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March 31, 2010 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-03-31

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8A - Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

WNIT final berth on the line for Blue

0

By AMY SCARANO
Daily Sports Writer
The Wolverines go into the
program's first-ever Women's
National Invita-
tional Tourna- Miamiat
ment Final four Mhigan
matchup with .
their sights set Matchup:
on a shot at a Miami 21-13;
championship. Michigan 21-13
But the script When: Tonight
reads the same at 7 p.m.
for the Miami Where: Crisler
Hurricanes, Arena
whose dominant Live Blog: mich-
offense could igandaily.com
bring about
something Michigan fans haven't
seem so far in the WNIT: a close
final four.
In their first four games of the
tournament, the Wolverines won
by an average of 24 points. And
it's not because their opponents
haven't been good teams - when
Michigan beat Toledo in the sec-
ond round of the tournament, it
avenged the Rockets' preseason
scrimmage win in which they
rolled over the Wolverines.
The difference between that
scrimmage and the WNIT is the
energy and confidence Michigan
(8-10 Big Ten, 21-13 overall) has
been coming out with every game.
In the "new season" that has been
the month of March, freshman
starters Dayeesha Hollins and

Jenny Ryan have played with con-
viction after finding their roles on
the court and places on the team in
the regular season.
"I feel like this is our sopho-
more season," Ryan said after
beating Kent State in the first
round of the WNIT. "I'm com-
fortable with the offense. I'm
settled into that role and I think
everyone else around me has
felt that too. You kind of aren't
searching for your way anymore.
You've pretty much found it, and
that will make a difference."
That said, Hollins, Ryan and the
rest of the squad have a tall task
ahead of them.
The Hurricanes (4-10 ACC,
21-13) average 75 points per game
to Michigan's 66. Miami is led by
sophomores Riguna Williams and
Shenise Johnson, each of whom
account for 19 points per game.
No other player on the team
averages double digits, and either
Williams or Johnson has been
Miami's leading scorer for all but
three of the squad's games this
season.
The Wolverines are slightly
more spread out offensively. Soph-
omore forward Carmen Reynolds,
junior guard Veronica Hicks and
Hollins all average double digits
for the Wolverines, Reynolds and
Hicks, the team's leading scorers,
average 13 points per game.
If Michigan is going to keep its
season going, the team will have

0

Freshman guard Dayeesha Hollins takes a shot against Syracuse in the WNIT quarterfinals last weekend. The Wolverines beat the Orange 78-52.

to find a way to quiet Williams and
Johnson without leaving the rest
of the team unguarded.
Senior forward Diane Barnes,
Miami's third-leading scorer,
checks in at nearly 10 points per
game.
Michigan has had home-court
advantage throughout the WNIT

and hasn't lost a game at home to a
non-conference opponent all sea-
son.
Still, this will be the Hurri-
canes' second consecutive road
game in the tournament and they
have yet to lose an away game to a
non-conference opponent all sea-
son.

And Miami won't give the Wol-
verines a break. Johnson regis-
tered her 10th double-double of
the season Sunday in Providence
when she scored a season high 33
points and grabbed 10 board. She
could carry that momentum into
tonight's matchup.
Michigan is up against argu-

ably its toughest opponent of the
WNIT so far tonight. If the Wol-
verines find a wayto stop Johnson
and Williams they could see the
finals of the WNIT for the first
time in program history on Sat-
urday. Otherwise,' Hollins's and
Ryan's second season as freshmen
could be over.

0

With 21 straight wins at home, 'M'
cherishes Alumni Field advantage

Kampfer to sign with
Boston Bruins affiliate

By CASANDRA PAGNI the road for six weeks and then
Daily Sports Writer you come home and get to play in
front of your own fans and at your
The third-ranked Wolverines home stadium," senior captain
(1-0 Big Ten, 24-5 overall) under- Angela Findlay said on Tuesday.
stand the perks of playing at home. "You know the park, you know the
Familiar facilities, a regular people. We practice there every
schedule and having friends and day now that were outside and it's
family in the stands have pro- just really nice to finally be play-
pelled Michigan to its current ing games back home."
21-game win streak at Alumni The third-ranked Wolverines
Field. kicked off the 2010 home season
In the two contests the Wol- with a convincing 10-2 win over
verines have played at home this Bowling Green last Wednesday.
season, Michigan boasts a .431 Senior hitting-pitcher Nikki
batting average, featuring three Nemitz has settled into her
home runs and a grand slam. Simi- groove at Alumni Field, as she hit
larly, the pitchers have found their the rocket grand slam in the bot-
footing on the tom of the fifth
mound, recording inning to cap off
20 strikeouts in "at's just really the Wolverines'
two games. rout of Bowling
With the nGreen.
weather in Ann "t'vee been
Arbor warming layin games watching them
up and the team build this sta-
already hot at back at home." dium for two
Alumni Field this years now, and .
season, the Wol- it's nice to have
verines are hop- it finally done,"
ing their first full week at home Nemitz said after Wednesday's
can help give them an edge come game against Bowling Green. "It's
gameday. greatto play on it and be back with
"These kids haven't slept in our fans who love us and come
their beds for seven days straight out every game. It's so exciting
in a long time," Michigan coach that our home season has finally
Carol Hutchins said on Saturday. started and we get to see all our
"Just to be able to be on our field, fans again. It's such a great atmo-
which we're so proud of, and tobe sphere."
able to play in front of our fans is Michigan began its Big Ten
always exciting." conference campaign at home on
After traveling to California, Saturday, beating No. 20 Illinois
Alabama and other warm-weather 7-1 in front of 1,224 fans.
climates for the first month of the Now, with Wisconsin on deck
season, Michigan will welcome this weekend, the Wolverines
Wisconsin in its third home series look forward to settling into nor-
in a row this weekend. mal school and practice routines.
"Its awesome when you play on These recent home games have

