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April 02, 2013 - Image 8

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8 - Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

8 - Tuesday, April 2, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Old friends, new stage

'M' searching for wins

By EVERETT COOK
Daily Sports Editor
When Michigan coach John
Beilein was in the early stages
of his coaching saga, there was a
man who would occasionally sit
in the stands and watch. Nothing
unusual about that.
The unusual part was that this
man had a coaching pedigree
that far exceeded the man he was
watching, a pedigree that even-
tually landed him into the Bas-
ketball Hall of Fame in 2005.
Back in the early 1990s, Beilein
was coaching Canisius College,
a small Division I school in Buf-
falo, N.Y. The gyms would be tiny
and cramped - nothing like the
Georgia Dome in Atlanta, where
Beilein's current team will play
in the Final Four this weekend.
On Saturday, the Wolverines
will play Syracuse in the Final
Four. Jim Boeheim, the coach
of the Orange and the man that
used to sit in the stands and
watch Beilein at Canisius, will be
the man on the opposite bench.
"I've always admired his
coaching at every level, watch-
ing his teams play," Boeheim said
in a teleconference on Monday.
"We've never even gone out to
dinner, but I just have tremen-
dous respect and admiration for
how he coaches."
Before Canisius - Beilein's
first Division I job - he had
slogged his way through the
lower rungs of the coaching
world, from high school to com-
munity college to Division II.
Canisius was the stepping stone,
leadinghim to Richmond, W. Va.,
and eventually Michigan. With-
out Boeheim, there's a very good
chance Beilein wouldn't have
gotten that job.
"I was a borderline candidate,"

Michigan coach John Belein has been a coach at the collegiate level for35 years. Saturday will be his first Final Four appearance.

By JEREMY SUMMITT
Daily Sports Writer
Coming off a disappointing
opening weekend of conference
play against Minnesota, the
Michigan baseball team (1-2 Big
Ten, 11-14 over-
all) has little
time to dwell Bowling
on the past. Green at
But two M .g
home games MiChign
against strug- Matchup:
gling Mid- BGSU 6-16;
American Michigan 11-14
Conference When: Tues-
foes Tuesday day 4:05 P.M.
and Wednes- Where: Ray-
day should give Fisher Stadium
the Wolverines
a chance to
rebound nicely. First, they will
look to get out of a recent funk
against Bowling Green on Tues-
day. The Falcons are coming off
of a series win at Central Michi-
gan (2-4 MAC, 11-14), which will
visit Ann Arbor on Wednesday.
Bowling Green (2-4, 6-16) will
start freshman left-hander Brett
Fitzwater on the mound against
Michigan's senior right-hander
Ben Ballantine.
The Wolverines' offense will
be licking their chops at the
chance to hit against the strug-
gling freshman. Fitzwater is
posting an 8.31 ERA in two starts
and three appearances this sea-
son.
Statistically, Ballantine is
having a strong season, and his
2.91 ERA in four starts and six
appearances matches up nicely
against Fitzwater. Attacking the
strike zone and keeping games
close has been Ballantine's spe-
cialty, despite his inability to last
more than just a few innings into
his recent starts.
Ballantine has walked just

eight batters this season, a
team best for pitchers who have
thrown at least 20 innings. In
the games he's started, Michigan
has never trailed by more than
one run while he's on the mound.
"He grinds, and he battles,"
said Michigan coach Erik
Bakich. "He's one of the guys
we're going to count on if we're
going to have success. If we need
a right-handed starter, he's cer-
tainly the guy we're gonnago to."
Ballantine should be due for
increased success against a dis-
mal Falcons lineup that consists
of only one player with a batting
average above .300. As a team,
Bowling Green has scored just
89 runs in its 22 games this year.
Luckily for Michigan's
Wednesday starter, who has yet
to be named, Central Michigan's
lineup doesn't have very much
to boast about offensively. The
Chippewas have only one more
player hitting above .300 than
the Falcons do, but they have a
dynamic duo at the top of their
lineup and hit for power with a
team total of 12 home runs on the
year.
Bakich will most likely give
the nod to a left-hander, attempt-
ing to thwart Central Michigan's
speed on the base paths. The
runners the Wolverines would
like to keep off base are also the
Chippewas' two best hitters. The
Regnier brothers, Logan and
Nick, have combined for 24 sto-
len bases in 27 attempts.
Minimizing the damage done
by the Regnier brothers will be
one of Michigan's recipes for
success, along with finding its
offensive groove for the first
time in weeks. Two wins in the
middle of the week might just be
the confidence boost this team
needs as it gets into the heat of
Big Ten play.

