fair point that
Posts by formerlyanonymous
With baseball season officially starting Friday, I'm going to make several sporadic posts over this week in order to preview the team. For starters, I may suggest going back to my previous podcast with Rich Maloney or my initial reaction to our schedule, which I will probably update my outlook after completing my previews.
Last year's record came in at a less than sterling 30-25, the lowest win total since Rich Maloney stepped on campus. The 9-15 BigTen record is tied for the 6th worst conference record in Michigan history (102 seasons), and the worst since 2000 when the team went 10-18. Obviously last year was a disappointment. So much like football, hockey, basketball, or most other sports that get coverage around these parts, baseball was just as involved in the recent so called "curse of 09-10" as Brian put it in mgo.licio.us.
Michigan came into the season with the usual high expectations, but something was different than years past. After losing 4 players to the draft early, Michigan wasn't able to reload with talent it usually would have (how can you when they get drafted 4 months after signing day and less than 3 months before school starts?). Michigan was starting a true freshman at third base, a key middle reliever's career was cut short by surgery, our right field spot was wide open, our designated hitter came out of nowhere in the form of unknown little brother of MLB player Nate McLouth, and our off the field narrative in the media was "walk-ons lead the team." I think the Ann Arbor News really hit the spot last year in their preseason article:
Many of the would-be run producers are tenured but inexperienced, including corner outfielders Kenny Fellows (fifth-year senior) and Nick Urban (fourth-year junior).
"We have a lot of guys with some potential, but they don't have bios yet," Maloney said. "It's kind of a wild card."
Oh, and what a wild card it was. Consistency was never something Michigan could grasp. Eric Katzman earned the alternate persona of Evil Katzman at least once every two weeks. McLouth fluctuated wildly in terms of plate production. Third base was a carousel between John Lorenz and Tim Kalczynski. Right field was Urban, Oaks, Urban again. Burgoon was injured and the bullpen went by committee. We lost Kevin Cislo and Chris Berset for stretches of the season. Nothing seemed to go right.
Well, almost nothing. Chris Fetter, our senior ace was the one consistent bright spot. Fetter carried the team for most of the season, eating up innings and mowing down line ups. He is responsible for our BigTen best team ERA of 4.80. But there was a lack of depth behind him. Before the season ever started, we lost Ben Jenzen, one of our top relievers from the season before. Left handed freshman Bobby Brosnahan, the pitching gem of the incoming class, was lost for the season with Tommy John surgery. For a period of 6 weeks, we lost our closer, Tyler Burgoon with a shoulder bruise suffered trying to make a play on a bunt.
So while Fetter could carry us through a Friday game, Saturday and Sunday became an adventure in the bullpen. Like clockwork, you could set an implosion coming every three weeks. The weeks of Evil Katzman meant the bullpen was routinely called in during the third or fourth inning, sometimes earlier. Our Sunday starting position during the first half of the season was just as inconsistent. Travis Smith struggled, as did Kolby Wood and Brandon Sinnery.
Not until Alan Oaks re-entered the rotation did we gain any extra consistency. By then, Fetter was already showing signs of fatigue from his highest inning total ever.
Dear Ryan, please don't leave us after this season, attrition hurts.
(Photo by Jeremy Cho, Michigan Daily)
On offense and defense, preseason depth hurt here, too. Adam Abraham left for the majors after his junior year leaving a HUGE void at third base. John Lorenz would have had time to red shirt and prepare for the college game. Instead, he and walk on senior Tim Kalczynski ended up playing third base by committee. Timmy Kal had been a catcher previous to this move. That's how bad we were hurting at depth. Neither player was that great offensively, especially not compared to the great player that Abraham was.
Joining these two on the left side of the infield was a first year starter in Anthony Toth. While his size would lead most people to think of Toth as a second baseman, he was given the keys to short stop with no real back up available. Toth did alright at the plate, eventually giving a decent hitter in the 9-hole. On the field, he was about average. He committed quite a few errors, always at the worst time, but he wasn't horrible.
In right field, Alan Oaks began the season sick, missing the first two weeks of the season. This opened the door for a previous back up middle infielder Nick Urban to get the starting nod. This actually worked out well for Michigan. Urban was the better defensive outfielder with great speed. Upon Oaks' return to the lineup, he hadn't regained his swing yet either.
