2B - November 15, 2010 The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.co
A long, overdue round of
applause for Steve Burns
bid for Wolverines
or11 seasons,he's built the
men's soccer program from
the ground up.
He fought for varsity status -
and got it. He fought for a brand
new, state-of-the-art complex -
and he got it. He
fought for one
of the nation's
top recruits in
Soony Saad -
and got him
his brother on
the team sure_
helps recruit- RYAN
for a lot of things in his time in
Ann Arbor. And yesterday, as his
hand-picked players gave him the
customary Gatorade shower in the
waning seconds of the Wolverines'
first-ever Big Ten championship, it
became clear that Burns deserves a
triumphant round of applause.
For all the incredible things
that Michigan's slew of legendary
coaches have done, not many of
them have built a team with his/her
bare hands. Bo Schembechler didn't
have to convince fans that they
should come to Michigan football
games. Burns, on the other hand,
has used the popularity of last sum-
me,'s World Cup to change how
students and alumni look at soccer
in Ann Arbor.
The soccer team now has one of
the best complexes in the country.
And that should be a significant
bargaining chip when it comes to
convincing recruits like Saad to
continue filteringtto State Street.
With that complex came a host
of new fans, coined the Michigan
Ultras, who ran a very effective
campaign to gain new group mem-
bers, giving out shirts and scarves
as incentive to come to games. The
Ultras have garnered enough popu-
larity tobe mentioned in the same
By NEAL ROTHSCHILD
For the Daily
STATE COLLEGE - Enter-
ing the Big Ten Tournament, it
wasn't clear whether the Michi-
gan men's soccer team's resume
was good enough to earn a spot
in the NCAA Tournament. After
yesterday, the Wolverines are
guaranteed an NCAA Tourna-
ment berth and are also looking
to secure a home game and a first-
In winning its first Big Ten
championship in its 11-year his-
tory, Michigan clinched the con-
ferences' automatic bid for the
NCAA Tournament. The victory
came against a Penn State team
that has won the tournament
three times, tied for second-most
in Big Ten Tournament history.
"It's a comforting feeling,"
Michigan coach Steve Burns said.
"A lot of teams who are sitting on
the bubble have their thoughts
churning right now."
Michigan's best Big Ten Tour-
nament finish prior to yesterday's
championship victory came in
2002 when the team lost to the
Nittany Lions 2-1 in the finals.
Burns said he expects his team
to be seeded, meaning it would
earn a first-round bye. In the
48-team field, the top 16 teams
receive byes and the remaining
teams battle play in the opening
round of 32. Burns hopes that
if Michigan (14-4-3) can't get a
seed, it will at least get a home
game in the first round.
After Thursday's 2-1 win over
Michigan State in the Big Ten
Tournament quarterfinals an
Friday's 1-0 win over Wisco
sin in the semifinals, Burns w,
confident that the team had don
enough to secure a spot in th
But all doubt was remove
yesterday as the Wolverine
pinpoint shooting led them
an easy 4-1 win over the Nittan
Lions on Penn State's home field
earning the team the Big Te
Championship and a spot in th
"It's special," Burns said.
look at this group of guys and w
recruited these guys to come t
Michigan to win championship
and they're delivering."
The Wolverines last appeare
in the NCAA Tournament i
2008, making it to the round o
"It was great to go in 2008,
but we felt like we left something
short, so winning this tourna-
ment gives us more momentum
going into the NCAAs," senior
midfielder Alex Wood said.
Although none of the Big Ten
teams reside in the top 25, the
conference is expected to send
four or five teams into the NCAA
field. However, Michigan is the
only one that knows already, for
sure, that it will be going.
Michigan will find out where
exactly it falls in the NCAA
bracket today at 4:30 p.m. The
team plans to gather at Packard
Pub on State Street in Ann Arbor
with the Michigan Ultras fanclub
as it watches the NCAA Men's
Division-I Selection Show on
Michigan men's soccer coach Steve Burns has been the Wolverines'only coach in its
conversation as the Maize Rage and
the Children of Yost.
And they're catchingtip to both
of them fast - really fast.
Much of that meteoric rise
should be credited to Burns (as well
as some really dedicated students)
who have proved - at least for now
- that students care about soccer on
a campus that is all about football.
