14 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, May 4, 2004
Netters bounced by Spartans in
By Ryan osin
Daily Sports Editor
EAST LANSING - Back in the days of
Wild West shootouts, one moment of hesitation
would lead to a sharp shooter's ultimate demise.
For the Michigan men's tennis team, the hesita-
tion in East Lansing led to an early exit from
the Big Ten Tournament after a 4-2 loss to
The eighth-seeded Wolverines fiercely battled
the ninth-seeded Spartans and forced four
matches into a decisive third set.
"It was windy out here and that means you
really have to concentrate," Michigan coach
Mark Mees said. "You've got to look at the ball,
and you've got to play smart."
Michigan played without its top player, junior
Michael Rubin. An injured rib muscle has
plagued Rubin, a member of the 2004 All-Big
Ten Conference team, and he was forced to
watch the match from the bleachers.
The No. 1 doubles pair of Michigan freshmen,
Ryan Heller and Brian Hung, toppled Michigan
State's Andrew Formanczyk and Chris Mitchell
9-7 in the decisive doubles match, giving Michi-
gan the early 1-0 lead.
But its lead did not last long, as the Spartans
won the No. 4 and No. 6 singles matches. Eric
Simonton overwhelmed Michigan's David
Anving 6-2, 6-3 while Michael Flowers followed
with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Josef Fischer.
Heller had a chance to bring Michigan back
from behind in the second set of his match with
Mitchell. After a handful of errors and a faltering
serve, Heller saw his 5-4 lead turn into a 6-7 set
loss ina tie breaker.
"He did geta little tentative when he was serv-
ing in the second set," Mees said. "He kind of let
that set get away."
Heller came back for the third set fired up.
"What time is it?" a teammate barked from
the sideline. "Break time," Heller replied
with a grunt.
Heller went beyond breaking the serve. He
won the final set 6-1 with an inspired perform-
ance, giving Michigan its second and final point
of the day.
"(Heller) is a fiery guy. He thrives in situations
where it is pretty emotional," Mees said.
Another valiant attempt at a comeback came
from Steve Peretz in No. 5 singles. After drop-
ping the first set 6-4, Peretz pushed the match to
a decisive third set, but he was unable to over-
come Michigan State's Joseph McWilliams and
lost the third set 6-4.
"You can't keep thinking about consequences,"
Mees said. "You can't let stuff creep into your
Playing in the top spot against Fromanczyk,
senior Anthony Jackson fell behind 4-0 early
in the first set before mounting a comeback to
win the second set. The match was eventually
abandoned when the outcome of the meet was
determined. The match will likely mark the
end of the Michigan co-captain's collegiate
career, as the Wolverines are unlikely to
receive a bid for the NCAA Tournament. He
finishes with a 72-63 record in four years as a
regular in Mees' line-up.
"(Anthony's) been a big part of our program
for the last few years," Mees said. "We all
enjoyed having him around, and he's going to be
The Wolverines await the draw for the NCAA
Tournament, which will be announced tomorrow.
n s Continued from Page 13
Going into the final heat of the day, the Wolverines
sat in third place and needed an outright victory in the
First Varsity Eight race to win the Big Ten Champi-
onship. Michigan's toughest competition, Michigan
State and Ohio State, both defeated the Wolverines
handily earlier this season.
"We've raced each other a lot, and we've always
been really competitive towards each other," said
Mandoli about competing against the Buckeyes and
the Spartans. "It's not such a rivalry - we use each
other to get better."
The difference between April's dual matches and
the Big Ten Tournament was additional speed training
during practice and heightened team passion.
"We definitely went in to this weekend with a dif-
ferent attitude than previous weekends," Mandoli said.
"We've gained some confidence from a couple weeks
of great practice. We had a little bit more desire and
heart going into this weekend than we've had. None of
us were happy with our results so far this season."
The Wolverines' goal coming into the Big Ten
Championship was to finish ahead of their fourth-
place seeding. It appeared as if the Wolverines were
poised to finish below expectations until the tourna-
ment's final two races, where they scored 105 of their
128 points. In those two competitions - the First Var-
sity Eight and Second Varsity Eight races - a com-
bined 3.1 seconds separated Michigan and the second
place finishers. That time difference, Michigan coach
Mark Rothstein believes, was achieved because of
team unity throughout the up-and-down season.
"Everybody had been disappointed with our per-
formances (this season), but the team stuck togeth-
er. Nobody pointed fingers," Rothstein said.
Up next for the Wolverines is the Central Region
Championships, where bids to the NCAA Champi-
WILLA TRACOSAS/Daily onship depend on a strong showing. The Wolverines'
ler went 12-8 this goal is to compete well enough to receive their sev-
singles positions. enth consecutive NCAA bid.
Michigan Freshman Ryan Hell
season at the No. 3 and No. 4
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
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