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September 20, 2010 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-09-20

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2B - September 20, 2010 The Michigan Daijly - michigandaily.com

3eadyfo
At everyone of the Daily's mass meetings,
I try to take some time to talk sports with any
students interested in writing for the sports sec-
tion.
Usually I start off by ask-
ing them what sportthey're
most passionate about and -
want to cover the most on
campus. For me, and most of
the other students who come
out to write sports, that's
football. And it's often not RYAN
even close. KARTJE
But at the latest mass
meetings, the majority of students said they
were interested in a different kind of football -
the one with a "u" and an "o" and a significantly
different ball. And each time, I did a double-
take.
This is the University of Michigan, after all,
and all ofyou just want to cover soccer?
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watchingsoc-
cer. My roommates and I woke up every day for
weeks at 7 a.m. in order to watch every single
World Cup match we could possibly consume.
And the Americans' win over Algeria in the
match's waning seconds is one of the best fin-
ishes I've ever seen in a sporting event.
But I'm not an avid follower of Manchester
United. I don't scour ESPNSoccer for Premier
League highlights. And I surely can't saythat
I'm the proud owner of an Ibrahimovic, No. 8
Inter-Milan jersey, whatever that is.
But it's becoming increasingly obvious that
the restof the Michigan sports environment may
be slowly shifting, albeit slightly, in a fdtbol, not
football, direction.
On Friday, when the athletic department
christened the brand new, beautiful U-M Soc-
cer Complex, 3,503 people came out to watch an
incredible, double-overtime draw with Notre
Dame that saw probably 100 people confined
to standing room only, behind the South goal.
There wasn't even sitting room for some Notre
Dame players' parents.
And now with a relevant student group - the
Michigan Ultras - planting the seeds for a great
student section, it's clear that this whole Michi-
gan soccer thingcould be going somewhere -
and fast.
By my rules, a program budding in popularity
needs three things to remain relevant: a great
place to play, a great coach and electrifying tal-

Futbol Saturday?

Youth movement
gives Blue a boost

niordefenseman Chase Tennant executes a throw-in during the Wolverin(

By BRIAN MECHANICK
Daily Sports Editor
A youth movement has been
felt early and often for the Michi-
gan women's soccer team.
Freshmen Nkem Ezurike
and Tori McCombs entered the
weekend with three and two
goals respectively, finishing as
the top two on the team. The
dynamic duo continued their
torrid pace on Friday against
Massachusetts, as Ezurike
scored a pair of goals, while
McCombs added another.
But two new rookies on
the squad emerged and made
their presence felt Friday.
Freshmen Kayla Manino and
Meghan Toohey each got on the
scoresheet for the first time, as
Manino tallied her first goal and
Toohey earned her first assist.
Manino played just 24 min-
utes, but made her presence felt
in scoring the second goal of the
game.
After receiving a pass from
Ezurike, Manino dribbled in on
a breakaway and calmly beat the
keeper on a low finish to the side
netting. The impact of her first
collegiate goal seemed not to hit
Manino immediately judging by
her modest celebration on the
field.
"I didn't really know what
to think," Kayla Manino said.
"It didn't quite hit me at first, it
wasn't until I was in the locker
room at halftime that it sunk in.
On the field, it was all kind of a
big blur."
Though Toohey stands at just
5-feet even, she was a giant in the
middle of the field for the Wol-
verines.
In her 80 minutes, Toohey
made a massive impact, playing

the part of a box-to-box midfield-
er with much more poise than
one would expect of a player six
games into her career.
The assist from Toohey first
came from tackling a UMass
player in her own half, then deliv-
ering a beautiful through-ball 30
yards down the field to set up
Ezurike's second goal.
"[Getting my first assist] was
really great," Meghan Toohey
said. "I'm really confident in our
team. The environment we play
in pumps everybody up, and it
was great to take part in it."
Michigan coach Greg Ryan
worked hard to recruit a dynam-
ic attacking freshman class to
complement his veteran defense,
and he was proud to see two new
inexperienced players rise to the
challenge.
"Meaghan Toohey is such
a dynamic player," Ryan said.
"She can run through defenses
by herself and she can do work
on the defensive end. One of the
best two-way players I've ever
coached. Kayla is very smooth,
confident, and composed with
the ball, so when she got a chance
she made it look easy. Other play-
ers think they have to bang it
hard, she just rolls it under the
keeper. They're both doing really
well."
With conference play coming
up, the Wolverines will have to
rely more and more on their
talented freshman class. Still,
this pair seems as humble as
ever, even on a day when they
shined.
"The older girls have taught us
so much already," Toohey said.
"How hard they work is very
inspiring for us, so I think we all
bust our butt to make this team a
winning team."

