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September 27, 2013 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-09-27

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Fridau, September 27, 2013 - 7

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Fridau, September 27, 2013 - 7

Standout Osika
poised to lead

Junior defender Chloe Sosenko nearly went to Central Michigan, but after a coaching change, some phone calls and faith, she ended up playing soccer at Michigan,
Sosenko quieting doubters

has be
until C
of hig
ines' p
one d
522 o
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By JAKE LOURIM Shivraman said. "When your own my prc
Daily Sports Writer teammates are unable to be criti- felt in
cal of a playerlike Chloe, you have "I did:
aior defender Chloe Sosenko that leader in you." any of
come a fixture in the Mich- It wasn't long before Sosenko ing. If
women's soccer starting was showing her ability on the oppori
p. Which is strange, because practice field. literall
Christmas of her senior year "At practices, she really caught The
th school, she thought she our attention," Shivraman said. He
I be going to Central Michi- "You have a 14-year-old going Sosenl
against a 17- or 18-year-old. Right Novi
ose plans changed, and a key there, she caught our eye. She was Thing:
was added to the Wolver- not out of place. She felt very com- had to
program. fortable in that environment." a visit
enko is Michigan's premier Sosenko became one of the best He
le defender, its best one-on- players Shivraman has coached, the se
efender and one of its most earning second-team all-state neede
tent contributors, playing honors her senior year and being -On t
f the Wolverines' last 550 elected captain her junior and was ta
es - she sat only when they senior years. Three months later, tant D
d Butler and needed extra she started all over as a member were c
ers. of the Wolverines. and sa
1, Sosenko would be 130 Sosenko was set to continue you -
north of Ann Arbor if not hercareerbymovingonto Central here?'
Central Michigan coach- Michigan. She liked the Chippe- Aftc
hange, some phone calls to was' style of play and their coach, decisic
gan coach Greg Ryan and Tom Anagnost. But that winter, wenti
aith in the hard-working Anagnost took the job at Miami decisic
dog from 20 miles up the (Fla.), changing everything. goingt
*** to a s
When Anagnost left, it forced third(
enko has always had to Sosenko to weigh her options. walk-c
herself, but she first caught Go with Anagnost to his new "Ye
ye of her Brighton (Mich.) job at Miami? Too far away. Go Wit
School coach, Deepak to Michigan State? Didn't have of peai
aman, at her freshman try- space on the roster. Stay at Cen-
osenko could compete with tral Michigan? Sosenko, who was ***
eniors because of her com- named an Academic All-Big Ten
e, and those players don't honoree last season, knew there Liki
around often. were better options on the table. Sosenl
e said, 'We'll take her,' " That left Sosenko with one "W
aman said. "Generally, option: become a Wolverine and about
some of the younger play- not play soccer. Three years after cious,'
t takes a little bit of time to her high-school career started to player
climated.... With Chloe, it blossom into a college future, it Thats
ight away, she was ready. appeared her dream would die. of play
ever looked back. She played "All my friends and family didn't
veteran, she practiced like a were shocked that I even consid- Onc
an, it was fantastic." ered that option," Sosenko said. "I dence
stayed after practice to started to realize that the reason In her
on finishing scoring oppor- for going to school was academ- season
es and became one of Brigh- ics, and I'm not going to play soc- earner
iggest weapons. Shivraman cer the rest of my life." later a
eady to name Sosenko a cap- Sosenko tried to be happy with SoS
as a sophomore because of going to Michigan, but she wasn't assign
adership. complete. She had the opportu- marks
au know you've got a captain nity to get a top-notch education, for the
:y when you can't find any but it wasn't perfect. switch
s who are critical of her," "Every time I went through enko f

os and cons list, something
ncomplete," Sosenko said.
n't have that confidence in
the decisions I was mak-
felt lost, and then once this
tunity came around, it was
ly a no-brainer."
n, Ryan came knocking.
said he first got a call from
ko's club coach with the
Jaguars, Paul Tinnion.
s moved quickly, as they
. Ryan invited Sosenko for
after their first phone call.
saw her play twice during
ason, and that was all he
the visit, Sosenko said Ryan
lking with Michigan assis-
Dean Duerst as if Sosenko
oming. Ryan turned to her
aid, "I haven't even asked
- are you going to come
er what seemed like a sure
on, months of wondering
into the next word. The
on seemed to be between
to a better academic school
ot playing soccer or going
maller school and playing
. It turned out there was a
option: join Michigan as a
s," Sosenko said quickly.
h that word came a moment
e Shivraman, Ryan liked
ko immediately.
hat impresses me most
Chloe is that she's tena-
Ryan said. "She's that
that refuses to get beat.
separated Chloe from a lot
yers, and that's something I
know about her."
ce Sosenko gained the confi-
in her ability, her role grew.
r first two weeks in pre-
n camp as a freshman, she
d a small scholarship, then
larger one.
enko now has a major
ment: each game, she
the best outside player
e other team. If that player
hes to the other side, Sos-
ollows her.

