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March 11, 2013 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-03-11

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
scores season high in A

March 11, 2013 - 3B




Daily Sports Writer
The No. 3 Michigan women'
gymnastics team proved on Sun
day why it has deserved to be
ranked in the top three every wee
9 this season.
The Wolverines scored a sea
son-high 197.575 points at Paule
Pavilion in Los Angeles to defea
No. 6 UCLA, California and Iowa
UCLA is one of only four teams -
the other three being Alabama
Georgia and Utah - to have eve
won the NCAA team title. Michi-
gan (6-1 Big Ten, 16-1 overall
recorded its highest road score
since the 2004 Big Ten Champi-
onships, where the team scored a
Michigan junior co-captait
Joanna Sampson, the No. 2 all-
around gymnast in the country
topped Bruin redshirt senior Van-
essa Zamarripa, the No.1 gymnas
in the country, 39.575-39.400 tt
win the quad meet.
Michigan began on the bal-
ance beam, the most pressure-
filled event to start out on. Senio
Brittnee Martinez, sophomore
Annette Miele and freshman Bri-
ley Casanova led the team witl-
* identical scores of 9.800. Because
of strict judging on the event and
UCLA recording its season-bes
on vault, the Wolverines trailed
the Bruins 49.375-48.925. Thei
total marked their only sub-
49.000 beam score of the season.
"I thought we did very well or
beam,".said Michigan coach Be
Plocki. "I just think the judging
was tight. We control things we
From Page 1B
ateam we have to find a way tc
get better in that area.
"We block out every time in
practice. We did not (on Sunday)."
Though the Wolverines held
the Hoosiers to a 35-percent clip
from the floor, Indiana kept the
game within striking distance at
halftime by crashing the glass.
Michigan had an 11-point lead
late in the first half, but putbacks
by guard Victor Oladipo and easy
layups by forward Cody Zeller
pulled the Hoosiers within three
points at the break.
Indiana had 13 offensive
rebounds in the first frame, and
despite how well Michigan was
playing defensively, second and
third possessions for the Hoosiers
were where they kept the game
From Page 4B
have gotten to Saturday's blow-
It helped a little that North-
ern Michigan was hurting
offensively after losing its
top scorer to a broken leg last
week (before this weekend, the
Wildcats had gone 1-5-1 with-
out senior Matt Thurber), but
that's no excuse. You can bet
that whomever Michigan faces
in the subsequent rounds of the
playoffs won't be relying on one
single playmaker - every skater
on the ice will pose a threat.
At last, the Wolverines were
cognizant of their shortcomings

on Friday night. And whether
it's the do-or-die playoff men-
tality or the fact that Michigan
is finally (dare I say it?) a decent
team now, the Wolverines have
gotten to the point where they
can take a close game like Fri-
day's and transform that into a
blowout the next night.
"I think it was a good time
From Page 4B
verting on 18.5 percent of chanc-
And while the Wolverines
scored as many goals with an
extra man as the Wildcats scored
the entire series, the strong per-
formance was more important for
gaining momentum.
Just 1:39 into the game on
Saturday, sophomore forward
Andrew Sinelli went to the box
for hooking and left Michigan at
an early disadvantage. But the
Wolverines closed off the mid-
dle of the ice, leaving Northern
Michigan poor looks at the net,

have control over, so I'm not con-
cerned. It's not like we had a sub-
par beam performance. I have no
s worries. We're just going to keep
- doing what we've been doing
e because it's working."
k On the floor exercise, Michi-
gan narrowed its gap by deliver-
- ing near-perfect performances to
y score a 49.500. Sampson, ranked
it No. 1 in the nation on floor, won

working on the little details in
the gym and I'm glad I was able
to translate what I've been doing
in practice onto the competition
floor. We were really focused on
each and every one of our team-
mates' routines and fed off each
other's energy."
Michigan took a 0.200 lead
over UCLA after the Wolverines
scored a 49.550 on the vault, their

scored a season-best 49.575, mark-
ing the second highestbars total in
program history.
"It was great because when we
went over to finish up on bars,
UCLA was coming into floor,
which we know is their best
event," Plocki said. "We only had
a two-tenths lead so we knew we
had to hit bars really well and
that's exactly what we did."
Miele performed in the leadoff
position and scored a 9.300 after
falling on her Tkatchev release
move. But, her teammates per-
formed exceptionally well and her
score wasn't needed. Sugiyama
won the event with a career-best
"I just knew I had to put up
a good performance to have
Annette's back," Sugiyama said.
"She had a rough time but we have
a strong bar team and we just went
up to rock it. I was a little nervous
going in butI think I used that to
my advantage."
In a four-way tie for second,
UCLA senior Monique de la To-re,
Zurales, Martinez and Sampson
each scored a 9.925, and junior
Shelby Gies contributed a 9.850.
"If somebody makes a mistake
before them, it does not have any
impact whatsoever on their abil-
ity to go out there and perform,"
Plocki said:"They overcame a fall
and hit five awesome bar routines,
which shows just how resilient
and tough this group of athletes
If the Wolverines qualify for
nationals, they will have the
opportunity to return to Pauley
Pavilion on Apr. 19.