ented players who a fan base can get behind.
The great place to play is obvious, as the$6
million, state-of-the-art soccer complex is, bar
none, one of the best places to play in college soc-
cer.
The women's soccer team - despite it's sub-
par record in the past few years - is coached by
much-talked-about headman Greg Ryan who
helmed the U.S. Women's Soccer team to a 45-1-9
record from 2005 to 2007. If not for a controver-
sial call to bench goalie Hope Solo, Ryan would
still be the team's coach. Fired or not, he's got to
be a hell of a coach to amass that kind of record.
And men's soccer coach Steve Burns is no
slouch either, basically having the built the pro-
gram with his bare hands into a Big Ten title
contender.
But most important, both teams are winning
and doing it in exciting ways.
The Saad brothers, Hamoody and Soony have
taken the men's soccer team by storm, scoring
at will and accounting for six of the team's nine

goals. Plus, the possibilities of Saad brothers-
themed student section chants and small cult
followings seem absolutely endless.
And the women's team boasts a similar pair
of exciting young players in Nkem Ezurike and
Meghan Toohey who are just as exciting, with
just as many possibilities for students to get
behind.
Look, I'm not foolish enough to think that this
past summer's World Cup is ready to vault soc-
cer into the hierarchy of American sports. It's
just not that simple. And every argument to that
effect that always falls short.
But a seed has most definitely been planted
in Ann Arbor, and it may only be a short time
before the whole campus wears their Soony Saad
or Meghan Toohey jerseys down State Street on
Futbol Saturday.
Kartje still likes Football Saturday
more than Ftbol Saturday. He can be
reached at rkartje@umich.edu

Blue, led by Hunt, sweeps on Arizona trip

M' wins twice in
uneven weekend

By ZAK PYZIK
Daily Sports Editor
After a rough first set against Arizona State,
frustration kicked in for the Michigan volleyball
team. Early in the second, junior outside hitter
Alex Hunt nailed the ball over the net from the
back row and it pegged a Sun Devil in the face,
providing the Wolverines with some momen-
tum. From there, they took control.
Arizona State outplayed Michigan 25-12 in
that first set on Friday. Eleven months and 94
sets have gone by since the Wolverines last lost a
set by such a wide margin.
Though No. 21 Michigan has some newer
faces this year, it didn't take the team much time
to realize what it had to do to defeat the Sun
Devils and win another tournament title, their
second in two weeks. The Wolverines focused
on getting into a rhythm, and they did that on
Friday night by winning the next three sets in
their opening match of the Arizona State Uni-
versity Sheraton Tournament.
"I think that's how sports go," Michigan
NEW MENTALITY
From page 1B
was just glad to see two goals finally roll in."
Michigan carried its offensive momentum
into the second half, netting three more goals to
seal the deal. The Wolverines showed their abil-

coach Mark Rosen said. "You can't always play
at the same level. They started off really well but
we had to try to figure them out. As the match
progressed, we found our rhythm. It would be
nice to dominate the entire time but that's not
how it is in any sport really."
The Wolverines (11-1) continued their run by
defeating Utah and then Pacific, both in four-set
matches to claim the tournament title. Michi-
gan boasts a 4-0 record in four-set matches this
season.
Michigan lost its first set to Pacific 25-16 but
then claimed three straight by no fewer than six
points in each.
Junior outside hitter Alex Hunt led the Wol-
verines with 23 kills and four service aces in
their final match.
"There were times we went to Alex and went
out of balance on purpose because she was so
hot," Rosen said. "You want to feed the hot play-
er ... Other players were playing so well so they
couldn't just focus on her. She didn't get the ball
much more, she just played it more efficiently."
Hunt tallied 68 kills over the entire weekend
ity to score notionlylin live-action play, butoffset-
pieces as well.
But the story was different as Michigan tal-
lied its second win of the weekend against
Youngstown State (2-7-0). The Wolverines con-
trolled the game once again, with the majority
of the 90-minute game spent not just in the Pen-
guins' half of the field, but within their 18-yard
box.

and has at
her match
tourname
"Alex s
went nuts,
"I stepped
thing now
As the
Ten matc
Keen Aret
stars, like
Michigan
sat somes
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Zimmer
merman sE
returns to
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ter - faces
"I thin
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Despite
they strug
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to some sI
wins agait
Michiga
mustered
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defenderd