In all, we were missing at least four veteran players from the draft, and another 2-3 players at any particular point of the season depending who were injured.
To complicate things, Michigan's hitters really loved the strikeout this year. Mike Dufek struck out once in every 3.8 at bats, Most players average about 4 at-bats per game for a reference. That's killer for an offense when the clean-up hitter strikes out that much. He wasn't alone, however, as Toth and Oaks were nearly as bad with a strikeout every 5 at bats. Michigan finished second in the conference in team strikeouts, one behind Minnesota. The problem was that Michigan only bat .294 while the Gophers hit .314. That was the difference between a 7th place finish and a 2nd place finish.
On the whole, an outsider looking at our team would have seen one great pitcher, and depending on the weekend, either a couple of average pitchers or several really bad pitchers. On offense, they'd seen a bunch of walk on players, some better than others, and a rotating cast of fill ins.
In the next installment of the previews, I'll examine how our depth has adjusted in the last year after getting a full recruiting class, some players healthy, and some more experience.
It may be in the 20s and snowing this week in Ann Arbor, but baseball's opening day is just 10 days away. And with baseball comes great hope that perhaps this last year of pain in Michigan sports may be washed away. The team comes in off a disappointing season plagued with depth issues, injuries, and just a few too many strikeouts but looks to be vastly improved in depth on both the mound and field.
As the first in a series of seasons previews, I've interviewed Michigan's coach Rich Maloney. Some highlights:
- Freshman Derek Dennis will be starting at shortstop and batting ninth. The hope is he'll be our #3 hole hitter in the next two years.
- Freshman Patrick Biondi will be starting in left field and leading off. The kid has "special speed." The kid ran a 6.44 – 60 yard dash. The average MLB player is between 6.7-6.9. Biondi will be laying down plenty of bunts looking to get on base.
- The rotation as set up today would be Oaks, Burgoon, Matt Miller, and Brandon Sinnery. Coach sees Sinnery making a huge jump this year. Katzman is coming off surgery and won't be available to start games to start the season. He may be ready for the bullpen by season's start.
- At closer, we're going by committee from the sound of it. Sinnery may be used as closer if he doesn't get a weekend spot. Bobby Brosnahan is fully healed from Tommy John surgery and could be a left handed closer. He also has a shot at a starting spot. Kolby Wood also has a chance. Woo depth!
- Coach really would love a football player to try out for the baseball team. They were co-recruiting a player last year with football, but the recruit chose elsewhere.
- We're hosting Texas Tech for a midweek series in 2011. That's… like huge for Northern baseball.
- It's somewhat disappointing that the Big Ten Tournament is going to be in Columbus every year for the next three. Coach says they have to treat it like any other road games, just like Vanderbilt or any other tournaments.
- Kevin Krantz and freshman Cam Luther may be getting considerable time on the field.
More good stuff inside the podcast, so give it a listen. You too can catch up with the team Wednesday February 10th at the Junge Champions Center (between Crisler and Michigan Stadium) at "Meet the Wolverines Night." There will be photo and autograph opportunities as well as snacks and beverages for all of you broke college kids looking for free food and entertainment.
The roster was released for fall ball last week with all of this year's current changes. The four lost still had eligibility left, but I'm not sure where they are, whether finishing at Michigan or transferring to find playing time. That's not uncommon in baseball. There will probably be a couple more tweaks to the roster before the actual season starts, and those will be dealt with closer to the season.
- Adam Arbour – Not a big loss as only saw very limited playing time. Stuck behind Chris Berset and Coley Crank in the depth chart.
- Bryce Aspinwall – Loss is pretty meh. Aspinwall had 10 at bats last season but made the most of them. I thought he had a pretty good shot of taking over for a graduated Fellows. Apparently not.
- Jim Bircher – No real loss. Had one pinch runner appearance all last season.
- Jake McLouth (yes, younger brother to the major leaguer Nate McLouth) – Definitely the biggest name lost from last year. There had been rumors that he wasn't going to stick around, and it appears that rumor stuck. McLouth was the DH for Michigan last year, hitting .272 in 151 at bats (6th on team). That's a big hole to fill.
My intital thought is that Garrett Stephens will take over the DH role, with some support by Coley Crank. Stephens was our top bench player last year, filling in at first base when Mike Dufek would close out games. Stephens also tore it up all summer in his wood bat league, earning all Prospect League honors.
