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May 08, 1996 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1996-05-08

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SPORTS WednedayMay' 8 199 **-~The Mihigan Daily~ -
I' softball looks to defend
ig Ten crown on home turf

By Will McCahill
and Mark Snyder
Daily Sports Writers
Defending what title?
To the Michigan softball team, this weekend's Big Ten tour-
nament is not about defending the title it won last year. It's
about winning this year's conference crown.
"We don't feel we're defending the title - we're trying to
win the 1996 title," Wolverine coach Carol Hutchins said.
"Our whole philosophy is to go out and win (this year's title)."
Ninth-ranked Michigan (20-4 Big Ten, 43-12 overall) heads
into the conference tourney on a roll, having won two of last
weekend's three-game series at Minnesota (17-6, 42-14). The
Wolverines were able to clinch the title with a win in the first
game of that series, slamming the door on the second-place
Gophers' title hopes with a 3-0 victory.
Three victories in as many tries against Ohio State the pre-
vious weekend had put the Wolverines in a spot to lock down
the regular-season title, and neither team nor coach was ready
to let that opportunity slip away.
"Winning the first game was key," Hutchins said. "We
didn't want to keep them in the hunt.
"The longer they were in it, the more the momentum would
shift their way," she said.
Sophomore pitcher Sara Griffin was the key to the weekend
for Michigan. Not only did she blank No. 14 Minnesota on

two hits in the first contest, but she then followed up that per-
formance with a no-hitter in the final game of the series. That
game - which turned into the rubber match of the series after
the Gophers won the second contest - saw the Wolverines
pound out ten hits on the way to a 7-0 victory.
Griffin helped out her own cause in that game, garnering
two hits in four trips to the plate.
Senior third baseman Tracy Carr also went 2-for-4, knock,
ing in a pair of runs. Over the course of the series, Carr became
Michigan's career RBI leader, bringing her total to 127.
Not coincidentally, Carr is also the Wolverines' all-time
doubles leader. A two-base hit in the final match of the
Minnesota series increased her mark to 39.
Hutchins said the confidence her squad showed on the field
was, for her, the highlight of the weekend.
"(The team) was just totally poised and confident," she said.
"It's a great feeling to watch your team and have all that con-
fidence in them."
Michigan will now be rewarded for its regular season
efforts as it hosts the conference tournament this weekend.
"To be at home is huge," Hutchins said. "It's one of the
prizes of winning the regular season.'
The Wolverines will be the top seed in the four-team toff-
nament, followed by Minnesota, Iowa (17-7, 43-15) and
Indiana (16-7, 36-19). The tournament winner receives an
automatic bid to the NCAA National Softball Tournament.

.. : is ?:: : ii?:::"}ii..:-.. .:{
FILE PHOTO/S
Sophomore pitcher Sara Griffin and the Michigan softball team host the Big Ten
tournament this weekend. The top-seeded Wolverines face Indiana Friday.

'Ven's tennis wins conference title, heads for NCAAs
Women netters overcome injury-plagued early season to finish Big Ten campaign

By Richard Shin
Daily Sports Writer
For the Michigan men's and
women's tennis teams, April was a
-.onth of changes.
W The Michigan men's tennis team
entered April with a 7-7 record after
opening the spring season with three
consecutive victories. An undefeated
month and an 11-match winning streak
propelled the Wolverines to their first
Big Ten title in eight years and a first
round bye in the NCAA regionals
Saturday.
Michigan, which finished at 12-1 in
*he conference, is the No. 2 seed in the
NCAA Region IV Championships at
South Bend, Ind.
The Wolverines clinched the Big
Ten title by defeating Ohio State, 4-0,
in the first round and avenged a regular
season loss to Northwestern in the sec-

ond round, winning 4-3.
Michigan then bested third-seeded
Illinois, 5-2, in the final totake the con-
ference crown.
The title marked the 36th title for
the Wolverines and the 18th for
Michigan coach Brian Eisner. The past
two seasons, Michigan has finished
second in the conference, losing to
Minnesota in the finals both years.
The Wolverines' success has been
rewarded, as three players were named
to the All-Big Ten team this season.
Michigan No. 2 singles player John
Costanzo was named to the team for
the third consecutive season, while
Michigan's top singles player, Peter
Pusztai, was honored for the second
year in a row.
No. 3 singles player Arvid Swan was
named to the team for the first time.
Pusztai, who sports a career record

of 115-54 heading into the NCAA
regionals, was honored as the Big Ten
Player of the Year. He was also named
the Regional ITA/Senior Player of the
Year and garnered Big Ten Athlete of
the Month for Tennis in April.
Pusztai leads the team in victories
with a 37-13 mark, and is ranked No. 25
in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's
Rolex Collegiate Rankings.
For the Michigan women's tennis
team, April was a month of calm after a
season of difficulties. After losing two
key members to injuries, including
senior Angie Popek, the Wolverines
rebounded to go 4-3 for the month,
including a three-match winning
streak.
The strong April play earned
Michigan a berth it the NCAA
Midwest regional, where the
Wolverines were seeded sixth.

Michigan upset third-seeded
Indiana in the first round, 5-4, but
dropped a 5-0 decision to second-seed-
ed Northwestern in the second. The
loss ended the season for the
Wolverines, as they finished 6-5 in the
Big Ten and 8-12 overall.
Early season injuries decimated the
women's team, as Popek and freshman
Jennifer Boylan were sidelined by knee
injuries.
Michigan No. I singles Sarah
Cyganiak enjoyed a good season, going
11-4 in the Big Ten and 22-9 overall.

Cyganiak was also 19-4 at doubles,
teaming with Sora Moon at the first
doubles slot.
Senior Tara Graff finished at 14-13
overall, and had the only other winnim,
record at singles on the team.
The Wolverines finished tied foi
fifth place in the Big Ten with Purdue.
and return four starters next season.
The Michigan men's tennis team
faces Minnesota or Notre Dame at 2
p.m. CDT on Saturday at South Bend
and with a victory would advance to
the finals Sunday.

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