8A - Wednesday, September 22, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Stonum grows up fast
for 'M'in third season
By RYAN KARTJE
Last Saturday was a big day for
After all, his 87-year-old
grandmother, Nettie, boarded a
plane for the first time in her life
from Houston, Texas to see her
grandson play as a Wolverine.
"A lot of people in the stands
were trying to calm her down
because they didn't know if she'd
have a heart attack or what;" Sto-
num joked on Monday. "But from
what I heard, she was screaming
and jumping out of her wheel-
chair in the stands."
Nettie sure picked the right
game to watch her grandson. Sto-
num exploded for 121 yards on
just three receptions, including
a perfectly executed screen pass
that he took 66 yards to the house.
Soon after, he found himself
in the endzone again on a nine-
yard pass to take the lead over the
Minutemen heading into the half.
For his first time at Michigan,
Stonum, a former four-star wide-
out, looked like the deep threat
the Wolverines had recruited him
"I was always the big-play guy
in high school," Stonum said. "I
was always the deep-threat guy.
And I always wanted that to tran-
sition over to Michigan. And I
think I showed a lot of people that
I can be that deep-threat, big-play
But in Stonum's first two years
in Ann Arbor, things weren't
always going in that direction.
On April 8, 2009, Stonum
stood in front of a judge at Ann
Arbor's 15th district court house
and pleaded guilty to operating a
vehicle while visibly impaired.
He had been driving 60 miles
per hour the previous September
when his car almost collided with
another at the intersection of
State Street and Hill Street.
He was pulled over and blew a
blood alcohol content of .10, .02
above the Michigan legal limit.
Stonum served his penalties,
which included fines and sub-
stance abuse education, but he
still had a long way to go to make
up with his coaches after having
fallen out of their good graces.
So he set out to do just that.
And after surpassing his yard-
age and touchdown total from
last year in the Wolverines'
Sophomore Hamoody Saad dribbles the ball in front of the student section in Michigan's game against Notre Dame on Friday
The formation of the men's soccer
student section and how it intends to live on
Junior wide receiver Darryl Stonum had a career day in Michigan's 42-37 victory over
Massachusetts on Saturday, catching three balls for121 yards and two touchdowns.
third week of the season, Rodri-
guez said he's definitely made up
"When a guy messes up and
everyone wants to throw him out
to the wolves...it's pleasing to fans
and certainly for coaches when
you see a guy grow and mature
and he gets it," Rodriguez said.
"You see that maturity kind of
kick in. Sometimes they grow up
and they just get it. "
Stonum has used his past mis-
takes as motivation to get better,
and without any senior leaders at
wideout, he feels he's on his way
to filling that void.
After the Wolverines' loss to
Ohio State in the final week of last
season, then-senior receiver Greg
Mathews approached Stonum and
fellow wideout Junior Heming-
way and ceremoniously handed
the pair his gloves and his helmet.
"It's on you guys now," he told
the two wideouts.
"Greg (Mathews) left, LaTer-
ryal (Savoy) left," Stonum said.
"A bunch of senior receivers left,
so it was like, 'Who's next? Who's
going to step up tobe that guy?'
"We all learn from our mis-
takes in the past. Coach Rod
stayed with me, he gave me a
chance to prove that I matured,
grew up and learned from my
And as Nettie watched her
grandson score a career-high two
touchdowns last Saturday, she
was able to watch him transform
in front of her eyes and Rodri-
"With Darryl's history, he had
to show and do the right things
off the field as well," Rodriguez
"I've been proud of him."
By ZAK PYZIK
Daily Sports Writer
International soccer is known to
have some of the most diehard fans
of any sport known to the world, so
it was just a matter of time before a
fan base established its roots in Ann
And in the Wolverines' 0-0 tie
against Notre Dame last weekend,
300 Michigan Ultras stood unified
in the stands by shirts and scarves.
It took the hand and guidance of one
motivated fan to get the ball rolling.
Fifth-year senior Matthew Peven
started scheming for a student fan
club in the spring of 2010, knowing
that for the coming fall, the new $6
million soccer complex would be
ready to go.
"The student section bleachers
are practically on top of the field,"
Ultra's event chair Joe Rubino said
in an interview Tuesday night.
"Especially when there are plays on
our side of the field, you can tell the
opponents get, well, psyched out."
Peven started his efforts by sit-
ting down with Michigan men's
soccer coach Steve Burns and the
Wolverines' marketing department.
Together, the team, the school
and Peven combined efforts and
resources to ignite a student-fan
So far, anyone who has come
to the game as an Ultra and sat in
the student section received free
T-shirts and for the last game,
scarves. (At European and interna-
tional soccer matches, fans typically
hold scarves of their team's colors
over their heads to symbolize who
they're cheering for, similar to "The
Terrible Towel" used in Pittsburgh
for the Steelers.)
Game by game, Peven started
seeing more new faces join the
stands in support of the Wolver-
ines. It seems as if the Ultras have
the support from the entire athletic
department as well.
"The football team had that pep
rally recently and we had Rich Rod
say something about the game to the
students," Peven said. "We had 300
students at that game. It had a quick
uptake this season. Three-thou-
sand-five-hundred people came out
to that game specifically. That's an
absolute 180 from last year."
BLUEPRINT FOR ENDURANCE
Even Peven knows that it will be
difficult for the Ultras to stay alive.
A long-lasting fan club can only be
solidified if it creates tradition, if the
team does well and if there are peo-
ple to succeed the previous leaders.
"We have some big things
planned outside of just match day,"
Rubino said. "We want this to be
more than just a student section,
we want it to be a club where soccer
fans in general can appreciate the
Peven graduates this year, but the
man has a plan.
