8A - Friday, October 16, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
'M' treats No. 1
Penn State like
any other team
Sophomore Kim Siebert played a big role in Michigan's stalwart man-to-man defense against the high-octane Boilermaker offense.
Wolverines extend 12-day scoreless
drought, fall to tough Purdue squad
By MARK BURNS
Take a 20-piece puzzle. Now try
and take one of those pieces and
put it into the correct position -
but then you find out that for some
reason, the piece doesn't fit.
The Michigan volleyball team
faces No. 1 Penn State - that awk-
ward piece that just won't fit -
tonight inside an already sold-out
Cliff Keen Arena. The Wolverines
(4-2 Big Ten, 16-3 overall) haven't
defeated the Nittany Lions since
Nov. 2, 2002.
Since then, Penn State has won
two national championships, in
2007 and 2008.
But instead of looking at
tonight's match as an anomaly,
the Wolverines are looking at the
match as just another step in hope-
fully completing their quest for a
Big Ten Championship.
"It's important to know that
they're No. 1, but it's also impor-
tant to know that rankings don't
matter," senior libero Megan
Bower, along with the rest of the
team, isn't treating this game like
it's the end-all, be-all match of the
season. Sure, Michigan has a shot
to knock off the top-ranked team
in the country and end its seven-
year drought against the Nittany
But last year, the Wolverines
lost convincingly in straight sets
to end the regular season.
"Sometimes when you're build-
ing cars or trying to win a volley-
ball match or studying for school,
if you think about the big picture,
it can almost become overwhelm-
ing," Michigan coach Mark Rosen
said. "If you think about the end
product, it doesn't get you any-
where. ... We really try to focus on
the process and get back to con-
centrating on the small picture
rather than the big picture.
"Because the season is so long
and because you have such high
goals and expectations, it's easy
to think about the picture and say,
'This win is so important.' And it
doesn't help you."
If the 11th-ranked Wolverines
want to disrupt Penn State's run
for a second straight undefeated
Big Ten season, Michiganwillneed
to stick to the basics. More specifi-
cally, the game will be fought with
the serve-and-pass battle.
Serving aggressively and pass-
ing with very few errors are two
trademarks of Rosen's system. If
the Wolverines win the serve-and-
pass battle, they can contend with
anyone in the Big Ten, according
to Rosen. After all, Michigan leads
the conference with 1.78 aces per
Penn State, on the other hand,
leads in every other statistical
conference category - blocks,
kills, assists, hitting percentage
and opponent attack percentage.
The team is on the verge of being
labeled a legitimate collegiate
dynasty within the volleyball
community, and that has the Wol-
verines in a frenzy.
"(The team) is really excited
about the buzz surrounding this
match," Rosen said. "I'm sure in
the NBA, it's probably like when
Michael Jordan came to town
or when LeBron (James) does.
There's this buzz now that the
match is sold out. ...We've been
sold out for two days. The kids
have been getting phone calls like
crazy from friends asking if they
have any more tickets and if they
can get in."
By ZAK PYZIK open eight yards away from goal,
Daily Sports Writer netting in the only tally of the
game. Purdue defeated Michigan
It's been nearly 263 minutes 1-0 in West Lafayette.
since the Michigan women's soccer Though the Wolverines' defense
team has bested a goalie. No Wol- caused the Boilermakers fits, their
verine has netted a goal in 12 days. offense wasn't quite there.
Michigan has succumb, to a cold Against Purdue, Michigan
spell. pitched six shots during the game,
While it MICHIGAN 0 four of which were on goa# This
frustrated PURDUE 1 was an impressive change for a
Purdue all team that ranks last for shots taken
evening yesterday, the end result and shots on goal in the Big Ten, but
was another zero. the most important - goals scored
The 18th-ranked Boilermakers' - was still zero.
fast-paced offense took 15 shots, "I was happy with the offense,"
just four of which were on goal. The Michigan coach Greg Ryan said.
