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April 30, 2002 - Image 14

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2002-04-30

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SPORTS

4

michigandaity.com
sportsdesk@umich.edu

TUESDAY
APRIL 30, 2002

Water polo survives, advances to NCAA Tournament

By Daniel Brmmer
DatlySportsWriter
After a grueling weekend in Princeton, N.J., the
Michigan water polo team showed itself - and
everyone else - what it is made of.
The team endured a combined six overtime
periods in its two games - first against No. 17
Indiana and later against No. 14 Hartwick.
The wins gave the Wolverines the Collegiate
Water Polo Association championship and earned
them an automatic bid into the four-team NCAA
Tournament on May 11-12. Since being named a
varsity sport last year, this is the first time that
Michigan has reached the NCAA Tournament.
In Sunday's Eastern Championship against
Hartwick, the game was close heading into half-

time with the Wolverines leading 3-2. Michigan
was able to open up a 4-2 lead early in the third
quarter and held that lead into the fourth.
While Michigan could have put away Hartwick
in the fourth quarter, it was unable to do so and
instead gave up two goals. This evened the score to
send it into the required two-period overtime.
The Wolverines left the first overtime holding a
6-5 advantage and again just needed to hold on for
the victory. But Hartwick's resiliency gave them
the final score of regulation, evening the score
again at six following the second overtime period.
Senior Jen Crisman found the back of the net
for the Wolverines with 31 seconds remaining in
the first sudden-death period, and Michigan was
victorious by a score of 7-6.
Michigan coach Amber Drury-Pinto credits her

team's success to its intense training.
"In the end, I really think our conditioning paid
off, and we were able to outlast them," she said. "It
was a tough battle all the way through. That's what
we expected to happen, and that is exactly what it
was. We couldn't ask for a better game."
Michigan would not have been playing that
game if not for another overtime victory on Satur-
day, this time over arch-rival Indiana.
Against the Hoosiers, the Wolverines trailed 2-1
after the first period, but were able to even the
score at 4-4 heading into halftime.
The teams traded goals through the third and
fourth quarters, and they were knotted at seven
goals entering overtime.
The first two mandatory overtime periods
passed by with zeroes on the board, as did the first

sudden-death period.
Finally, in the second sudden-death period,
sophomore Julie Nisbet scored to give Michigan
an 8-7 victory.
Despite being exhausted, Michigan coach
Amber Drury-Pinto belibved her team was well
prepared to play in the overtime and sudden-death
situations it faced.
"It was definitely emotionally and physically
draining for all of us," Drury-Pinto said. "At the
same time, it was familiar for us, and we weren't
nervous. We were confident. We had our players,
and we came through in the end."
The NCAA Tournament begins on May 11 in
Los Angeles. Joining Michigan will be defending
national champion UCLA, Loyola-Marymount
and Stanford.

Mother nature turns two

Rainouts steal first
place from softball
By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Writer
Rain, rain go away.
For the second straight week, the
Michigan softball team had a Big Ten
game rained out. Saturday's game of its
two-game series against Illinois was
cancelled with no makeup scheduled.
The end of a doubleheader against Iowa
was canceled to the weather last week-
end (Apr. 21) as well.
Even though the Wolverines have
won five straight, including one against
the Illini on Friday and two against Pur-
due on Sunday, they've fallen from the
top of the Big Ten standings due to their
weather misfortunes.
No. 20 Ohio State (15-3 Big Ten, 49-
9 overall) holds a two-game lead over
the 11th-ranked Wolverines (13-3, 39-
9) thanks to the Buckeyes' apparent
alliance with Mother Nature. This
becomes important as the Big Ten Tour-
nament approaches because the team
with the best conference record will
host the tournament - the Wolverines
- swept the Buckeyes in their only dou-
bleheader this season. Each team has
two conference games remaining, but
the Wolverines aren't going to get
caught up in what the Buckeyes do at

