8 - Friday, December 3, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
speaks at team banquet
Freshman forward SoonylSaad has been an offensive force in the Wolverines' run to the NCAA Elite Eight. He is the natan's
second-leading goal scorer with 19 tallies.
ichga n ace TerrapSins
in NCAA Elite Eight match
Blue looks to ride
"Three Amigos" to
College Cup berth
in College Park
By NEAL ROTHSCHILD
For the Daily
Six weeks ago, the Michigan
men's soccer team had just suf-
fered a resounding 7-1 loss to top-
ranked Akron to
drop its overall
record to 8-4-3. Michigan at
were looking to
finish the regu- Matchup:
lar season strong Michigan
and earn a 16-4-3; Mary-
respectable seed land 19-2-1
in the Big Ten When: Sat-
Tournament. urday 1 P.M.
Little did they Where: Lud-
know this would wig Field
be their last loss
Eight straight wins, a Big Ten
championship and two NCAA
Tournament victories later, the
No. 10 seed Michigan (7-2 Big
Ten, 16-4-3 overall) is seeking the
school's first berth in the College
Cup - college soccer's final four.
No. 2 seed Maryland (19-2-1)
stands in Michigan's way. The
Terrapins have won 15 straight
games and an ACC championship
en route to their national quarter-
Maryland and the Wolverines
will square off on Saturday in
College Park at 1 p.m.
Michigan's tournament path to
the quarterfinals included a sec-
ond-round 2-1 overtime win over
Central Florida and a 4-1 Sweet 16
victory against South Carolina.
Maryland has beaten Pennsylva-
nia, 4-0, and Penn State, 1-0.
Michigan enters the matchup
led by the self-titled "Three Ami-
gos" - senior forward Justin
Meram, freshman forward Soony
Saad and his brother, sophomore
midfielder Hamoody Saad. Soony
and Meram have been on a goal-
scoring tear throughout most of
the season, with one of the two
scoring a goal in each of the Wol-
verines' last 14 games. Soony is.
the second-leading scorer in the
country with 19 goals this season,
while Meram has 15.
The team has tallied the most
soccer victories (16) in school his-
tory and hopes to become the first
Big Ten team to reach the College
Cup since Indiana won the tour-
nament in 2004.
"What makes this team so spe-
cial is that we've got great own-
ership," Michigan coach Steve
Burns said. "Every man on the
team really feels he has a part on
the team and has to perform his
role for the team to do its best."
The Wolverines face a pro-
lific Maryland offensive attack,
which includes forwards Casey
Townsend - a Traverse City,
Mich. native - and Jason Her-
rick, as well as midfielder Matt
Kessel. The trio has combined for
27 goals and 21 assists this season.
"They like to play a lot of long
balls," redshirt junior goalkeeper
Chris Blais said of Maryland. "So
we have to make sure they're not
getting anything easy over the
top, and I have to stay on my line."
This year's upstart Wolver-
ines squad stands in contrast to
Maryland, an established soccer
power. Maryland has won three
national championships, includ-
ing titles in 2005 and 2008 while
Michigan's program is just 11
years old and is trying to make a
name for itself in the ranks of col-
The two schools have never
met in men's soccer.
If Michigan triumphs Satur-
day, it will play the winner of the
California-Akron matchup on
Dec. 10 in the College Cup semifi-
nals in Santa Barbara, Calif.
"It would mean a ton to every-
one that's ever been involved in
Michigan soccer if we made it to
the College Cup," Blais said.
By NICOLE AUERBACH
Daily Sports Writer
LIVONIA - Amid rumors
regarding his job security and
silence from Michigan, athletic
director David Brandon, foot-
ball coach Rich
decided to make
a statement of his own at the
team's annual banquet Thursday
night at Laurel Manor.
Rodriguez capped off the night
with a plea: "My name is Rich
Rodriguez," he said. "I'm hon-
ored to be the head football coach
at the University of Michigan. I
hope you realize that I truly want
to be a Michigan man. Thank
This comes five days after Ohio
State embarrassed Michigan
37-7 in Columbus, prompting the
media to question Brandon about
Rodriguez's job security and
potential successors. Brandon
has said repeatedly that he won't
evaluate Rodriguez until the end
of the year, which includes the
upcoming bowl game. The Wol-
verines finished the regular sea-
son with a 7-5 record, but their
only Big Ten wins came against
Indiana and Purdue, teams that
sit in the bottom third of the con-
Rodriguez's speech, the last
part of the three-and-a-half-hour
event, focused on the reasons he
became involved in the coach-
ing profession. Rodriguez said
his aim has always been to make
a difference in players' lives, to
"raise them up" academically and
"As coaches, we're going to
make you into something you
never thought you could be. We're
going to raise you up," Rodriguez
told the crowd. "A funny thing
happened on the way to raising
kids up, a funny thing happened
to me. I found out the kids raise
us up as coaches. The times that
we're down, when we're thinking,
'Is this worth it? Is this worth it
for your family?'
"Somebody comes up to you
and says, 'Thanks, coach.' Or
they tell you about an achieve-
ment. They got accepted into law
school. They got an A on a paper.