"We have a core of young stu-
dents that are interested," Peven
said. "Most of our fans are actu-
ally freshmen. I've been approached
by everyone who has come to the
game. Everyone says that they can't
wait to come back. One of our vice
presidents is a freshman. Most are
sophomores, so there is potential
that this can be longterm."
The Ultras are establishing an
executive board with positions that
will be distributed to a lot of young-
er members. Their hope is that the
club willbeinstituted enough thatit
will never go away.
WAY TO HISTORY
"I want the student section tobe
like every other student section on
campus," Rubino said. "I want the
games to be like Yost but without
While the Ultras may not turn
the soccer stadium into Yost or
Crisler overnight, some things are
getting pretty close. Specifically -
"We have our own 'bum of the
game' chant like Maize Raige,"
Peven said. "And that's been very
effective, like one of the 'bums'
moved his position and shifted to
the other side of the field in the mid-
dle of the game."
They also have adopted several of
Yost's more controversial plays on
words, specifically targeting players
Chants are not the only traditions
that the Ultras are attempting to
sketch into the game-time experi-
"We have yet to really figure
out what is going to truly be the
Ultras tradition," Peven said. "As
the seasons and years go, a tradi-
tion and theme of the Ultras will
come out. There has been a lot of
talk of creating a song that we sing
at the beginning and ending of the
game. Possibly the 'Yellow and Blue'
just like Liverpool fans sing 'You'll
Never Walk Alone."'
THE TWELFTH MAN
The Wolverines may have gotten
lucky with the Ultras. Not only is it
a fan club, but it's a whole new com-
ponent on game day.
The Ultras have and will influ-
ence the team in more ways than
simply making the opposing team
feel uncomfortable if there's a name
on the roster that rhymes with a
First, a big student section and
a brand new stadium could be a
"I think that this generates *
excitement on gameday for recruits
coming to watch," captain Alex
Wood said in an interview Tuesday
evening. "This also gets more ath-
letes in the area to come to watch
the game. Anyone that goes to the
game sees the love and that reflects
Second, the Ultras argue their
existence brings momentum to
Wolverine soccer that has not ever
been seen before.
"The players have acknowledged
it. After goals they come over to
us," Peven said. "I've got a friendly
relationship with a lot of the play-
ers. They will come up to me, and
they'll say, 'thank you so much.
I'm so happy that you guys have *!
been cheering us on.' Every time
that I've talked to them they ask
if there's anything they can do to
help. Right now I just say, 'bring us
The motivation and sensation
that the players feel is obvious.
Especially going from regularly
having close to an empty house to
being over capacity.
And so far they've seen results.
Michigan has only lost one of five
home games this year and the Wol-
verines played in front of a record
breaking crowd last week against
the Fighting Irish. More than 3,500
people showed up - topping the old
record by nearly 500 people.
"We used to have just parents
and maybe our girlfriends and a few
students come to the games," Wood
said. "Its awesome to walkoutofthe
tunnel at the beginning of the game
and people are screaming for you.
And they'regoingnuts for the entire
game - all 90 minutes."
Alashe makes impact on soccer
field, despite an empty stat sheet *
By MICHAEL WELCH
Daily Sports Writer
In soccer, the best player on the
field isn't always the one who fills
up the stat sheet.
Last Friday night against Notre
Dame, Michigan sophomore mid-
fielder Latif Alashe illustrated this
with a solid performance in a score-
less draw despite finishing with
zeroes in the box score.
Alashe worked tirelessly on and
off the ball to make Michigan men's
soccer's offense work. He played
with composure and distributed
the ball well to the offensive trio
of senior forward Justin Meram
and brothers Soony and Hamoody
Against a well organized and
tough Fighting Irish defense,
Alashe's ability to make passes
that set up his attacking options in
scoring positions became crucial.
After the game, Michigan coach
Steve Burns said he only wished
that Alashe had been able to break
through in the first overtime.
"Where he needs to continue to
go is his finishing. He had a good
look out here in the first overtime,"
Burns said. "But (Alashe) is a player
on both sides of the ball that we're
In a close match, the midfield
battle becomes the key to gaining
the advantage when scoring chanc-
es are scarce. Because of Alashe's
work, the Wolverines (3-1-5) con-
trolled the pace of the game and
patiently worked to create their
own offensive opportunities.
On the defensive end, Michigan
had to deal with a potent forward
in Notre Dame's Steven Perry. In
the midfield, Alashe broke up play
well and kept Perry from control-
ling the game. Alashe was strong
both in the air and on the ground,
winning headers and tracking back
to make crucial tackles.
"You check his pedometer today,
and he probably ran eight and a half
or nine miles," Burns said. "It's an
end line-to-end line game for him
and he's very capable of that and we
just want to keep him at that level."
After a freshman season in which
he played in every game, Alashe
has been given more responsibility
in the team's gameplan. With cre-
ative players in abundance for the
Wolverines, Burns noted that the
formation is more fluid this year. As
a result, Alashe is playing all over
the midfield, being asked to link up
with attackers, defend on the flanks
and track back to aid the defense.
"Last year I was just kind of the
freshman kid trying not to mess
it up for everyone," Alashe said.
"Now I'm actually going out trying
to win the game for my team."
Even though he couldn't do that,
his play in the midfield helped keep
the Wolverines in control of a tight
game. Going up against a formida- 0
ble opponent in front of the biggest
crowd in Michigan men's soc-
cer history, Alashe shined. Burns
summed up exactly the contribu-
tion he received from his midfielder
"In this game here, we needed *
our big players to play big and that
would take the pressure off the
guys without experience," Burns
said. "I thought (Alashe) played big