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January 22, 2010 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2010-01-22

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8 - Friday, January 22, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

'M sees similar
foe in Bulldogs

Ferris State's first line
accounts for almost
35 percent of offense
Daily Sports Writer
When the Michigan hockey
team faces off with No. 9 Ferris
State thisweekend in a home-and-
home series, each team will see a
near-reflection of itself. The Wol-
verines and Bulldogs are no more
than eight
places apart Ferris State
in every majora
statistical cat- a
egory nation- Matchup: Ferris
ally. State 16-6-2;
"I think Michigan 13-l0-1
it helps us," When: Tonight
Michigan at 8:05 p.m.
coach Red Where: Yost
Berenson said. Ice Arena
"We don't Live Blog:
think of them michigandaily.
as similar. We com
think of them
as being a top team and maybe the
best team we've played in recent
But it goes beyond the numbers.
Both teams rely heavily on their
top lines to produce much of the
Juniors Carl Hagelin and Matt
Rust have been the only two con-
sistent forwards on the stat sheet
for Michigan. All season, the Wol-
verines (8-7-1-0 CCHA, 13-10-1
overall) have searched for a right
wing to complement the duo and
have finally settled $on freshman
Kevin Lynch, who has played with
the top line since the Great Lakes
Ferris State's top line of Blair
Riley, Cody Chupp, and Casey
Haines have scored just under
35 percent of the Bulldogs' total
With prolific offensive play-
ers all on one line for Ferris State
(10-4-2-2, 16-6-2) the, coaching
staff will try to match up the top
lines as much as possible to limit

the Bulldogs offensive chances.
"I don't want to put an inexpe-
rienced player out there*against
the top player in the league and
then expect us to win that match-
up," Berenson said. "We have to
respect who is on the ice for them
and who is on the ice for us."
While the top lines on both
teams highlight the matchup, it's
the players behind them that will
be the difference this weekend.
"You're trying to outscore that
line or shut them down," Michi-
gan coach Red Berenson said.
"But in the meantime, if you do,
and tiey're nullifying you at the
same time, then it comes down
to your next line or your next line
and where are you going to get
your offense from?"
Recently, secondary scoring
has been strong for the Wolver-
ines. The third and fourth lines
contributed three of the Wolver-
ines' six even strength goals in
last weekend's series against Alas-
ka. Two of those came from senior
Brian Lebler, who had just five
goals coming into last weekend.
Despite being on one of the bot-
tom lines, freshman Chris Brown
is third ontheteamin points while
freshman Lindsay Sparks has six
points in his last five games.
But excluding last weekend's
series, Michigan has tallied just
two goals from secondary play-
ers since the GLI. With Michigan
fighting for the fourth spot in the
CCHA and the coveted first-round
playoff bye, it needs the bottom
two lines to score on a consistent
"Any line can be the difference
in the game," junior forward Ben
Winnett said. "I think our line
proved that last weekend in being
able to get a couple of goals Fri-
day night against Alaska. We have
to go in with the mentality that
every line could be the difference-
maker and that's how we're going
to tryand play this weekend."
If Winnett and the rest of his
line can repeat last weekend's
performance against Ferris, that's
something their reflection on the
other side of the ice can't match.

Freshman Dayeesha Hollins tallied 11 points in the Wolverines' 58-56 loss to the fifth-ranked Buckeyes yesterday. Hollins is second on the team in scoring this season.
Blue- drops another close
battle to No-. 5 Ohio State

Daily Sports Writer
For the Wolverines, last night's
matchup against No. 5 Ohio State
could have been the game to silence
doubters, OHIO STATE 58
take the MICHIGAN 56
off themselves and move past the
demons that have haunted them in
Big Ten play the past two years.
Instead, the Michigan women's
basketball team's contest with the
Buckeyes ended as another close
loss, 58-56.
But the Wolverines kept it close
throughout, making their biggest
push at the start of the second half.
After the Buckeyes extended
their five-point halftime lead to 10
on a pair of quick baskets, Michigan
kept composed and began to chip
away at its biggest deficit of the

