8 - Friday, December 4, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Graham named team MVP
By MICHAEL EISENSTEIN and
Daily Sports Editors
LIVONIA - The introduction
said it all.
"This kid is what Michigan foot-
ball is all about," Master of Ceremo-
nies Derrick Walker proclaimed.
Andthe crowdgathered inLaurel
Manor for the 89th annual football
Senior defensive end Brandon
Graham, Michigan's first defensive
player to be voted team MVP twice,
received nearly a minute-long
standing ovation, by far the longest
of the night.
Graham stood proudly at the
podium, flashinghis lovable smile to
the crowd as he fought back tears.
"Isaid I wasn'tgoingto cry, buty'all
tempting me,"he said with a laugh.
The last two-time team MVP was
running back Mike Hart in 2006
and 2007. The only other players to
earn that honor were wide receiver
Anthony Carter, running backs Ron
Johnson and Tom Harmon and
guard Ralph Heikkinen.
Graham, the nation's leader in
tackles for loss, recited his page-
and-a-half thank-you speech before
embracing Michigan coach Rich
Rodriguez and receiving his 'M'
"I spent two days (working on
it)," Graham said. "I just wanted to
memorize it more than anything."
But Graham wasn't the only one
who received a prolonged standing
ovation. Rodriguez took the podium
with a very supportive crowd, one
that was certainly encouraged by
his sense ofhumor.
"I want to set the record straight
since our last ball game, walking
off that field, there's been a lot of
rumors and speculation about my
future," Rodriguez said. "I'm here
to set the record straight. I am not
a candidate for the University of
Notre Dame position."
Rodriguez added a few more
laughs before turning serious as
he addressed the crowd for over 15
minutes. The second-year coach
thoughtthere were more life lessons
this season than in any of the other
25 he has coached.
But Rodriguez didn't stay serious
for long, closing on an enthusiastic
"We're going to have these busts
celebrating Big Ten championships
and Rose Bowl victories and com-
petingfor anational championship,"
Rodriguez said in closing, prompt-
ing another standing ovation.
WARREN NOT WAVERING:
Donovan Warren sat calmly, don-
ning a bright pink tie as he listened
to his senior leaders give their sen-
doff speeches. But if the junior cor-
nerback has his way, he might not be
giving a speech at nextyear's bust.
Warren told several media out-
lets he is strongly considering leav-
ing early for the NFL.
"I'm definitely, I'd have to say
heavily, I like the chances of me
coming out," Warren told the
Detroit Free Press.
The Long Beach, Calif. native
recently applied to the NFL Adviso-
ry Committee, a service that evalu-
ates early-entry candidates.
Players usually receive feedback
from the advisory committee in a few
weeks about their possible draft posi-
tion. Warren said he planned to make
his decision in the coming weeks.
According to ESPN.com's NFL
DraftTracker, Warren is listed as the
No. 4 cornerback and the 42nd-best
prospect, making him a potential
second-round pick. Rodriguez said
he spoke with Warien earlier Thurs-
day and encouraged him to make an
educated decision with his family.
"Ifa guy's a first rounder and he
has that kind of opportunity, you
certainly understand that," Rodri-
guez said. "Beyond being a first
rounder or a high second-round
pick, I think they're always better
served finishing their degree and
playing their fourth year."
Graham, who never applied to
the NFL advisory committee, said
he would give Warren advice on his
decision to go pro.
"If you're going to leave, then be
on that board," Graham said. "If
you're not, just don't answer the
phone. That's what I did. I already
knew I was staying."
Warren tallied four interceptions
and six pass breakups this season
despite battling what Rodriguez
called some "tough ankle pain"
stemming from ligament issues.
SMITH TEARS ACL: Freshman tail-
back Vincent Smith tore his ACL
against Ohio State and will undergo
surgery, Rodriguez said yesterday.
Smith will miss spring practice.
FOOTBALL BUST AWARD WINNERS
Following arethe2009team award recipients:
Bo Schembechler Most Valuable
Player: Brandon Graham
Dr. Arthur D. Robinson Scholarship
Award: Zoltan Mesko
Robert P. Ufer Bequest: David Moosman
Hugh R. Rader ir.MemorialAward:
Mark Ortmann and Stephen Schilling
Roger Zatkoff Award: Stevie Brown
Richard KatcherAward: Mike Martin
Newfound confidence carrying power play
By TIM ROHAN russo said. "When those three
Daily Sports Writer things all come together, that's
what makes the power play suc-
Confidence is a funny thing. cessful.