- Kevin Cislo – Loss is huge. My guess has Toth moving to second base to fill his hole defensively, opening up short stop for freshman Derek Dennis. We also lose Cislo as our lead off hitter. That's a bigger loss. (Pictured to the right by MGoBlue.com)
- Kenny Fellows – Loss is pretty big here as we also lose our #2 hole hitter. I wouldn't be surprised to see Biondi to move into his outfield position, especially with the loss of Aspinwall.
- Chris Fetter – Again with the huge losses. There goes one of the top starting pitchers Michigan has ever had. He ate up innings (even if it sacrificed his quality down the stretch) and saved us from using the super weak bullpen last year.
- Ben Jenzen – Not much of a loss based on last season. Jenzen was injured the previous year and didn't make it back to play. He would have been a key part of the bullpen or even starting rotation last year had he been healthy.
- Tim Kalczynski – Loss is medium. As a team captain last year, he was the super utility player. He filled in for an injured Chris Berset and shared third base duties with John Lorenz. Timmy Kal's bat won't be too badly missed. He only hit .234 last year in 107 at bats, with only 8 extra base hits.
- Mike Wilson – Wilson's loss isn't a killer. In 2007, he had the conference in his hand, earning All-Region for his efforts on the mound. In 2008, he lost his touch. In 2009, well, he only made it into 13 games, including 4 starts. In the end, he finished with a 5.07 ERA in 27 innings. The 24 walks to 23 K's ration was also a killer, not to mention the .328 opponent batting average.
- Anthony Toth from 16 to 5 (previously McLouth's number)
- John DiLaura, C – I did a brief write up on DiLaura when still at VarsityBlue. He is a solid hitting catcher, earning Division 1/Dream Team All State honors, who has experience at third and second base. With two catchers in the recruiting class ahead of him, including Coley Crank, if he makes an impact this season, it will be because Chris Berset misses time again and Crank struggles.
- Kyle Clark, RHP – Clark was a four year starter at Portage Central HS of Michigan as a pitcher and first basemen. He's been brought on to pitch in Ann Arbor. He was runner up for his team's pitcher of the year in 2009, and finished with All Conference honors (he was All Conference and All District as a junior) despite having a season ending knee injury. The injury was a strange one. While playing third base, he went to field a slow roller and the knee just buckled. He finished the year 4-1 with 25.2 innings pitched and a 2.18 ERA. Clark has since recovered, and pitched in a summer league team (A. Green, along with Biondi and Michigan signee gone pro Daniel Fields), so he is good to go.
- Derek Dennis, SS – One of our two draft picks not to go pro, Dennis was an 8th round pick with the Devil Rays. He was considered either the top or second best position player in the state of Michigan this last year (Division 1/Dream Team All State), and he projects to make an impact early. I'm thinking we see Toth move to second base to open the door for 4 years of Derek Dennis at short stop. (Pictured to right by Grand Rapids Press)
- Zach Johnson, DH – Johnson is a big guy at 6'3", and he's also really versatile. During his senior season at Grandville HS, he was their top pitcher, their top catcher, and according to his high school coach, he "could've been [their] best infielder, too." Johnson hit .438 and held a on base percentage of .541. On the mound, he was extremely dominant with an ERA of 1.81, record of 4-2, and a 9 strike outs per 9 innings pitched ratio. So while he's listed as a DH now, he could end up playing just about anywhere to get his bat into the line up.
- Patrick Biondi, OF – The second of our two non-signing draft picks, Biondi was a very late round pick of the Tigers. He's played center field primarily, which makes him a prime candidate to come in and start. Ryan LaMarre isn't a pure centerfielder, and I definitely can see him moving to left field (vacated by Fellows). In 2009, Biondi earned Louisville Slugger All American status as an outfielder, which speaks volumes of his talent. He was also All State Division II/Dream Team.
- Michael Kershner, RHP – Kershner comes from Oakland, CA where he won a North Coast Section Division IV title in his senior season. Kershner threw a complete game in the championship game to win it all. At 6'3", 160, he'll probably spend a year building up strength, but he could potentially see time in his first year. PerfectGame.Org describes him as:
Lean and lanky build with projection. Works from ¾ arm slot with a long and extended arm action. He ran his fastball up to 86 in San Diego and it showed good life. He throws with lower effort and shows poise on the mound, changing speeds with his 11-5 breaking ball.