And it didn't take the Wolver-
ines long to mount their comeback.
A 19-2 run propelled Michigan to a
seven-point lead with over 11 min-
utes remaining in the game. Sopho-
more forward Carmen Reynolds
sparked the run with seven quick
points, including her second triple
of the game.
Reynolds led the Wolverines on
their scoring flurryto take the lead,
just as she did throughout the night,
scoring a game-high 20 points. The
sophomore also hit a number of
crucial 3-pointers down the stretch
as the game slowed down into the
half court.
Much of Reynolds' success came
against Ohio State's Jantel Laven-
der, the Buckeyes' leading scorer
and rebounder. Lavender, who has
a significant height advantage over
Reynolds, is widely thought to be in
contention for national awards this
"I'm not used to being guarded

by somebody that big," Reynolds
said. "So my focus had to change a
little bit than what I'm used to."
Reynolds couldn't come through
in the game's waning moments.
After she took an out-of-bounds
pass with less than 10 seconds
remaining, she drove from the
top of the key and tripped over an
Ohio State player's foot, turning the
ball over. The turnover ultimately
sealed the defeat for Michigan (2-6
Big Ten, 10-8 overall);
The game was close throughout
despite the fact that the Buckeyes
attempted 10 more free throws. In
the first half, foul trouble sidelined
freshman guard Dayeesha Hollins
and 6-foot-6 senior center Krista
Phillips. This only compounded
Ohio State's noticeable size advan-
tage. Despite this, Michigan out-
rebounded the Buckeyes 43-39,
including Phillips' game-high 13.
In their previous matchup
against Ohio State (8-0, 20-1), the

Wolverines lost in yet another nail-
biter, 59-56 in Columbus. Though
both games resulted in losses, the
closeness of defeat in both cases
against the best team in the con-
ference represents a major step
forward for a team that was often
blown out by teams of a similar cali-
ber a year ago.
"We were one play away from
putting the game into overtime
or winning the game," Michigan
coach Kevin Borseth said. "We're
right there. We're playing our tail
off. That's encouraging."
The loss gives the team its fifth
Big Ten loss in its last six chances,
an especially disappointing sta-
tistic for the Wolverines after the
team started the season 9-2 before
conference play began.
"I just feel like we need to win,"
freshman forward Nya Jordan
said. "We should've won thatgame,
we should've won every game we


Robertson key to'M' success

Wolverines hope to
remain best in East

Daily Sports Writer
Leah Robertson was going
about practice as usual at New-
port Harbor High School in
Newport Beach, California
when her coach told her to get
out of the pool. There was some-
one he wanted her to meet.
That someone was Michigan
water polo coach Matt Ander-
son. Anderson talked to her
about the opportunity to come
to Ann Arbor and compete for
the Wolverines. Until that point,
she had never really thought
about leaving always-sunny,
California for the unpredictable
(and often miserable) weather
of Michigan. But Robertson
agreed to try.
Now, it's been four years, and
Robertson - who has cemented
herself as the face of the Michi-
gan water polo program - will
enter the pool for her last sea-
son as a Wolverine on Saturday.
Robertson holds the single-
season record for steals as a
freshman, sophomore, and
junior. She needs only 72 to
break the senior record, a seem-
ingly easy task considering she
has averaged nearly 100 steals
per season. These kinds of sta-
tistics prove what her coach
firmly believes - that she's one
of the best players in the nation.
"To be a great defensive play-
er in any sport, it's just a matter
of effort," Anderson said. "It's
not skill, it's effort, and that's
what Leah brings. She brings
the effort to want to steal the
ball, to want to shut down the
other player that she's guarding.
And that will be her legacy."
Despite all of her accomplish-
ments, Robertson maintains a
humble demeanor. After find-
ing out she is currently one steal
away from 300, she asked if that
was really true.
"I didn't know that," she said.
"That's pretty cool."
But don't be fooled - Robert-

Senior Leah Robertson holds the single-season Michigan record for steals as a freshman, sophomore and junior. She
only needs 72 steals this season to break the senior record as well.