For the Michigan hockey team, "I think confidence is the big-
it has often come and gone in a gest thing of the power play - and
blink of an eye. The Wolverines a little bit of luck."
seemed' to be stuck in quicksand Michigan (3-5-0-0 CCHA, 7-7-0
as they endured a five-game losing overall) will need both things in
streak to start November. Columbus, especially considering
And a lot has turned around the Wolverines' current 11th-place
in Michigan's recent three-game standing in the CCHA.
winning streak, - including the The rise of Michigan's power
offense's nine-goal resurgence in play and steady efficiency of its
last weekend's College Hockey penalty kill show how contagious
Showcase. The most important confidence canbe. Ohio State (4-5-
turnaround is arguably the Wol- 1-1, 6-9-1) has had no such experi-
verines' recent power play suc- ence this season.
cess. In their six non-conference
Michigan has scored four power games, the Buckeyes have killed
play goals in its last three games, penalties ata 90-percent clip.
and special teams could catapult But that rate drops to 62 per-
the Wolverines to a much-needed cent in *Ohio State's 10 CCHA
series sweep this weekend against games. Ferris State, the confer-
Ohio State. ence's highest-scoring offense,
"When you get a couple of goals netted eight power play goals in
on the power play, it helps because two games against the Buckeyes
you can play a little more relaxed, on Nov. 20-21.
and can take chances, and you feel Ohio State has given up multiple
a little more confident with the power play goals in seven of those
puck," junior forward Louie Capo- 10 conference games. And the
Buckeyes' overall rate of 73 per-
cent is the fifth-worst penalty kill
in Division I hockey.
Both Caporusso and junior for-
ward Carl Hagelin downplayed
the statistic and said that they
were just concerned about the
Wolverines' play. It certainly has
improved as of late.
"We're starting to pick it up on
the power play right now," Hage-
lin said. "We're moving the puck
pretty well.... We're on a roll."
The Wolverines sport the third-
best penalty-kill rate in Division I,
and the unit has been the team's
strength throughout the season.
And one reason the extra-man
attack has improved is its compe-
tition in practice.
"Our penalty killers are really
frustrating to work against (in
practice) because' they're good,"
Berenson said. "It helps and it
"It helps us to know that if we
can beat these guys or make a good
play against them, then we have a
chance to do that in the game. But
it hurts (because) we can't beat
Michigan has been getting bet-
ter touches on the puck, estab-
lishing longer possession in the
offensive zone, and improving its
passing on the power play. Beren-
son also sees the Wolverines mov-
ing the puck quicker, which creates
more scoring opportunities.
If there is one area the Wolver-
ines can take advantage in this
weekend, it is on -special teams.
During their five-game skid, they
scored just two power play goals
and weren't very effective.
Now, Michigan is making
things happen around the net on
the power play, and the puck is
bouncing the Wolverines' way.
Newfound confidence could breed
complacency, but Michigan knows
now is not the time to rest.
"We've got to keep this winning
streak alive," Caporusso said. "We
didn't get off to the greatest start.
We don't have that cushion like we
normally do to be able to give up
wins that we deserve.
"That's going to be the type of
hockey we're going to have to play
- desperate hockey. We're going
to have to get the wins."
The Michigan volleyball team has never advanced past the Sweet 16 in the NCAA
Tournament. Junior Lexi Zimmerman said the Wolverines expect more this season.
lofti11Aer t ourney
By MARK BURNS Four.
