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November 13, 2013 - Image 7

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0 The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 -- 7A.

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, November13, 2013 - 7A

Indiana first in conf. tournament

ERIN KIRKLAND/Daily
Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison held Nebraska to 17 points but wishes he had taken a timeout-on a key fourth down.
Mattison laments play

By LIZ VUKELICH
Daily Sports Editor
Hindsight is always 20-20, as
Michigan football coach Brady
Hoke would remind the public
when asked about what he would
change about the team's 17-13 loss
to Nebraska on Saturday.
Unlike Hoke, though, defen-
sive coordinator Greg Mattison
seems to be kicking himself after
reviewing the game film. He can
easily pinpoint the one thing
he wished he could go back and
change - it was a timeout, or rath-
er, one he didn't call.
. Watching the tape takes Mat-
tison back to that moment, to the
fourth quarter, when Michigan
had a three-point lead over the
Cornhuskers. Nebraska was in
the middle of a 75-yard drive, but
the Wolverines were solid enough
that they had stopped the Corn-
huskers on the Michigan 31-yard
line, facing a fourth-and-2.
But Nebraska surprised the
Wolverines by deciding to go for
it as opposed to attempting a field
goal to tie the game.
There were enough reasons
for the Cornhuskers to want to
go for it on the fourth down. In

his postgame press conference,
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said the
wind was just strong enough that
he didn't think his kicker would
be in a good position to succeed.
Cornhusker quarterback Tommy
Armstrong Jr. said they had so
much momentum on that drive,
it didn't even occur to him the
coaches would try and do any-
thingbutgo for it.
The next play sealed the Wol-
verines' fate - Nebraska con-
verted the first down, not just by
barreling two yards, but with a
short pass that was run up about
20 yards to set up a first-and-goal
that eventually led to a touch-
down.
Watching the film, Mattison
now sees all the glaring signs
indicating he should've called a
timeout.
"We were in man coverage,
and we've got two young guys
and they weren't in as tight cov-
erage as they should've been," he
said. "I'll put that on me."
Mattison said reminding
those two young guys - fresh-
men defensive backs Dymonte
Thomas and Channing Stribling
- to tighten up their coverage
could've changed everything.

In fact, Mattison mentioned
four times during his Tuesday
press conference that he wished
he'd called the timeout to remind
the two to reposition, citing the
Cornhuskers' "fast offense" as
one of the things that caught the
Wolverines off guard.
Now, Mattison says he's left
lamenting his lapse in judgment
that could've changed the course
of Michigan's season.
"You're two plays away from
sitting here 8-1," he said. "Hope-
fully the next time that happens,
you don't see (the cornerbacks) do
that. It was a shame it was a 4th-
and-two."
Stopping that play would've
been a huge momentum changer,
but Mattison is trying to down-
play the importance of a misstep
like that - with the Michigan
defense having to take on an
increased role as of late due to
offensive miscues, he tries not to
bring it up too much.
"Throughout the years, our
offense has bailed us out a num-
ber of times," Mattison said. "Our
message to our team before the
game is you are accountable to
every other guy in that defensive
room."

By MINH DOAN
Daily Sports Writer
The last time the Michigan
and Indiana men's soccer teams
met, the two programs were
fighting for a spot in the NCAA
Tournament.
Two and
a half weeks Indiana at
later, nothing Michigan
has changed.
The Big Matchup:
Ten Bigmee Indiana 6-11-
Ten foes meet Michigan
Wednesday in 8-6-3
a must-win for
each team in When:
Wednesday
order to qualify 4:30 p.m.
for the NCAA
Tournament. Where: Jesse
Toraet Owens Memo-
"Based on rial Stadium
RPI, we're in Columbus
going to have
to win our next TV/Radio:
two games to mgoblue.com
make it into the
tournament,"
said Michigan senior forward
Malcolm Miller.
The Wolverines take on the
Hoosiers in the first round of the
Big Ten Tournament in Colum-
bus at Jesse Owens Memorial
Stadium. The Wolverines will
look to make it three straight
wins againstthe reigningnation-
al champions and move on to
face another competitive oppo-
nent in No. 16 Penn State in the
semifinals.
"It's going to be an interest-
ing Big Ten Tournament," said
Michigan coach Chaka Daley.
"Any five or six teams could win
the tournamenton any given day.
The league is competitive from
top to bottom."
Michigan (3-3 Big Ten, 8-6-3
overall) goes into the tourna-
ment having lost to Michigan
State last Saturday - a loss that
cost it the No. 2 seed in the Big
Ten and instead made it the No.
4 seed. The Wolverines domi-
nated possession and shot totals
in the first half but couldn't put
away a goal. A red card to sopho-
more defender Jack Brown in
the second half turned the game
around, and the Spartans walked

.
+f .