According to Michigan hock-
ey coach Red Berenson, senior
defenseman Steve Kampfer has
departed for Providence, RI to
sign an entry-level NHL con-
tract with the Boston Bruins.
Berenson announced the news
yesterday at his weekly radio

show at the Arena Sports Bar
and Grill in Ann Arbor. It isstill
yet to be determined when the
Jackson native will play his first
game for the Bruins' American
Hockey League affiliatein Prov-
idence.
MARK BURNS

Wolverines hold
on to down EMU.

a

Junior Jordan Taylor has led the Wolverines' pitching charge this season.

allowed Michigan to practice
both as a team and as individual
units, on the infield and outfield
surfaces they are most comfort-
able with.
"I mean we obviously check
out the other team's fields before
the game and their facilities, but

it's hard to be on the road," Find-
lay said. "You get out of your daily
routine of sleeping in your own
bed and waking up at home. But
now that were at home we get to
do a little bit more on your own
work. It's a little bit more relaxed
of a (practice) atmosphere."

Seni
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By BEN ESTES ney. "Obviously, you wouldn't
Daily Sports Writer have liked to walk those guys, but
the flipside of it is he stayed the
or catcher Chris Berset course. That's a testament to him,
the foul tip off the bat of and he didn't want to come out. He
n Michigan's Daniel Rus- said, 'I'm staying in the game,' so
'the third out of the eighth good for him. We needed him."
. Senior left-hander Eric
ped E. MICHIGAN 6 Katzman (1-0, 5.40) took the
his MICHIGAN 8 mound initially for Michigan,
1, starting his first game since off-
aised in exuberance. season hernia surgery. He went
or right-hander Tyler Bur- just three innings, but Maloney
ad just worked out of a bas- said his short outing was due to
led jam, ending the Eagles' the coaches' desire to use him
ignificant threat to Michi- against an Indiana lineup this
ate-game lead, and coming coming weekend whose two best
'p closer to securing an 8-6 hitters bat left-handed.
'that the Wolverines hadn't Katzman didn't have his best
ed to be so tight. performance yesterday, walking
higan (13-9) led by a com- three and giving up an unearned
e margin for much of the run, but he benefitted from the
The Eagles got on the board Wolverines' early offensive explo-
'ith a controversial run in sion, allowing him to pick up his
ening inning when the run- first victory of the season despite
as ruled safe after Beset the Eagles' comeback.
'ed to block him from ever "First start of the year, I felt
ng home. The Wolverines great," Katzman said. "And I
back with four runs in the couldn't be back at a better time,
l inning and three in the since we are starting the Big Ten
o take a 7-1 lead. (season) on the weekend. Senior
the Eagles (10-15) never year, I want to get back pitching,
d fighting, posting a run in starting on the weekends just like
h and four runs in the sev- I did lastyear and the year before."
decrease their deficit to one. Freshman shortstop Derek
olverines kept their compo- Dennis and senior outfielder Mike
nishing out a win that proved Kittle were two key offensive con-
r than they had anticipated. tributors. Dennis rebounded from
day, we survived," Michigan a rough 2-for-11 series against
Rich Maloney said. "We had IPFW to come through with a
ce to really get a knockout 2-for-4, three-RBI day.
, and we didn't do that. The And Kittle had just one hit, but it
hing is we were able to bat- was a big one. In the bottom of the
ough a few storms. Eastern seventh, after Eastern had scored
attling, to their credit ... but four in the top of the frame, Kittle
ately, we were able to come answered with a single to left field
big out." that drove in senior first baseman
it was Burgoon who came Mike Dufek and re-established the
h, pickingup his second save Wolverines' momentum.
eason in the process. He was "I think our pitchers did well
into action after the relief in the beginning," Dennis said.
F junior right-handers Matt "Towards the end they kind of gave
and Kolby Wood struggled upa few key hits. But we were solid
ntain their team's lead. The defensively and (Kittle) came up
mbined to allow four earned with a big hit towards the end to
ijust 1.2 innings. give us the extra run advantage."
goon was able to secure the The Big Ten season starts this
ut not without some drama weekend with a trip to Blooming-
own. The bases-loaded situ- ton. With that, and the fact that
n the eighth was of his own the team lost so many close games
as he walked two Eagle bat- earlier in the year, Michigan's
id hit another. resiliency was a welcome sight.
with the Wolverines' lead "We hung on," Maloney said.
to one run and the time ripe "Teams that win find a wayto win.
ig out, Burgoon delivered. It was nice to see that we held on
think (Burgoon) showed for victory here when it could've
maturity there," said Malo- escaped us."

Harold E Ford, Jr
Exeut.iv V ' ni l ' C hairm a 'fI -f Ameica Mrr Lynch

t

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