Junior Joanna Sampson defeated the No.1 overall gymnast in the country Sunday.

with a 9.950, marking her sixth
straight victory on the event.
UCLA senior Alyssa Pritch-
ett earned a career-high to tie
Sampson for the title. A trio of
Wolverines - senior Natalie Beil-
stein, junior Reema Zakharia and
sophomore Sachi Sugiyama - each
scored a 9.900 to tie for third place.
"My landings were the best I've
ever had so far this year," Sugi-
Added Zakharia: "I've been

highestvault total since Feb.2008.
Beilstein and Sampson recorded
matching 9.925's. Rounding out
the top five with two 9.900's were
senior co-captain Katie Zurales,
Zakharia, and Sugiyama. All five
gymnasts stuck their vault land-
"We stuck more vaults tonight
than we've stuck in any competi-
tion this year," Plocki said.,
Michigan carried its momen-
tum to the uneven bars, where it

5. DUKE 1.819
7. KANSAS 1.701
9. CREIGHTON 1.493
9 11. SYRACUSE 1.414
13. BELMONT 1.365
15.OHIO STATE 1.363
21. GEORGETOWN 1.213
23. WISCONSIN 1.104
25. MISSOURI 1.091

The second half followed suit.
Zeller had two consecutive offen-
sive boards, leading to six of his 25
points within the first two min-
utes of the stanza, and for the rest
of the half, the preseason Player of
the Year kept finding ways around
weak box-outs to crash the glass.
And though Michigan had
every opportunity to pull away in
the final five minutes of the game,
every sophomore guard Trey
Burke floater or redshirt junior
forward JordanMorganlayupwas
answered by the Hoosiers with a
putback by Oladipo or Zeller.
Zeller easily outmatched Mich-
igan's post players for most of the
game, and Indiana took advantage
of that, continually feeding Zeller
the ball. Morgan, an undersized
forward, had the most success
defensively, but Zeller still pulled
down 10 rebounds.
Freshman Mitch McGary was
more of a size match for Zeller, but

early foul trouble in both halves
forced him to sit for most of the
game. Redshirt sophomore Jon
Horford and redshirt freshman
Max Bielfeldt, the third and fourth
bigs off the bench, weren't able to
handle a physical Zeller, either.
But it wasn't just Zeller domi-
nating the glass. Oladipo had two
consecutive, easy layups for four
points that shifted the momentum
back in Indiana's favor with two
minutes to go, and Zeller added
another two points off an offen-
sive board to cut Michigan's lead
to a manageable three points with
38 seconds to go - a lead that ulti-
mately disappeared thanks to a
key offensive rebound by Indiana
and missed free throws by the
Wolverines to seal the victory for
the Hoosiers.
"Part of the rebounds come off
penetration," Beilein said. "Two
guys have to help the ball, so if
there's two guys, somebody's

going to be open. To find that
guy is difficult, it takes time, and
sometimes you can't even do it."
And Michigan hasn't been a
great offensive rebounding team
this season, either. With under-
sized and inexperienced post play-
ers, the Wolverines don't have the
personnel to match up against the
Big Ten's stronger interior players.
In many of its losses, rebounding
has been a main factor for Michi-
gan, but Burke believes the Wol-
verines will improve before the
Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments.
"(We have to) just keep going at
it," he said. "Just keep working at
it in practice, do rebounding drills
and things like that, send more to
the glass. It's something we try to
get better at. I think we've got-
ten better at it. Indiana's a good
rebounding team and they send a
lot of players to the glass."

