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September 08, 2009 - Image 44

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-09-08

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6E - Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Michigan Daily mihanivco

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The breakdown of
mm- BLue's other sports
Stories of National Champions, NCAA Tourney
runs and upsets headline Michigan's sports season

Air Force shuts out
Michigan in shocking
NCAA first round exit

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One word could be used to
describethe Michiganvolleyball
team this past year: resilient.
Midway through the season,
the Wolverines traveled to Illi-
nois and Purdue, where they lost
two heartbreaking, five-set
matches. Wins at both schools
could have propelled the team
third or fourth-place in the Big
Ten instead of its eventual fifth-
place finish.
But the Wolverines didn't
let the losses shake their con-

fidence. After the two road
defeats, Michigan finished Big
Ten play with a 6-2 record, led
by sophomore setter Lexi Zim-
merman. The Barrington, Ill.
native was the main architect
of the highly potent Michigan
offensive attack.
She helped the Wolverines
finish ranked 17th in the sea-
son's final poll-their highest
ranking of the season. The team
advanced to the Sweet 16 of the
NCAA Tournament where it

was swept by Nebraska in three
sets.
With the team losing seniors
Beth Karpiak and Kerry Hance,
Michigan coach Mark Rosen
will look to sophomore libero
Sloane Donhoff and senior hit-
ters Megan Bower and Juliana
Paz next season. The trio will
need to elevate its play if the
Wolverines want to contend
with Big Ten powerhouses Penn
State, Illinois and Purdue.
- MARKBURNS

The 2009 Track & Field
NCAA Championships host ed
some of the world's best tal-
ent. The Michigan women's
track and field team sent six
athletes to the championship
meet in Fayetteville, Ark., with
enormous success. Seniors and
defending NCAA champions
Geena Gall and Tiffany Ofili
grabbed championshipsintheir
respective events, Ofili's third
and Gall's second straight. The

two seniors are ranked among
the world's top athletes in their
respective events, the 800-me-
ter run and 100-meter hurdles.
Along with Gall and Ofili,
seniors Casey Taylor and Bet-
tie Wade made a return trip to
nationals helping the team fin-
ish seventh overall. The senior
class led the Wolverines to a
third-place finish at the NCAA
Mideast Regional.
"They were not the most

heralded class coming in,"
Michigan coach James Henry
said. "But they are the most
heralded class we have had
going out."
Sophomores Danielle Tauro
and Emily Pendleton made
appearances, Pendleton her-
second in the discus and Tauro
her first appearance at the mar-
quee meet in the 1,500-meter
run, with solid finishes.
- FELIX CARREON

By NICOLE AUERBACH
Daily Sports Editor
MARCH 29TH,2009 -
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - One
by one, members of the Michigan
hockeyteam filed out of the locker
room, their faces blank and emo-
tionless.
The team was shell-shocked.
After Friday's 2-0 loss to Air Force
in the first round of the NCAA
Tournament, the Wolverines
didn't immediately seem to grasp
the concept of a season-ending
defeat.
But the Falcons certainlyunder-
stood the idea of an underdog vic-
tory, their first tournament win
in program history. As the final
buzzer sounded, they stormed
onto the ice toward junior goalie
Andrew Volkening, who had just
posted his third straight shutout.
And Michigan's fourth shutout
loss of the season encapsulated
many aspects of its up-and-down
year.
The inconsistent play of sopho-
more goalie Bryan Hogan was at
the forefront. He had been solid
throughout most of the season, but
he collapsed against Notre Dame
in a 5-2 CCHA Tournament cham-
pionship loss on March 21. In the
Wolverines' final 97:50 of play this
year, Hogan gave up seven goals -
while his teammates couldn't find
the back of the net once.
Like in Friday's contest, the
team struggled to find constant

sources of offense all season.
Multi-line scoring was the Wol-
verines' mantra, and it worked
for a while. They even found suc-
cess for two periods against Notre
Dame last weekend - their two-
goal lead came from their first and
fourth lines.
But despite outshooting Air
Force by 30 shots Friday, Michi-
gan came up empty. It tallied 43
shots on Volkening. It dominated
time of possession, even posting
a stretch of almost four minutes
wherethe puckdidn'tleavetheAir
Force zone. Friday's game marked
the sixth time this season in which
Michigan outshot its opponent but
lost the game.
The Wolverines demonstrated
the speed, skills and playmaking
ability to win the game, but their
luck ran out against a white-hot
goaltender.
"We got 40-some shots, we
probablyhadl0orl2Grade-Ascor-
ing chances," Michigan coach Red
Berenson said. "That's the most
you're going to get in any game.
We didn't capitalize on them.
Then their goalie played a terrific
game. It's as simple as that.
"Somebody told me a long time
ago, when you get to this tourna-
ment, the team with the best goal-
ie wins."
His team echoed many of his
sentiments after the season-end-
ing defeat.
Sophomore forward Aaron
Palushaj said it was quite apparent

