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November 02, 2009 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-11-02

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28 - November 2, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

M

Wolverines take fourth place at Big Tens

Is Michigan
turning into a
basketball school?

CHAMPAIGN -
The jokes started about two
minutes after Illinois broke
free for a 70-yard touch-
down to take the lead for good.
It came in the form of a G-Chat
iessage from a
friend, a Tweet
from UMHoops,
a sly crack from
a guy in the
press box. It's
become the
sarcasm-fueled
response of a
fanbase fed up ANDY
with a previ- REID
busly foreign
concept - los-
ing. At least, until Michigan coach
Rich Rodriguez took over.
It's the cry heard 'round the Wol-
verine world this week.
"Well, at least it's almost basket-
ball season."
It was funny at the time, espe-
cially as Michigan continued to
unravel against one of the worst
teams in the Big Ten. But with time
to digest it and see the anti-Rich
Rodriguez vitriol scorch across
Internet message boards, I'm realiz-
ing this might actually be real.
I remember being in high school
and hearing Michigan State fans
use the same logic. It always seemed
like a pretty fair-weathered mindset
to have, especially when the football
team had three or four games left
to play.
ButI came to expect it. Michigan
State would lose to Michigan and
then drop four straight games and
Wait anxiously for football season to
be over. It was fine.
Now, though, it's Michigan fans
clamoring for the hardwood. It's
unimaginable.
First off, there's no questioning
that this is 100 percent a football
school, and even if the team has a
few lean years now and again, it will
probably stay that way. I mean, the
Wolverines still have the most wins

of any Division-I team, best winning
percentage of all time, the winged
helmets, the "Go Blue" banner and
The Victors.
But people like winning - espe-
cially those who follow Michigan
sports - and after a while, Rodri-
guez's 8-13 record just isn't goingto
cut it. And who's hot right now?
Michigan basketball.
With the season starting on
Friday with an exhibition game,
Michigan fans have every right tobe
excited about this team. An NCAA
Tournament appearance, two of the
Big Ten's most explosive players, an
engaging coach and a very intrigu-
ing schedule are all reasons to get
pumped.
But let's be honest. In all reality,
the "basketball season is here!" talk
is less about the basketball team
and more about football. Fans are
getting frustrated, which would
quickly and quietly go away if the
Wolverines start winning - or just
beat Ohio State. Hell, even a trip to
the Little Caesar's Pizza Pizza Bowl
would suffice.
After investing a lot of time and
heartache into 2008's disaster,
Michigan fans were more ready
than ever for the 2009 season to
start. And when the Wolverines
scorched through four straight
wins, you could almost hear Wol-
verine nation let out a collective
sigh of relief - Michigan football
seemed tobe back.
I think fans are just begging for
any little sign of improvement.
Obviously, people got their hopes
up a little too much. Football will
continue to dwarf basketball in
every facet on this campus. But if
John Beilein and the boys continue
to grow and Rodriguez continues to
flounder, things might start chang-
ing.
Stranger things have happened.
- Reid is excited about the Crazy
Bread at the Pizza Pizza Bowl. He can
be reached at andyreidoumich.edu.

By ALEX HERMANN
Daily Sports Writer
With a tremendous amount of
youth on the roster, the Michi-
gan women's cross country team's
fourth-place finish with 122
points at the Big Ten Champion-
ships was a good enough effort for
coach Mike McGuire.
"I thought realistically our goal
was top five," McGuire said. "I
was happy with the fact that (for)
seven out of our nine runners, it
was their first Big Ten meet ever."
Four true freshmen made
the trip to State College. Fresh-
men Kaitlyn Patterson, Rebecca
LAKERS
From page 1B
sophomore Luke Glendening also
scored their first goals of the sea-
son.
Saturday featured the same
prolific scoring attack.
The Lakers (4-4-0, 1-3-0)
tmatched the Wolverines' aggres-
siveness out of the gate. But
despite outshooting Michigan
20-10 in the first frame, Lake
Superior State still trailed 3-2.
After allowing a goal less than
two minutes into Saturday's
game, junior goalie Bryan Hogan
settled down and finished the
game with a season-high 35 saves.