Daily Sports Writer The Wolverines also took
powerhouse Penn State to five
A trip to the NCAA Tourna- sets inside Cliff Keen Arena. It
ment is nothing new for the was the first and only time the
Michigan volleyball team. Lady Lions have been pushed
The 16th-ranked Wolverines to the brink by any team all sea-
have earned a spot in the tour- son.
nament the last four seasons, These big games have pre-
but each time, the journey hasn't pared the Wolverines for the
gone past the Sweet 16. postseason, and according to
That could all change withthis coach Mark Rosen, nerves won't
year's veteran-laden roster. And be a factor tomorrow night when
with the strength of the Wolver- Michigan takes on Niagara
ines' regular season schedule - (23-8) in the first round.
it ranks 9th in RPI - they aren't "They're a very aggressive
just satisfied with making it to team," Rosen said of the Purple
the tournament anymore. Eagles, who will make their
"I feel like it's a different pro- first Tournament appearance in
gram now and the expectations school history.
have changed," junior setter "They're going to come in here
Lexi Zimmerman said. "I don't and play their tails off. They're
know if it's because I am older not going to be afraid of us being
or it's just a different program. seeded or from the Big Ten or us
... It's exciting that we're in the being bigger.
tournament and we don't want "From watching them on tape,
to take anything for granted. But that's not their makeup. They're
our goals are definitely higher a feisty, competitive team and as
than just getting into the tour- a team, we need to respect that."
nament." With Rosen's attitude and
The idea that this could the team's "best practice in four
be Michigan's year to finally years" on Wednesday, according
advance to the NCAA Tourna- to Zimmerman, the Wolverines
ment Elite Eight for the first are finally poised to advance
time in program history is not deeper in the NCAA Tourna-
In Michigan's first match of "I don't think you realize that
the season, on Aug. 25, the Wol- if each person ratchets it up a
verines (24-9) swept then-No. 3 little bit and plays their absolute
Nebraska in Omaha. The Corn- best volleyball - right now -
huskers were just a few months the whole level in the gym is just
removed from a trip to the Final insane," Zimmerman said.
Behind defense, Wolverines cruise against Hokies
By ZAK PYZIK seconds into the game, and the am a really good off-of-the-ball play- body does their job. ... We don't
Daily Sports Writer Wolverines never relinquised their er. I like to get in passing lanes and I have a shooter yet that can hit 25 a
lead. They defense clamped down have pretty good denial on defense. night."
The ACC may have come out on immediately and produced two I am able to pick them up." Michigan's strong shooting made
top during the two-day, 11 game turnovers in the opening minute. Phillips also stepped up defen- it difficult for the Hokies to come
ACC/Big Ten Challenge, but it "I think the defense is working sively, swatting six shots. back from the 29-point second-half
didn't stand a chance in yesterday's for us," senior center Krista Phil- Theres no question Michigan deficit.
game against the Wolverines. lips said. "Between this game and coach Kevin Borseth's "Team For the seventh straight game,
The the last game, we have played at Defense" certainly showed up. But every active player saw the court.
Michigan MICHIGAN 71 a faster pace. But oh gosh, we are the Wolverine offense also came to That included all six freshmen,
women's VIRGINIA TECH 51 going to have to step it up defen- life, tallying50 percent in field goals whO combined for 25 points on the
basketball sively come Big Ten (play)." to Virginia Tech's (4-3) 25 percent. night.
team (5-2) Michigan forced 18 turnovers in Four of Michigan's players Borseth and the Wolverines must
dominated the Hokies 71-51 last the win and now ranks second in scored in the double digits. Hicks now prepare for conference play.
night in in Blacksburg, Va., silenc- the Big Ten for most steals, averag- recorded an impressive 19 points On Sunday, they will take on Iowa
ing the "Maroon Monsoon" crowd. ing 10 per game. on the night, while Hollins tallied in their fifth straight road game.
Each of the Wolverine's five wins Freshman guard Dayeesha Hol- 16, Phillips had 12 and Reynolds The Hawkeyes are coming off of a
this year have been by 15 points or lins and junior guard Veronica scored 10. loss to Boston College, 72-67.
more, the first time this decade the Hicks continued to play aggressive "That's important that players Iowa will be a true test for Michi-
team has achieved that feat. defense, which helped produce the are getting double figures," Borseth gan in its Big Ten opener. And a win
Michigan wasted no time show- numerous turnovers. said. "If you can do that, then you will prove that the Wolverines are
ing 'what the Big Ten could do. "StealsaresomethingthatDayee- have a better chance to win the better than their last-place ranking
Sophomore forward Carmen Reyn- sha and I do," Hicks said. "Dayeesha game. If one of those guys can step in the preseason Big Ten coaches
olds sunk the first basket just eight is a really good on-the-ball player. I up and get 20 points, then every- and media polls.
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