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September 06, 1995 - Image 27

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-09-06

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 6, 1995-

Blue blasts Rockets in
three straight games

By Chris Murphy
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's vol leyballteam
started off their home schedule with a
bang as it thumped Toledo 15-4, 15-10,
15-4 at Cliff Keen Arena last night.
The Wolverines (3-1) were coming
off a strong showing at the Georgia
Invitational. Although they had lost their
last match to No.20 Georgia, Michigan
took two out of the three games in the
tournament and was looking to con-
tinue its hot start to the season.
The match started out in favor of the
Wolverines as theyjumped out to an
early lead. Michigan was paced in the
beginning by senior co-captain and out-
side-hitter Shannon Brownlee and
sophomore middle-blocker Sarah Jack-
son. The two led the team to a 15-4 first
game victory.
The second game saw the Rockets
(2-3) assert themselves as they took
the early lead. Taking advantage of a
bit of Michigan fatigue, the Rockets
enjoyed the lead but for a few fleeting
After that, it was all Michigan.
Midway through the second game,
Michigan coach Greg Giovanazzi made
a key lineup change inserting junior
setter Erin McGovern and freshman
outside-hitter Karen Chase.
The move gave the Wolverines a
much-needed spark; Michigan never
looked back, taking the second game
15-10 and the third and game 15-4.
"I think we're at a pretty good point
with our intensity and the team's pretty
hungry," Giovanazzi said. "Anid I
think there's some really good leader-
A big key to the victorywas the play
of some ofthe bench, particularly fresh-
man Karen Chase and Linsey Ebert. In
fact, it is looking more and more like
the freshmen are becoming key mem-
bers of the team.
"I'm surprised in a really positive
way by how mature the three (fresh-
men) are," Giovanazzi said. "They don't
have any problems being out on the
court in a match. They're pretty sea-
soned freshmen."
The Wolverines were lead by
Brownlee who had 10 kills and 11 digs
and junior Kristen Ruschiensky (10
kills, 7 digs).
Sophomore Linnea Mendoza (1 kill,
4 digs), while not posting dazzling sta-
tistics, turned in a very solid perfor-
mance, playing most of the match.
"I think that Shannon, Kristen and
Linneamight be in azone where they're

playing the best I've seen them play,"
Giovanazzi said.
Michigan enjoyedsolid performances
from several otherplayers, both starters
and substitutes. Senior co-captain and
middle-blocker Suzy O'Donnell turned
in a very solid performance, as did
freshman outside-hitter Jeanine
Szczesniak and junior middle blocker
Karen Jackson, mho contributed four
and six kills respectively.
One key to the Michigan victory was
the team's consistency, an aspect of its
game that was sorely lacking last season.
"I think we played really steady and
really consistent," Mendoza said. "I
think we've worked really hard and so
we come out and play our own game
and not worry about the opponent."
Michigan got another boost from the
bench late in the third game. Junior
outside-hitter Shareen Luze, who would
have started but was sidelined with an
ankle injury, returned to action.
With injuries totwopotential starters
-junior outside-hitter Colleen Miniuk
and sophomore outside-hitterChereena
Tennis-having Luze back in the lineup
should provide the Wolverines with
both an athlete and a leader.
Michigan will need all the athleticism
and leadership it can muster as the
Wolverines will face offagainst Pac-10
powerhouse UCLA this Friday at Cliff
Keen Arena.

Early season match has
two experenced teams
By Doug Stevens ines dominated that contest as well,
Daily Sports Writer 1, 15-6, 15-12.
The Michigan volleyball team re- DON'T I KNOw You?: A main reasor
turned to Cliff Keen Arena last night in the renewal of this series is the relati
style as it swept Toledo in three straight ship between the teams' head coache
games. The Wolverines (3-1 overall) First-year Toledo coach Ri
defeated the Rockets (2-3), 15-4, 15- Sunahara played under then-assis
10, 15-4. Greg Giovanazzi at UCLA from 19
Despite the fact that this was 1986. Giovanazzi is now in his foi
Michigan's home opener, the Wolver- year with the Wolverines.
ines were already match-experienced, FOLLOW THE LEADER: Seniors Sh
having competed in the Georgia Invita- non Brownlee, an outside hitter,
tional over Labor Day Weekend. At Suzy O'Donnell, a middle blocker,I
that tournament, the Wolverines won serve as Michigan's co-captains fot
againstthelikesofTulane, 15-6,18-16, 1995 campaign. Brownlee is a t
15-9, and William & Mary, 15-10, 9- year letterwinner and enters the sea
15, 15-12, 15-10, before falling to No. as the Wolverines' top returning hi
20 Georgia, 17-15, 15-13, 16-14. and digger. O'Donnell, a four-y
Toledo also came into this meeting starterand two-time Academic All-
with matches under its belt. The Rock- Ten selection, led the team in kill
ets competed in a tournament at Evans- block game averages a year ago.
ville last Friday and Saturday, where BrownleewasinsolidformforMi
they won two of four matches against gan last night as she contributed 101
Georgia State, Evansville, Indiana State and 11 digs. O'Donnell added t
and Tennessee-Martin kills and three digs in only two gar
fact that the two universities are only new faces around Cliff Keen this;
separated by about 50 miles, Toledo and son who should all serve a promi
Michiganhaveonlysquaredoffninetimes role in improving the Blue defen
in their history. The Wolverines have and blocking play.
made the most of their series with the Jeanine Szczesniak, who is 5-10,
Rockets, winning all of the matches. six-footers Karen Chase and Lir
Before last night, Michigan last Ebert all bring much needed heigi
played Toledo in 1991. The Wolver- the Wolverine defense.