Addison and Jillian Smith posted
three of the Wolverines' top four
times in an event where a team's
five best times count toward the
team's score.
"The kids stepped up to the
challenge," McGuire said. "I was
definitely happy with their per-
formances."
But it wasn't a standout fresh-
man that led the Wolverines
yesterday. Redshirt sophomore
Kaitlyn Peale once again high-
lighted Michigan's effort by post-
ing the fourth-best time overall
with a team-high 20:33.
Peale has placed in the top 10in
all five events this season and has

set the pace for the Wolverines in
their last three.
The fourth-place finish for No.
22 Michigan may serve as a posi-
tive indicator for the rest of the
season. The NCAA Great Lakes
Regional is less than two weeks
away, and the Wolverines are the
top-ranked team in the region.
Big Ten foes Penn State, Illinois
and Minnesota, who finished
first through third in the Big Ten
Championships, are all in sepa-
rate regions.
"If we just hold serve and we're
first or second in the region, we
qualify automatically to go the
national meet, and that's been

one of our goals all year long,"
McGuire said.
The Wolverines have 16 fresh-
men and redshirt freshmen on the
roster - and just one senior.With
suchayoungsquad, thehighrank-
ings and expectations for this sea-
son are certainly impressive.
But the team's prospects for the
future are looking even brighter.
"We have people capable of
working their way into being
first-or second-team All-Big Ten,"
McGuire said. "That's our goal -
continue and improve.
"We have the people here, and
I think the future looks bright for
us."

Hogan stalled the Lakers' attack
by making nine saves during Lake
Superior State power plays.
The Wolverine defense also
helped out on a few occasionswith
goal-saving plays throughout the
weekend. And even though the
unit's only goal came as an emp-
ty-netter, the defense was just as
active in the offensive zone.
Precise passing and continu-
ous movement made things easy
for Michigan, who was leading
or tied with the Lakers for all but
eight minutes of this weekend's
games.
"When you play in games, the
intensity in the games is hard to
duplicate in practice," Berenson
said. "We're getting better. ...We

should be getting better every
week. If we can stay healthy and
stay confident and work hard,
it's a lot of hard work, (then)
we're going to play better. We
had some real good spurts this
weekend."
Michigan has had good spurts
throughout the young season, but
sustaining that high level of play
is key in the Wolverines' develop-
ment. Having so many players in
on the action this weekend devel-
oped confidence that is a step in
the direction of playing three
solid periods of hockey.
Earlier this week, Berenson
changed up the forwards' lines
after he said that his-team was
underachieving. This weekend,

those changes paid off. 4
Getting Caporusso going in
Michigan's first two CCHA games
could prove to be just as impor-
tant as the two wins the Wolver-
ines got in Sault Ste. Marie.
"I just heard a bunch of the
crowd and some of our supporters
go, 'Yo Louie.' And I was just like,
'I guess everyone knew I was in a
slump.' I didn't know how public
this was," Caporusso said of the
reaction to his first goal.
Caprousso - seemed happy to
answer questions about scoring
goals again. And if his teammates
continue the aggressive style of
offense that they displayed this
weekend, he won't have to worry
about carrying the entire load.

WILDCATS
From page1B
generate legitimate scoring oppor-
tunities. Neither team controlled the
ball for an extended period of time.
As a result of Burns's conservative
strategy, the game remained score-
less through 90 minutes of regula-
tion and the first overtime period.
And after 101 minutes ofugly soc-
cer, the Wolverines finally scored an
ugly goal. Northwestern goalkeeper
Misha Rosenthal made two spec-
tacular saves on consecutive Michi-
gan shots, and a Wildcat defender
blocked a third shot from cross-
ing the goal line. Redshirt junior
defender Matt Schmitt collected yet
another rebound to deliver the game
winner for the Wolverines.

Schmitt was sidelined with a
hernia early in the season after a
summer of heavy lifting. The red-
shirt junior still battles effects of
the injury, but has fought through
the pain to contribute to the team.
Schmitt scored in each of Michi-
gan's last two games - his only
goals so far this season.
"It's better late than never,"
Schmitt said. "The work in the off-
season is startingto pay off for me."
The Wolverines head to Colum-
bus next weekend to conclude the
regular season against the Buck-
eyes in another pressure-filled con-
test. A victory would give Michigan
a strong case for an at-large bid to
the NCAA Tournament, but a loss
might cripple its chances.
"Overall, it's a nice point for our

a

aI

JAKt FROMM/aiio
Redshirtjunior Matt Schmitt scored in Michigan's 1-0 upset of Northwestern.
team to be," Burns said. "I think ning through the team and that's
there's a more of a belief that's run- important."

I4

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