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March 11, 2011 - Image 8

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8 -Friday, March 11, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

rif Icers try to extinguish
Falcons'upset hopes

MARISSA MCCLAIN/Daily
Sophomore guard Darius Morris scored 11 points and dished out seven assists in Michigan's first game against Illinois.
Michigan gets second
shot at Fightin gIllini

By MARK BURNS in the playoffs." that, and we got to get our team
Daily SportsEditor Even though the Falcons fin- playing well."
ished in the basement of a few According to Pearson, that
When the No. 5 Michigan conference statistical catego- won't come easy, though, as
hockey team comes out for ries during the regular season' Bowling Green plays a "defen-
warm-ups tonight against Bowl- - power play (11th), scoring,; sive-oriented" brand of hockey
ing Green at Yost Ice Arena, offense (11th) and defense (10th) according to Pearson, a newly-
it will see a - that can be thrown out the adopted scheme from Bergeron.
mirror image window come playoff time. "They're going to play physi- 4
of itself circa BOWiing As any coach knows, by cal, but they're going to play
2010. Green at stringing together a few solid extremely hard without the
Last sea- wins, he can have a team that puck," Pearson added.
son, the Wol- Michigan can beat anyone on any given Bowling Green's defensive
verines had to Matchup: night. plan lies around limiting those
win the CCHA Michigan "They've got nothing to lose," "Grade-A" scoring opportuni-
Tournament 23-9-4; BGSU Michigan assistant coach Mel ties and playing tight-checking
to advance 10-25-4 Pearson said after practice on defense in its own zone, as Pear-
to the NCAA When: Friday Tuesday. son stated.
Tournament 7:35 P.M. When current first-year Michigan will have to use
for the 20th Where: Yost coach Chris Bergeron was hired its speed to get around oppos-
consecutive Ice Arena last April, he brought a winning ing defenders and hope to draw
year - a feat mindset to a Falcon program penalty calls in the process.
they accom- TV/Radio: that was on the verge of collapse But Michigan will have to
plished to the Comcast just two seasons ago. survive against the Falcons
surprise of As a former long-time assis- (3-21-4-2, 10-25-4) without the
almost every- tant coach at Miami (Ohio), services of senior forward Louie
one in the college hockey world. Bergeron hoped to change the Caporusso, who suffered a low-
And in this year's conference culture at Bowling Green fol- er-body injury in the first game
tournament, the 11th-seeded lowing a last-place finish in against Northern Michigan
Falcons will have to pull off the 2009 and second-to-last place two weeks ago. Junior forward
same magical act if they are to finish prior to this season. David Wohlberg will continue
become a part of the field of the "It's a very good hire and I to fill the void on the top line
16. have no doubt that Chris will with senior Carl Hagelin and
After Bowling Green's dra- help Bowling Green get back sophomore Chris Brown as he
matic game-three overtime- to the level they want to be at did in Marquette for the Wol-
clinching victory last Sunday and are used to being at," cur- verines.
night at Northern Michigan, rent Denver coach George "Wohlberg's been a really
the Falcons are riding a wave Gwozdecky said following the good player even from his first
of momentum into Yost for the Bergeron hire. year when he won Rookie of the
best-of-three second-round Bergeron didn't change the Year," Pearson said. "Last year,
playoff series. team's finish in one year - as he had a little bit of a setback -
"Right now, they're prob- the Falcons finished last in the was injured and was never real-
ably having the best experience CCHA with just three wins dur- ly healthy. This year, he's played
they've had," Michigan coach ing the regular season. And the very well. He's a frontline play-
Red Berenson said after prac- Wolverines (20-7-1-0 CCHA, er. Maybe he's not been on our
tice on Tuesday. "They've got 23-9-4 overall) are aware of the top line or our best line.
more confidence than they've possible upsets that can occur in "He's very capable and very
had in months. playoff hockey. talented. I think his size and
"We're catching a team now "They won a series, and now skill will really add something
that can put the season behind they're a dangerous team," to that line. He might even make
them, and they can just go for it Berenson said. "We understand it abetter line - sorry Louie."

