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October 18, 2012 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, October 18, 2012 -- 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, October18, 2012 - 7A

VOLLEYBALL
Blue rues lack of.
discipline at home
By RYAN KRASNOO too caught up in the moment and
For the Daily failed to focus on fundamentals.
"We're a young team and we
Losing at home in straight sets need to learn how to handle those
is never easy to accept, but losing things, and tonight we didn't
on your home court in straight handle it very well," Rosen said.
sets to your biggest rival is even "(Playing Michigan State)" means
harder. a lot to them and sometimes you
That's just what the Michigan put a little too much pressure on
women's volleyball team (4-5 yourself and you get a little frus-
Big Ten, 16-7 overall) dealt with trated."
Wednesday night in the annual Things went from bad to worse
Pink game dedicated to breast for the Wolverines. Each time,
cancer awareness. The Wolver- Michigan looked poised to make a
ines were never able to establish comeback, Michigan State found
a groove offensively and saw each an answer. Led by two-time All-
set slip away around the 10-point American outside hitter Lauren
mark, falling to Michigan State Wicinski, the Spartans made sure
25-20,25-17,25-20. that any Wolverine rallies were
"Typically in games you're short-lived.
going to get out of rhythm; you're "Even when we got them in
going to get out of your system, trouble we didn't capitalize as
and you have to make sure that well as we could have," Rosen
you take those plays and make said.
them better," said Michigan With No. 1 Penn State com-
coach Mark Rosen. "I thought 'ing to Ann Arbor on Saturday,
tonight we didn't better the situ- Rosen and the rest of the Michi-
ation very much." gan coaching staff will need to
The Wolverines were under-' regroup their players to make
standably upset with their perfor- sure they stay focused on doing
mance, committing 21 errors and their respective jobs. Against a
allowing the Spartans (4-5, 16-5) team like the Nittany Lions, there
to hit .312 from the floor - well will be little margin for error.
above their .214 average in Big "We don't have time for frus-
Ten play coming into Wednes- tration," said redshirt senior
day's match. right-side hitter Claire McElheny.
"(Michigan State) was con- "If we're trying to beat that and
trolling the tempo, and part of it the other team, it's just not going
was that we weren't getting any to work."
digs," said sophomore setter Lexi With preparation at the fore-
Dannemiller. "But at the same front of the Wolverines' priorities
time, I have to control the tempo over the next three days, the key
on my side and they just took me will be making sure that everyone
out of that (rhythm). They took is honed in, regardless of how the
the whole team out of it." match unfolds.
Expectations were high in "A lot of the little goofy plays
front of an energized crowd of that dropped against us, it's not
more than 1,400 people at Cliff a lack of effort or our team not
Keen Arena after Michigan wanting to do it - it's a matter of
downed then-No. 22 Illinois last them being frustrated about the
Wednesday and Northwestern wrong things," Rosen said. "We
over the weekend in straight sets. need to make sure that we learn
But Rosen suggested that his , from these situations and move
youthful squad may have been forward."

State swamps Michigan

ByGREG GARNO
Daily Sporta Writer
Midway through the second
set of the Michigan volleyball
team's loss to Michigan State
on Wednesday, junior middle
blocker Jennifer Cross bent over,
hands on her hips and eyes look-
ing up, focused on the score-
board.
She MSU 3
looked MICHIGAN 0
more con-
fused than frustrated. After
being named the Big Ten player
of the week for her performances
against Illinois and Northwest-
ern last week she had good rea-
son to be stunned.
Her team had no answer for a
Michigan State (4-5 Big Ten, 16-5
overall) squad that was ready for
nearly every play the Michigan
ran.
"They executed in all phases
of the game better than we did,"
said a displeased Michigan coach
Mark Rosen. "It doesn't matter
what system you run, or what
your.gameplan is - if you didn't
execute well it's not going to be a
very good outcome."
The Wolverines ultimately fell
in straight sets to the Spartans,
20-25, 17-25, 20-25, keeping the
state of Michigan's flag - given
to the victor of the series since
1990 - far from their grasp.
Down 6-5 in the first set, the
Wolverines responded with four
straight points, capped by a kill
from fifth-year senior and right-
side hitter Claire McElheny. But
the Spartans fought back to tie
the game at 11 before they went
'on an 8-1 run. Michigan took
six of the next seven points to
answer back, but the Spartans
used a 4-0 run to close the set.
The Wolverines (4-5, 16-7)
hit a dismal .070 in the first set
as part of a .113 average for the
game.
An ace from sophomore set-
ter Lexi Dannemiller to begin
the second set gave the Wolver-
ines their only lead in the set, as

The Michigan volleyball team goes over the game plan during the Wolverines' straight-set loss to Michigan State.