They broke a record in the weight
room. All of the sudden, it raises
Rodriguez said he didn't know
how to thank his players, his
coaching staff and fans who have
supported him throughout the
turmoil of the past three years,
so he turned to the Josh Groban
song "You Raise Me Up." Rodri-
guez quoted the first verse and
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez guided the Wolverines to a 7-5 record this season
and his record is 15-21 overall in three seasons in Ann Arbor.
srus: "You raise me up, so mentioned that at the start of last
stand on mountains/ You night's banquet.
ne up, to walk on stormy When Brandon spoke immedi-
am strong, when I am on ately after, he said, "Frank thinks
oulders/ You raise me up, we might be going west. I think
e than I can be." we might be going in a different
aid he's been listening to direction."
g the past couple of weeks, Beckmann then addressed
wanted to share it with the Brandon again, mentioning the
t crowd. Then, Groban's Gator Bowl and Outback Bowl,
lasted through the speak- two New Year's Day bowls played
e, his wife Rita, Brandon in Florida. Brandon nodded yes.
iyers stood on risers, join- TEAM AWARDS: After a
ds above their heads as the record-setting season in which
ayed. he became the first quarterback
r to the end of his speech, in NCAA history to pass for 2,000
yards and run for 1,500 yards in
a year, sophomore Denard Rob-
inson was given the Bo Schem-
'I hope you bechler team MVP award.
Earlier this week, he was
eahze that I named the Big Ten Offensive
Player of the Year.
y want to be a Senior linebacker Jonas Mou-
ton won the team's award for best
ehigan m an." linebacker, leading the Big Ten
in tackles with 111. Fellow senior
linebacker Mark Moundros was
awarded for demonstrating "the
uez emphasized how the most enthusiasm and love for
imes were behind Michi- Michigan." Junior nose tackle
d how excited he was for Mike Martin was named the
ure. team's top defensive lineman.
time is coming, and it's Redshirt junior offensive line-
in a big way," he promised man Zac Ciullo received the Dr.
in the night. Arthur D. Robinson Scholar-
NDON HINTS AT BOWL ship Award as the team's leading
IATION? Most bowl pro- senior scholar. Redshirt junior
s put Michigan in the center David Molk and senior
Bowl in Tempe, Ariz., on guard Stephen Schilling shared
and the banquet's master the award for the team's top
monies Frank Beckmann offensive lineman.
Blue ousted in first round of NCAA Tournament
By HEIKO YANG Wash. during the first round of
For theDaily the NCAA tournament. The loss
brought the Wolverines' postsea-
The boot, the sweatshirt and son hopes to a disappointing end
the glum expression on junior and marked the first time in four
outside hit- seasons Michigan has failed to
ter Alex MICHIGAN 0 progress beyond the first round.
Hunt's face WASHINGTON 3 The typical storylines applied.
said it all. Young players made youthful
With the Michigan volleyball mistakes. The hitters couldn't get
team's most dominant hitter sit- past their blocks. The team com-
ting on the bench, what little mitted 13 service errors. Senior
magic left in a season that had setter Lexi Zimmerman ran all
started out with so much promise over the court, looking like she
was gone. was pulling out all the stops to
No. 23 Michigan (23-10 overall) will one more game out of her col-
lost, 3-0, to No. 11 Washington legiate career.
(22-8) on Thursday night at the But it wasn't enough, and as
Bank of America Arena in Seattle, the last point sailed out of bounds
The Daily football writers do their best
to predict, against the spread, what Nicole
happens in the 2010 football season. Auerbach
and the poorly filled stands let out
tepid applause, the question that
had been on everyone's minds
from the start of the match now
What if Hunt had been healthy?
"(This was) absolutely a winna-
ble match (if Hunt had played),"
Michigan coach Mark Rosen said
following the loss. "It would have
been nice to have her go on one of
her 20-kill tirades because that
really changes the whole game."
The Wolverines had only
a week to practice with their
adjusted lineup after Hunt rolled
her ankle during the regular sea-
son finale at Northwestern on
Nov. 27. Rosen was forced to call
upon freshman outside hitter
Lexi Erwin and redshirt junior
middle blocker Karlee Bruck to
fill the void.
And for a brief moment, the
Michigan offense held strong.
Despite six service errors dur-
ing the first set, the Wolverines
appeared to dictate the pace of
the game. The hitters came out
swinging with confidence and
caught the Huskies' defense out
of position on multiple occasions.
Erwin tallied five straight kills
without an error, and freshman
middle blocker Jennifer Cross
provided key hits to establish her-
self as an additional threat.
But the fresh energy and
aggressiveness couldn't overcome
the experience and consistency of
a veteran Washington team.
As the match progressed, the
Huskies picked on Michigan's
youth by serving to the younger
players and knocked the Wolver-
ines out of system in the pass-
ing game. The hitters eventually
faltered and lofted their hits out
of bounds. Costly service errors
prevented Michigan from hold-
ing any momentum. Eventually,
Washington's game plan looked
as if it was simply to let the Wol-
verines beat themselves, which
they did more and more efficient-
ly in each set.
"It's funny because I thought
the stuff we did the worse was
what they have no control over,
which was serving," Rosen said.
"It's the one part of the game that
they do not have an effect on. The
ironic part is that it's such a big
part of our game and who we are.
We haven't had a match like that
all year; it was completely out of
Perhaps the only bright spot
for Michigan was the perfor-
mance of the back row defenders.
The defense kept the team alive
in tight rallies when the offense
Junior libero Sloane Donhoff
posted 12 digs and senior libero
Maggie Busch tallied nine. .
No.1 Auburn (-7) at South Carolina
No. 2 Oregon (-16) at Oregon State
No. 9 Oklahoma (NC) at No. 13 Nebraska
No. 11 Boise State (-43) vs. Utah State
No.15 Virginia Tech (-4) vs. No. 21 Florida State
No.17 Nevada (-14) at Louisiana Tech
No. 23 Arizona (-5.5) vs. Arizona State
No. 24 West Virginia (-21) vs. Rutgers
No. 25 No. Illinois (14.5) vs. Miami (OH)
Illinois (-4) vs. Fresno St.
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