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March 24, 2014 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-03-24

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

March 24, 2014 - 3B

Th McignDaly-mihgadalco arh 4 21 -3

Wolverines sweep Hoosiers

By MAX BULTMAN
Daily Sports Writer
With her team preparing for
its first home series of the season,
Carol Hutchins' main worry was
distractions.
The Michigan softball coach
wasn't sure how her players
would handle being on their
own schedules before a game as
opposed to the closer-supervised
road schedules.
Apparently, they still do pretty
well.
The sixth-ranked Wolverines
(3-0 Big Ten, 22-6 overall) swept
Indiana over the weekend,
racking up 29 runs in three
mercy-rule victories.
They won both halves of a
Friday doubleheader by scores
of 8-0 and 9-1, respectively, and
finished off the series with a
decisive 12-3 victory.
Junior left-hander Haylie
Wagner pitched 11 scoreless
innings over the course of
the weekend and improved to
15-0 this season, while junior
right-hander Sara Driesenga
appeared to regain her control
en route to her first win of the
year Friday night.
Sophomore shortstop Sierra
Romero was pitched around for
most of the series - recording
six walks - but made the most
of every opportunity she did
get, batting 3-for-4 with two
home runs.
After walking Romero four
consecutive times in the series
opener Friday afternoon, the
Hoosiers (0-3 Big Ten, 8-21
Overall) decided to pitch to her
with two outs and the bases
empty in the second game of
the doubleheader. Romero,
eager for a pitch she could
finally hit, jacked the ball into
the loth row of the bleachers in
right center field.
"I was just waiting for a pitch
to come a little closer to the
plate," Romerosaid. "She brought
that one in and I just saw it and

took it."
She nearly added another,
too, when she got hold of a
fourth-inning fastball and
drove it to the warning track for
a long fly out. The ball appeared
destined to clear the fence
before running into a powerful
wind out of right field that
affected fly balls all game.
The wind was gone by
Saturday, though, and freshman
outfielder Kelly Christner - who
entered the game at first base -
drove whatshe called a"meatball
over the plate" 15 feet over the top
row of the stands in right. That
homer secured a 12-3 mercy-rule
victory for the Wolverines.
"Unlike other girls, I usually
only get one at bat and I have to
make the most it," Christner said.
Wagner could have won the
series opener by herself. The

junior gave up six hits but no runs
in the circle, and went 2-2 at the
plate with a home run.
That was all the run support
Wagner would ultimately need,
as Michigan won the opener 8-0.
In the back half of the
doubleheader, Driesenga looked
solid after her infield helped get
her out of a first-inning jam.
After allowing a runner to
reach third base with one out,
Romero and junior catcher
Lauren Sweet combined for a
pickoff to take some pressure
off Driesenga. One RBI triple
notwithstanding, the righty
cruised to a 9-1victorycthatended
in the fifth inning.
Christner ended Saturday's
game with an emphatic long
ball after the Wolverines started
the game down 3-0. Freshman
right-hander Megan Betsa was

tentative in the circle and the
Hoosiers exploited it - scoring
two runs in the first and leading
off the second inning with a solo
shot to chase Betsa from her
home opener.
"You can tell they're a little
nervy," Hutchins said. "They're
always a little nervy their first
game on Alumni Field."
Wagner came into the game
in relief, throwing five shutout
innings before Christner's bomb
ended the game in the sixth.
Before then, though, freshman
infielder Lindsay Montemarano
blasted her first career home
run over the left-field foul pole.
Indiana's manager came out to
argue the call, but to no avail.
The Montemarano blast tied the
game, and Michigan never looked
back, on its way to a resounding
weekend sweep.

