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October 30, 2013 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2013-10-30

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6A - Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Chance at
Daily Sports Writer
A little less than a year ago,
the Michigan men's soccer team
walked off the field, heads down,
as the team across the field cel-
ebrated its NCAA second-round
victory that ended the Wolver-
ines' season. That team across the
field was Akron, and Michigan
will get the chance to avenge that
loss at home Wednesday night
and continue the budding rivalry
between the two schools.
"(The loss) is always on my
mind," said senior defender Eze-
kiel Harris. "Throughout the
years, it's always been Akron
that's been our
biggest enemy" Akron at
The Wolver-M .t
ines (3-2 Big Michigan
Ten, 7-4-2 over- Matchup:
all) will look to Akron 11-4-1;
continue a very Michigan 7-4-2
strong home- When:
stand during Wednesday
which they have 7 P.M.
beaten then-No. Where:
12 Creighton, U-M Soccer
Wisconsin and Stadium
Indiana, and TV/Radio:
have scored MGoBlue.com
timely goals in
all three match-
es. With those wins, Michigan
gained important points in the
Big Ten race, moving into second
place in the standings.
The Wolverines will look to get
a win against a perennial power-
house, extending a tough rivalry
between them and the Zips. The
two teams have played each other
every season since 2003 and have
met in the postseason three times
within that span. While Akron
got the better of the Wolverines
twice last season - once in the
regular season and once in the
postseason - Michigan upset the
fourth-ranked Zips in a thrilling
overtime game two years ago. The
Wolverines and the Zips also met
in the NCAA College Cup semifi-

Le ert 2.0 Is bigger,
better in exhibition

Senior defender Ezekiel Harris said Akron had been Michigan's "biggest enemy."

nals three years ago, with Akron
coming out on top, 2-1.
"There's always a lot of banter
going back and forth in the games
against Akron because everyone
wants to win the game," Harris
said. "Whenever we play (Akron),
there are at least a couple yellow
cards and a few red cards too."
But this Zips team isvery differ-
ent from the one that ended Mich-
igan's season last year. Akron lost
six starters from last year's team
including all four All-Americans
to professional leagues. The Zips
also lost their coach, Caleb Porter,
to the Portland Timbers of Major
League Soccer.
"They still have a lot of good
pieces," said Michigan coach
Chaka Daley. "Maybe the person-
alities are a bit younger, but they
still have the same style of play
and formidable players and staff."
Akron (4-1 Mid-American Con-
ference, 11-4-1), led 'by first-year
coach Jared Embick, has played
very good soccer as of late. The
Zips have rattled off their own
unbeaten streak with five wins
and a tie in their last six games,
beating No. 12 Wake Forest and
tying No. 22 Michigan State along
the way.
Akron's offense is led by All-
MAC first-team forward Rein-
aldo Breines and midfielder Adam
Najem, who lead the team in scor-
ing with four goals apiece. The
Zips offense will look to make
quick passes and win the posses-
sion battle.
"(Akron) always seems to have
very shifty players who are good
one-on-one and very techni-
cally skilled," Harris said. "They
always move the ball really quick-

ly so we can't be caught sleeping
or ball watching."
The Michigan offense has been
playing very impressively. Timely
goals, quick movements off the
ball and high pressure have led to
an increase in goals for the team
that had a tough time putting one
goal in the back of the net early
on in the season. Against Indi-
ana, the game-winning goal came
after high pressure by freshman
defender Rylee Woods led to the
cross and goal by junior midfield-
er TJ VanSlooten.
The Wolverine offense will
need to continue this impressive
offensive play to score on Akron
goalie Fernando Pina, who has a
MAC-leading eight shutouts this
Michigan's hopes for an NCAA
bid have been looking up with the
successful homestand, but it will
need to keep up the play to beat
Akron and solidify its place in the
"Akron is what we aspire to be,"
Daley said. "They are ahead of us
in the rankings, and we feel we
need to win this game to deserve a
place in the NCAA Tournament."
Note: The Michigan Athletic
Department is holding a "zero-
waste event" during the soc-
cer game on Wednesday night.
All fan-related waste from the
game will be either recyclable or
compostable. Concessions will
be served in recyclable or com-
postable packaging, and trash
cans will be turned into com-
post bins. Members of Michigan
Student-Athletes for Sustainabil-
ity (M-SAS) will be waste-station
attendants to assist fans with

