4B - February 22, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily com
In first test,'M' alls .
to defending champs
Junior Jason Jung along with freshman Evan King helped the Wolverines to garner the doubles point against North Carolina.
Michigan couldn't finish out the singles, however, as the 22nd-ranked Tar Heels won 6-1.
Blue stumbles at home
By ZELL ZOERHOF
Daily Sports Writer
This season, the Michigan's
women's tennis team has flown up
the rankings to No. 7 - its highest
ranking in program history- by
priding itself on excellent doubles
play and sound all-around game.
But, this weekend in Durham
N.C., the Wolverines faced sixth-
ranked defending national cham-
pion Duke who showed Michigan
what they lacked to take the next
step toward a championship, beat-
ing the Wolverines 5-2.
Michigan got out to a fast start
claiming the doubles point, which
has been crucial to its success. In
a lineup change, juniors Whitney
Taney and Rika Tatsuno were
moved up to first doubles, where
they earned a victory 8-5.
The duo of sophomore Michelle
Sulahian and freshman Mimi
Nguyen continued its success in
doubles as they defeated the No. 28
Duke pairing, the first victory over
a ranked doubles opponent. They
pushed forward as a team and
were able to finish the points off.
"We were playing outdoors, and
I kept shanking balls," Nguyen
laughed. "My first thought was to
not shank any balls, but Michelle
and I have been solid all season
and we were really confident in
our ability that we could beat that
After her victory in doubles,
Nguyen - with the best record
of any Wolverine, continued her
flawless play and dismantled
Duke's No. 73 Monica Gray 6-1,
6-2, without dropping serve and
earning her third win over a
"Duke was a good team," Nguy-
en said. "But we're a good team,
and I was confident that I could
handle my opponenet."
But after Nguyen's victory, the
match got away from Michigan.
Four of Duke's five ranked singles
players - besides Gray - picked up
their play by out-manuevering and
out-hitting the Wolverines. A 2-1
lead soon turned into a 5-2 defeat.
Junior Denise Muresan found
herselfin another very tight match.
In a very close tie-breaker, she lost
the first set by just one point on her
service game 7-6 (7-5). Then, after
Duke had clinched the match, she
fell in the second set 6-4;
Against No. 47 Blue Devil Eliza-
beth Plotkin, senior Tania Mahtani
claimed the first set in a tie-break,
but could not hold on. She was only
able to hold serve once in the next
two sets while losing 6-7, 6-0, 6-1.
Despite the loss, Michigan had
For one, the Wolverines showed
that they can play with the pre-
mier programs in the country. And
it demonstrated once again that its
doubles teams are to be feared for
they can beat anyone on any given
"At one point, we could of won
the match," coach Ronni Bernstein
said. "We were playing the defend-
ing national champs, and there
was a time when we would play
Duke and wouldn't have a chance,
but the team is getting better and
we feel we can play with anyone."
. This match gave the Wolver-
ines insight into what they must
become as the season goes along in
drive, in terms of grit and mental
toughness. They took the lead in
the match, but could not finish it.
Muresan could not convert in the
tie-break and Mahtani was not the
same player after she took the first
set. They need to be able to finish
matches against the top programs
as the season goes along if they
have hope of contending.
Next- week, Michigan returns
to play against two ranked team
in No. 23 TCU and No. 5 Baylor. It
will look to use this new experi-
ence to develop a more balanced
game which it will need to prove
itself worthy of its new ranking.
"Hopefully next time we can
win those big points, and win
those big matches," Bernstein said.
By MATT RUDNITSKY
For the Daily
After earning the doubles point
in impressive fashion over No.
22 North Carolina, the Michigan
men's tennis team looked poised for
a huge upset last night at the Var-
sity Tennis Center.
But the Tar Heels' strong singles
play gave them a 6-1 victory.
With wins by the pairs junior
Jason Jung and freshman Evan
King at first doubles and senior cap-
tain George Navas and senior Mike
Sroczynski at the second spot, the
Wolverines (3-4) took the early 1-0
lead in the dual match. They earned
the point as a result of taking two
out of three doubles matches.
