6A - Thursday, February 27, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Softball winning despite
low offensive production
By JUSTIN MEYER
Daily Sports Writer
It'sthe simplest math in sports:
if your opponent doesn't score,
you can't lose the game.
After this weekend, perhaps no
team understands that equation
better than the Michigan softball
team. Its lockdown fielding effort
bailed out a slightly anemic
offense in three straight games.
The Wolverines shut out No. 5
time. The Florida Atlantic
Invitational, though, was the first
time all three put together elite
"The pitching has really
picked up their game," said senior
outfielder Nicole Sappingfield. "If
they're radiating that confidence,
then we're going to feel it, too."
The rest of the field backed up
the pitching display, finishingthe
weekend's five games without a
Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico could use her position coaching the national team to bring talent to Ann Arbor.
Barnes Arico nominated
as national team assistan
Kentucky for a
1-0 in extra
The three cons
marked a new lev
for the pitching;
(12-2) has a surp
the circle, with fr
Betsa and juniors
and Sara Drieset
3-0 win before "(Michigan coach Carol
"I'm so confident starting on the
in our team." mound," said
"If they go out
there and just attack, they set
ecutive shutouts the tone for the game and get
el of dominance everyone going."
staff. Michigan Sweet, who Hutchins pointed
lus of talent in to at the beginning of the year
reshman Megan as a key to the team's success,
Haylie Wagner has enjoyed a stellar defensive
nga all splitting season. Starting 12 games at
By LEV FACHER guard Siera Thompson and junior
Daily Sports Writer forward Cyesha Goree - are all
averaging double-digit scoring
Michigan women's basketball figures in their first season
coach Kim Barnes Arico isn't playing regular minutes at the
known for keeping light hours. collegiate level.
And she won'tbe getting much of "It has always been a dream
a summer vacation, either - she of mine to be involved with
now has another gig on top of her USA Basketball and represent
regular workload. our country," Barnes Arico told
Wednesday, Barnes Arico MGoBlue.com. "It is one of the
was named an assistant coach highest honors you can achieve
for the USA Basketball Under- in any sport. ... I am thrilled to
18 National Team, which will be teaming up with two of the
compete at the 2014 FIBA brightest minds in the business."
Americas U-18 Championship Barnes Arico and Walz, whom
later this year. she called "one of the bright and
The tournament features up-and-coming coaches in the
teams from across the Americas country," developed a friendship
and the Caribbean Islands and during their five-year overlap as
serves as a qualifying round for Big East coaches when Barnes
the 2015 FIBA U-19 Women's Arico was at St. John's.
World Championship. While her relationship with
Barnes Arico joins a staff led Staley isn't as personal, Barnes
by South Carolina coach Dawn Arico referred to her as "one of
Staley and featuring Lousville's the greatest players ever to play
Jeff Walz. The new position is the game" and "also one of the
Barnes Arico's first foray into best coaches of our generation."
international competition, Trials for the U-18 team begin
but the appointment is hardly May 23 in Colorado Springs,
surprising. Colo., and will draw from a pool
Barnes Arico has shown of players born in 1996 or later.
herself to be one of the country's The job is more than just
top coaches when it comes to r6sum6 fodder for Barnes
developing young talent. Her Arico, who recognizes that the
three leading scorers - junior opportunity to work closely with
guard Shannon Smith, freshman some of the nation's top high
school talent is one presented to
very few coaches.
"Coaching USA Basketball
is giving me the opportunity
to work with some future
Olympians, future All-
Americans and some of the
best high school players in
the country," Barnes Arico
said. "Any time you get to be
surrounded by people who are
the best in their sport, it is an
amazing opportunity. I can't
wait to coach these kids who are
passionate, hungry and willing
Players from the 2012 team
ended up at Baylor, Penn State,
Tennessee and Connecticut - all
current top-10 teams - among
While many of the 2014
squad's players might already
be committed to play at schools
other than Michigan, Barnes
Arico is fully aware of the long-
term recruiting implications the
position could have.
"I am really looking forward
to being around the best this
summer and developing new
relationships," Barnes Arico
said. "It is a great opportunity to
build relationships and connect
with those young kids, whether
it be for future opportunities at
Michigan or not."
catcher, Sweet is still error free
and is becoming a vocal leader.