Daily Sports Writer
When the Michigan men's bas-
ketball team opened last season,
the hope was for then-freshman
guard Caris LeVert to redshirt
and put more muscle on his then-
6-foot-5,170 pound frame.
It wasn't until the Wolverines'
seventh regular-season game -
at Bradley - that LeVert saw the
court for the first time, excluding
the team's exhibition game.
Besides a start against Cen-
tral Michigan, when he played
32 minutes in late December due
to an injury to former Wolverine
Tim Hardaway Jr., LeVert only
had one other game in the regular
season in which he even played
more than 16 minutes.
Then, against Syracuse in
the national semifinals, LeVert
played 21 minutes, scoring eight
points, including two 3-pointers.
For context, LeVert had seven
3-pointers all of last season.
With Hardaway struggling
from the field that game - he shot
4-for-16 from the field - LeVert
played arguably his best game of
the year.
This year, with Hardaway and
Trey Burke gone, and about 25
shots "out there for other people
right now," according to Michi-
gan coach John Beilein, it made
sense that LeVert - now 6-foot-
6, 185 pounds - would be playing
a larger role on the team. After
being the most under-utilized
freshman lastyear, LeVert's class-
mate Glen Robinson III noted he
was looking forward to LeVert
playing more minutes this year.
"As sophomores, we've been
waiting for this moment where
we can get a chance to play
together for a long time," Rob-
inson said. "We've been talking
about this for a year now, and we
just couldn't wait."
Against Concordia on Tuesday,
LeVert looked like a man ready to
take advantage of the moment.
Playing minutes at both the off-
guard and point guard in transi-
tion, LeVert scored 16 points in

nOn'sD7 ELE/Oaily
Sophomore guard Caris LaVert scored lb points in Michigan's 117-44 victary.

Michigan's 117-44 victory.
"He, as you can see, (has) got
a gear that some people don't
have so we want him to do as
much as he can to push the ball
on the court if he gets a rebound,"
Beilein said regarding the dual-
ity of LeVert's play. "And I like
that he's getting bulked up - he
doesn't look bulked up - but for
him, he has put on weight. But if
he can go crash as an off-guard,
you know just take the ball up the
floor, then that really helps us."
Entering the game after about.
3.5 minutes of play, LeVertlooked
more confident on the floor than
he ever did last season. On the
court with freshman point guard
Derrick Walton Jr., LeVert helped
spread the floor with three other
teammates standing at least
6-foot-6 - sophomore guard Nik
Stauskas, redshirt sophomore
forward Max Bielfeldt and sopho-
more forward Glen Robinson III.

. With a height advantage, even
without the Wolverines' two
starting big men, Michigan was
able to play fast and big, creat-
ing chances in the half-court and
transition offenses.
For LeVert, his first scoring
chance came with 13:32 remain-
ing in the half with some nice
ball movement by the Wolver-
ines. With the ball at the top of
key, freshman forward Zak Irvin
found Robinson under the basket.
Though he could have taken a
quick shot underneath the hoop,
he insetad found a wide-open
LeVert in the corner, who nailed
the shot for his first three points
of the game.
For the rest of the first half, as
Michigan pulled away from the
Cardinals, LeVert and the Wol-
verines looked atease.
Playing with the ball in his
hands for the first time, LeVert
See LEVERT, Page 8A


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For the Daily
The women's club hockey team
gets all the perks of playing at
Michigan - home ice at Yost Ice
Arena, world-class coaching,
winged helmets - and now some
of the team's players will have
the opportunity to participate in
international competition.
Junior defenseman Kalli
Bates, graduate student forward
Kristin Griebe, senior forward
Monica Korzon and coach Rob
Blackburn will travel to Tren-
tino, Italy to join Team USA in
the World University Games. The
club players have the opportu-
nity to participate because they
play in the American Collegiate
Hockey Association, which is
where Team USA draws its WUG
"It's always been a goal of mine
to put on a USA uniform," Kor-
zon said. "I've always dreamed
of being on the Olympic team, but
that was pretty lofty. This is the
next best thing."
USA Hockey - the host orga-
nization for the team - had to
cut some of the program's fund-
ing this year, so the coaches had
to use an unorthodox method of
selecting players for the WUG
team. Instead of holding a tryout
as in the past, the coaches had to
scout players in person. Coaches
have seen each of the 17 players
on the roster play in person over
the last year.
The major downside of the
new system was that the coaches
couldn't compare players on the
same scale because they are play-
ing against different talent levels
in each game. In a controlled try-
out, players are competing against
other high-skill-level players,
which is whatthe coaches need to

see before sending players to go
up against the best in the world.
One of the trade-offs for not
allowing checking in women's
hockey is that the game gets
substantially faster. This is even
more the case in the WUG where
games are played on Olympic-
sized ice, which is 15 feet wider
than Michigan's home ice at Yost.
"It's going to be a lot quicker,"
Korzon said. "We are going to
have to be a lot faster and have a
lot smoother flow."
"This is the second time that
the U.S. has sent a women's team
to the WUG," Blackburn said.
"Two years ago in Turkey, we
learned that we need a fast team.
Our criteria (this year) was fast
with a lot of skill."
Leadership is another attribute
that the coaches are looking for
from the three Wolverines on the
roster. Two of the three - Korzon
and Griebe - are co-captains of
the Michigan club team.
Bates will be working closely
with Blackburn, the assistant
coach in charge of Team USA's
defense. Bates isn't afraid to leave
her position on the point and play
a major role in the team's offense,
which is just what Blackburn is
looking for.
Team USA doesn't have any
practices before leaving for the
tournament, so how it comes
together in those few weeks could
very well determine its success.
"We're all coming from dif-
ferent backgrounds and in such
a short time," Griebe said. "We
have to bring everyone together
and see what people's strengths
are individually."
Team USA will meet in Chi-
cago on Dec. 3, and then make
its way to Italy for its first game
of the tournament on Dec. 10
against Russia.



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