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September 04, 2013 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-09-04

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - 7A

Contrite
Gordon
rejoins
team
By MATT SLOVIN
ManagingEditor
Fifth-year senior safety Thom-
as Gordon addressed the media
Tuesday for the first time since
his one-game suspension that,
kept him out of Saturday's season
opener.
Gordon referred to Michigan
coach Brady Hoke as a father ° - x
figure and showed regret for his
actions, which the program has TERRA MOLENGRAFF/Daily
only referred to as a violation of Fifth-year senior safety Thomas Gordon had to watch Michigan's opener at home while serving a one-game suspension.
team rules. his family watched him in amaze- sometimes when redshirt junior Michigan to be a "historic, tradi-
He learned that he would be ment - Gordon said he had no quarterback Devin Gardner tional Notre Dame rivalry."
missing the choice but to understand why the drops back to pass. He'll watch Kelly said he would like to "dis-
Central Michi- NOTEBOOK decision was made. His status as with baited breath as the read is pense with the nonsense," adding
gan game a five-year veteran earned him no made and hope for the best. that the rivalry is "great and his-
through a conversation with sympathy. Last year against Notre Dame, toric."
Hoke some time in the last month. "It doesn't matter what type of all the hoping in the world Since Kelly's comments on
"(Hoke) told me I let the team player you are, especially in this wouldn't have bailed out Denard Sunday, Hoke has repeatedly said
down, and I let him down," Gor- program, there's not going to be Robinson, who threw four first- Notre Dame is a great rival and
don said. "Me and coach Hoke one who is more important than half interceptions in the 13-6 loss even said Tuesday that he hopes
have a great relationship. It was the team," he said. "That's the in South Bend. for the sake of college football
like a father-son talk. I knew message that had to get out." Borges is hoping his offense that the series continues one day.
what was going to happen." NERVOUS BORGES: In the can learn from that disaster and Hoke has previously stated that
The suspension left the Wol- now-iconic photograph of former improve the game plan for Satur- the Fighting Irish are "chickening
verines without both of their Michigan men's basketball star day. out" of playing Michigan. Notre
starting safeties, as senior Court- Trey Burke putting up a 30-footer "Denard took a lot of figurative Dame opted out of the series for
ney Averyunderwentarthroscop- with time winding down in regu- and physical hits in that game," 2015-2017, the last scheduled
ic surgery last month that could lation of the Wolverines' Sweet Borges said. "They weren't all games between the two schools.
also keep him out of the game Sat- Sixteen contest against Kansas, easy, pitch-and-catch throws. NOTE: Borges said fifth-year
urday against No. 14 Notre Dame. coach John Beilein is kneeling. That tells us we've got to take senior wide receiver Joe Reyn-
Gordon was forced to watch His right hand is tightly care of our quarterback. That's olds is "going to be fine" after suf-
the game at home in Detroit with clenched. His eyes are fixated on part of our planning, too." fering an apparent leg injury in
family, away from the teammates the ball as if it could fall out of the KELLY RECANTS: Notre the game against the Chippewas.
he so badly wanted to lead in his sky any minute, ending his team's Dame coach Brian Kelly began Reynolds scored his first career
senior season. And though it was tournament run. his press conference Tuesday by touchdown, and Michigan's first
incredibly frustrating to watch Watching a 3-pointer in the changing his position from a tele- of the season, on a 29-yard punt
from a new perspective - he air is exactly how offensive coor- conference Sunday, when he said block that he took back for a
rattled off defensive schemes as dinator Al Borges said he feels he didn't consider the series with touchdown.
Volleyball position-by-position preview

