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March 14, 2012 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily michigandaily.com

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - 5A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, March14, 2012 - 5A

----, --

Seniors reach NCAAs

ERINKIRKLAND/Daily
Forward Phil Di Giuseppe, one of eight freshmen on the Wolverine roster, has always had Berenson's blessing.
Berenson's patience with
freshmen pays dividends

By EVERETT COOK
Daily Sports Editor
Michigan hockey coach Red
Berenson doesn't recruit his
players based on skill alone.
Before he sends out scholarship
offers to potential Wolverines,
he asks his assistants - the ones
that do the bulk of the recruiting
- one simple question.
Can you see these guys play-
ing playoff hockey?
Berenson envisions an atmo-
sphere like the one last week-
end, when Michigan swept rival
Notre Dame in the quarterfinals
of the CCHA playoffs.
If Berenson's assistants can
imagine these amateur play-
ers playing in front of a raucous
crowd with postseason implica-
tions on the line, then they have
Berenson's full support.
Against Notre Dame, Beren-
son's vision came to life. With-
out prior knowledge of the team,
you wouldn't have been able to
tell the youngsters from the vet-
erans.
"I thought I was going to be
a little more nervous against
Notre Dame, to be honest, but I
was pretty calm," said freshman
forward Alex Guptill. "I really
enjoyed it and had a lot of fun
out there."
Playoff hockey is a completely
different animal than the regu-
lar season. The games have a dif-
ferent feel to them, and it can be
hard for freshmen to adjust to
the amped-up tempo. The key
phrase in that sentence is "can
be."

"It ta
it, and o
said sen
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C
pl

kes one period to get into point in January. But Berenson
'nce you're in, you're set," stuck to his gut feeling.
ior forward David Wohl- "I think that's been one of
ou don't worry about the the strengths of our program,"
things. You're just play- Berenson said. "Our coaches
key." have been willing to put the
Friday night, freshman freshmen in a situation where
d Phil Di Giuseppe got a we think they can have some
ast Notre Dame goalten- success.
ven Summerhays a little "They played well because
han a minute into the they got a chance to play."
the puck settled right on Players like Guptill, who leads
d line before senior cap- the team in goals, and Travis
ke Glendening tapped it Lynch, who is one of the team's
best faceoff men, have benefited
from Berenson's willingness to
play unproven players.
The leash, and the grace
;an you see period, are a lot longer for
freshmen under Berenson than
these guys most coaches.
"You are always going to play
iying playoff up to your coach's expecta-
tions," Berenson said. "I think
hockey? I have been good about play-
ing young players and trying to
show confidence in them and
pushing them when they need-
ink it got the momentum ed to be pushed.
but I didn't even see it "But if your coach expects you
Di Giuseppe said. "I just to do well, then sooner or later
he crowd and started cel- you are going to do that."
g in the corner." Without Di Giuseppe last
iuseppe also assisted on weekend, who knows what
t goal on Saturday, before would have happened for Michi-
in his own in the second gan.
He now has five points in In January, no one would
six games. have expected him to be the dif-
f not for Berenson and his ference maker in a CCHA play-
e, Di Giuseppe wouldn't off series. But Berenson and his
en in that position. coaching staff believed in their
me other programs, the young prospect, and it paid off.
an would have been rel- "These kids have had a good
to the bench after a bru- job," Berenson said. "They've1
tch when he had only one had a good experience."

By MICHAEL LAURILA
Daily Sports Writer
For the past two seasons, the
Michigan women's basketball
team watched Selection Monday
warily, uncertain of whether or
not it would receive a berth in
the NCAA Tournament's field
of 64.
On Monday, the Wolverines
were in the same situation. The
only difference was the result -
an 11-seed in the Fresno region,
finally a trip to dance.
The unfamiliar result from
previous years was a nice change
for the current group of seniors
- Michigan coach Kevin Bors-
eth's first recruiting class.
"I wish you could've been in
that room and seen the explosion
of happiness and tears," Borseth
said. "It's really been a long time
coming for our program - in
particular, our seniors, (who)
have worked so hard to get us
back in the NCAA Tournament."
The seniors, especially guards
Courtney Boylan and Carmen
Reynolds, have been so close
during the last two years to
achieving the goal they've had
since stepping foot in Ann Arbor,
only to fall just short.
But after their freshman year
- Borseth's second with Michi-
gan - the goal seemed out of
reach. The Wolverines posted a
10-20 record, which is still the
worst finish in Borseth's tenure.
Boylan and Reynolds have
become synonymous with the
system that Borseth put into
effect. He runs a motion-style
offense that allows the players to
make a lot of their own decisions
and shoot often. They are the
perfect model for this system, as
both players are above-average
3-point shooters but are more
than willing to bang around the
paint as well.
"It really is incredible just
thinking about everything that
we have been through as a team
over the past four years," Boylan
said. "Personally, all the work
that you put in and all the time
that you spent to make yourself
better and your team better."
Both players came in with
promise but started out slow
during their freshman year.
Reynolds didn't start a single
game during that campaign,
but still averaged 6.1 points per
game. But she has started every
single game (96) since the final

game of the 2008 season and
averaged a combined 10.4 points
per game during that span.
Reynolds capped an impres-
sive career this past season with
two impressive feats. First, she
reached 1,000 career points and
later set the all-time record for
3-pointers made. Both accom-
plishments speak volumes about
the consistency and production
Reynolds has shown throughout
her career at Michigan.
Boylan contributed during
her sophomore year, but she
really came into her own dur-
ing her junior campaign. Then-
sophomore guard Nya Jordan
was sidelined early in the sea-
son with a torn ACL, and Boylan
found herself in the starting
lineup as a result. Since her
debut as a consistent starter
against Iowa on Jan. 1 of last
year, she has scored 10.8 points
per game - 4.1 more than her
career average.
But along with their produc-
tion on the court, both players
have found themselves in leader-
ship roles. And because of their
leadership abilities, the rest of
the team, particularly junior
Jenny Ryan, felt a lot of pride as
Michigan was announced in the