Wolverines' newly instituted man- "We created an incredibly good
to-man defense allowed no time chance in the first half At one point
for Purdue's ballhandlers to make their goalie was down, and the ball
decisions - until the 39th minute. was laying in front of the net and
That's when Boilermaker mid- the player just didn't stick it in."
fielder Jessica Warren stood wide- Though the offense created
s, it didn't produce a score, defense, (Coach Ryan) made spe-
at overshadowed another cific matchups," sophomore mid-
efensive performance. fielder Courtney Mercier said. "We
ue (3-1-2 Big Ten, 8-3-3 needed to individually defend, and
in every matchup, our player had
the upper hand."
Michigan (0-2-2 Big Ten, 5-7-2
'Today we overall) had just three defenders
on the back-line, and that allowed
played the them to have more players focus on
pushing the ball.
'tter soccer, The Wolverines statistically put
up better numbers than the Boil-
Ryan said. ermakers, averaging more shots on
g'oal and producing not even half of
the amount of penalties that Pur-
due did. Ultimately, they couldn't
is the fourth-highest scor- capitalize.
ense in the conference. It "Today we played the better soc-
s 1.92 goals per game, but cer," Ryan said. "If you put enough
tng Wolverine defense held balls in the penalty box, one is
just one notch. going to curve in. Ours didn't, and
tead of playing a more zone theirs did."
With his physical play at forward, Brown shores up
Michigan's second line alongside Hagelin and Rust
By RYAN KARTJE the season last Sunday, Brown
Daily Sports Writer was a big part of the Wolverines
victory and not only was his phys-
Many collegiate freshman for- icality on display, but so was his
wards start their career in hopes ability to put the puck in the back
of scoring as many goals as pos- of the net.
sible. After all, statistics are what Brown led Michigan in scor-
gets them noticed in the junior ing in his first weekend of hockey,
leagues. notching two goals and one assist
But that doesn't concern Michi- and certainly cementing his spot
gan freshman Chris Brown. on the team's powerful second
"My first shift, my first goal was line for the time being.
to get hit or make a hit," Brown Paired with junior forwards
said. "I love to play physical." Matt Rust and Carl Hagelin,
And the first Texas-born Mich- Michigan coach Red Berenson
igan hockey player's physical called attention to the talent of his
prowess has made an impression second line to score at will. But it's
on the players and coaches. Brown's physical presence that
"We haven't had someone to makes him an asset on the ice.
really chirp the other team as "Everyone can't be a power for-
much as he's been doing it this ward, but Chris has the size, the
season," junior forward Louie strength, the body and the mental
Caporusso said. "And I think that makeup," Berenson said. "He fits
kind of gets the other team off the bill really well. We have other
their game and in their head." guys that are going to play physi-
In the team's second game of cal, but that's one of his best attri-
butes that he brings to the table."
Brown isn't the tallest player
on the team at 6-foot-2, nor does
he have the bulkiest frame (194
pounds), but the Texan's intense
and hardnosed style of play makes
him one of the hardest hitters on
the ice for the Wolverines.
And to say he's made that kind
of impression in just a few weeks
of official practices with the team
is a testament to the young for-
ward's ability to affect a game.
"He's adding physicality,"
Berenson said. "Our whole team
has to play physical, but it's a lot
easier when you're a big, strong
kid (like Brown)."
With physical senior forward
Brian Lebler playing on the third
line, Brown is able to usehis physi-
cal skill set to allow for more scor-
ing opportunities for Carl Hagelin
and Matt Rust who combined for
a total of 53 points last season.
But don't countBrown out when
it comes to scoring goals. He'll be
the first to tell you that his shot is
one of the strengths of his game.
As a member of the U.S. Nation-
al Team Development Program
Under-18 Team last year, Brown
led the squad in goals (42) and
points (74). Those numbers were
enough to attract the Phoenix
Coyotes who selected him with
the 36th overall pick in last year's
NHL Entry Draft.
And with the lack of scoring
depth behind Caporusso on the
first line, Brown's offensive prow-
ess could be essential when the
team needs someone to put points
on the board.
"He can definitely be a first liner
and I think he will be," Caporusso
said. "We're only two games in
and it's hard to tell, but I expect,
from what I've seen, for him to be
a great power forward."
Added Berenson: "The scoring
adds the finishing touch."
Senior Veronica Rood and the Wolverines try to snap a seven-year losing skid to
Penn State tonight.