Field hockey
sets sights on
Final Four
Seasoned team redshirt as a consolation prize,
McCallster was itching to get
finished returns back to competing again.
She got her wish a few months
nearly every starter later, as she was selected to rep-
from 2012 squad resent the United States as a
member of the under-21 World
Cup team in July. After playing
By ZACH SHAW against the best in the world,
Daily Sports Writer McCallister rejoins a team load-
ed with both talent and aspira-
After just three days of prac- tions. Adding another leader
tice, the Michigan field hockey is always good, but Pankratz
team had already looked ready wants to make sure McCallister
to begin the regular season. It sticks to being the same player
was all there on Phyllis Ocker that played every game in the
Field: crisp passes, precise plays Wolverines' 2011 Big Ten title
and energetic communication. campaign.
Three weeks later, it's still "When you play against the
only the first week of Septem- best in the world, your game
ber, but the Wolverines just picks up ," Pankratz said. "You
might be close to ready for the get stronger and faster and
November postseason. better than you ever knew you
Despite a pedestrian 7-5 start could be before. Having her
last year, a thrilling overtime back this year gives us a lot
victory over rival Michigan of leadership and experience
State propelled the young Wol- on the field. We just want her
verines to win eight of their to play her game and do what
final 10 games, good for second she can do, and not try to do
in the Big Ten and ninth place everything. If she does that and
in the NCAA Tournament and everyone else does their job,
final rankings. we'll be fine."
"I was very proud of the team If Michigan's captains aren't
at the time and in hindsight," enough, the addition of an
said Michigan coach Marcia eight-member freshmen class
Pankratz. "Coming just short of should help.
a Big Ten title with one senior The freshmen give Pankratz
and starting six freshmen is the depth she needs in order to
something I've never heard of keep up.
happening before anywhere." "They all are here because
Nearly all of last year's team they're tremendously athletic,
returns this year, and that has smart and love Michigan," Pan-
raised the bar. With veteran kratz said. "The big class gives
leadership and youthful depth us a tremendous amount of
at all positions, Pankratz will depth. They've done a nice job
once again be able to pull out ofjumpingrigh in and learning
the playbook that has won seven what they need to learn."
Big Ten titles and a national Rolling subsutitions have
championship in her 13 seasons become more common in field
at the helm. hockey, meaning more and
"The expectations can be a more of the team will see the
little higher with this group," field this year. As the freshmen
Pankratz said. "We can pick quickly try to learn what Michi-
up where we left off last year gan field hockey is all about,
since everybody's back, and we Mack knows it's important to
can start at a higher level tacti- make them feel welcome and
cally and not go back and learn ready to play.
things. We can just move for- "What we took from last sea-
ward. son is how to better communi-
"Last year we overachieved, cate and link with the younger
but remain unsatisfied. Our players and create team cohe-
seniors are very hungry and siveness with each other," Mack
looking for more out of this sea- said. "That's something we've
son." been really focusing on so far
Among those hungry for this season, and I think we've
more is senior forward Rachael done a pretty good job with it
Mack. so far.
The two-year captain led the A wealth of additions and
team in scoring the past three minimal subtractions add up to
seasons and has compiled a lofty goals for the Wolverines.
46-23 record as a starter. Michigan has started the sea-
"We have very high expecta- son 1-2.
tions for ourselves," Mack said. The players and coaches
"We want to reach the Final alike know that while Novem-
Four. That's our aim. But first ber's NCAA tournament looms
we want to win our regular- ahead, the Wolverines must
season games and go for a Big work hard to get there.
Ten Championship." "Every year we expect to
Perhaps even hungrier than win the Big Ten championship

Mack is her fellow captain, red- and to reach the final four and
shirt junior midfielder Ainsley contend for the National Cham-
McCallister. pionship," Pankratz said. "(The
After being named captain to girls) know that they have to
begin the 2012 season, McCal- work for it though. One of our
lister was forced to watch the other goals is to outwork any-
season unfold from the side- one else, and if you do that,
lines due to an injury. With a good things tend to happen."

By ERIN LENNON
Daily Sports Writer
Following a season that brought
an unranked team to its first Final
Four appearance in program his-
tory, the Michigan volleyball team
enters the 2013 season ranked sev-
enth in the AVCA preseason poll.
At No. 7, the Wolverines claimed
their highest preseason position
in 40 years and fall just behind
conference foes No. 6 Minnesota'
and No. 2 Penn State.
Michigan sits among seven
other Big Ten teams represented
in the top-25, including No. 10
Nebraska, No. 14 Michigan State,
No. 16 Purdue and No. 20 Ohio
State. The Wolverines are sched-
uled to play three other regu-
lar season opponents - Illinois,
TexasA&M and Wisconsin - who
each narrowly missed a top-25
nod.
For a team whose late-season
success was attributed to chem-
istry both on and off the court,
this season presents a whole new
challenge. Michigan coach Mark
Rosen acknowledges that, with a
target on their backs, the Wolver-
ines will have to be solid at every
position.
"Everyone is coming after us,"
Rosen said. "I think in some ways,
it won't be that much different.
When it comes to Michigan and
the block 'M', most teams we play
in and out of conference, we get
their best shot. I' d rather wear a
big target and be good than hide
around in the background and
just be average. We proudly wear
that target, but we have to under-
stand that we can't take any nights
off. The name doesn't get us any
points, it's how we play."
Michigan returns 13 letter-
winners and five starters. Only
fifth-year senior middle blocker
Claire McElheny has graduated.
Previously a young team, the 2013
roster boasts five seniors and one
junior. The Wolverines swept
their first challengers since a sum-
mer tour in South America at the
Xavier Invitational.
After three weeks in the gym,
here is a look at the Michigan vol-
leyball team by position:
Outside hitters
Senior co-captain Lexi Erwin
proved herself among the nation's
elite hitters with her record-
setting junior season. In 2012,