- Ben Ballantine, RHP – I did a write up on Ballantine at VarsityBlue as well during his recruitment. Ben is a 6'8" pitcher out of California, and he chose Michigan because of the work Rich Maloney and his staff has done with other tall pitchers, namely Chris Fetter. Ballantine decided to pick the jersey sure to fit him, Chris Fetter's #41 jersey. That's some awfully big shoes to fill. I don't see him cracking the rotation this year, but he'll probably start seeing playing time early and often this season as Maloney turns him into the next big starter for Michigan.
- Cameron Luther, 1B – Luther is another one of the Michigan All State players at the Division II level, but his is for power. "Cam" hit a home run in nearly all news articles I have found on him. That said, I can't find any specific stats on his season. MGoBlue.com described him thusly (before his senior season):
Luther, a three-time all-district performer for coach Eric Dunapilis at St. Joseph, has 19 home runs in three varsity seasons and hit .431 as a junior. A powerful first baseman, Luther had a breakout summer of 2008 with the Kalamazoo Maroons, hitting .429 while slugging 1.021 with 19 home runs.
- Bennett Howard, IF – He shows up on the roster at fall ball. A thorough google search comes up with nothing. He's from New Jersey. That's all I got.
- Samuel Cleary, RHP/IF/OF – Cleary comes from Ann Arbor's Huron HS. I haven't found much about him as I believe he is a walk-on at fall try-outs. He had a few academic honors in 2008. I believe he was a middle infielder at Huron, but he has the ultimate utility listing of pitcher/infielder/outfielder on the current roster. If anything he is an academic walk-on that provides depth.
EDIT: I looked over Rickey Samuel, which is definitely a poor choice to skip. Thanks go to wolverinebandit for pointing out the error.
Ricky Samuel, OF – Samuel is another All State Dream teamer from last year. He is listed as an outfielder on our roster, but the lefty also was a solid pitcher in high school. Samuel has 3 main pitches, a fastball (touches upper 80s), a sharp breaking ball, and a changeup. That said, he's only considered an above average prospect as a left handed pitcher.
His swing, however, is considered his main selling point. The best summary of his senior season I could find came from this Detroit News article written right before the district playoffs:
Going into […] Division 1 pre-district game against Walled Lake Northern at Walled Lake Central, Samuel was batting .510 with 35 RBIs, 41 runs, nine doubles, three triples, six home runs, 23 walks and 22 stolen bases. He has a .608 on-base percentage and a .840 slugging percentage. As a pitcher he's 6-2 with one save. In 48 innings he's struck out 87 with an ERA of 2.90. Opposing batters are hitting .169.
That's spectacular. Depending on how we use Alan Oaks this year, Samuel has a chance at making it in the outfield as well. Oaks is high risk/high reward in the outfield. His defense isn't great (it isn't poor either), he has major power, but Alan just strikes out way too much. If he gets converted to a starting pitcher, which seems likely based on the end of last season and his summer league numbers, Samuel could see a lot of time in right field.
A few weeks ago, I posted on the announcement of The Big Ten Ticket. In that post, I did touch on my general disappointment with the Big Ten Network's general streaming package:
I have had it confirmed from the Network that the Big Ten Ticket will only cover those football and basketball games and nothing else. This means the women's basketball games streamed last year will most likely continue for free. The lack of other Olympic sports coverage is a big disappointment.
Well, the Big Ten Network saw that complaint and understood my disappointment. Come to find out, the BTN has been working to address that problem for the last few months. Last week, they announced the new and improved domestic streaming package.
The Big Ten Network will double its commitment to several Olympic sports this season by streaming at least 200 live events on BigTenNetwork.com. The network has made a significant financial investment to provide fans with a high-quality streaming experience comparable to watching a game in high definition.
The network invited me to discuss their new streaming venture with Big Ten Network President Mark Silverman. Since I'm pretty excited about this venture and the coverage it opens up, I was glad to accept their offer. So here's my overview of the new streaming video service. [Remainder! After the jump!]
After realizing that I was talking to the man who had been the VP of ABC's business development, general manager of ESPN Zone, and VP of Disney Studios, I knew I had to go into this discussion with a little bit of preliminary research. So before I get into some of the questions I had for Silverman, here's a preliminary overview of the new Olympic streaming project at video.bigtennetwork.com:
- The BTN will be doubling their number of Olympic sports shown to over 200 games.