Beilein said. "He really got me on
the board. Ended up getting the
job. That was 20 years ago. So I
owe him a lot, and admire him a
lot, as well."
It didn't stop there, either.
Beilein's first job at a major pro-
gram was at West Virginia in
2002, and again, there was some
help from a coaching friend of
his, the man that used to sit in
those rickety bleachers,
"Especially when the West
Virginia athletic director called
me, I told him to hang up the
phone and call John Beilein back
and hire him without waiting
another minute because he's a
great coach and he's won every
place he's been," Boeheim said.
"He's just a tremendous guy and
a great basketball coach."
Beilein will be tasked with
trying to crack Boeheim's famed
2-3 zone, while Boeheim will be

trying to stop a Michigan offense
that he described as "probably
the best offensive team in the
country," and one that will be "by
far the biggest challenge of the
year."
In a tournament that show-
cases quick turnarounds against
completely unfamiliar oppo-
nents, both coaches will have a
whole week to prepare for one
another this time around. That
could benefit Beilein, who in nine
attempts has never won a game
against Boeheim. Still, Boeheim
won't be overlooking Beilein
on Saturday, especially because
Beilein has never had a team
quite as talented as this one.
"He's been successful wher-
ever he's been," Boeheim said. "I
remember him at Erie, Le Moyne,
Canisius, Richmond, you name it.
West Virginia. He's won every
place he's been. That's difficult to

do, to be able to go to five or six
different places and win.
"John has been able to win at
every place along the line, and
nothing different now."
Without Canisius, and without
West Virginia, who knows where
Beilein would've ended up.
Maybe not at Michigan. With-
out Boeheim, maybe every part
of Beilein's trajectory stays the
same, and the two would still be
coaching against each other on
Saturday in the Final Four.
Then again, probably not. For
Beilein to be here now, in his first
Final Four, he needed those rec-
ommendations. One doesn't hap-
pen without the other.
It's fitting that in a season
rumored to be Boeheim's last, the
man who could potentially end
his run at a title is a man who he
helped put into that position, way
back at a small school in Buffalo.

Anderson gets win No. 300

By LEV FACHER
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan water polo
team's drubbing of Grove City on
March 17 wasn't all that unique,
save for a lopsided 13-0 final
score.
At least, nobody realized it
was. As it turned out, the vic-
tory marked No. 300 of Michigan
coach Matt Anderson's career in
Ann Arbor - he now accounts for
more than 88 percent of the wins
in the program's 13-year history.
Anderson and his team,
though, weren't making a big deal
about the accomplishment.
"I had no idea (about the mile-
stone) until I read it," Anderson
said. "I'm not even sure if my wife
knows."
He had already joined an elite
class of Michigan coaches, as he is
one of only five to lead a women's
program to 200 wins during his
career.
"Honestly, it's a great accom-
plishment," Anderson said.
"Mainly because it shows that
the program has been very con-
sistent."
In this case, consistency has
translated to Michigan becoming
the winningest program in wom-
en's college water polo since 2001,
the year that the NCAA began
sponsoring a championship.
Anderson sits third on the list
of all-time coaching wins in the
sport and has led the team to
the College Water Polo Associa-
tion Eastern Championship four
times - in 2005 and a three-year
stretch from 2008-10.
The team has found success
outside the swimming pool as
well. Four of Anderson's play-
ers have made the All-Academic
team in both the CWPA and
Association of Collegiate Water
Polo Coaches Polls in all four of
their years at Michigan. In the
program's history, 113 All-Aca-
demic honors have been awarded
to Wolverine players on behalf of
the CWPA and ACWPC.
Anderson deflected credit for
the program's success to the mul-
titude of high-caliber players to
come through Ann Arbor in years
past. True to form, the Michigan
coach vastly understated the suc-
cess his players have experienced
since he took over the program
before the 2003 season.
Former Wolverine goalkeeper

6

6

Michigan coach Matt Anderson has brought Michigan to the national stage.

Betsey Armstrong has won seven
medals with the U.S. national
team, including a gold at the 2012
London Summer Olympics and
silver at the 2008 Beijing Games.
She isn't done contributing to
the Wolverine program, either.
She currently works as an assis-
tant coach for Michigan, and
her presence seems to be paying
off - in Saturday's rivalry clash
against Indiana, senior goalie
Alex Adamson set her career high
in saves with 17, including three
in overtime to preserve a narrow
Michigan lead.
"It says a lot that (she) came
back after playing for Matt," said
junior driver Sophie Hoegh.
In addition, the Wolverines
have seen 24 AWPCA All-Amer-
icans dominate the center pool at
Canham Natatorium, including
senior attacker Kiki Golden, who
took home an honorable mention
in 2011.
Senior attacker Natalie Naruns
pointed to the Eastern Division
Championship as the Wolverines'
constant preseason objective.
Michigan hasn't achieved this
goal every year, but when it miss-
es it's usually by the narrowest of
margins. The Wolverines have
reached the Eastern Champion-
ship title game every year except

for two while under Anderson,
coming away with five trophies.
The 2013 campaign has had its
share of struggles - Michigan's
record, which currently stands at
14-10, is on pace to seta program-
worst winning percentage. The
current low came in 2007, when
the Wolverines went 24-16 and
failed to reach the Eastern Divi-
sion final.
But Anderson seems to have
orchestrated a total about-face
from his team, which is currently
riding a 10-game winning streak
after starting the season 1-7.
"There's a perception that you
have to be in California to be suc-
cessful in water polo," Naruns
said. "Matt's philosophy from the
get go has always been to encour-
age demand and self-discipline,
which has ensured the success of
this program."
Anderson is currently the face
of Michigan water polo, a fact
that isn't likely to change anytime
soon. For now, he has Michigan as
focused as ever heading into post-
season play in search of an NCAA
Tournament bid. The national
championships are yet to come,
but there's no doubt that Ander-
son and the Wolverines have an
excellent foundation for Wolver-
ine teams yet to come.

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