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April 23, 2013 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-04-23

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The Michigan Daily - michigandailv.com

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 7

The Michiean Daily - michieandailv.com Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 7

Wolverines on a roll
Ue --,

Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan softball team has
been untouchable in the Big Ten,
and with a perfect 16-0 conference
record thus far, it's in great posi-
tion to grab the
program's sixth Central
straight confer-
ence champion- Michigan at
'ship title. Michigan
The Wolver-
ines are cur- Matchup:
rentl thebest Central 25-13;
rently the best Michigan 39-7,
offensive team
in the Big Ten, When: Tues-
leading the con- day 6 p.m. .
ference with Where: Wil-
a .349 batting pon Complex
average, a .538 TV/Radio:
slugging per- mgoblue.com
centage and a
.434 on-base
percentage. They are also leading
the Big Ten in nearly every other
offensive category, including runs,
hits, RBI, triples, home runs, total
bases ond walks. The pitching has
backed the offense up, averaging
almost one strikeout per inning.
Tuesday, No. 9 Michigan (16-0
Big Ten, 39-7 overall) will take a
break from dominating confer-
ence play to face Central Michigan
(11-3 Mid-American Conference,
25-13) at Alumni Field. The Chip-
pewas are coming off a heart-
breaking 3-2 extra-inning loss
to Toledo on Sunday, a loss that
snapped a seven-game winning
streak in which Central Michigan
outscored conference opponents,
39-15, to climb into second place in
the MAC.

'M' needs
Daily Sports Writer
It's resum6-building season
for the Michigan baseball team.
Not individually, though.
coach Erik Michigan
Bakich and a
his players
aren't leav- Michigan
ing Ann Arbor Matchup:
for anything Michigan
besides road 22-16; East-
games, but the ern 18-18
Wolverines When: Tues-
are beginning day 6 p.m.
to construct.
an impressive Where:
NCAA Tour- Oestrike
nament rdsu- Stadium
"Every game from this point
on, whether conference or non-
conference, is critical, as we're
putting together a resume not
only to win a conference cham-
pionship, but to earn an at-large
berth into the NCAA Tourna-
ment," Bakich said.
Michigan (8-4 Big Ten, 22-16-
overall) will travel to Ypsilanti,
Mich. to take on Eastern Michi-
gan (8-7 Mid-American Confer-
ence, 18-18) on Tuesday in its
next opportunity to maintain an
already impressive slate.
Monday, Bakich said soph-
omore right-hander James
Bourque will get the start for
the Wolverines. Bourque has
already established his role as
a midweek starter, boasting a
3.51 earned-run average in 41
innings. Opposing batters are
hitting just .263 against him.
In a disappointing weekend at

a rebound
Northwestern, the Wolverines
faltered when they had chances
to extend the lead. Many hard-
hit balls were pulled back into
the park due to brutal weather
conditions, but as Bakich said,
loud outs aren't going to con-
tribute to winning games.
"We need to adjust to the ele-
ments, and when the wind is
howling in like it was all three
games this weekend, we need
to do a better job of hitting line
drives and hard groundballs,"
Bakich said.
Michigan left six runners on
base in an extra-innings heart-
breaker in game two of Sunday's
doubleheader, and the inability
to record hits with runners in
scoring position continues to be
the Wolverines' achilles heel.
Still, the pitching has been
stellar in the last few weeks
and has been the base of Michi-
gan's ability to win,10 of its past
12 games. Bourque will look
to keep the Wolverines' recent
success alive, and with another
pitching performance like last
week's - he didn't allow a hit
against then-No. 29 Notre Dame
in 7.2 innings - Michigan's
chances are looking bright.
Continuously adding tallies
to the Wolverines' win column
will only help the construction
of their NCAA Tournament
resume that already boasts five
combined wins against Michi-
gan State and Notre Dame,
which sit at Nos. 26 and 27,
respectively, in the RPI. With
obvious work 'left to do, Tues-
day's game, and every game
after, is crucial heading into the
Big Ten Tournament.

Freshman outfielder Sierra Lawrence won her first Big Ten Freshman of the Week award after a grand slam Sunday.

The Chippewas are efficient
offensively and don't leave many
runners on base. Coupled with
a strategy that includes aggres-
sive base stealing makes them a
hard team to play against. A key
to Toledo's win Sunday was catch-
ing Central Michigan in unlucky
double plays and picking off its
runners, so for Michigan to have
success, its infield will have to dis-
play the same discipline against
crafty baserunners.
Offensively, the Wolverines can
steal bases, too, especially senior
second baseman Ashley Lane,
who is 7-for-8 in steal attempts. In
addition to base running, Michi-
gan will count on freshmen Sierra
Romero and Sierra Lawrence to
drive in runs. Lawrence claimed
her first Big Ten Freshman on the

Week award after batting .462
while having a hit and a RBI in
each of Michigan's four confer-
ence games. On Sunday, she hit
her first-career grand slam against
Iowa and tied her career-best
with four RBI. Fellow classmate
Romero has already received six
weekly rookie awards this season,
prompting teams to pitch around
her. She has gotten on base each of
the last 25 games, and has already
hit 19 home runs.
Behind the offensive firepower
is a strong pitching rotation con-
sisting of sophomores Sara Dries-
enga and Haylie Wagner. Over the
weekend, Driesenga struck out
six batters on her way to her fifth
shutout of the season. Meanwhile,
Wagner won her 15th game behind
five strikeouts and zero walks.