The Wolverines have won the
doubles point in six out of seven
matches, despite a 3-4 record. The
script for last night's match was the
same, but the Tar Heels turned it on
once singles started.
"The thing you've gotta remem-
ber is once the doubles point is over,
it's a brand new match," said junior
Chris Madden after last week's win
over Notre Dame. "If we were 5-1,
we'd think it's the most important
thing ever but we're not. We've lost
matches when we've won the dou-
bles point and we've won matches
when we've lost it, so it's kind of
a thing where it's a great start its
great momentum, but you've gotta
just start over once singles starts."
North Carolina wasted no time
capturing the lead, winning the
first set in five out of six singles
matches, with Madden being the
lone Wolverine with a lead after a
set. The Tar Heels' depth was too
much for the Wolverines to handle
- five of of North Carolina's six
starters are ranked in the top 125 by
Three of North Carolina's singles
wins came in straight sets. No. 67
Evan King lost at second singles,
and George Navas was beaten at the
number four spot. And with a win
over freshman Chris Cha at num-
ber six, Andrew Crone gave North
Carolina a commanding 3-1 lead.
Needing just one win for the
victory, North Carolina seemed
slated to run away with the win.
But Michigan's remaining singles
players fought hard and all three
matches were forced into pivotal
In the end, it wasn't enough, as
all three Tar Heels prevailed. No.
38 Clay Donato overcame No. 33
Jung at number one in a third-set
tiebreaker, while Mike Sroczynski
and Chris Madden were outlasted
at numbers four and five, respec-
"They were the better team
tonight," Michigan coach Bruce
Berque said. "I feel like we had the
skills to win the match, but these
three guys did a really good job
competing and all of those matches
could have turned on a point or two
here or there, but we happened to
lose them all in the end. I was dis-
appointed with a couple of spots
because I don't feel like we played
. Despite the seemingly lopsided
loss, Michigan certainly proved it
has the firepower and resilience to
compete with the best of the best.
"I don't think we had any doubts
that we can play with the top teams
in the country," Berque said. "I
know our ranking is a lot lower,
but we don't think of ourselves as
where we are in the rankings. But I
guess we have to prove that we can
not only play with them but also
beat them, which I surely think
we're capable of doing, we just
haven'tpulled it through yet."
With the win, North Carolina
improved to 6-2 on the year, and
10-0 all time against Michigan. All
seven of Michigan's dual matches
this year have been against teams
ranked in the top 55 in the nation.
Also, six of its 18 opponents this
season are currently in the top 15,
and 14 are in the top 50.
"Our growing pains wouldn't
hurt so much if we didn't have such
a tough schedule," Berque said.
"But I told our guys we're not going
to apologize for scheduling teams
at the level we think we should be.
So it would be pretty easy to have
a much better record and for every-
one to think we're wonderful but
we made the choice to try to chal-
lenge ourselves and we aren't going
to back down from it."
injured in weekend split.
Sloppy play leads to
another Big Ten loss
By BEN ESTES none after that. Although the game
Daily Sports Writer was well played by both sides, the
Red Raiders broke the 2-2 tie in the
What began as a solid first week- bottom of the eighth to defeat the
end for the Michigan baseball team Wolverines 4-2.
quickly turned sour. The same could not be said for
The Wolverines opened their Sunday's matchup. Junior starting
season in Lubbock, Texas as part pitcher Travis Smith lasted just
of the Red Raider Classic, squaring 1.2 innings and gave up five runs.
off with Jacksonville State and host From there, things just got worse
Texas Tech for two games apiece. as the Red Raiders blew out the
Michigan opened by sweeping the Wolverines 18-5.
