16 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, May 2, 2006
'M' splits with Wildcats,
remains in second place
By Scott Bell
Daily Sports Editor
Just hours after going from controlling
its Big Ten destiny to having its title hopes
become slim to none, the Michigan softball
team faced a gutcheck.
After coming close all day long, the Wolver-
ines finally got over the hump, responding to the
gutcheck and showing the
fight that marked the team's OR EN 11
performance last season. M~u
No. 12 Michigan (12-4 Big M2
Ten, 34-13 overall) kept its ____rwsrERN_
dwindling Big Ten title hopes
alive after forcing a split with
first-place Northwestern (14-3, 36-11). The Wol-
verines' sixth-inning breakthrough in Sunday's
second contest gave them the game's lone two
runs in a 2-0 victory that snapped the Wildcats'
11-game winning streak.
Just an inning after stranding runners on
second and third, Michigan faced the same
scenario in the sixth.
The Wolverines wouldn't make the same
With senior Becky Marx on third and sopho-
more Samantha Findlay on second following a
double and a single, respectively, senior Grace
Leutele stepped up to the plate. Despite going
hitless in her first five plate appearances, Leutele
remained confident, taking an Eileen Canney
pitch and driving it in between third and short
to plate Marx.
Findlay soon followed Marx, scoring the next
at-bat on a single by junior Tiffany Worthy.
"You can't get down, you have to fight every
pitch, and we did come back and fight that
inning," Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said.
The win salvaged what had become a som-
ber afternoon for Michigan. With a sweep, the
Wolverines would have retaken first place in
the conference. But Northwestern wasn't ready
to relinquish its spot atop the Big Ten, learning
from last year's mistakes.
This time, the 14th-ranked Wildcats' roar was
heard early in the afternoon, as they scored two
runs in the first inning of the opener. After watch-
ing her three teammates load the bases in front
of her, cleanup batter Jamie Dotson drove a fly
ball that found the glove of Wolverine leftfielder
Rebekah Milian. The junior threw home to try
and double up tagging runner Katie Logan, but
the ball caromed off Logan's leg at the plate and
allowed Tammy Williams to also score all the
way from second base.
Those two runs proved to be enough, as
Michigan was able to drive in just one of its
seven baserunners for the game. Sophomore
Alessandra Giampaolo scored following a
Stephanie Bercaw bunt that was thrown away
by Dotson in the second inning.
For the day, Michigan left 12 runners on the
basepads. It failed to get any RBI until the Leu-
tele's single in the second game.
"It's just how the year goes," Marx said. "Last
year, everything fell in place for (us). This year,
(we) have to fight for everything; nothing is fall-
ing into place for (us). The bloopers aren't going
in, the homers aren'tgoing over and plays like (the
first inning play at the plate) happen. It's just a lot
harder this season; things aren't on our side."
The loss in the opener may have been charged
to senior Jennie Ritter, but she followed a shaky
first inning with 13 innings of near-perfection.
The Dexter native allowed just one earned run
and struck out 24 batters on the day, an afternoon
in which she threw over 200 pitches.
"Jennie Ritter gave us a chance to win both
of those games, and we just didn't get it done,"
Ritter's battery mate agreed.
"She was determined," Marx said of Ritter. "She
threw Friday and Saturday and then twice (on Sun-
day). I mean, who can do that? You can't hang your
head on that performance. Win or lose, you can't."
Michigan still has a slight chance at its third-con-
secutive Big Ten regular season title. The Wolver-
Senior Jennie Ritter bounced back from a tough loss to salvage a split with first-place Northwestern on Sunday.
ines must sweep rival Michigan State next weekend
and hope that Northwestern loses both games when
it travels to take on Illinois. One Wildcat victory
will give Northwestern the outright title.
Michigan swept Illinois this weekend, topping
the Illini 5-0 and 3-1 on Friday and Saturday,
respectively. Ritter collected both wins, and her
record now stands at 22-6.
Ritter was one of the five seniors honored dur-
ing the Senior-Day festivities in between the two
games. She was honored along with teammates
Stephanie Bercaw, Tiffany Haas, Leutele and
Marx. Though the quintet will be forever remem-
bered for their contributions to last season's nation-
al championship run, Hutchins hopes their story at
Michigan will be added with another strong finish
"They've had a fabulous career for us, fabu-
lous," Hutchins said. "I just want them to go out
with their best effort possible."
. WATER POLO
Hartwick proves to be too much for Michigan
By Eileen Hengel The Hartwick team that threatened the Wolverines 11-8 on Sunday. 29-12 record. senior Megan Hausmann garnered first
Daily Sports Writer to disband after Strub's sophomore The 12th-ranked Hawks defeated No. Tied after the first stanza, the Wolver- team All-Tournament honors.
year rebounded just two years later 16 Michigan's water polo team to claim ines saw their defense fall apart in the last "We all knew that this was our last
When senior Carly Strub transferred with a bevy of international talent to the Eastern Conference title. minute of the second quarteras Hartwick chance," Hausmann said. "It wasn't so
from Hartwick College to Michigan compile one of the highest scoring To advance to the finals, the Wol- scored five goals to Michigan's two. much stepping up as it was a desire to not
her junior year, she never imagined offenses in the nation and the highest verines downed Brown 6-5 and No. 20 "Everything was fine until a minute end the season."
her final game as a Wolverine would in the Eastern Conference. Hartwick Princeton 8-5 on Saturday. left in the second," Michigan coach Matt Said Anderson, "I will tell you right
be against her alma mater. also amassed enough talent to topple Michigan ended the season with a Anderson said. "For two plays, we didn't now that there was not a better player
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stick to the gameplan and (Hartwick)
pounced on us. If we'd gone into the
half holding them five goals to three, we
would have had a much better chance at
winning the game"
The defeat marks the last game of the
season for the squad, as well as the end of
a career for the four seniors.
"I would have loved to spend two
more weeks with these girls at NCAAs,"
senior Kristin Hoogenboom said.
For Hoogenboom and her senior
teammates, the game was the last they
will play at the competitive level, and
the emotion was evident. But the reali-
ty of the situation didn't seem to affect
Hoogenboom led Michigan with
seven goals on the weekend, including
hat tricks in the games against Brown
and Hartwick. Along with Hoogenboom,
in this tournament then Megan Haus-
The Wolverines have experienced a
very up-and-down season. After a strong
start to the year, Michigan saw its offense
fall apart with injuries and the overall
stress of packing 42 games into justthree
After the hand injury of sophomre
goalkeeper Sally Stone, the Wolverines
found themselves relying on the skill of
the equally talented but less experienced
sophomore Kristen Davis.
Davis was an ample replacement, earn-
ing first team All-Tournament honors.
For Anderson, the loss marks an end
of an era. The seniors graduating were
the first class that he coached as a Wol-
verine. But with the young core intact,
Anderson noted that this was just the
beginning for most.