Opponents expect to have to
account for senior forward Nkem
Ezurike and senior defenders
Shelina Zadorsky and Holly Hein,
but Sosenko often surprises them.
"Chloe is constantly stepping
onto the field ready to prove her-
self," Ryan said. "When she has
to play against the best attacking
player every week, I know she's
stepping out there going, 'I've got
to prove myself again today."'
Sosenko's rise at Michigan
happened as quickly as it did at
Brighton. First was her first col-
lege assist against Oakland on
Aug. 21, 2011.
Then her first goal against
DePaul on Aug. 28 of that year.
Then her first start against West-
ern Michigan on Sept. 9.
She surprised everyone -
except Shivraman. When he
called coaches at other colleges
about Sosenko, they were skepti-
cal because of her 5-foot-4 height.
"It's a joke to me," Shivraman
said. "It always makes me laugh.
These are coaches who have no
Last season, Sosenko played
in all 24 matches and started 23.
This season, she has played in all
eight and started seven.
She was set to play at a Mid-
American Conference school, and
now she's starting for the No. 13
team in the country. Anagnost
was fired after two seasons at
Miami. Last season, Michigan
trailed Central Michigan in the
NCAA Tournament until Sos-
enko assisted on the game-tying
goal with 40 seconds left. Sosen-
ko played all 95 minutes, and the
Wolverines won in overtime en
route to their first Sweet 16 since
Anywhere else she went,
things would have worked out
differently - for Sosenko and for
That was in the past. Friday
night, Sosenko will make her
eighth straight start for the Wol-
verines, helping them chase their
first-ever Big Ten regular-season
That would have surprised
everyone three years ago. At least
until they saw her play.

DailySports Writer
The transition to college can
be challenging. Enrolling half-
way through the academic year
certainly doesn't make the pro-
cess any easier.
Tacking on a starring role on
the Michigan women's track
and field team? All in a day's
work for standout redshirt
sophomore Shannon Osika.
Joining the Wolverines half-
way through the 2011-2012 sea-
son, Osika made an immediate
impact as a freshman, earning
All-Big Ten first-team honors
and running the 1,200-meter
leg of the Big Ten-winning dis-
tance medley relay.
It might have been over-
whelming for some, but the
soft-spoken, even-keeled Osika
took it all in stride.
"I didn't really expect any-
thing, I just wanted to come in
with an open mind," Osika said.
"I knew the other girls had been
training, I did a lot of work too
coming in, so I knew I'd be able
to transfer over pretty well. But
it was just exciting to be a part
of that top group because there
are a lot of good strong runners
on the team."
Much of that top group, how-
ever, was reaching the end of
their collegiate careers, leav-
ing behind a youth-laden, inex-
perienced squad looking for
underclassmen to step up to the
plate and establish the future
of Michigan cross country and
track. Osika was in a perfect
position to oblige.
It shouldn't come as much of
a surprise that Osika adapted
to the collegiate environment
so fluidly; not only did both of
her parents run track in col-
lege, they were both coached
by Michigan coach Mike McG-
wire. That Osika ended up at
Michigan herself, then, is no
"What I really wanted was to
be on ateam where the girls are
really close, and are excited to
go to practice," she said. "And I
really liked coach McGuire, so
it just seemed like a perfect fit."
While Osika found her per-
fect match at Michigan, the
Wolverines could not have
been happier with her consis-
tent production. Following her
shortened, yet breakout fresh-
man season, Osika returned in
2012 for her first full season of
collegiate competition as a red-
shirt freshman.
And she didn't disappoint.
Playing a major role in Michi-
gan winning the Big Ten and
Great Lakes Region titles in the
2012 season, Osika was reward-
ed with All-Big Ten second-
team honors and the Big Ten
Freshman of the Year award.
But she wasn't done yet. Dur-
ing the indoor track season,
she finished 14th in the mile