Burns picked up his and the
program's 100th win last weekend
against Northwestern, then tore
through the competition at this
weekend's Big Ten Tournament,
putting the cherry on top with a
dominant 4-1 drubbing ofhost Pen
The coach has gotten used to
winning, with 10-plus wins ii eight
of the program's 11 seasons (iisclud-
ing this year). He won back-to-back
national titles at the club level
before the team was a varsity sport
(in 1997 and 1998). Not to mention,
he's put six Michigan players into
And this season, though the
-Wolverines don't have their high-
est ranking in program history,
Burns may have put together his
best team, his piece de resistance of
The Saad brothers are sensa-
tional and will be for years to come.
Chris Blais is one of the best goal-
keepers in the conference. And the
team boasts a handful of veteran
playmakers, something ever cham-
pionship team needs to succeed.
But most of all, Burns has proved
his worth as an asset in the Michi-
gan sports landscape. He knows
how to work with his talent, he
knows how to keep his players
motivated and most of all, he knows
Michigan. After all, he's been a part
of the Michigan soccer program
since he played on the club team,
starting in 1984.
Now, it's clear that Steve Burns
is the Michigan men's soccer pro-
gram. Like Red Berenson for hock-
ey, Burns has taken a blank canvas
and turned it into a work of art.
Burns has a longsway to catch
Berenson as far as winning goes -
he trails him by 602 total wins. But
that's no knock on Burns.
He's the reason why, when I
walked into my friend's room
yesterday afternoon, a crowd had
already formed around the TV, sim-
ply to watch Michigan soccer.
And for that - something I
thought I'd never see when I first
came to Ann Arbor - I applaud
you, Steve Burns.
A job very well done.
Kartje can be reached at
Quick start propels Michigan to easy
victory over South Carolina Upstate
BIG TEN CHAMPS
From Page lB
delivered a turn-around strike.
It was sure to be Meram's third
goal of the game until sopho-
more Penn State defender Brian
Porgue dove in front of the shot,
blocking it with his hands.
Forgue received a red card
and the Wolverines were award-
ed a penalty kick. Sophomore
midfielder Hamoody Saad took
the penalty and scored after his
shot bounced off both the goal-
keeper and the post.
"We had a thing, the three
amigos: one, two, and three,"
Meram said of himself and the
Saads. "All three of us wanted
to score. We had confidence
in Hamoody. We knew he was
going to bury it, and he did,"
At that point in the second
half, the Nittany Lions were
down three goals and one play-
er. Still, they continued attack-
ing and the game maintained
its rapid pace. Towards the end,
Penn State's frustration became
apparent in its play while Michi-
gan calmly possessed, the ball.
The 4-1 lead proved insurmount-
able for the Nittany Lions, who
essentially admitted defeat by put-
ting in their reserves with 15 min-
utes still remaining in the game.
Then, the win was imminent.
"As the newest varsity team
at Michigan, it has taken us 11
years to be able to bring what we
feel every other team at Michi-
gan has brought - that is cham-
pionships," Burns said. "We are
glad we are able to contribute."
that he I
ing up f
two of t
out ... re
By BEN EST'ES "Getting a freshman comfortable
DailySports Writer is veryhardbecause usuallynumber
one, he's sitting on the bench waiting
Michigan men's basketball tosget time. We got three of them out
feated the Spartans on Sat- there not sitting on the bench and in
ight at Crisler Arena. the starting lineup, so that's a whole
ot those Spartans. different comfort level."
ad, the Wolverines topped And after getting an early lead,
Michigan stayed comfortably ahead
a- USC UPSTATE 3 the entire night. It was in stark con-
MICHIGAN 66 trast to the exhibition victory over
Saginaw Valley State on Nov. 5, in
a hot start and aggressive which the Wolverines allowed the
to a season-opening blow- Cardinals to come back due to a cold
ory. shooting streak.
