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January 20, 2011 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, January 20, 2011 - 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, January 20, 2011 - 7A

Blue looking to
live up to higher
expectations

Michigan coach Kevin Borseth has guided the Wolverines to a 3-2 Big Ten record this season, including wins over No. 12 Ohio State and No, 14 Iowa.
'M'takes on pesky Wildcats

By CAITLIN SMITH
Daily Sports Writer
Coach Kevin Borseth has con-
tinuously emphasized that the
mentality of the Michigan women's
basketball team is to take the sea-
son one game at a
time.
"One play at a EI O
time, that's how at North-
you do it," Bors- wem
eth said after
practice last Matchup:
week. "We don't Northwestern
go to streaks and -5 chi-
we don't go to gan1-7
records, we go to When: Thurs-
the next play and day 9 P.M.
the next game. Where:
Every team pres- Welsh-Ryan
ents a different Arena
set of challenges,
so we've got to be able to prepare,
on both sides of those court, for
those challenges."
But after yet another defining
win this past weekend against
a Big Ten opponent, Wisconsin,
it's hard not to look at Thursday's
game against Northwestern as a
pivotal moment for the Wolverines

in conference play.
Michigan (3-2, 10-7) started off
its Big Ten season with consecutive
wins over conference frontrunners
No. 14 Iowa. and No. 12 Ohio State
contesting its reputation as a weak
team in the competitive league.
Coming into January, the Wolver-
ines stepped up their defensive
pressure early and were executing
shots at over 40 percent in both
games.
Michigan followed a hot start
withtwohard-foughtlosses to Pur-
due and Michigan State, leading up
to Sunday's 75-59 win against Wis-
consin. With the win, the Wolver-
ines have returned to above-.500 in
conference play and have an oppor-
tunity to prove against Northwest-
ern that their successful start in
the Big Ten was no fluke.
"Right now, we're on the fence,"
senior guard Veronica Hicks said
last week after practice. "We know
that we started off on the top, and
now we are neck-and-neck with a
lot of teams, so this is kind of where
... you start to realize if you're going
to be at the top or the bottom."
But Northwestern will not be an
easy stepping stone for Michigan,

who is looking to launch its season
into an upward swing. The Wild-
cats (3-3 Big Ten, 14-5 overall) have
been positioned as the surprise
team of the Big Ten since the pre-
season.
"It is no surprise to us coaches,
but Northwestern is going to be a
great team this year," Iowa coach
Lisa Bluder said in October. "The
perception is still that they are
toward the bottom of the Big Ten,
but they are a very good basketball
team, and they are well coached.
I think they are going to shock
everybody else."
And Northwestern has come
close, notching two conference
wins againstIllinois and Ohio State
and splitting two games against
Purdue. But even the Wildcats'
losses have been notable - com-
ing against Penn State, who is cur-
rently tied for the Big Ten lead, and
Indiana who sealed its two-point
win by finishing a layup with just
three seconds left in the game.
Northwestern is led by 6-foot-
5 senior center Amy Jaeschke,
who averages 22.8 points and 9.2
rebounds per game. Jaeschke is
a three-time All-Big Ten selec-

tion and is currently fifth in the
nation in blocked shots, with four
per game. Jaeschke is paired with
junior forward Brittany Orban,
who averages 12.4 shots and 6.9
rebounds a game and shoots just
under 50 percent from behind the
arc.
But on Thursday, the Wolverines
will not focus all their efforts on
defending Jaeschke. Rather, Mich-
igan will emphasize offensive pro-
duction of its own, having finished
0-6 this season when scoring less
than 60 points in a game. So that's
the plan: Put the ball in the basket.
"(Scoring is) being able to finish
on the block, penetrating and fin-
ishing around the basket," junior
guard Courtney Boylan said last
week. "It seems like we can really
get threes at any point, it's just tak-
ing good shots and getting the ball
around the rim to get easy shots."
If Michigan can successfully
execute on the offensive end of the
court, then the matchup against
Northwestern may prove to be
more than another game - it could
be another push in the right direc-
tion for the Wolverines' confer-
ence play.,

After impressive
2010 season, team
strives to earn
Big Ten title
By EMILY O'DONNELL
For the Daily
Boasting an overall 61-18
record, Michigan coach Ronni
Bernstein - the 2010 Big Ten
Coach of the Year - has set the
bar high for her fourth season at
the helm of the No. 8 Michigan
women's tennis team.
In just one year, Michigan's
preseason ranking has gone from
No. 19 to No. 8 in Division I.
As a result of having an out-
standing 2010 season, "the bar
has definitelybeen raised and the
expectations are greater," fresh-
man Sam Critser said.
Preparing to live up to these
expectations, the team is focused
and determined to perform well.
"We are pushing ourselves
harder," senior Rika Tatsuno
said. "We're doing everything
hard in training and practice."
But the team has already start-
ed off the season well.
This past weekend at the Mich-
igan Invitational, senior Denise
Muresan, 2010 Big Ten Player of
the Year, won the singles' title.
"We played well against some
great teams, but there is still
room for improvement," Bern-
stein said.
Last season, the team hit a
peak in rankings at No. 3 and
went into the NCAA Champion-
ships in May ranked No. 4.
It also defeated some of the
top schools in the nation in dual
matches, including wins against
No. 4 Northwestern and No. S
Baylor.
In the coming months, the

