
Engineering shirt turned inside out.
"Ifyoucouldseehiseyes,therewas
alot being spoken non-verbally," Ezeh
recalled almost five years later.
Warren's most vivid Michigan
State off-the-field memory was in the
airport last January, en route to his
California home, after he had already
played the Spartans twice in college.
"I had nothing Michigan on, but

a guy just came up to me and said,
'We're gonna beat your ass this year,
again,' " Warren recalled. "I said,
'What?' He was like, 'Yeah, those
Wolverines, we're going to give it to
you this year again.' I said, 'All right,
all right, sir.'"
The cornerback said even though
the mystery man wasn't wearing
Michigan State attire, it was clear
he wasn't from Ohio State or Notre
Dame. After all, he said, with com-
ments like those in a Michigan
airport, the man was bound to be
someone who liked the Spartans.
The Wolverine defense is probably
right to resist responding to Spartan
trash talk as it prepares for Saturday.
Warren and the secondary will be up
against the best passing attack in the
Big Ten. The Spartans are averaging
320.8 yards in the air.
Pass coverage proved to be a
weakness for the Wolverines against
Notre Dame and Indiana, but War-
ren is coming into the game fresh off
of a clutch game-ending interception
against the Hoosiers last Saturday.
Sophomore Boubacar Cissoko and
redshirt freshman J.T. Floyd are still
fighting for the other cornerback
spot, according to Rodriguez, and
the play of the secondary could very
well determine Saturday's game.
Until then, Michigan is focusing
on the field, not the soapbox.
"I can't control what they say, and
neither can our players," Rodriguez
said. "I don't think any of our players
have said anything disrespectful....
We always concentrate more on our-
selves and what we do and how we go
about our business. Not sonmuch what
anybody else does in their program."

By TIM ROHAN ... It's a pretty meaningless thing.
Daily Sports Writer It's really just a token of respect."
With the top three CCHA
When Michigan coach Red teams all ranked in the top five
Berenson took over the struggling nationally, the conference looks
hockey team in the spring of 1984, challenging on paper heading into
he had big ideas for the program. the season. Berenson said there
"I thought that if I'm a young were a few things the Wolverines
hockey player had to do to follow through on the
and I'm looking NOTEBOOK preseason predictions.
at the top five "We have to get off to a bet-
programs in the country, I want ter start than we did last year,"
Michigan to be one of those five," Berenson said. "We have to stay
Berenson said. healthy. We have to have good
Berenson won't admit if he has goalkeeping, we have to be bet-
met his goal, but it goes without ter defensively. And then we have
saying. When USA Today posted to be more consistent offensively.
its Division-I men's preseason poll ... (We) can't be .500 for the first
Monday, Michigan was No. 4. half of the year and then expect to
Miami (Ohio), Denver and Bos- finish in first place."
ton University filled out the top Michigan went 10-6 in its first
three. Notre Dame was ranked 16 games last season, then went
fifth. The Wolverines were the on to lose just six of its last 27
only top-5 team not to receive games.
first-place votes. CCHA ACCOLADES: Junior
The national polls weren't forward Louie Caporusso was
the only place where Michigan the only Michigan player named
received attention. The CCHA to the preseason CCHA All-Con-
released its conference preseason ference first team. Junior goalie
poll results yesterday and the Bryan Hogan earned a preseason
Wolverines were picked to finish All-Conference second team nod,
first by both the media and the and senior captain Chris Sum-
coaches. mers earned honorable mention.
The new polls may show that Hogan, who shared ice time
Berenson reached his goal, butthe with then-senior Billy Sauer last
preseason rankings don't mean year, is done splitting time in the
much to the veteran coach. net. Berenson said that backup
"I'm always flattered when we goalie, junior Shawn Hunwick,
get picked," Berenson said. "We're would be a "relief pitcher" for the
usually picked high in the league near future. Hunwick has only