Catching up
Thuher was no
Thuh there wrtoDaily during
exaem ek hr were plenty of
softball games to fill the void.
4/17 at Western Michigan W 8-2
at Western Michigan W 8-3
4/19 at Northwestern L 2-3
4/20 at Northwestern W 11-1
4/21 at No. 21 lowa W 3-1
at No. 21 lowa rained out
4/26 at Illinois W 31
4/27 at Illinois rained out
State College this weekend.
"It's our job as coaches to get the
players back to the task at hand, and our
task this weekend was to go to Cham-
paign and play Illinois and then play
Purdue," assistant coach Bonnie Tholl
said. "We're only in charge of our own
destiny, and we can't take care of the
weather."
Though Michigan can't stop Ohio
State from playing, it has been doing
just fine taking care of itself. Sunday
against Purdue, the Wolverines swept
the Boilermakers 6-2, 6-0 thanks to five
Michigan homeruns. Stefanie Volpe hit
two of the longballs and went 3-for-6
on the weekend to increase her team-
leading homerun total to nine and her
batting average to .408.
"We ended the week with a bang,"
Tholl said. "We played nearly errorless
ball, and we're at a good point going
into the end of our season. This is
See BOILERMAKERS, Page 15

Blue gone with the
wind at Penn State
By Jim Weber
Daily Sports Editor
How can a team win by double digits
one day and still lose a four-game
series?
Poor run support and untimely errors
have plagued Michigan all season, but
according to interim coach Chris Harri-
son, that wasn't the cause of the prob-
lem.
The real root of the problem? The
wind.
Michigan had 20 hits and 15 runs
when the wind blew out of the ballpark
on Friday, but managed just 14 hits and
three runs the rest of the series when the
wind blew in toward the batters.
Coincidence? Harrison thinks not,
pointing out that just eight of Michi-
gan's outs on Sunday were on ground
balls. Harrison said that Michigan hit
many fly balls all weekend, helping
them on Friday but hurt them on Satur-
day and Sunday.
"We have got to be aware of what the
pitcher is doing to us and the condi-
tions. The way you win on Friday won't
be the way you win the game on (Satur-
day and Sunday)," Harrison said.
Big Ten play has made the Wolver-
ines wish that series were decided by
aggregate score. Michigan is capable of
scoring many runs, but apparently it can
do so only once per series.
In the last three Big Ten series,
Michigan has outscored their opponents
in total runs, scoring double digits in
four games - three of which were
wins. But in the other eight games,
Michigan has won just once, scoring
more than three runs only once.
Michigan also continued its trend of
heart-breaking losses in a 1-0 loss Sun-
day. Two weekends ago against Michi-
gan State, Michigan blew a three-run

4

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Freshman second baseman Nick Ruden (left) was one of just three Wolverines to
record a hit in Sunday's 1-0 loss to Penn State.
lead in the ninth inning due to five wild Wins are even more important
pitches from pitcher Matt Collins, because of Harrison's interim status, but
resulting in a 5-3 loss. he refuses to use his job status for moti-
Sunday in State College, the Wolver- vation.
ines threw the game away again in the "You can't go about coaching that
last frame. Starter Jeff Trzos allowed no way," Harrison said. "If you do, you are
earned runs and just four hits, but his going to drive yourself nuts, and that
error in the ninth brought in the win- won't be fair to the kids. They can't feel
ning run for Penn State. With a man on like they are playing for the coaching
second and one out, a sacrifice bunt staff. They just need to go and play."
came to Trzos. Instead of going to first
base for the easy out, he went for the Ninth place N iners
play at third base but overthrew Bran- Michigan is in ninth place is the Big
don Jominy, bringing home Penn State's Ten and lost seven of its last tine.
Matt Harter.
Michigan is now in ninth place in the Oakland L 3-17
conference and in serious jeopardy of Michigan State L 0-11
not making the six-team Big Ten Tour- at Michigan State L 3-4
nament. Michigan hosts conference at Michigan State W 19-4
Michigan State L 3-5
leader Ohio State this weekend and has at Penn State W 15-4
just three Big Ten series before the tour- at Penn State L 1-4
nament. But the Wolverines are just two at Penn State L 2-5
games out of the final postseason spot. at Penn State L 0-1

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