for us to show that when we
bear down and want to win
_ a game, we can," said junior
defenseman Mac Bennett. "For
us to go out this game and com-
pletely bury them, that feels
really good, and I think that
will definitely transfer over to
next weekend."
If Michigan makes it to Joe
Louis Arena for the CCHA
semifinals (even though that's
still far down the road right
now) it won't have the best-of-
three series as a crutch.
The Wolverines won't be
sitting in the locker room on a
Friday night after a narrow win
or a loss, thinking about wlat
they can do to completely bury
the hatchet in the next game -
at that point, it might already
be too late.
Michigan is running out of
second chances. And the fact
that it learned its lesson this
weekend is the real highlight of
the series.
- Vukelich can be reached
at elizavuk@umich.edu

From Page 4B
When these two teams met
earlier in the year, Michigan ral-
lied for three goals during the
first game's third period to tie up
the game and ultimately win in a
That wouldn't be the case
again though, as junior forward
Luke Moffatt's goal less than
three minutes into the third
period gave the Wolverines a
dominant 5-1 lead and all but
eliminated Northern Michigan
from the game.
After another penalty shot
was called with under ten min-
utes remaining, Copp buried it
home through Coreau's five hole,
making the score 6-1. Northern
Michigan got a goal late in the
game, but it was too little too
The special teams, which were
exceptional on Friday, played
with a similar vigor on Saturday
The power-play unit followed

up Friday's impressive two-for-
three performance with two
more power-play goals on Sat-
Though the penalty killers
didn't tally a short-handed goal
like on Friday - one of senior
Kevin Lynch's two goals - they
did hold Northern Michigan's
power play scoreless yet again.
"I think that was the best
game we've played all year. We
started hot, finished hot, and
we were great all around," Ben-.
nett said. "I thought our special
teams played really well. We
dominated the game, and we
knew kind of beforehand that
we wanted to stick the dagger
in (Northern Michigan) and we
Michigan will be back in
action next weekend, traveling
to Western Michigan for the sec-
ond round of the CCHA plavoffs.

From Page 1B
And who's to say the outcome
on Sunday would've been differ-
ent with someone on the court
who was honored in Crisler
before the game?
The hard part is that leader-
ship isn't something you can
teach. Certain people have it,
certain people don't, and for
some, it's something that devele-
ops over time.
Last year's senior leader was
Zach Novak, who's probably
been a natural, vocal leader since
he started playing organized
. sports. He was in your face,
aggressive and loud - it was
very clear who was the heart and
soul of the team.
This year, the de-facto leaders
were supposed tobe Hardaway
and Burke. They are the two best
players,therefore, they should
be the team's leaders, right?
It's not that easy. When asked
after the game how he was plan-
ning on helpingthe team forget
about the loss and move onto
the Big Ten Tournament, Hard-
away didn't have an answer. He ,
couldn't think of anything.

Novak would have had an
People forget that Burke is
just a sophomore. He's 20 years
old. He's not Novak yet, not
someone who will get in people's
faces and challenge them to rise
to the challenge.
This isn't to say the two are
bad leaders - it's just not a
strong suit; it doesn't come as
naturally. Maybe that skill devel-
ops by the time Burke and Hard-
away are seniors - if they stay at
Michigan that long - but right
now, it's just not there.
When Michigan is playing in
the Big Ten Tournament next
week, or the NCAA Tournament
the week after that, look at who's
stepping up and challenging
guys during timeouts. See who
looks in control during moments
of peril.
It's impossible to judge how
much different the makeup of
this team would be with a true
senior leader on the floor, but on
Sunday, it was very clear Michi-
gan needed someone whose
recognition didn't end before the
game started.
-Cook can be reached
at evcook@umich.edu

1 tll{iJ V " .VM1 ll Vl 4111' Flllll i "


and then cleared the puck after
rebounds to kill the penalty.
And 30 seconds after the pen-
alty ended, sophomore forward
Alex Guptill scored to give, his
team the early lead.
The special-teams unit embod-
ies a larger part of Michigan's
improved play: the increased
effort put forth and better looks
at net.
Senior forward Kevin Lynch's
shorthanded goal on Friday night
came after he played up the ice
instead of waiting back. Lynch
grabbed a turnover near the blue
line and took the puck to the net
where he gave himself a clear
But the special teams don't

require something special at
practice. Instead of waiting for
the perfect chance at the net, the.
Wolverines are swinging freely at
the net.
"We talked about simplicity
over the last couple weeks and
getting pucks to the net and get-
ting guys to the front of the net,"
Copp said. "Speaking for myself,
my goal was a rebound goal,
(Kevin) Lynch's goal last night
was a rebound goal, so simplicity
is really what we've been focused
Ultimately, Michigan's special
teams will only be special if they
are good enough to create wins.
Six straight wins at the perfect
time qualifies as special.


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