Wolverines will compete in
matches against other top-
ranked tennis programs like No.
4 Notre Dame in early Febru-
ary and No. 6 North Carolina in
March. But the highlight match-
up will, once again, be against
the Wildcats in late April.
"There's going tobe some good
teams this season," Critser said
of this season's matchups. "Our
biggest rivalry is Northwestern,
along with Notre Dame."
In order to succeed as much as
they did last year, the Wolverines
must use their team chemistry to
their advantage.
"We push each
other ... We have
no weaknesses
this year."
"Team chemistry is our big-
gest strength," Tatsuno said.
"We push each other, on and off
the court. We have no weakness-
es this year."
When deciding to come to Ann
Arbor this year, Critser said that
she loved the atmosphere around
the tennis program, along with
everything the University had
to offer. And for Critser, adjust-
ing to Michigan has been so easy
because of the team.
The team's ultimate goal for
the season is to make the NCAA
tournament and win Big Ten.
With how it played last year
combined with their determina-
tion to win this year, those goals
appear to be well within reach.
Taking its first step toward'
their goal, Michigan will play
Western Michigan this Sunday

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

Sophomore Evan King lost in a preseason doubles match against Texas along with senior Jason Jung.
Michigan tries to upset
* No. 5 Texas in rematch

WHAT DO
IHODES/MARSHALL/MITCHELL
SCHOLARS
DO AFTER THEIR STUDIES
Well, this guy became
president.
What will you do?
Anything you want.
You've written your own game
plan so far in life. Why not take
r. it one step further and become
a Rhodes, Marshall, or Mitchell
Scholar?
William Jefferson Clinton, President of
the United States of America, 1992-2000
Come to a Rhodes/Marshall/Mitchell Orientation Session:
Monday, January 24, 2011 " 5:00-6:OOpm
Koessler Room, Michigan League, 3rd Floor
Thursday, January 27, 2011 " 5:00-6:00pm
Pendleton Room, Michigan Union, 2nd Floor
Tuesday, February 1, 2011 " 5:00-6:00pm
Pierpont Commons, East Room
SPECIAL SESSION:
How to Write a Rhodes, Marshall, or Mitchell Essay
Monday, March 14, 2011 * 5:00-7:30pm
Vandenberg Room, Michigan League, 2nd Floor
To learn more, please contact the Provost's Council on Student Honors at
734-763-8123 or visit the Website at
www.provost.umich.edu/scholars/

By ALEX STEINHOFF
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan men's tennis
team faces a familiar foe on Sat-
urday though the Wolverines
hope to have better results this
time around. After cruising past
Western Michigan, 7-0, in the first
scoring match of the season last
weekend, the Wolverines will host
No.5 Texas this weekend.
Earlier this month, Michigan
saw the Longhorns in a non-scor-
ilg tournament in Key Biscayne,
Florida. In its final preseason
test, Texas did not surrender a
single match to the Wolverines.
Michigan was swept in singles by
the Longhorns, with their closest
matches endingin tough losses for
sophomores Chris Cha 7-6 (4), 7-6
(4) and Evan King 7-6 (5), 6-4.
Along with six other Wolverine
singles players, King was unable
to win a set against a tough Texas
squad. Senior Jason Jung was the
only player to take a set in singles.
Though it appeared that Texas
trounced the Wolverines, some of
the scores were close.
"In the last match, we had our
chances," King said Tuesday.

"There were a lot ofgreat matches."
After being swept on day one
of the tournament, the Wolver-
ines looked to avenge their singles
defeats against the Longhorns in
doubles on the final day. Michigan
was unable to do so as they were
swept once again. The freshmen
pair of Alex Buzzi and Justin Rossi
and the doubles team of King and
Jung were the only two teams to
keep it close, but both lost their
matches 8-6 in the pro-set.
Despite losing the first time
around to the Longhorns, Michi-
gan - especially the doubles team
of King and Jung - is looking for-
ward to the rematch. King and
Jung are slated to be Michigan's
top tandem in 2011. Their lead-
ership on and off the court will
play a big role in Michigan's suc-
cess, and the chance to knock off
a highly-ranked team like Texas is
an opportunity for the Wolverines
early in the season.
"We're familiar with all the
players, we know what to expect,
we know their tendencies and we
are really looking forward to the
match," King said. "I think we
have a good chance."
But for Michigan to win, it will

need heavy contributions from its
freshman class.
"Even though we didn't do so
well last time we played Texas, we
took some important information
from those matches," freshman
Shaun Bernstein said. "It's up to
us to shake off the early nerves of
playing dual matches as freshmen
and step up and play our game."
Having already played Texas,
Michigan now knows the tenden-
cies and styles of play in each posi-
tion on the Longhorn roster. Even
though the Wolverines cruised
over the Broncos last Saturday, this
weekend's match against a tough
Texas team will notbe as easy.
However, this weekend will
offer Michigan an opportunity to
see some of the best competition
in the country, while also making
a statement early in the season.
"For us, this match is both a
learning experience and a chance
to upset a top team," Michigan
coach Bruce Berque said. "We
really believe we can do it; we are
going into this match to win it.
"We are going to have to win
the closer matches and raise our
level to do it, but we believe we
can do it."

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