played 2:52 total in his career and
Berenson expects Hogan to build
on a strong sophomore campaign.
"This is his time," Beren-
son said. "He just needs to keep
growing his game. And he's got a
chance now to be a real (contribu-
tor), and make a difference on our
team. If we have a good defense
and if we have a good goalie, we
should have a good team."
RE-DOING THE RULES: The
CCHA has changed how points
are awarded for shootoutvictories
and losses. Under the new rules, if
a team beats its opponentin either
regulation or overtime - before
the game reaches a shootout -
it will earn three points. Teams
will earn just two points with a
shootout win, one with a shootout
loss and zero with a regulation or
overtime loss.
Previously, teams were award-
ed two points for a regulation or
overtime win and zero points for
a regulation or overtime loss. If
the teams went to a shootout, the
winner would gain three points,
more than they would earn for a
regulation win.
Under the new rules, there is
more of an incentive to finish a
game in regulation or overtime
instead of letting the contest go to
a shootout.
Both Berenson and CCHA
Commissioner Tom Anastos
agreed thatthe revision will make
it a more fair system.

Blue comes up empty despite
multitude of shots, opportunities

By CHANTEL JENNINGS
Daily Sports Writer
PONTIAC - It turned out 31
shots weren't enough. The Michi-
gan men's soccer team needed a
lucky bounce - and that's the only
thing it was missinglastnight.
Despite some questionable calls
and aggressive, physical play, the
Wolverines couldn't find the back
of the net in yesterday's 0-0 double
overtime
tie with MICHIGAN 0
Oakland OAKLAND 0
Univer-
sity (4-3-2). The game was played at
the indoor stadium at Ultimate Soc-
cer Arena, a neutral site in Pontiac.
The Wolverines had countless
scoring chances, with shots flying
just right and left ofthe sidebars and
barely clearing the crossbar. Michi-
gan's 31 shots forced Oakland'sgoal-
ie to make 14 saves.
"We just couldn't put the ball
in," redshirt junior Cam Cameron
said. "It was kind of unusual that we
wouldn't have something happen,
some little deflection that would
have itgo in."
This season, Michigan(7-2-2) has
scored an impressive 18 goals in the
second halves of games as opposed
to just five during the opening seg-
ment. The Wolverines' goal-scoring
percentage jumps almost from 6.5
percent inthe firsthalf to 18 percent
in the second half, sincetheir condi-
tioning kicks and superior physical
condition outlasts other teams.
but after 110 minutes of play last
night, there was plenty of time for
the Wolverines to tire. The sudden
death overtime provided even more
motivation to put away one of their
in-state rivals.
"I just get excited because you
know it's one goal and the game's

Senior Mauro Fuzetti combined with Justin Meram for nine of 31 Michigan shots.

over - it's the golden goal," Camer-
on said. "I just thought, 'We need to
find away to justgetone goal.'"'
Even with the goose egg on the
scoreboard, Michigan showed signs
of improvement each period. The
offense had more and more shots as
the game went on and the Michigan
defense allowed fewer and fewer
Grizzly shots.
Oakland focused on defense,
using up to six players at times to
defend the dynamic Wolverine
offensive tandem of senior Mauro
Fuzetti and junior Justin Meram.
The duo combined for nine of Mich-
igan's 31shots.
Duringthe first half, the Wolver-
ines lofted ball after ball to the inside
of the box, but they were unable to

penetrate the Grizzly backline and
the presence of 6-foot-4 Serbian
native Vuk Popovic.
AbsentfromtheWolverinelineup
was redshirt senior captain Danny
Gray. The midfielder suffered an
injury in practice and was withheld
from the game for precautionary
reasons as Michigan prepares to
start their Big Ten home seasonthis
Sundayagainst Wisconsin.
The Badgers eked out a 1-0 win
over the Grizzlies on Sept. 18 in a
close-fought match that showcased
play that was similar to yesterday's
game.
But if the Wolverines hope to
overcome a strong Wisconsin pro-
gram, they're going to have to get
the job done on the scoreboard.

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