run, her signature event, at the
NCAA Indoor Championships,
and made the All-America sec-
ond team. All in all, the year
could not have gone better,
but Osika was quick to shift
the focus away from her past
achievements and toward her
upcoming sophomore season.
"I'm really happy with how
it went, I think it was a really
good season," said Osika. "But
I'm really excited for this sea-
son too because we did lose
some top girls, but a lot of peo-
ple are stepping up. So while it's
great that we had a great sea-
son, I think we'll have an even
better one this year."
Though Osika's pedigree may
have foreshadowed her current
standout status for the Wol-
verines, her general demeanor,
described by McGuire as "shy,"
is certainly not a typical trait
of an athlete on a team. But
that's only because Osika pre-
fers to let her running do the
talking, leaving behind a mod-
est, unassuming backdrop that
only accentuates her talent and
potential on the track.
This is not to say she doesn't
feel the pressure of a young
squad looking for a rock to rely
on. Far from it, in fact.
"I feel it a little bit, but it's
not bad pressure," she said.
"It's good, it's motivating and
encouraging. We've talked
about it, and we're pretty excit-
ed about taking that leadership
role and keeping the ball roll-
In that vein, Osika said she
stepped up her offseason rou-
tine, putting in more miles and
working to be more fit than she
was a year before. The early
results have certainly been
encouraging. She defended
her title in the season-opening
Michigan Open event, winning
Big Ten Athlete of the Week in
the process. Though she has
been sidelined the past few
weeks with a shin injury, she
hopes to be back for Michigan's
next event at the Rim Rock
Farm Classic on Oct. 5.
Considering Osika's across-
the-board success in both cross
country and track and field,
one might be hard-pressed to
discern her favorite of the two
But Osika refuses to play
favorites herself.
"Cross country is my favor-
ite when it's cross country sea-
son, and track is my favorite
when it's track and field sea-
son," Osika said. "I think that's
a good way to look at it, too. I
never want to just compete, I
want to embrace the season I'm
It's an attitude befitting an
athlete who always keeps her
sights focused straight ahead,
letting her maturity, poise and
talent shine through every step
of the way.

*After summer of training, Bektas, Bolender ready for season

For The Daily
With tournament play just
getting underway for the Michi-
gan women's tennis team this
past weekend at the Wolverine
Invitational, a new and improved
work ethic was brought to the
court to start the season. After
a long summer of individualized
training, the team seems excited
to make some breakthroughs
this year and is certainly ready
to redeem itself after a loss to No.
7 UCLA in last spring's NCAA
Sweet 16.
Junior Emina Bektas and
senior Brooke Bolender trained
and competed both at home and
around the country this summer
before transitioning back to the
team environment.
Bektas came onto Michigan's
tennis radar early in her fresh-
man year when she was named
Big Ten Freshman of the Year
and earned All-America hon-
ors in singles while cruising to

a 33-10 record in doubles. As a
sophomore, she was a two-time
Big Ten Athlete of the Week and
earned a berth in both the NCAA
singles and doubles champion-
Now, as an upperclassman,
Bektas finds herself in a lead-
ership position and is ready to
make some strides in her game,
both physically and mentally.
She went 2-1 last weekend in sin-
gles in the Wolverine Invitation-
al, with a key win over Tulane's
No. 23 Klara Vyskocilova.
"This summer was more pro-
ductive as a whole," Bektas said.
"After freshman year, I took a lot
of time off and felt slower and
a little more burnt out, but this
year has been easier. I'm excited
to see what I can do."
Most of Bektas's summer was
spent with Bolender, as the two
traveled and followed a proper
training regime of lifting three
times a week, playing two hours
of tennis a day and running
when there was time in between.


made me really want to get back
to the team and keep going with
the momentum."
Bolender is definitely one to
keep an eye on this season as
The Florida native was the
first Michigan freshman to win
30 matches in a season - set-
ting a new record with 35 singles
wins - earning Big Ten Fresh-
man of the Year as well as All-
Big Ten. Her sophomore year,
she was named to the All-Big
Ten team and began to play with
Bektas, advancing to the semi-
finals at the USTA/ITA Mid-
west Regional tournament. As
a junior, she was voted captain,
had an extraordinary 7-0 win
over Ohio State to seal the Wol-
verines' fourth straight Big Ten
championship and, along with
Bektas, was the nation's fourth-
ranked doubles pairing. She went
3-1 at the Wolverine Invitational
last weekend.
"The back-to-school transi-
tion has been a little tricky for me

personally," Bolender said. "I'm
taking my elementary education
classes in the morning, which
means I'm sometimes left to
practice on my own. As a whole,
though, everyone is coming in
with high expectations, and the
work ethic is really solid."
As for her summer competi-
tion, Bolender said, "I was a little
disappointed with the singles
outcomes in most of my individ-
ual tournaments back home in
Florida, but Emina and I played
really well together in Evans-
ville, and it was great to compete
outside of our dual matches. I
can't complain about that. There
was even good and bad this past
weekend, but that just shows
what I need to work on.
"I know I'll work through
the struggles and get better this
Next up, the Wolverines are
set to compete inthe Riviera/ITA
Women's All-American Champi-
onships in California from Sept.
28-Oct. 6.

Junior Emina Bektas lifted three times
a week this summer, played two hours
of tennis a day and ran in between,
While back in their respec-
tive hometowns, Bektas and
Bolender were able to have more
freedom with their individual
coaches and even had the chance
to play in tournaments against
some Big Ten rivals.
"Competition-wise, this sum-

mer was really good for me,"
Bektas said. "I wasn't expect-
ing much, but Brooke and I took
the doubles title at the Women's
Hospital Classic in (Evansville,
Ind.) in July, and I took the sin-
gles title as well. P felt like things
were starting to pick up, which


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