Gamecocks in dominating fashion, "Everybody's frustrated," Malo-
winning 19-11 on Friday and 14-2 neysaid. "Nobodywantstolose like
on Saturday. that ... It was one of those games
But with one gutsy dive, Michi- that snowballed and got out of con-
gan's fortunes completely turned trol and there's really not much you
around. In the bottom of the first can do. In sports, when 'Big Mo'
inning of Saturday's game against hits, it's tough to turn it back."
the Red Raiders, junior centerfield- While the team ended the week-
er and preseason third-team All- end in disappointing fashion, the
American Ryan LaMarre attempted Wolverines earned some confi-
to snag a shot from Texas Tech's dence after starting off strong
Scott LeJeune but appeared to against Jacksonville State. For an
injure his arm in the process. offense that finished in the middle
He left the game, and his sta- of the Big Ten in most hitting cat-
tus remains unclear until further egories and struck out far too often
evaluation in Ann Arbor today. in 2009, the performance was a
Michigan coach Rich Maloney, welcome sign.
though, thinks that he may miss Michigan (2-2) was led by a
"an extended period of time." pair of career-best individual
"Obviously, that's going to performances. Sophomore desig-
hurt," Maloney said of the loss of nated hitter/catcher Coley Crank
LaMarre. "Someone else is going smashed three home runs and
to have to step up. Injuries happen seven RBI on Friday, while senior
to all teams. It's unfortunate that first baseman Mike Dufek collect-
it's our star player, but in the same ed six RBI the next day..
token, we're a team. Somebody else "It was just the guys in front of
is going to have to pick up the slack." me getting on base," Dufek said. "I
Michigan's offense struggled was fortunate enough to come up
from that point on, collecting two with some big hits, and I got some
hits in the second inning but good pitches to hit also. Coach
always preaches about going the
opposite field, and that's what I did.
I definitely benefitted from that."
The big question now facing the
team is how to replace the produc-
tion and leadership of LaMarre if
the Jackson, Mich. nativeis indeed
unable to play for a significant
Saturday, Maloney slid fresh-
man leftfielder Patrick Biondi over
to center and inserted redshirt
sophomore Garrett Stephens into
left, buthe says that he will experi-
ment with a variety of options in an
attempt to find the best fit.
Whatever the final combination
ends up being, there is no doubt
that the Wolverines' performance
will take a hit with LaMarre sitting
on the bench.
"You can't make up what he
does," Maloney said. "A bunch of
different people are just going to
have to pick up the slack, come
together collectively and make up
On the heels of a disappointing
end to the team's opening week-
end, Dufek described the team's
mood as "pretty somber" after the
blowout defeat. But the captain is
also confident that the Wolverines'
fortunes will turn around quickly.
"We know we're a better team
than this, and we just need to
remind ourselves that," Dufek said.
"I'm pretty sure that every-
body's looking forward to next
weekend right now. Can't wait to
get back on the field and put this
loss behind us."
By ALEX HERMANN
Daily Sports Writer
Coming off the bench, senior
guard Kalyn McPherson tried to
one last WISCONSIN 73
breath of MICHIGAN 61
the Michigan women's basketball
team's chances yesterday against
Wisconsin in Crisler Arena.
McPherson's season-high eight
points helped the Wolverines jump
out on a 14-8 run, cutting a double-
digit deficit to just four with four
minutes to go.
But that's as close as Michigan
would come in its 73-61 loss - the
Wolverines' third straight defeat -
in a stretch where the regular sea-
son begins to wane and the team's
NCAA Tournament hopes begin to
Michigan's play was especially
porous in the first half, when they
committed 16 turnovers.
"We were being just a bit too
timid, and not being aggressive
enough," junior guard Veronica
Hicks said. "I think with the ball,
we just weren't being strong or
aggressive enough and it led to
Taking care of the ball wasn't
the only problem.
The Wolverines continued to
struggle with their shot for the
third straight contest, hitting just
37 percent against the top scoring
defense in the Big Ten.
"We never had any good looks
from the outside," Michigan coach
Kevin Borseth said. "Not any to
And the Wolverines (6-10 Big
Ten, 14-12 overall) weren't pro-
ficient enough on the other end
of the court to make up for their
The Badgers went 14-of-28 from
the field in the first half and hit 46
percent of their shots overall.
"The first half we just had
some miscommunications as far
as screens went ... and they were
getting some offensive rebounds
and put-backs," Hicks said. "We
flattened out in the first half, and
we dug ourselves in the hole, and
Blue goes winless in conference
TOREHAN SH ARMAN/Daily
Junior Veronica Hicks registered nine points in the Wolverines' 73-61 loss to the
Badgers on Sunday. Michigan has lost its last three Big Ten games.
to go its
the one t
to the fr
nately that hole was insur- But Wisconsin (9-7, 19-8) once
ble tonight." again outdid Michigan, hitting 20
ugh things never seemed of its 25 free throw attempts, nail-
ing 12-of-13 in the final 90 seconds
to ice the game.