Six'M' athletes
By BRANDON former Michigan All-American
HANDELSMAN Margaret Kelly's school record
Daily Sports Writer of 1:55.41.
"Getting to swim in that
The Michigan women's final was absolutely amazing,'
swimming team was undaunted Oldershaw said. "It was kind
by the biggest stage of its season. of all a blur, but I actually do
Under the bright lights of remember looking up at the
the NCAA Championship, the board after the prelim and
Wolverines not only proved that seeing my time. I was absolutely
they deserved to be at the meet shocked, because I didn't think
but also recorded impressive, All- I was capable of doing that.
America caliber performances It's an incredible feeling. It's
throughout the week. something you don't get to
Michigan's strong individual experience often."
swimming secured six such Oldershaw's race set the tone
honors at the championships, for the rest of the day as the
breaking two school records in 200-yard freestyle relay team
the process. put up the fifth-fastest time in
But as a team, Michigan school history. Sophomore Zoe
tallied 23 points for a 30th-place Mattingly, freshman Julia Fiks
finish after three days of Salem, sophomore Ali DeLoof
swimming. Georgia won the and freshman Madeline Frost
team title by an overwhelming finishedin 1:37.38. Therelayteam
margin, scoring 498 points. earned All-America honorable
Sending just 10 swimmers, as mention for its 12th-place finish
opposed to the Bulldogs 17, the in the medley finals on the
Wolverines weren't expected following day, touching at 1:37.49.
to jockey for the team title. Additionally, DeLoof claimed
Still, Michigan (3-4 Big Ten, seventh in the final of the 100-
6-5 overall) gained valuable yard backstroke on the second
experience for the following day of competition at the NCAA
year and walked away feeling Championships. She touched
proud of their progress this -at 52.66 after setting a school
season. record in the prelims at 52.15,
"I think the team did earning an individual All-
great," said sophomore Marni American honorable mention
Oldershaw. "We scored for her showing.
something like 14 more points The third and final day of the
than we did last year and we meet didn't prove as fruitful
moved up six spots. There's as the first two, with the 400-
just been so much improvement yard freestyle relay team
over the past year. I mean two failing to qualify for the final
years ago, we only sent two and consequently not adding
individuals to the NCAA meet. to Michigan's team point total.
This year, we sent 10. " Despite recording a season-best
Oldershaw received All- time of 3:17.03, the Wolverines
America status for her seventh- just missed the cut, placing
place finish in the 200-yard 17th overall. The relay featured
individual medley on the first Mattingly, Deloof, Fiks Salem
day of competition. She touched and senior captain Courtney
in 1:56.88, setting a personal Beidler. The race was Beidler's
best and nearly breaking last as a Wolverine.

JAMES COLIER/Daily
Sophomore Sierra Romero hit two home runs on the weekend despite being intentionally walked on most at-bats.

W rE:I
On wrestling: Grajales
ends season a winner

Notthis time.
By the time fifth-
year senior
Eric Grajales
warmed up
for his match
Saturday
night,
patience had
worn thin.
It was the ZACH
Round of SHAW
12 match at
the NCAA
Championships in Oklahoma
City, meaning Grajales would
be namedlan All-American with
a win.
Making it there was an
accomplishment itself, but
Grajales was far from finished.
Twice before in his career had
Grajales fallen in the Round of
12, coming just shortof being
an All-American. As Grajales
was introduced to the crowd,
Grajales was sure of one thing
regarding his past failures.
Not this time.
As he and No. 3 Chris
Vollalonga of Cornell walked
toward the center of the mat in
what could be the last match
of his career, Grajales was on a
mission.
Less than two minutes in,
the ninth-seeded Grajales
proved he was serious, taking
down Vollalonga on the edge
of the ring. With the honor
he had been working toward
his entire life within grasp,
Grajales refused to let go.
Grajales remained on top
for 3:12 of riding time, each
second bringing him closer to
redeemingthe past.
When the final buzzer
sounded, Grajales had stolen
the match and the honor from
Vollalonga. With blood dripping
from his lips, the senior couldn't
help but smile when the official
raised his arm in victory.
"It's a great feeling," Grajales
told MGoBlue.com following
the match. "I'm happy, and I'm

satisfied. I've got a smile on my
face, and it'll stay there for a
little while."
On a team that has seen a
youth take over this season,
Grajales rarely recieved the
credit he deserved. But as his
teammates were eliminated one-
by-one, Grajales kept pushing.
Even after beingnamed All-
American, he kept pushing,
taking down three more ranked
opponents to claim third in the
149-pound weight class. The
Wolverines took 17th at the
tournament after beingseeded
inside the top 10, but the story of
the weekend was Grajales, not
the touted freshmen.
Notthis time.
The weekend was supposed
to belong to freshman Adam
Coon. After going 29-1 in his
first regular-season campaign,
Coon had established himself as
the best wrestler in the country.
Even when showing a human
side on the mat for the first time
when stumblingto a1-2 record
at the Big Ten Championships,
many figured it would only
refuel his hunger before taking
it out on the rest of the country.
It wasn't until a four-
overtime loss to Iowa's Bobby
Telford in the quarterfinals that
losing was even considered as an
option. But as Coon fell into the
loser's bracket, something else
disappeared too. The man many
thought could - would - win
the national heavyweight title
fell to Ohio's Jeremy Johnson in
the Round of 12, failingto be an
All-American in his first of four
tries.
Not this time.
Over the summer, the wide-
eyed freshmen who walked
through the Bahna Wrestling
Center doors to begin their
careers as Wolverines carried
more than just their bags. The
11 of them combined to make
up the nation's No.1 recruiting
class, expected to one day
deliver the program's first-ever
national title.