Spartans got on the board Against the Spartans, the Wol-
guard Tony Dukes nailed verines went 12-25 from the field
from the left corner on in the first half to establish their
rst possession. But Michi- pace and finished with a 44-per-
ponded with a 13-0 run and cent shooting clip, going 7-22 from
oked back. beyond the are, compared to just
Wolverines (1-0) were led 3-21 in the exhibition.
n by freshman guard Tim Junior guard Stu Douglass said
vay Jr. He said after the game he had no real explanation for
had some pre-game jitters in the discrepancy between the two
tion of his first collegiate games, but that the team will have
but he didn't show it, hoist- to shoot well consistently to keep
ive three-point attempts in tallying wins.
t 5:06 and knocking down "Who knows?" Douglass said.
hen to set the tone: "Next game we might come in and
igan coach John Beilein said have those same stretches that si
team's hot start was critical, did in the exhibition game. But it's
[ly considering the Wolver- the way we handle adversity. There
uth. was a little bit (of missed shots
ink everybody was pretty tonight), but next game, there'll be
, just getting out there for a test, (and) constantly through-
time," Beilein said after the out this year. We'll see how we
(Hardaway Jr) came right respond."
ally shot the ball well to get Michigan's defense was the main
.- factor in the team's dominance
Freshman guard Tim Hardaway Jr. had 19 oints against USC Upstate on Saturday.
throughout the game. The Wolver-
ines stayed in man-to-man almost
exclusively, movingrto the 1-3-1 zone
for a few possessionsnear the end of
the game jeist to get somae practice in
a game situation.
Despite only forcing 12 turnovers,
Michigan made life miserable for the
Spartans, constantly pressuring the
ball and getting in the face of shoot-
ers when they had quality attempts,
which were few and far between.
The Wolverines limited their
own turnovers, thus preventing
transition opportunities for South
Carolsina-Upstate and causing the
0 4 n
- Live Concerts
- Beautiful Beaches
" Cliff Jumping
Spartans to run their half-court
offense, which just never seemed
to click due to Michigan's quality
defensive play. Michigan didn't even
have an offensive scoutingreport for
the game due to USC-Upstate's ros-
ter turnover from a year ago, mean-
ing that the Wolverines just had to
focus even harder on playing quality
defense, according to Beilein. They
answered the bell, as the Spartans
shot just 22.2 percent from the field
for the game.
"We're probably right where we
should be (defensively) with the idea
that it's the first game," Beilein said.
"It's going to be really difficult and
a challenge for us everyday to con-
tinue to play defense so that we can
rebound and then score points. ...
We think we've really stepped up
with playing defense. (Assistant
coaches LaVall Jordan, Bacari
Alexander and Jeff Meyer) have
done a great job improving what
we do defensively."
Beilein cautioned that his team
will have to capitalize on the type
of fast-break opportunities that
the Wolverines often struggled
to convert against USC-Upstate.
Ideally, in a game like Saturday's,
Beilein said Michigan would have
75 or 80 points.
But for ateam that has only two
upperclassmen, the Wolverines
accomplished everything that they
needed to in their first game.
"(There are) still a lot of things
to work on but we improved com-
pletely and we got better as the
game went on, didn't let up in the
second half," Douglass said. "I
couldn't be prouder about the way
Sophomore quarterback Tate Forcier played in relief of fellow sophomore signal
caller Denard Robinson.
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and let him see what's going on
Robinson and Forcier rotated
drives from the point Robin-
son was taken out until the end
of the game. Robinson ended
up in the game on the Wolver-
ines' final possession, during
which he made two clutch plays
to keep the drive alive and the
clock ticking: an 11-yard scam-
per on a third-and-nine and a
25-yard pass to junior tight end
Kevin Koger on another third
The drive ended with a touch-
down run by freshman running
back Stephen Hopkins which
effectively sealed the game.
Nearing the end of a sensa-
tional first season as a starter,
Robinson had one of the worst
games of his young career. The
sophomore completed 13-of-21
passes through the air with one
passing touchdown and two
interceptions. Saturday was the
first time Robinson was pulled
because of performance, or lack
thereof, as opposed to injury.
For his part, Forcier didn't
mind being rotated in and out of
"I'm just happy to get out
there and play," Forcier said.
"It's cool that he's rotating guys
out, I didn't mind that at all. ...
The coaches are putting in who
they have to put in to win the
game and we won the game."
Forcier didn't get much going
on his drives. The sophomore
went 1-for-4 passing for 17 yards
as well as three yards rushing.
He was also sacked once.
Robinson, as usual, was less
talkative but said the same thing
when asked if it was a problem
for him going in every other
"No, it wasn't," Robinson said.
"You got to be ready at all times."