- The Olympic sports will not cover football or conference men's basketball games (they may carry some exhibitions and nonconference games)
- The initial project will sell access to games for $2.99/game (more on this later), payable by credit card.
- The project will be available in HD, and the streaming software automatically adjusts to your bandwidth to find the best feed for you.
- Games you purchase will be available until the season ends.
- The games will be streamed via a flash player.
- Women's basketball and volleyball are the two sports getting the most coverage this fall. That said, their drop down menu includes 21 different sports, not including subdivisions of men's vs. women's.
This is a great improvement from last year's coverage, which featured only women's basketball conference games only. A couple of the sports that specifically caught my eye were ice hockey and lacrosse. When I asked the BTN about the two, I got this
We hope to be able to stream many non-televised ice hockey games, but we’re still trying to figure out all of the rights issues.
I don’t anticipate us streaming club level sports this year, but as we grow the initiative, we’ll look to stream events that we think will draw the most viewers.
Another question I asked the BTN was about the sports that would be covered in the immediate future. Looking through the schedule, it appeared to be only arena sports such as volleyball and basketball. They confirmed that these type of sports would be the main focus this season mainly because of the lack of technology at many other complexes.
The BTN has much of their streaming technology in place at the basketball arenas after last year's project. The volleyball courts are getting the next round of installations. Other sporting venues hope to be hooked up before next school year.
Michigan Games Scheduled
Michigan has 19 games currently scheduled to be shown on the BTN.com streams. The October 24th volleyball game at Minnesota is the debut for Michigan. Their next game on BTN.com will be the men's basketball game on Nov. 6 against Wayne State. The men have 3 other games scheduled for BTN.com including Houston Baptist, Arkansas-Pinebluff, and Coppin State.
The women's basketball has 14 games one the schedule so far, including 2 nonconference games.
One of the other questions I made sure to ask was who holds the broadcast rights for adding future games. With Michigan now included in the CBS College Sports multimedia sphere, there is the opportunity to stream more games. Northwestern, also a CBSCS member, streamed many of it's Olympic sports last year. Michigan could conceivably do this as well, although at much lower quality than the BTN.
The Network told me that this school coverage would remain untouched except for the games selected by the BTN. They hope to bring more and more of these games to the BTN each year, but that the schools can stream their games if the BTN does not reserve them.
With the progress of the different schools and venues getting their streaming technology installed and/or updated, the BTN decided it wouldn't be fair to offer school packages this year. The uneven distribution would be too difficult to set prices to, so they instead chose to go by a game-by-game fee structure. The current price per game is $2.99, which is good relative to established precedent. A few other conferences have streaming capabilities, but most of the work here has been on an individual-school basis. The two examples of conference streaming packages that I've found are the Atlantic Sun (ASun.tv) and the Horizon League (HLN). Most school packages are under the CBS College Sports XXL (CBSCS XXL) package. As noted in the earlier post, the prices of the ASun.tv and CBSCS XXL packages are as such:
CBSSports XXL … is $15 a month and $120 per year. During the baseball season, the Atlantic Sun conference (ASun.tv) carried individual games for $6, monthly subscriptions for $10, and yearly subscriptions for $70.
As you can see, the BTN streaming deal is about half the cost of the ASun.tv option, and much more flexible than the current CBSCS XXL package. As for the Horizon League, they are the biggest deal out of the group. They actually stream their shows for free. They don't cover that many sports, but when they do, it's free. I think it's fair to say the Big Ten Network probably couldn't afford to do this, especially with the high quality they expect to put out.
At least in year one, the BTN isn't focusing on including advertising or commercials in their streams yet. I'd expect them to work advertisements into the streams eventually. It makes sense from a business model to fill the empty time at the half or between periods to include at least 30 second ads, if anything just to help the announcers out.
The BTN is also using this streaming project to connect with student groups. The streaming video will be announced by student announcers, presumably WCBN for Michigan games. The network will be working with campus groups to train and develop their commentators for a slightly better quality both in the audio and video capabilities. The BTN hopes show their commitment to not just the fans watching the games, but also the students involved in producing the events, giving them experience and training for potential future employment.