In the redshirt-heavy sport,
the group was supposed to bulk
up in the practice room and
prepare to explode on the scene
next season. But as the weeks
wore on and reigning starters
fell victim to injury or slumping
performance, the talent on the
bench became too much to
contain. With Grajales and Dan
Yates as the only seniors in the
lineup, the Wolverines beat six
top-12 teams en route to their
best regular season finish since
2006.
But on the biggest stage last
weekend, the young Michigan
squad proved it wasn't ready.
Not this time.
"It was a great experience
for our young guys tocome in
here," said Michigan coach Joe
McFarland. "But historically,
this tournament has been tough
on freshmen.
"It should be a motivator for
them. None of these guys are
happy at all about not making
the podium. You've got to carry
that feeling and remember it
every time things get difficult
in a training session, every time
you need to get up early in the
off-season for a run."
There's no denying bluer
skies lie ahead for the
Wolverines. With three more
years of Coon, five other NCAA
qualifiers back in the lineup,
2013 freshman sensation Taylor
Massa coming back from a
redshirt and junior captain
Max Huntley returning from
season-ending surgery next
season, Michigan will be eyeing
its first top-10 finish in seven
years. Michigan wrestling will
return to greatness soon and
finish among the best in the
country for years to come.
Just not this time.
This time, the story and glory
belong to Grajales. After five
years in Ann Arbor, the veteran
finally got his taste of glory.
This time, Eric Grajales
finally ended his season a
winner.

JAMES COLLER/Daily
Sophomore guard Madison Ristovski made a career-high five 3-pointers in Michigan's WNIT-opening victory.
Michigan preps for Round of 32'

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verines expected record gives them a slight
advantage over the Wolverines
top Dukes and (8-8 Big Ten, 19-13) on paper, it
belies a schedule that Michigan
ance to Sweet 16 could only dream of, almost
entirely devoid of national
By LEV FACHER powerhouses and ranked teams.
Daily Sports Writer Duquesne has played only one
ranked opponent this season
er a grueling, up-and- - No. 5 Notre Dame - and fell
Big 40 points short of a win. In
season, fairness, the Wolverines can lay
chance Duquesne claim to a smaller deficit against
record at Michigan the Fighting Irish, having
38-point suffered an 86-64 loss at their
y over Matuchp hands in December.
Brook 20-12; The Dukes are led offensively
he first Michigan 19-13 by senior forward Wumi
of the When: Agunbiade, an Ontario native
came Monday 7 P.M averaging 15.6 points per game.
welcome Accompanying her is 6-foot-
e for Where: 1 guard Raegan Moore, who
Michigan Criser Arena averages 14.1 points per game
n's TV/Radio: and boasts a 41.2 percent mark
ball MGoBlue from beyond the 3-point line.
The duo could pose problems
the Wolverines are ready for Michigan's frontcourt
bigger challenge in the tandem of junior Cyesha Goree
d round. If they have their and senior Val Driscoll, whose
Monday night's clash with ability to stay out of early-game
sne could easily go the foul trouble is tenuous at best.
f Friday's win, in which But the defensive end might
gan made a season-high 11 not be the difference-maker
ters. regardless, if the Wolverines
ugh the Dukes' 20-12 can come close to replicating

Friday's offensive exhibition.
Sophomore guard Madison
Ristovski set a career high
with five 3-pointers, and junior_
guard Shannon Smith recorded-
13 assists, accounting for almost
half of Michigan's 28 as ateam.
Should the Wolverines
advance, they'd take on the
winner of Monday's Bowling
Green-St. Bonaventure contest.
The third-round matchup is
a potential reenactment of
Michigan's season opener, in
which Bowling Green pulled
away in the game's final
minutes, on a neutral court. But
before the Wolverines can set
their sights on revenge, they'll.
need to take care of business on
Monday.
A win would give the
Wolverines their sixth 20-win
season in program history, and
the second in Michigan coach
Kim Barnes Arico's two years in
Ann Arbor.
Once again, Michigan is-
offering $8 tickets to the
general public, discounted to $4'
for students.
The Wolverines are also
offering 300 free tickets to
University faculty and staff for
the duration of the tournament.
9

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