By LUKE PASCH Instead, Friday's matchup is
Daily Sports Writer critical for both teams' postseason
aspirations.
If junior guard Stu Douglass "I think it's just something we'll
had put just a tad more oomph definitely be able to learn from,"
into his left-handed desperation junior guard Zack Novak said
shot as the clock expired on Feb. Tuesday. "We've been pretty suc-
16 in Champaign, Friday's Big Ten cessful in the second time around
Tournament playing teams. We've don't a good
matchup vs. Illi- job oflearningfromour mistakes."
nois would have IlinoiS VS Indeed, after losing to Indiana,
far fewer impli- Michigan Northwestern and Minnesota
cations for the in the first half of Big Ten play,
Michigan men's Matchu 9 Michigan beat all three squads
basketball team. Michigan 19112 on the back end of the conference
At the end schedule.
of the Wolver- When: Friday And the Wolverines prob-
ines' lone game 2 P ably like their chances against the
against the Illini Where: Fighting Illini (9-9,19-12) this time
in the regular Conseco around. Their shooting could only
season, Michi- Fieldhouse improve from the last meeting.
ganhad the final TV/Radio: Michigan shot under 40 percent
possession with ESPN from the field and just 2-for-18
a tWb-point defi- from 3-point range.
cit, 54-52. From "We feel like there's a lot of
the top of the key, freshman Tim plays that we took off in that
Hardaway Jr. dished to fellow game," Hardaway Jr. said Tues-
rookie Evan Smotrycz on perime- day. "We were lackadaisical in
ter, who launched a 3-pointer from our ball-handling and our defense
the left corner with six ticks left. in general in the first half of the
The shot missed off the glass game.
and Douglass grabbed the long In the second half, we were
rebound. While falling back, he more furious and more intelligent
released a shot from just beyond with the basketball. We just have
the arc with his left hand. The ball to play like that for the whole 40
clanked off the front rim and the minutes."
team trudged off the court in frus- Friday's contest will feature an
tration. exciting matchup at point guard,
Sophomore point guard Darius as Morris and Illinois senior floor
Morris needed some more time general Demetri McCamey are
to recover - he fell to his knees, two of the best in basketball. Both
reflecting on just how close the are top 10 in the country in assists
Wolverines (9-9 Big Ten, 19-12 per game, and usually when they
overall) had come to one of their play well, their teams fair well.
biggest wins of the season. Had The last time out, Morris fin-
they won, it's very likely that ished with a solid line -11 points,
Michigan's NCAA Tournament seven assists and six rebounds
at-large bid would be taken care of - and was crucial in the closing
by now. minutes to bring the Wolverines

within two. He also turned the
ball over only once.
"He's much more consistent
with what it takes to win," Michi-
gan coach John Beilein said. "He
has so much passion to win, and
he's got such strong pride in his
ability. He'll get headstrong at
times, and you just have to reel
it back in ... He understands his
strengths, and he's working at the
things he wants to improve."
McCamey finished that game
with game-high 18 points, hitting
multiple contested shots, includ-
ing four buckets from beyond the
arc. His team didn't shoot particu-
larly well and he was the only Illi-
ni player to hit a shot from 3-point
territory, while Illinois was 4-of-
18 on 3-pointers.
Down low, Illinois has a con-
siderable size advantage. Between
seniors Mike Tisdale, Mike Davis
and Bill Cole, the Fighting Illini
frontcourt boasts as much depth
as anyteam in the nation.
In the last meeting, Michigan
starting center Jordan Morgan
found himself in foul trouble and
only played 25 minutes.It opened
many scoring opportunities for
Tisdale in the post, who finished
with 12 points.
"We can't go 2-for-18 from
three again, that's for sure,"
Beilein said. "They get points just
from the (7-foot-1 Tisdale) factor
inside. Their high-low game was
very effective last time."
With so much uncertainty in
the postseason, both Michigan
and Illinois should consider this
matchup a must-win. For both
teams, a victory on Friday would
all but secure an NCAA Tourna-
ment berth, while a loss would
make the chances of that berth a
bit dicey.

4

4

MARISSA MCCLAIN/daily
Junior forward David Wohlberg will replace injured senior forward Louie Caporusso on the Wolverines' top line.

BASEBALL

SOF 1'BALL

Pitching staff looks to rebound 'M' takes 22-0 record on the road

By ZACH HELFAND
Daily Sports Writer
When the Michigan baseball
team heads down to South Caroli-
na for the Bojangles Baseball Clas-
sic this weekend, it will be making
the trip with an unfamiliar travel-
ing companion: a pair of wins.
For the first time all year, the
Wolverines (2-9) will enter a series
with some on their record, thanks
to a pair of victories over Massa-
chusetts last weekend. They, will
look to add four more against Stony
Brook and Winthrop in the series
that begins Friday.
"The first one's always the hard-
est, so once we go that one out it
kind of gave everyone a little bit
of extra confidence to know that
we can win," redshirt sophomore
right-hander Tyler Mills said.
"There's so much talent on the
team, right now we're just strug-
gling to put it together."
But even with some confidence
and momentum, Michigan could
run into trouble with each team's
ace. Both Winthrop (5-5) and
Stony Brook (3-4) will pitch their
first game of the three-team clas-
sic against Michigan, meaning the
Wolverines will see each team's
No.1 starter.
Tyler Mizenko will get the start