Michigan State jumped out to an tonight," Rosen said. "We didn't
8-3 lead shortly after. Michigan control the ball well enough and I
managed to rebound to only one don't think we really ever got into
point back, but the Spartans used a system. If we're not in system
a 6-0 run to make the score 16-9. it's going to be easier to block you
A 4-0 run later in the set allowed because it's predictable. Every-
Michigan State to finish the set body in the gym knows where
with ease. The Wolverines, run- the ball is goingto go because we
ning their newly implemented onlyhave one option."
offense in Michigan
which the looked for a
setter has "The executed fresh start in
three passing the third set,
options, strug- in all phas battling back-
gled to hit the es and-forth with
ball against an the game better the Spartans
opponent pre- early on. The
pared for every than we did." Wolverines
move. tied the game
Early in the atfive and once
second set, again at 11,
Dannemiller back set the lone both on kills from Cross. Michi-
senior in McElheny as she ran gan made a habit of givingup two
around the right. McElheny's points for every point it scored,
attempt was met by two Spartan unable to handle the Spartans'
blockers waiting for her, though, strong.366 attack percentage.
who swatted the ball down as if The Wolverines recorded just
they were performing a drill. six team blocks after they tallied
"We didn't run much offense 10 last week in their win against

Illinois.
"We just have to get better at
how they block us and how they
respond to us," Dannemiller said.
"When they adapt to our style we
have to change things up and do
stuff that we're maybe not com-
pletelyused to."
Junior outside hitter Lexi
Erwin was the lone Wolverine
to total double-digit kills, with
13 on the night. Dannemiller led'
Michigan with 25 assists and tied
junior 'defensive specialist Ally
Saboliwith ateam-high 15 digs.
The loss is even more critical,
as Michigan hosts No. 1 Penn
State on Saturday.
But losing to a rival may have
the longer-lasting impact on the
team that sits in the middle of the
Big Ten standings.
"We know it's a big emotional
game, but we try not to look at it
as any other match because it's
probably too much pressure on
ourselves," McElheny said. "It
always sucks to lose to Michigan
State, though."

Sparks, third line jumpstarts Wolverine offense

By MATT SLOVIN the lines into the dark days of
Daily Sports Editor winter, but when scoring comes
from unfamiliar places, it makes
It's only fitting that the Michi- the forward corps appear signifi-
gan hockey team's most sur- cantly more stable.
prising scoring line early in the The line, consisting of Sparks,
season is led by one of its most junior Derek DeBlois and sopho-
puzzling enigmas. more Travis Lynch, accumulated
In a season when the defense four points in Saturday night's
was expected to be the hall- 7-2 victory over Rochester Insti-
mark, the third line, led by senior tute of Technology. DeBlois said
forward Lindsay Sparks, has the three of them are "feeding
emerged as a productive threat. off each other," which can create
Michigan coach Red Berenson problems defensively for oppo-
has been known to tinker with nents anticipating a checking line
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without much of a scoring threat.
"Anytime you're plus-two or
three one night and have a big
plus four weekend, you hope for
this best," Sparks said. "It's a nice
surprise when it actually occurs."
The biggest surprise has been
Sparks himself. Last season,
Sparks didn't dress for14 of Mich-
igan's games. So far this year, he
has two points in as many games
and has shown the potential to be
a weapon from the Wolverines'
bottom six.
"(Sparks) has always been an
offensively skilled guy," DeBlois
said.
"He's someone that people
want to play with because he cre-
ates a lot of room up there, gets
you the puck when you're open
and is not afraid to make a play."
Sparks, is no stranger to fast
starts - last season, he had 11
points through the first seven
games before fizzling down the
stretch.
"I'm looked at for leadership
since I'm a senior now," Sparks
said. "You lead by example. I've

.
. ..
..

stick handling and just getting it
on net. Shoot for rebounds and
shoot high-percentage shots. I'm
not trying'to get in too tight and
just shoot the puck and hope for
the best."
Berenson has had the trio
together since the Blue/White
Game on Oct. 7 - an indication
/ that he is comfortable enough
with the line to stick with it as
a long as the goalskeep coming.
, "I just think we're keeping it
simple," Sparks said. "We're all
three veteran players who know
what it takes to play. We're just
trying to work as a unit and work
off each' other. By doing that, I
think we've had some- success
early on."
That success for Sparks, and
with it, the entire line, is the
ON/Daily product of a blue-collar group
n that is ferocious on the forecheck.
cisions The early-season success of the
is early bottom-six forwards, specifically
better the third line, has provided an
encouraging answer to the recur-
e puck ring offseason discussion topic of
d. "Less where the goals will come from.

PATRICKBARR
Senior forward Lindsay Sparks is no stranger to quick starts for Michiga
had good offensive instincts He added that faster de
before, so I want to chip in offen- have played a key role in h
sively and be stable defensively season success, as have
and make sure we don't get angle shots.
scored against. If we can score a "I'm trying to get th
goal here and there, that's great" away quicker," Sparks said

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