Despite the loss, the Wolverines
Ve never had were playing for more than just
y good looks Yesterday's matchup marked
the program's second annual "Pink
1 outside... Not Zone" game in which the team
to sp kof" wore pink jerseys and sported pink
Y 1 Spewarmups in order to support Mich-
igan's Women's Health Program.
"It's a great thing for us to be
able to do a service," Hicks said.
way throughout, the team "We want to be more than basket-
p its play slightly in the sec- ball players and we want to make
f. And despite Michigan's sure that everyone knows that we
cency from behind the arc, appreciate the position that we're
hing it managed to do con- in.
was attack the rim and get "And we hope that any platform
ree throw line, where the that we get put on we can repre-
nes shot 22-for-31. sent, and we can do for others."
By BEN ESTES
Daily Sports Writer
It was in the year 1925 that The
New Yorker magazine was created,
the Scopes trial was held and The
Great Gatsby was published.
That was also the last year that
the Michigan wrestling team went
winless in the Big Ten.
The Wolverines came into Evan-
ston trying to close out the regular
season on a high note, but they ulti-
mately fell to the Wildcats 20-16,
finishing 0-8 in the conference and
"In some areas we have
(improved)," Michigan assistant
coach Kirk Trost said. "In others, I
think we have a long ways to go, in
just being consistent in our wres-
tling, in what we're going out there
fashion for the road team. Redshirt
freshman heavyweight Ben Apland
secured an 11-2 major decision vic-
tory over an overmatched opponent.
Northwestern's Marcus Shrews-
bury began the season in the 184-
pound weight class but moved up
two classes to compete as a heavy-
weight. Apland used his weight
advantage and superior aggres-
siveness to tire out the Wildcat
wrestler, keeping him constantly
secured on the mat.
But the Wolverines failed to cap-
italize on their early momentum,
dropping their next four matches.
The losses were particularly disap-
pointing for Michigan because its
grapplers scored first on three of
the four occasions and were unable
to maintain their leads.
Most heartbreaking for the
Wolverines was 141-pound sopho-
more Mark Weber's defeat. The
Goodrich, Mich. native held a 5-3
lead late in the third period, but
his opponent, Northwestern's Levi
Mele, managed a two-point take-
down with just seconds remaining
and quickly notched another one in
overtime to steal the match.
Adding to the disappointment is
the fact that the Wildcats forfeited
every single Big Ten 141-pound
match until Sunday and that Mele
was wrestling above his weight class.
Though the Wolverines would
rebound to win three of the final
five matches, it wasn't enough to
overcome the Wildcats' lead.
Redshirt freshman Hunter Col-
lins' victory at 184 pounds was one
of the few Michigan highlights.
The young grappler was able to
quickly dispatch his counterpart,
pinning Northwestern's Aaron
Jones after only-2:48 had eclipsed
in the match. Collins had momen-
tum coming into the meet, having
defeated then-No. 16 Travis Rutt of
Wisconsin last weekend.
"He fought off a couple of
attacks by the other kid," Trost
said. "That's just what we're trying
to get, is the guys to keep wrestling
and fighting to win these matches
in the last month."
The team's futility is not overly
surprising. Coming into the season,
with such an inexperienced squad,
the Wolverines knew that 2009-10
would be a difficult campaign.
But though the team experi-
enced another disappointing meet
loss, there is little time to sulk.
Michigan is hosting the 2010 Big
Ten Championships March 6-7,
and despite a disappointing regular
season, the group still has goals it
aims to accomplish.
"Just hoping that these guys,
some of them who have struggled,
throw their best wrestling together
and put aside some of the mistakes
that have been made and have a
good weekend performing," Trost
said. "Being as young as we are, the
more guys we can get through to
the.NCAA Tournament, it'll give us
a lot more experience coming back