tournament. The underclassmen
understand what the seniors
have been through to finally
achieve a goal that's been set
their entire careers.
"I think you could see ... their
happiness and their joy, and that
was probably one of the most
special moments for me," Ryan
said. "I was never really here
for the worst part of it, and they
were. I can only imagine what
that's like to see (Michigan) take
a complete 180 (degree turn). It
means alot for me and for them."
Boylan, Reynolds and fellow
senior Jamillya Hardley will
only get one trip to the ICAA
Tournament, but will always be
known as the group that brought
the Wolverines back to promi-
nence.
When Borseth recruited
them, he knew he was getting
good players, but probably not
that those players would totally
buy into his system and trans-
form a then-faltering program.
"Our program has changed so
much since coach Borseth came
here, and we were a part of his
(first) recruiting class," Boylan
said. "To be able to leave our
footprint on the program means
so much to us."

AUSTEN HUFFORD/Daily
Senior guard Carmen Reynolds set the all-time 3-pointers mark for Michigan.

"I th
going,1
go in,"
heard tl
ebratin
Di G
the firs
putting
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his last
But i
patienc
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In so
freshm
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tal stre

i :FOLLOW DAILY
Freshmen flourish despite adversity SPORTS ON TWITTER

By GLENN MILLER JR.
Daily Sports Writer
Most freshmen spend their
first year at Michigan adjusting
to a college lifestyle, meeting
new friends and navigating their
way through the campus.
Annette Miele and Sachi Sug-
iyama have been asked to do a
little more - uphold the legacy
of the Michigan women's gym-
nastics program.
In a season where injuries
have already ravaged their
senior-less team, the fresh-
man duo has stepped up at a
time when the team needs it
most. The pair's continued suc-
cess this year will be crucial in
helping the Wolverines raise
a sixth-consecutive Big Ten
Championship banner.
Miele, a native of Easton,
Penn., was recruited out of the
Parkettes National Gymnastics
Training Center. Before coming
to Michigan, she was a three-
time USA Visa Championship
qualifier and was named to the
U.S. Junior National Team in
2008. She made her collegiate
debut on the balance beam
against Ohio State, and she has
competed in the all-around
twice already this season.
"I knew I wanted to come
here once I stepped foot in this
gym," Miele said. "Right away,
I was like, 'This is where I want
to be.' Then I hung out with the
team after practice, and it all
just felt right. When I finally
committed, I was like, 'I'm going
to be a Michigan athlete.' It was
awesome."
Her partner-in-crime, Sugi-
yama, hails from Keller, Texas,
W where she trained at Top Flight
Gymnastics. In 2010, Sugiyama

placed sixth in the all-around
competition at the Junior Olym-
pic National Championships.
In her collegiate debut, she
tied for second in two of three
events against the Buckeyes.
Since then, Sugiyama has been
an all-arounder in all but one of
this season's competitions.
"It never struck me that my
scores would count so much and
they would depend on me as
much as they do during this sea-
son," Sugiyama said. "It's a good
feeling."
With only seven Wolverines
available to compete, the oppor-
tunity for the pair to shine pre-
sented itself early in the season.
A season-ending Achilles
tendon injury to junior Nata-
lie Beilstein and a recent ankle
injury to junior Brittnee Marti-
nez has forced the entire team
to strengthen its performance.
In particular, such injuries have
allowed Miele and Sugiyama to
showcase their talents in more
events.
Through injuries and inex-
perience, the freshmen's scores
have helped keep Michigan one
of the most competitive teams in
the nation.
"I definitely look at myself
and think, 'I have to step up',"
Miele said. "I know that I need
to work harder for my team,
because if we want to succeed
in the end, then every person
counts, including me."
The duo has been particularly
impressive lately, as its team
makes a final push before head-
ing into the postseason. Togeth-
er, they have shattered a total
of nine career-bests in the past
four weeks.
In a return to her home state,
Miele recorded two personal-

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Freshman Annette Miele had extensive international experience coming in.

high scores on bars and beam,
and she finished the night with
her top all-around score of the
year. At the same meet against
Penn State, Sugiyama finished
with record scores on bars and
floor, along with a career best for
the all-around as well.
"Annette came in with a lit-
tle bit of a back problem, so she
started a little bit slower," said
Michigan coach Bev Plocki. "But
in the last couple of meets she
has been getting back to where
we need her to be.
"I think (Sachi) has steadi-
ly improved throughout the
season. She's getting more
confident, competing more
aggressively, and (she) has been
a really important part of our
season."
The two athletes have quickly
forged a powerful friendship as
they support each other on and
off the mats. Through similar
experiences, the freshmen have
bonded together while assisting
each other settle into their new
careers as collegiate student-

athletes. Miele and Sugiyama
both admit that they constantly
calm each other down before
and during competitons, which
helps hide their lack of experi-
ence.
"I wouldn't be able to be
the person I am today without
(Annette) supporting me every
step of the way," Sugiyama said.
"Since there's only two of us, we
just got so close. I can't imagine
being a freshman without her."
Both Miele and Sugiyama are
looking forward to contributing
to the team's postseason, and
they believe their team is good
enough to win another Big Ten
title and make their second-
consecutive appearance in the
NCAA's Super Six.
Beyond this season, though,
the future is bright for the duo.
Plocki is confident both Wol-
verines will be All-Americans
in their respective events one
day, but for now, the freshmen
have their eyes set on something
more important - champion-
ship rings.

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