Daily Sports Writer.
There's only one team at Michigan
that has only been a varsity sport for a
decade, but has piled up four confer-
ence titles, eight consecutive division
championships, and was been voted
Team of the Decade in December by
the visitors to the College Water Polo
Association's website. It's a team with
a 248-105-1 record throughout nine
seasons. It's a team with a four-time
division Coach of the Year, and one
that's coming off its second consecu-
tive visit to the NCAA Championship.
It's the Michigan women's water
polo team, and it's ready to dive into
another season.
The Wolverines will commence
its 2010 season this weekend at the
annual Michigan Kickoff, and head
coach Matt Anderson says their goal
is to discover who they are asa team.
"We don'tknowexactlywho we are
yet," Anderson said. "Like any team
that loses a good amount of seniors,
we have the potential to be good, but
we're not going to be where we want
to be right away until everybody fig-
ures out their role and what we need
to do to get where we wantto go."
The 10th-ranked Wolverines will
be going for their third straight con-
ference championship this year, some
would say a reasonable goal consid-
ering the veterans that make up the
The leadership of senior Leah Rob-
ertson, who holds the programrecord
for steals with 299, will be crucial for
success, as will that of fellow captains
senior Casie Kelly and junior Cara
Reitz. .
The Wolverines possess extraor-
dinary defensive talents, but also
high-charged and nuanced offen-
sive weapons. Redshirt senior goal-
keeper Brittany May ranks third on
Michigan's career saves list, with 409,
while last year, junior Alison Mantel,
became only the third player in pro-
gram history to reach 50 goals in one
"We have the confidence to want to

score the ball and play aggressively,"
Anderson said. "Every year we seem
to score more goals than the year
The Wolverines graduated seven
seniors after last season's 35-9 cam-
paign, one that saw Michigan finish
in fifth place at the NCAA Champion-
But don't be fooled by their youth -
Anderson expects to see an immense
amount of talent in all of the fresh-
men. He said that Kiki Golden, a
three-time team MVP at Monte Vista
High School, has the ability to be "out-
standing" from day one.
It's not the most popular sport in
Ann Arbor, but the water polo team,
with its consistent success, is certain-
ly one of the most captivating.
Some call it basketball in water,
but Anderson described it also as a
fast-paced sport that's more similar
to hockey.
"There's always an opportunity
every time down to get a shot oppor-
tunity," Anderson said. "And it's phys-
ical. You're not just swimming away
from the person, you're physically
trying to move them out of the way
andtryingto out-strength them to get
the ball into the net."
Anderson knows how sports.fans
love to see action and offense, and the
Wolverines were certainly high scor-
ing lastyear. Michigan scored 10 plus
markers in 25 of 44 games last ea-
"It incorporates everything people
tend to like; the physicality, the ath-
leticism and the offense is all there,"
Anderson said. "And you can get some
pretty good defensive plays also. I
think everyone will walk away from
watching the sport saying 'That's a
very tough sport to play.' And that's
why I think it appeals to people once
they go watch it"
So for those who didn't bother to
make New Years resolutionsthis year,
here's a belated one: Go see a game of
women's water polothisyear. The first
chance is this Saturday at 1:15 PM, as
the Wolverines play host to UC San
Diego at the Canham Natatorium.

son isn't limited to making stel-
lar defensive plays. She's on the
top of her game on the offensive
side as well.
"Leah is by far the best
defensive player we've ever
had," Anderson said. "And she
is going to be at the top of most
of our offensive categories as
well. You have your defensive
stoppers and then you have
your offensive talents. But when
you're able to get someone that
you can say both of those things
about, that's a special player."
But it's a sheer love of the
game that has kept her in the
pool. When she was seven, her
dad, who played water polo in
high school, introduced the
same to her. And her water polo-
playing babysitter who brought
a ball every time she came over
made Robertson love the sport
that much more.
When Robertson thinks

about her most memorable
moment playing water polo, it's
not about the records she set or
the steals she made. It's about
the people she's with.
Robertson said it was hard to
say goodbye to the seven seniors
who graduated last year.
"We had this huge cry ses-
sion," Robertson said. "That
was the closest that I've ever
been with a group of girls. They
really took me under their wing
and helped me make it through
my entire college career."
It's that kind of emotion that
makes this water polo team so
special and truly compelling
to watch. Yes, statistics matter,
and yes, winning is what they'll
be remembered for. But first and
foremost, they're friends.
And when she discussed
her most memorable moment
outside of water polo, the only
thing that made it distinct from

a "water polo" moment was that
it was her and her teammates
on a football field rather than a
swimming pool.
When Leah Robertson
emerged from her high school
pool to have a conversation with
Anderson years ago, she prob-
ably never imagined that one
day, her greatest memory would
be helping him propose to his
"When I told them what I was
going to do, they basically said,
'we're going to be involved,' "
Anderson said. "We were on the
football field and they unrav-
eled the banner that asked my
wife to marry me while I was on
my knee on the other side of the
field. They were very involved.
And it obviously turned out
Just one more accomplish-
ment Robertson can add to the

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