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counted for 20 or more kills in five of
es this season, walking away with the
nt's MVP award.
tepped up to the plate and kind of
" senior setter Lexi Zimmerman said.
1 back and said, 'she's really doing her
' I've always been an Alex Hunt fan."
Wolverines prepare for their first Big
h against Iowa this Friday at Cliff
na, it was good for them to see their
Hunt, at their peak, especially since
played every player on its roster and
starters - Hunt included - for final
eek.
rman, like Hunt, saw no rest. Zim-
et 132 assists in the three a games. She
Ann Arbor needing 25 to pass Linnea
for the most career assists in program
l while adding to new faces on the ros-
s to receive her sets.
k Lexi's relationship with the fresh-
veloping," Rosen said. "It's nowhere
re it needs to be but we are progress-
Michigan's domination on the ball,
gled to tally a score. The Wolverines'
o finish against the Penguins may lead
kepticism about their ability to notch
nst teams in the Big Ten.
an totaled a whopping 34 shots, but
a mere 10 on goal. And the lone goal of
game came from a Youngstown State
deflecting the ball into her own net off
of a cross by freshman midfielder
Tori McCombs.
"The concentration just wasn't
there," Ryan said. "(Finishing) is
something like shooting a basket.
You have to be focused, you have
to be calm, and you've got to have
the right technique. We had play-
ers leaning back, heads up, not even
looking at the ball. And you see the
result - 24 shots nowhere near the
target."
Even with the faults of the newly
recruited attacking talent, the
Wolverines still have a solid defen-
sive line that was able to maintain
composure. The strength of the
back line is led mostly by the vet-
eran players on the team, including
senior co-captain defender Jackie
Carron.
Defensively, Michigan only
allowed two shots on goal and
stomped over any offensive oppor-
tunity that Youngstown State may
have had to tie up the game.
"We are really solid as a group
back there," Carron said. "We kind
of know what each other are going
to do on the field, we can just read
each other really well."
A joint effort of both the offense
and defense will be needed this
upcoming weekend as the team
breaks into Big Ten play, opening up
at home against Ohio State.
"It's gonna be a really hard bat-
tle," Carronsaid."We are justgonna
look to fight and pressure the entire
game and you knowwhat? The team
who fights the hardest will win and
hopefully we can do that."

By ANDREW HADDAD
Daily SportsEditor
The Michigan field hockey
team's two victories this week-
end will look equal to each other
in the standings, but they were
as different as two wins could
possibly
be. The ALBANY 3
Wol- MICHIGAN 4
verines
anni- QUINNIPIAC 0
hilated MICHIGAN 6
Quinni-
piac 6-0
on Sunday, one day after pulling
out a 4-3 double-overtime win
against No. 19 Albany.
Michigan (4-4) outshot the
Bobcats 16-1 by halftime and 30-5
over the entire game. Quinnipac
(2-5) never even threatened to
score, whereas the Wolverines
could have reached double dig-
its in goals if not for a few near
misses.
"Our passing was really
strong," Michigan coach Marcia
Pankratz said. "We followed the
gameplan, set up alot of chances,
and shot the ball pretty accu-
rately."
Senior forward/midfielder
Alicia Mayer continued her scor-
ing tear with two goals Sunday.
She also had two goals and two
assists on Saturday against Alba-
ny (4-2).
"I feel like I've gotten my spark
back the last couple of games,"
Mayer said.
Mayer is the team's leading
scorer, with five goals and four
assists for a total of 14 points this
season.
"Alicia is one of the keys to
our team," Pankratz said. "She's
a senior, has a lot of experience
and brings great energy to the
game. So when she's on it's big
for us."
Senior midfielder Meredith

JsAe-sOMM/Daily
Senior Meredith Way (pictured here) is one of the top 10 scorers in school history.

Way also got in on the act, scor-
ing the team's third goal off a
penalty corner on assists from
senior forward/midfielder Paige
Laytos and freshman midfielder
Mallory Albini. It was the 35th
goal of her career, putting her on
Michigan's top 10 career goals
list.
"Mallory made a good inside
stop on the ball," Way said. "Then
I just shot it low and hard, and it
bounced off a defender's foot and
went in."
A major weakness of last year's
team was that it relied too heav-
ily on Way for goals. In fact, she
scored more than half of the Wol-
verines' goals in 2009. This year,
however, the team has been far
more balanced and Way is only
fourth on the team in goals this
season.
"My role has definitely
changed a lot this year," Way
said. "Because everyone else is
stepping up and carrying the
scoring load, I'm able to be a lot
more defensive-minded."
Victory against Albany on Sat-
urday didn't come as easily as it
would on Sunday.
The Wolverines twice took
leads only to see their opponents
rally and tie the game each time.
Junior forward/midfielder Katie
Adams won the game in double-
overtime with a goal in the 92nd
minute.
Michigan's pair of wins this
weekend mean the team has won
its last four games after losing
the first four of the season.
"I absolutely think we can
keep this winning streak up,"
Mayer said. "We've worked on
a few things since the first four
games, and now we're really
connecting well as a team. Our
vision's improved; We're bet-
ter at anticipating where our
teammates will be on every
play."

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