that the Wolverines outplayed Air
Force - the bounces just didn'tgo
their way.
Sophomore forward Matt Rust
said he and his teammates had
enough scoring chances to win the
game, but running into a hot goalie
made the task nearly impossible.
Junior co-captain Chris Sum-
mers, who usually cracks light-
hearted jokes atpress conferences,
gave short, one-word answers to
reporters after Friday's game.
When asked how he felt following
the loss, Summers simply glow-
ered. His deadly glare seemed to
showcase a variety of emotions -
from anger to disappointment to
sadness.
And there's no doubt that, on
paper, the losswas shocking. A No.
4 seed knocked off a No.1 seed.Air
Force, ateam thathad neverwon a
tournament game, beat Michigan,
a team with nine NCAA Champi-
onship titles.
It would have been easy for the
Wolverines to overlook the lowly
Falcons. It would have been easy
for them to chalk it up as a crazy
upset. But for Berenson, it was
neither. He stood firm, stating
repeatedly that his team had been
well-prepared.
"We expected a tough game, so
this wasn't an upset," Berenson
said. "This was a real good Air
Force team. ... I can tell you, (my)
team did not look ahead. We put
everything we had into this game,
and the puck just didn't go in."

Second place at NCAAs, co- The Wolverines often talk The Wolverines earned a
champions of the Big Ten Confer- about peaking at the right time, tie with Illinois for the Big Ten
ence, five All-American athletes and in 2009 they figured it out. In Championship held in Ann Arbor,
and three individual Big Ten the last meet of the season, Mich- and at NCAAs in Minneapolis,
champions...all in all, it was a igan defeated Ohio State on the the team proved its title was no
banner year for the Michigan road for the first time since 1977. fluke.
men's gymnastics team. In Columbus, the gymnasts Runner-up Michigan's numer-
A squad that has often been finally received concrete proof ous clutch performances ended
overlooked, the Wolverines burst that they could have the time of up being the talk of the champi-
back into national title discus- their lives while crushing their onships.
sionswith a vengeance. opponents. - COLT ROSENSWEIG
A record-breaking campaign rankings, a program-best as During the year, the team also
sums up the Michigan water well. The seventh-place finish is won its eighth CWPA title while
polo team's seasonthis past year. the highest ever for ateam in the also garnering its fourth Eastern
The team won a program-best Collegiate Water Polo Associa- Championship and returning to
35 games, winning almost 80 tion. At NCAAs, the team even- the NCAA Championships for
percent of its contests. tually lost to National Champion the second straight season.
Heading into the NCAA UCLA. Michigan's outgoing senior
Championship, the team ranked Then-junior Leah Robertson class compiled a 122-48 mark
11th in the country but after was the first Wolverine in pro- over its four-years in Ann Arbor,
defeating Marist and then-No. gram history to be selected to the best stretch in program his-
9 Loyola Marymount, it finished the NCAA Championship All- tory.
ranked 7th in the final national Tournament First Team - MARKBURNS
Last season, a new era began and finishing 7th at the NCAA Other outstanding per-
for the Michigan men's swim- Championships. formers included Chris Brady,
ming and diving team with the At the NCAA meet, the Wol- Andr6 Schultz and senior co-
arrival of new head coach Mike verines were led by sophomore captains Bobby Savulich and
Bottom. Tyler Clary who won national Matt Patton.
After swimming to a dual titles by setting a new NCAA This season, with the addi-
meet record of 8-1, including record in the 200-yard back- tion of 14 new freshmen to the
a perfect record against con- stroke and breaking Michael team, the Wolverines will look
ference opponents, the team Phelps's 2006 American record to add more depth to their line-
finished the 2008-09 season in the 400-yard individual up and compete for a record
by successfully defending their medley. Clary was also named 19th team national title
Big Ten Championship title National Swimmer of the Year. - RYAN A. PODGES
The Michigan men's golf like run in the NCAA Tourna- igan's National Championship
team made tremendous strides ment, the Wolverines showed hopes alive.
by advancing to the NCAA consistent play throughout the Senior Nick Pumford put the
Championships for the first season.Michigan coachAndrew impact of the appearance in
time in 12 years this past sea- Sapp led the team to seven top- the NCAA tournament for the
son. Despite being the 29th five finishes in 13 events, along overall program into perspec-
seed out of the 30 teams in the with two team titles. tive by saying, "It's tremendous.
tournament, the team played Sophomore Lion Kim was For recruiting, for coach, for the
all the way to the final four of Michigan's go-to player all year, guys, for Michigan, for the fans,
match play and lost to Texas compiling a 72.89-stroke aver- this week was just tremendous.
A&M, 3-1-1. age and making crucial putts It is such a good experience."
In addition to the Cinderella- late in the season to keep Mich- - MARTYLaROUERE