for Winthrop on Friday and junior
Nick Tropeano for Stony Brook on
Saturday. At 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA,
Mizenko boasts a better record
than Tropeano, but Tropeano
could end up being one of the best
pitchers Michigan faces all year.
The right-hander, who struck out
106 batters in 99.2 innings last year,
was named a Preseason All-Amer-
ican after leading Stony Brook to
the Regionals of the College World
Series.
Michigan's success, though,
will mostly depend on its own
pitching. Thus far, the Wolverines
simply have not received enough
productivity out of their starters
to win ballgames. Michigan hurl-
ers average just 3.2 innings and an
alarming 6.70 ERA per start this
season, and injuries to Kolby Wood
and Travis Smith have only made
things worse.
"Right now, the problem we're
having is we're not attacking hit-
ters," Michigan pitching coach
MattWhite said. "Early inthe year,
we've used a bunch of different
starting pitchers. We're trying to
get guys that will step up and give
us innings at the beginning of the,
game."
Mills, who threw Michigan's
only quality startofthe season, will
get the start in the opener against

Winthrop. Mills and freshman
right-hander Alex Lakatos, who
will start Saturday, have been the
only bright spots for the Michigan
pitching staff so far this season.
Atthe other end of the spectrum
is sophomore left-hander Bobby
Brosnahan, who will throw against
Stony Brook on Sunday. The No. 1
starter entering the season, Bros-
nahan has struggled early in both a
starting and relief role.
"He's not hitting his spots very
well, and he's a command pitcher,"
Michigan coach Rich Maloney
said. "I'd be surprised if he doesn't
pick it up here real soon. He's a
competitor."
Sophomore right-hander Kyle
Clark, who has surrendered three
runs inseveninningsofreliefwork,
will gethis first start on Saturday.
The offense, especially the top
half of the lineup, has started to
heat up. Center fielder Patrick
Biondi and shortstop Derek Dennis
combined for a .414 batting aver-
age last weekend, setting the table
for right fielder Michael O'Neill
and first baseman Garret Stephens.
Both O'Neil, who has a hit in every
game this season, and Stephens
have been pleasant surprises for
the Wolverines. The bats are begin-
ningto come alive.
Now it's time for the pitchers.

By MATT RUDNITSKY
Daily Sports Writer
Outscoring its opponents 176-
28 thus far, the No. 6 Michigan
women's softball team hasn't
faced much resistance on its way
to a program-best 22-0 start.
The Wolverines have 27 home
runs, and they've allowed just
two.
They have a team batting aver-
age of .357, and their opponents
are hitting just .165.
And all but five of their wins
have been by four runs or more. -
But Michigan coach Carol
Hutchins, while pleased with her
team's performance, knows her
players still need to improve.
"I want to see us play a little
better defense," Hutchins said.
"I thought we were a little shab-
by around the edges last week. I
want to see us throw some people
out, and I think we've gotten alot
better inthatcategory, but I'd like
to see it show up.
"The other thing I'd like to see
is for (sophomore pitcher Stepha-
nie) Speierman to come out and
start havingbetter game manage-
ment, pitch-to-pitch softball."
The Wolverines' schedule
hasn't exactly been daunting so

far, though. They still haven't And Sappingfield has hit safely
played against a top-25 team. in 20 of her first 22 games as a
When the team travels to the Wolverine.
Louisville Invitational this week- "We just want her to get after
end, it will face a couple tough good pitches and let the bad ones
teams in Louisville (11-6) and go, and she does a really nice job
Western Kentucky (13-5). of being the second table-setter,"
While neither team has Michi- Hutchins said. "So with her and
gan's unblemished record, both (junior center fielder) Bree Evans
teams have proven they can hang at the top of the lineup, that
with some of the best squads in makes us tough."
the country. Facing two solid teams will be
The Cardinals lost to No. 3 a nice bridge for Michigan, easing
Alabama by just one run and the it into a schedule that turns from
Hilltopers did the same against partly cloudyto full-on blizzard.
No. 7 Tennessee. This won't be a Louisville and Western Ken-
cakewalk for Michigan, despite tucky aren't ranked, but the Wol-
what the records might suggest. verines'won't have to wait long to
"I know they're pretty solid face a top-25 team.
teams - they always are," Next Thursday, they'll travel
Hutchins said. "But we only to Fullerton, Calif to play five
worry about us, trying to play games in three days - including
good softball, tryingto get a little contests against No. 4 Arizona
bit better. So we'll be concentrat- and No. 8 Arizona State.
ing on us. We focus on us." They'll also face Notre Dame
Fortunately for Michigan, the and Fresno State - two teams
team is rolling on all cylinders just outside of the top-25.
and its stars are stepping up with Still, Hutchins realizes that
some big-time performances. the season is just getting started,
Senior first baseman Dorianf so it's no use talking about the
Shaw is hitting a team-leading team's hot start, program-records
.509 with 10 home runs and 28 aside.
RBI and freshman left fielder "I don't care about any of that;
Nicole Sappingfield is riding a I only care about the next week-$
17-game hitting streak. end," Hutchins said.
t A 4

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