In her third season as the
team'sbackstop, Sweet attributed
a lot of that defensive success
to the variety of pitching looks
opposing batters have had to face.
Wagner, who missed the start of
last season, has returned to prime
form early this year.
After Driesenga started the
team's first marquee matchup
against current No. 1 Florida
Feb. 8, Wagner got the nod
against Kentucky and was
up to the challenge. She gave
up just two hits to a prolific
batting team that entered the
The decision to start Wagner
was made partly because of
the lefty's favorable matchups
against the Wildcats, but her
7-0 start and 0.76 earned-
runs average also justified the
decision. Though it's still early
in the season, that ERA is the
best in the Big Ten. Betsa, with
a 0.87 ERA, holds the second
spot, and every other pitcher in
the conference trails by a wide
"I'm so confident in our team,"
Sweet said. "If someone doesn't
get the job done when they're up
there, someone else will do it. We
pick each other up, and I really
think that showed this weekend
when we held people (scoreless)."
Hutchins was also glad to
see confidence radiate from
Betsa. The freshman recorded
11 strikeouts in her win against
"She threw with a lot more
confidence," Hutchins said.
"That's all that kid needs."
The gritty performance at
the Florida Atlantic Invitational
showed Michigan can win
even if one facet of its game
falters, and that should give its
upcoming opponents plenty to
worry about. When sophomore
shortstop Sierra Romero and
her other three Californian
teammates visit their home state
next week for a full schedule of
games, the bats probably won't
figure tobe so quiet.
Senior outfielder Nicole Sappingfield was part of a stellar defensive effort.
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(c)2014 Tribune Content Agency, LLC
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By ALEJANDRO ZUN
Daily Sports Editor
For two hours, Mac Be
career as a Wolverine was(
It had happened on an in
play. The puck went beh
net and Bennett, the M
hockey team's senior c
retrieved it and turned up
it got caught between his
and the defenseman had to
down to regain control.
he looked back up, a Pen
forward was about to level
Then, Bennett r
Tuesday, he was "
That's why he found h
sitting in a
that he was con
done for the
year. But the
pain he had felt lying on1
so intense that he couldn
his legs still, the hush of t
Ice Arena crowd and thev
look on his coaches' fac
told him enough already.
already a foregone con
and the doctor just cot
the inevitable. Bennett
miss the Wolverines' I
regular-season games and
only watch as the team
fought without him for an
"I was sitting in the rot
'Oh my God,' "Bennett sai
But his career isn't ov
hours after the senior
misread X-ray indicated1
wouldn't return in time
end of the season, a CA
showed otherwise. Those
suggested the captain will
to suit up again this year.
IGA Red Berenson announced that
Bennett is week-to-week with an
annett's "It was definitely a relief,
over. especially after hearing the first
tnocent time that my season was going to
ind the be over," the senior said.
ichigan For those hours, though,
aptain, Bennett had to come to terms with
ice. But the possibility of having played
skates, his last game as a Wolverine. He
glance followed the end of his team's
When game against Penn State on
n State Twitter, "salivating at the mouth"
him. for the stream of updates. After it
ecalled ended, he congratulated them but
fucking then had to share the bad news.
"You just ruined my life for
simself, two hours," Bennett said of the
was very scary.
t was a hard Thinking that's
, the last time
Cept to grasp. I put on the
block 'M,' the
last time I step
the ice, on the ice at Yost. It was a hard
't keep concept to grasp at the time.
he Yost "I couldn't wrap my brain
worried around it in those two hours.
es had Luckily, I didn't have to."
It was Given Michigan's struggles
clusion, defensively this season, Bennett's
nfirmed return to the ice will be eagerly
would awaited. The Wolverines will
ast six have to handle Ohio State's
I would potent forwards without him this
he led weekend, but Bennett promises
NCAA thathe'll travel to Columbus, even
if he has to drive himself.
om like, It has been a long, frustrating
d. week. At Tuesday's practice,
er. Two Bennettquietly stood by the north
said a bleachers wearing a blue athletic
that he jacket and blue sweatpants. After
for the watching stoically for several
.T scan minutes, he turned around and
results walked back into the locker room.
be able For two hours, the captain's
season was over. But in a couple of
coach weeks, he could be back.