This is a great PR move for the Big Ten. The idea of moving student broadcasters into BTN booths has been floated around for a couple years. I can remember Paul and Tim in their WolvTV years asking them for the same sort of chance. It's taken a few years, but it's finally come into fruition.
For those wanting to know about streams for men's basketball or football, I asked why they can't be streamed domestically (in the US). He explained to me that in their contracts with their cable and satellite providers make it impossible for them to stream games that are being broadcasted. To secure the availability of BTN to be included in the basic package in the Big Ten footprint, they had to guarantee no concurrent streaming in the US.
Because of these restrictions, they created the BigTenTicket for the international fans for football and men's basketball. Those are the majority of televised games, and therefore are unavailable to the international audience. Those games will stay archived on the BigTenTicket, but Silverman tells me they are working to make the basketball games available to purchase in archived form. They are still a few weeks away from knowing if it will be possible for this season. He made it sound as if football wasn't going to have that available this year either.
As for the Olympic sports broadcast live, those will be available only via television, and not be streamed at all.
I also asked about the potential about streaming for "free" like ESPN360. For those of you not familiar with ESPN360, ESPN/ABC streams almost every game on College Game Plan for no charge. In reality, the user pays for it in their internet/cable bill. Silverman doesn't see that being a possibility. The contracts they have with cable providers are quite long term, and it would be tough to get something like that included.
The BTN Outlook
The BTN is trying to tailor their content to viewer's desires. They are working on getting more mobile applications and fan friendly projects. They really want your input. They listen. So if you have a comment, question, concern, or suggestion, let them know here.
Editor's note: bonus podcast-type object from FA, who had the opportunity to interview volleyball coach Mark Rosen, who has Michigan in the top ten.
For those of you who might have missed the volleyball team's recent climb to #6 in the nation, you're missing out. Michigan has already defeated one major perennial power in Nebraska (think basketball's victory over Duke last year). They opened up the home slate last weekend, emerging unbeaten in 4 games, not even dropping a set.
This week ups the ante. Michigan hosts 9-2 Marquette (Friday 1p), unbeaten #27 Dayton (Friday 7:30pm), and 7-2 Oregon State (Saturday 3:30pm). The Oregon State game is going to be huge. The athletic department has moved the game to Crisler Arena to accommodate the big crowds they are expecting.
Coach Rosen joined me in an interview to preview the Michigan team. Over the course of the interview, we covered everything from Brazilian food, Michigan's strategy, beating Penn State, and reasons you should come out (including girls in spandex!). Take a listen and more importantly, after football destroys Eastern Michigan, head next door and see the volleyball team take on Oregon State.
For those interested in breaking records, Nebraska had 13,780 fans show up to its game against UCLA last week. Crisler Arena's official capacity is 13,751. I think we can pack in a few extras and shock the volleyball world again this season.
[Saturday @ 3:30: volleyball in Crisler.]
Editor's note: we're still trying to figure out how much real estate to give non-revenue sports during football season. We're leaning towards front-paging the stuff with a quick jump, as you see below.
Michigan had a pretty successful weekend in places other than football. Team sports went 6-1, with a potential win coming up with the men's soccer team still in progress. For a full recap of the weekend, take the jump.
Friday, the women's cross country faced off with Eastern Michigan in a non-scoring meet. Michigan placed 8 in the top ten finishers including Danielle Tauro finishing the 5k in 18 minutes and one half second. Coach Mike McGuire:
Danielle [Tauro] ran pretty controlled, and she's going to be our leader this year. We had one fall off the group a little bit, but for the first week I thought it was pretty solid. We've established the benchmark, and we've just got to get better from here.
He would also mention that 4 of the top 8 were freshmen, who are going to need to show up big for Michigan this year.
The men's team wrapped up their 6k Michigan Open Friday as well. It appears all of the competitors were UM athletes, but some ran as "unattached," including the race winner Lex Williams (18 minutes, 55.3 seconds). Coach Ron Warhurst:
We had a great camp. The kids ran 90 miles a week, so they're tired. But we had to put a uniform on them today. It's really just to get them started. I was really impressed with their going out in 5:24 first mile and then running 5:00, especially up the long hill. [...] Lex [Williams] pushed it. The good thing is they went with it. I was pleased with the freshmen. They ran together. It was a great start, and I'm happy with what I saw.