When these teams met last
year, the Wolverines earned a
run-rule victory after six innings.
The Chippewas were the first to
score, but Michigan put up nine
runs in the sixth inning and even-
tually won the game, 10-2. Explo-
sive innings like that have become
common for the Wolverines,
who've picked up 15 mercy-rule
decisions this year. If their bats get
hot, they could add another and
extend their winning streak to 22.
Their current 21-game win
streak is the longest in the nation
and their 16-straight conference
wins make up the best streak since
2009, when they won 17 in a row.
To make things even harder for
Central Michigan, the game is in
Ann Arbor, where Michigan is
undefeated on the year.

An early look into women's lacrosse and the birth of a program

To g
a rathe
State S
look fo
the se
dents i
on Fri
the we
letic d
stick a
the sev
ent in
feel. I:
a larg
head c

By THEO DUBIN ing a women's lacrosse program
Daily Sports Writer from the ground up. Working day
after day, they make recruiting
et to the Michigan women's calls,, write the team handbook,
e offices, you have to follow draw up the strength-and-condi-
r strange path. Walk down tioning program and even create
treet, past the athletic and a marketing book complete with
offices, then right into the original team logos.
g lot jusf before Yost Ice "Sometimes it's challenging
Once in the parking lot, because you just want to get out
r the last trailer behind the and work with the kids, that's
r track. what we love to do," Ulehla said.
ler? "We want to have that daily inter-
42 degrees and windy on action, coach the sport that we
cond day of a storm that love and just watch individuals
d out power for 1,600 resi- grow."
living near South Campus Ulehla's passion for lacrosse is
iday. Undoubtedly, con- immediately evident in conver-
g an interview in one of sation. She lights up when talk-
:ll-lit, winged-helmet- and ing about the girls she's bringing
rophy-decorated athletic in and the program she wants to
visible from State Street establish.
ve been much more com- She was hired in 2011 by athlet-
e* is director Dave Brandon because
nking wistfully of the ath- of her experience as an assistant
epartment's warm lobby, I coach at Florida from 2008-10.
questionably executed long She was there, in Gainesville, as
over a puddle and ascend the Gators started their women's
ven wooden stairs in'to the lacrosse program from scratch.
The atmosphere is differ- "It takes someone with a lot of
here. perseverance, it takes someone
trailer has a warm, homey with a vision, who can see beyond
i's decorated with maize- the difficult times," Ulehla said.
ue wallpaper and features "It's all part of having that build-
e, silver Starbucks coffee er's mentality. To be able"to see
ne. This trailer has been beyond the present to what the
ted for nearly two years by future is goingto be like."
oach Jennifer Ulehla and Vision is certainly a necessary
nt coach Jen Valore. attribute for the task at hand. A
thave spentthat time build- search of the team's official web-

site shows an empty roster. Of the
28 recruits who will play in the
Wolverines' inaugural 2014 sea-
son, only one - junior Kelley Beck-
er, a transfer from Ohio State - is
even on campus.
Becker has been on campus all
year, the lone member of a team
meant to be 30 deep, working out
one-on-one with the coaching
The team's culture, style of play
and work ethic will have to be cre-
ated by agroup that has never lived
in Ann Arbor, never taken college
classes and, with one exception,
has no college lacrosse experience.
A quick look across the trailer at
the men's lacrosse offices doesn't
conjure many positive thoughts
either. The men's program won its
second game this past weekend,
but it took until its second season
to get it.
Even at the mention of this
troublesome fact, Ulehla refuses
to waiver from her optimism.
"(The men's lacrosse coach-
es) took the club team over, and
I'm starting this program from
scratch," she says. "That was
something I discussed with Dave
Brandon in my interview. The
importance of me being able to
bring in freshmen that I recruit-
ed, they have my mentality, they
know what they are coming into,
what the goals are. They are all on
the same page, as opposed to tak-
ing over a club team, which is a

totally different mentality." "We want to use (the first year) describes. It's clear that she can't
It's clear that she relishes the as a foundation going into our sec- wait to finally coach lacrosse again
opportunity to build a program nd year, and then in that second and see her new recruits in the
after watching someone else do year, we want to really elevate," flesh.
it for three-years: Using the word Ulehla said. "When we get to But between now and then, she
"daunting" to describe her job where we have the depth gnd the still has another couple months
illicits an immediate shake of the experience we need, I want to play in the trailer. She has more plans
head and a wry smile. a very high-tempo game. I want to make and more workout pro-
"It's exciting," she said. "I to be able to play a high-pressure grams to design. At least, she has
would not have taken the job if it defense. The midfield transition embraced her surroundings.
was daunting, that's for sure." is quick, always looking to create "They make us very comfort-
Michigan will be joining the man-up and fast-break situations." able in here," she said. "They give
six-team American Lacrosse Con- She hopes to contend for a us everything we need to be suc,
ference, a league with four top-20 national championship- by her cessful."
teams, three of which rank in the third year. By then, she will have Outside, the wind blows bitter
top six nationally. Still, Ulehla pre- had two recruiting classes and and cold. But inside, for now, it's
dicts an above-.500 record for her enough seasoned players to play warm and calm. Maybe the trailer
first season. the fast-and-furious style * she isn't so bad after all.

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