Baseball season ends sans a
Big Ten Tournament berth

By CHANTEL JENNINGS
Daily Sports Editor
MAY 17TH, 2009 -
Senior pitcher Chris Fetter felt
his season end before it was actu-
ally over.
The Wolverines had just
allowed the Wildcats to score six
uncontested runs during the fifth
and sixth innings. The Wolver-
ines' lead deteriorated into a 10-6
deficit.
Then, after the sixth inning
as Michigan (9-15 Big Ten, 30-25
overall) was headed back to the
dugout in hopes of a comeback, a
voice came over the loudspeaker
announcingthat Purdue was com-
fortably leading Illinois 8-1 going
into the sixth inning.
Fetter's heart sank. The dugout
went silent. Michigan baseball
coach Rich Maloney said nothing.
A Boilermaker victory meant there
would be no Big Ten Tournament
run, no four-peat as conference
champions, no trip to Columbus.

And, as Fetter had expected,
Purdue went on to beat the Fight-
ing Illini, 12-8.
Still, the Wolverines had to fin-
ish Saturday's doubleheader, end-
ing in 10-6 and 6-5 losses.
Only 24 hours before, these
games had meant everything to
the Wolverines, but after learn-
ing of their postseason fate, they
would only serve as examples of
Michigan's disappointing season
record.
"It was pretty hard for all of us
because we've never really played
a game where it didn't mean any-
thing," Fetter said. "That was hard
to sit there and watch that game
andknowthatitdidn'treallycount
towards anything."
Fetter had done all he could on
Thursday night during the first
game of the series. After pitch-
ing three scoreless innings, Fetter
allowed six runs during the fourth
inning. But Fetter and freshman
Brandon Sinnery were able to keep
the Wildcats silent after that as the
Wolverines used a nine-run sev-
enth inningto claim the firstgame
of the series, 16-6.
At the plate, junior Mike Dufek
led the offensive attack, going
2-for-4 with two home runs and
four RBI. Junior Alan Oaks helped
to lighten the load, batting 2-for-4
with three RBI, despite North-
western's best efforts to slow the
scoring surge with three pitchers
in the seventh.
A rainout on Friday turned Sat-
urday's game into a doublehead-
er while Purdue dropped their
middle game 6-3 to Illinois. The
Boilermakers' loss gave Michigan
hope. If Purdue lost again on Sat-
urday and Michigan swept North-
western (5-17,14-35), the sixth spot
in the Big Ten Tournament would
have the Wolverines' name on it.
But Purdue finished with a win,
and Michigan saw their season
come to an unfamiliar halt.
For the past three seasons, the
Wolverines hoisted the Big Ten
Tournament title trophy, but this
year they came two wins short of
a postseason berth.
Those two wins seemed some-

what hefty for ateam that went 1-2
in every Big Ten series except for
Iowa.
"It's hard not to look back on
those times and think 'What if?'
or 'What could have been?"' Fetter
said. "Maybe if we could have won
a few of those games, got on a roll,
been right there on the top, com-
peting for a Big Ten Champion-
ship, our season could have been
completely different."
Senior Kenny Fellows made the
most of his last outing in a Michi-
gan uniform, batting 4-for-9
with three RBI. Freshman John
Lorenz stepped up in the second
game of the doubleheader and
went 3-for-4 with one run and
two RBI.
But the few bright spots over
the weekend did little to override
the blemish of Michigan's absence
in the Big Ten Tournament.
"I think the weekend in gen-
eral was kind of representative
of the rest of our season," Fellows
said. "We made a lot of mistakes
that we've been making all sea-
son. We didn't really step up in
the moments."
And on Saturday, Fetter
watched from the dugout as the
Wolverines two losses seemed to
be a reflection on his last season
as well.
"Usually we had one or two fac-
ets of our game - hitting, pitching
or fielding," Fetter said. "But we
just couldn't put all three together
at the same time. That holds true
throughout the whole season. We
were never able to put everything
together."
Now the Wolverines will
head back to work and try to put
together all facets of their game
for the 2010 campaign. But the
offseason will be long and the tro-
phy case lonely without the Big
Ten four-peat.
"We will leave no stone
unturned and work hard to get
back to where we need tobe next
season," Maloney said. "I think
that this feeling we have as we
walk out of here today is some-
thing that will drive our return-
ing players."

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