PATRICK BARRON/Daily
Sophomore libero Tiffany Morales returns as a leader of Michigan's back line.
Erwin set a school record for most man middle blocker Abbey Cole

kills (614) and hitting attempts
(1,701) in a single season. She led
the team with 17 double-doubles
and recorded double-digit kills in
34 of 38 games last season. Her
postseason performance earned
her a spot on the Division-I Vol-
leyball Championships all-tour-
nament team, Berkeley Regional
Most Valuable Player and AVCA
All-America honorable mention.
Erwin enters her senior year as
one of three Wolverines selected
to the All-Big Ten team.
Senior outside hitter Molly
Toon represents the second in
the hitting one-two punch. In
her junior season, Toon started
28 games and finished with 528
kills. Known for her live arm and
explosive streaks - she bested her
career high with 25 kills against
then-No.4 Nebraska - Toon will
need to improve upon her consis-
tency in order to compete against
the many skilled blockers in the
conference.
Middle blockers
With the addition of three tall
freshmen, the roster now boasts
11 players over 6-foot, a potential
X-factor against conference oppo-
nents like Penn State, Nebraska
and Minnesota. At 6-foot-4, fresh-

represents the Wolverines' tallest
member, and will likely start in
September.
Though Michigan will need
to fill the loss of McElheny at the
net, the fifth-year senior made her
home on the right side for most
of her final year in Ann Arbor. It
is likely that Cole or 6-foot-four
freshman Gabbie Bulic will likely
make the transition to the oppo-
site position, giving the Wolver-
ines a towering front line.
Michigan returns two middle
blockers in senior co-captain
starter in Jennifer Cross and
sophomore Krystalyn Goode. The
pair led the team in blocks, with
Goode's 112 blocks falling second
to Cross's 181. Cross was named
to the preseason All-Big Ten team
following a year that included
379 kills and a spot on the AVCA
All-America third team. Having
recorded 908 career kills, Cross
will likely join the 1,000-kill club
by the midway point this season.
Setter
Entering her third year as the
Wolverines' starting setter, Lexi
Dannemiller rounds out the All-
Big Ten preseason selections.
In 2012, Dannemiller started all
38 matches at setter en route to

1,622 assists - good for third in
the U-M record book and with
as many as 59 in a single match.
Dannemiller aided in over 11 kills
per game for the Michigan and
recorded 15 double-doubles on
the season. As the sergeant on the
court, Dannemiller is responsible
for directing both the defense and
the offense on nearly every play.
The Wolverines add a second
setter in 6-foot Cindy Zhou, a top-
50 recruit out of Libertyville, Ill.
With her height, Zhou will likely
earn time on the right side, in
order to run what is called a six-
two system to give Dannemiller
an opportunity to swing from the
opposite position.
Defense
A Final Four run forced a
young Michigan defense to earn
its stripes against some of the
league's toughest arms - and they
did just that. Despite early-season
jitters, libero Tiffany Morales fin-
ished her freshman year as the
leader of the Wolverines' back line
with 559 digs and as a member of
the All-Big Ten freshman team.
Morales was also a threat with
her serving (.928) and sets out of
the backcourt.
Though Rosen did not add any-
thing to the defense, a confident
Morales and an experienced back
line should take care of business
for Michigan. Morales will be
aided by Erwin - who plays her
position all the way through -
and defensive specialists junior
Ally Sabol and freshman Lind-
say Lerg. But if there is one place
where the Wolverines will look to
improve, it is on serve reception.
Michigan committed 132 receiv-
ing errors in 38 games last season.
"We're a good blocking team
and we're constantly getting bet-
ter at blocking," Rosen said. "But
we're also a very good floor defen-
sive team. We're bigger than we've
been in the past so I think we can
be a little more aggressive at the
net but I think we still have great
backcourt defense. Defense is cer-
tainly going to be a big focus for us
as it always is. I like what we have
to work with defensively, but yet I
think we can also be a very, very
physical offensive team. We're big,
we're balanced, we can control
the ball well on serve-receive, so I
see us being a very steady physical
offensive team as well, which is a
great combination."

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