n for~

The Michigan volleyball team improved to 3-1 with a victory over Toledo
last night at Cliff Keen Arena. The Wolverines swept the Rockets by
scores of 154, 15-10 and 154. The Kaepa Challenge is up next for

Depth and experience will be the key for

By Danielle Rumore
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan volleyball team
viewed the 1994 season as a learning
experience. No-
body knew bet-
ter than the
Wolverines just
how difficult it
was to over-
come a lack of
depth and expe-
Michigan suf-
fered through a
vast array of ih-
juries as it tried
to incorporate
seven freshmen * W
into the rotation.
The Wolverines
finished with a dismal 8-23 record, tied
with Purdue for ninth place in the Big

"Lookigg back, the biggest issue
was the Wijuries," Michigan coach
Greg Giovanazzi said. "We never had
a set lineup. I think by the end of the
year we went through 43 different
lineups. That and the fact that we had
seven brand new players last year ...
was tough."
The bqginning of the 1995 season
is already proving to be a different
story for'the Wolverines. Experience
coupled with confidence and three
key freshmen is just what the doctor
Senior Shannon Brownlee played
middle blocker until last season when
she was moved to outside hitter because
of a lack of players at the position.
Brownlee is now Michigan's top re-
turning hitter (268 kills) and digger
(307digs). Juniors Kristen Ruschiensky,
Shareen Luze, Colleen Miniuk, Darlene

Recker and sophomores Jane Stevens
and Chereena Tennis join Brownlee on
the outside.
Freshmen Karen Chase and Jeanine
Szczesniak are the newest outside hit-
ters. The 5-foot-10 Szczesniak was a
Volleyball Monthly "Fab 50" recruit
out of Mother McAuley High School in
Middle blocker Linsey Ebert rounds
out the recruiting class.
Junior Erin McGovern and Mendoza
are returning setters for the Wolver-
ines. Senior Suzy O'Donnell, junior
Ramona Cox and sophomore Sarah
Jackson return as the middle blockers
along with junior Meg Akehi at back
Michigan (3-1) opened the season
at the Georgia Invitational with wins
over Tulane and William and Mary
and a narrow loss to No. 20 Georgia.
Last night, the Wolverines swept

Toledo, 15-4, 15-10, 15-4.
Giovanazzi believes that the narrow
loss to the Bulldogs might have been
"Block and play better defense - I
really believe those are the two ele-
ments that are crucial to us," Giovanazzi
said. "Those are point-scoring elements.
We pass well, we have two great setters
and we hit very well. Now we have to
play defense better.
"We're playing a new defense, and I
think they're a little bit tentative about
going after some balls. I believe it will
be fixed pretty easily."
This season the Wolverines are not
completely injury-free. Luze returned
to action last night after suffering a
sprained ankle over a week ago.
Miniuk has a strained medial collat-
eral ligament in her right knee and Ten-
nis has a lower back stress fracture.
Both are out indefinitely.

Despite the injuries, the Wolverinos_
believe they have a legitimate shot.at
making the NCAA tournament for th
first time.
"We have a shot," Giovanazzi sai
"It's just going to be based on whotbor,
or not this group continues to cog
together at the rate they have over tI:
last eight months."
Michigan begins its trip to NCAAs
this weekend hosting the Michigan
Volleyball Kaepa Challenge at Cliff
Keen Arena. The tournament show-
cases powerhouses California, Ohio
State and national runner-up UCLA.
"Last year was a nightmare to live
through, but the motivation it provided
for the spring was immeasurable,"
Giovanazzi said. "The difference be,
tween almost the exact same people 12
months ago is startling. Just in thb
confidence and ability to work w
each other."




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