JAME rSULLER/Daily
Senior forward Malcolm Miller knows what is at stake on Wednesday.

away with the win and the Big
Bear Trophy.
* "We have to have a short-term
memory," Miller said. "We ana-
lyze the last performance, and
we move on."
The Hoosiers (2-4, 6-11-1)
ended their disappointingseason
on a high note last Saturday with
a 3-0 win against Northwestern.
Indiana has won three of its last
11 games.
The Hoosier offense is led by
senior midfielders AJ Corrado, a
2012 third-team All-American,
and Nikita Kotlov, who leads the
team in both assists and goals.
Indiana will look to pressure the
ball and create quality chances at
the Michigan goal.
"(The Hoosiers) are a good
team," Daley said. "They're prob-.
ably the best 6-11 team in the his-
tory of college soccer." .
The two teams last met in
late October at the U-M Soccer
Stadium, where the Wolver-
ines walked away victorious in
a 2-1 thriller for their first-ever
win over Indiana in Ann Arbor.
Michigan again dominated most

of the first half, but it was the
Hoosiers who found the back
of the net, giving them a 1-0 -
lead going into halftime. The
second half was better for the-,
Wolverines, as freshman for-
ward Yamann Sahlool tied the
score- and junior midfielder TJ
VanSlooten put away a rebound
late in the half to allow Michigan
to escape with the win.
But this time around, the Wol-
verines will be missing two key
stalwarts on their back line.
Brown and freshman defender
Lars Eckenrode, two mainstays
on the Michigan defense, will
have to miss the game. Brown is
missing the game due to his red
card in Saturday's game against
Michigan State. Eckenrode was
given his fifth yellow card of the
season, which results in a one-
game suspension. The absences
of these two players will test the
Wolverines' depth.
"We have a deep team," Miller
said. "We have a lot of guys who
can step up and are more than
capable of doing the job. It's not -
that big of a deal."

reshmen share long-standing history

By JEREMY SUMMITT
Daily Sports Editor
Evan Allen remembers his
coach's pregame speech before
he and fellow Michigan fresh-
man forward Tyler Motte's
Detroit Honeybaked squad lined
up against Team Illinois a few
years back. Their coach told them
to watch out for a kid named JT
Compher.
"I remember coach saying they
had a strong player, JT Compher,"
Allen said. "He was the best play-
er on the ice and really hard to
play against."
Honeybaked and Team Illinois
are two of the most respected
youth ptograms in the nation,
raking in regional and national
championships on an annual
basis. From being old youth hock-
ey rivals to lacing up their skates
against Division I competition,
Allen, Compher and Motte's paths'
have frequently converged on and
off the ice.
After many years as rivals,
Allen, Motte and Compher joined
forces as a part of the Michigan
hockey team's 2013 recruiting
class. The trio has played on the
same line for nearly a month,
becoming the team's second-most
productive unit with 11 points in

Allen and Motte share a rich
history as teammates during their
emergence as top youth play-
ers in the Midwest Elite Hockey
League. They met for the, first
time nearly seven years ago, and
have both been playing against
Compher for just as long.
"Chicago and Detroit obviously
have three to four teams each (in
the MEHL)," Motte said. "It was
always a big rivalry, so we would
see each other in big tourna-
ments. We would see each other
a lot in semifinals, so it's been a
great rivalry for awhile."
Just two years ago, the trio
was selected to join the United
States National Team Develop-
ment Program with 20 other top
players from around the country.
It was there, through the program
based in Ann Arbor, that the trio
became a tight-knit group.
"They're together at one high
school from seven in the morning
all the way until six at night every
single day, so the bond between
teammates was extremely tight,"
said former U.S. NTDP coach Don
Granato. "It was more of a best-
friend type of relationship."
Playing under Granato, Motte
and Compher were often paired
on the same line, developing
plenty of chemistry along the

were highly regarded as superb
two-way players with the ability
to grind it out in the corners and
shut down high-octane forwards.
"They could perform well at a
high-skill game from a defensive
standpoint. and a grind-it-out
game from a scoring standpoint,"
Granato said.
Allen, on the other hand, has
always possessed a different play-
ing style than his two teammates.
He's had p knack for scoring ever
since his days at Honeybaked,
where he says he and Mottewere
typically the go-to guys.
Granato recalls constantly.
searching for more ways to get
Allen in spots where he could
shoot the puck. Allen netted 23
goals last season with the NTDP,
where stats are often deflated
with a demanding schedule
against top collegiate and inter-
national programs.
Allen, Compher and Motte
have hardly changed their ways
since coming to Michigan, and
that comes as no surprise to
Granato and Michigan coach Red
Berenson.
Allen continues to put pucks in
the net, and Compher continues
to be a scrapper in front of the
crease and in the defensive cor-
ners. Motte is making his case as

on the Wolverines' roster and has
sniped a couple gdals early in the
season.
"Tyler is a good two-way play-
er, smart with the puck," Beren-
son said. "The puck seems to
find him and follow him around.
Well, that's because he's in the
right place at the right time. He's
always had a history of scoring.
Defensively, he's earning our
trust, and that's important."
All three of Michigan's stand-
out freshmen agree they made the
best decision by staying in Ann
Arbor after their NTDP careers.
Even before the trio teamed up on
the national team, they discussed
where their paths might cross

next.
Roughly a year before joining
the NTDP, Motte and Compher
recall playing in a prospects tour-
nament in Toronto where, at the
time, they hardly knew each other
and were paired on the same line.
They scored a few points during
the showcase event and decided
to stay in touch afterwards.
"We had really good chemistry
when we played in that tourna-
ment together," Compher said.
"It was kind of like, why don't
we keep that going, and then we
ended up making the national
program."
Compher was the first to com-
mit to Michigan, and then Allen

joined conversations with Motte
about coming. There was no rea-
son to dismantle what was work-
ing, and the chemistry between
the three has been a critical base
for the Wolverines' early success
this season.
On the ice, they're three of
the most dynamic freshmen in
the country. After practice and
outside team meetings, the trio's
long-lasting friendship continues
to prosper. When asked if the trio
influenced each other's decisions
during the recruiting process,
Motte said it certainly didn't hurt.
There's no telling how long
their roads will remain connected
after their Michigan careers.

Freshman forward JT Compher is on a line with two other rookies, but the unit hast11 points in eight games this season.

I

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