Men's soccer won 2-1 over Drake. Michigan was outshot 15-7 but came out ahead in the stat that matters - goals. Justin Meram and Chase Tennnant (winner in the 87th minute) both scored for Michigan. Coach Steve Burns on the players of the game:
Both Kofi Opare and Latif Alashe played like warriors in controlling the central midfield. They really showed their range and displayed a maturity beyond their years. The Chase Tennant of old is back and he scored a great game-winning goal that will surely be one our Top 10 goals of the season. Our Man of the Match was Mauro Fuzetti, who was splendid up front.
Sunday, the men defeated Valparasio at Valpo by a score of 2-1. Down a goal in the 70th minute, Mauro Fuzetti knocked a 12 yarder into the left corner of the net. The game winner came from Justin Merman in the 72 minute with a shot to the upper left from 15 yards.
The women's team defeated Eastern Michigan today by a score of 4-1. Megan Bowery, back at center, opened the game with a goal. Freshman Holly Hein had the game winning goal, with Jackie Carron and Alex Jendrusch also adding a goal a piece. Carron also registered 2 assists. Kristen Keane had 4 saves in the complete game. Michigan's 16 shots is a new season high. Jendrusch said this about the confidence the team has gained over the last week:
It was really good to have a winning weekend. It boosted our confidence. We played our game a lot more than we have the past couple of games. We are mostly a possession team. We did not play down and put four goals in.
Field Hockey beats temple 5-1. A second half explosion saw the Wolverines take 14 shots, netting all 5 goals in that period. Three of the goals came off penalty corner plays. This was the team's first win of the season.
In their second game of the weekend, Michigan held tough with #1 Maryland, but fell 1-4. Bryn Bain had the lone goal for Michigan coming off the bench, but the real story of the game was the 5 minute stretch from the 48th to 53rd minute when our defense fell apart. All 4 Maryland goals came in this stretch. While there's no shame in holding tough with the #1 team in the nation, Coach Pankrantz is probably giving a speech about playing the full 70 minutes in practice at least once this week.
Friday night's volleyball win over Tennessee came by a 3-1 score. The win was a team effort, but the team was lead by Juliana Paz and her XX kills. Zimmerman lead the team in digs with 17, but also got in her 42 assists and 17 digs for a triple-double.
While the game wasn't shown by video or radio, a CiL was hosted on MGoBlue by former Wolverine player Erin Moore. She had a great story earlier about beating Tennessee during her undergrad, which might have been the highlight of the coverage.
One of my all time favorite Michigan moments took place at Tennessee one preseason. We were down 0-2 and getting the third set handed to us when Nicole Poquette ran a two and landed directly on the crease in the floor. It [was] one of those jig saw like wooden floors that pieces together. The floor breaks. We can't play on it. Tenn. has to retape a court on the other side of the floor and we end up winning the match 3-2.
As for Saturday, the team started slow falling behind 1-5 to open the first set, but were able to tie it back up. Unfortunately, they lost the lead again, and lost their first "first set" of the season by a score of 24-26. The second set also started with a run from Xavier, but this time just 0-3. Michigan would respond though, eventually taking a 5 point lead in the set, ultimately winning 25-23. The third, anchored by a 9-0 run, and fourth sets were much more dominate for Michigan, winning 25-21 and 25-13 respectively.
- Juliana Paz had 19 kills and a .302 hitting percentage
- Alex Hunt had 12 kills and a team high 3 service aces
Sunday was the de facto championship of the Xavier tournament against Notre Dame. Michigan hit .390(!) as a team, it's highest on the season by quite a bit. Paz had 20 kills and Alex Hunt posted 14 of her own with a .458 hitting percentage, which is pretty ridiculous.
This match was hardly in question, but the second set was intense. Down 5 points early, Michigan called a time out, regrouped, and eventually retook the lead. Michigan would eventually win the set 31-29. The final score was a sweep by scores 25-19, 31-29, and 25-20.
For more on the Notre Dame game, El Jeffe has an excellent diary post that you should read immediately after this.
Lexi Zimmerman was named BigTen Offensive Player of the Week. She "averaged 12 assists per set, while also contributing 2.1 kills and 3.4 digs on a .417 hitting percentage." This is her first POTW honor in her career, which is actually amazing to me.
Only one match in any of the Olympic sports happens this midweek as the volleyball team takes on Eastern Michigan in Ypsilanti on Wednesday at 7pm.