Niko Porikos grew up in an NTDP billet home. Cool story.
This happens often enough, but there was yet another mini-spat on the board about non-revenue sports and their worth. I may be biased. I love all sports. I've never met an athletic game I didn't fall in love with at one point or another. As a student at UM some friends took me to a volleyball game and I fell in love with volleyball and found myself hitting Elbel as often as possible to pay. Playing innertube waterpolo made me realize what a fun sport that was and subsequently I found myself watching Michigan v. Indiana, not on the Big Ten Network, but in Canham Natatorium.
There's something about those teams, those sports, that reminds me of some the best times of my life - playing high school baseball with my friends, winning a regional, then a state quarterfinal, only to lose in heartbreaking fashion one game later. The pure elation of victory and the pure agony of defeat. There's something pure about non-revenue sports at Michigan. It takes a dedication that I like to think I would have had, but don't know if I would have.
Alex Hunt and Stu Douglass were two of my favorite Michigan Men and Women while I was a student there. They embody this spirit. For those of you who don't feel this way about the Michigan Men and Women who wear the maize and blue in soccer, softball, baseball, wrestling, gymnastics, field hockey, etc., I challenge you to give them a shot. I truly think you're missing out. You're entitled to your opinion, but I highly suggest you read Alex and Stu's journey and maybe you'll see the quality person that UM and UM athletics can produce.
“He wanted to prove to himself and to the world that he could play with the best athletes in the country. He didn’t want anybody to ever say, ‘He was OK at Harvard.’ He would have rather failed at the Big Ten than just be OK at Harvard.”– Stuart’s father, Matt Douglass
L, 0-3 (22-25, 17-25, 16,25)
The volleyball team was swept in the opening round of the NCAA tournament last night at the hands of #11 Washington. The #23 Wolverines were missing Alex Hunt due to an injury, and adding more youth to an already young lineup didn't help Michigan's cause.
It's August and that means the return of my favorite fall sport. That's right, volleyball. While I haven't quite gotten to my season preview (should be one for volleyball and the soccers coming if next week goes as planned), stories are already hitting the news wire.
Today, the Big Ten released the Preseason Conference Poll and Preseason All Big Ten teams. Michigan, coming off a 27-10 regular season and #9 final national ranking, has been picked to finish 5th in the Big Ten (pdf) behind perennial favorite Penn State, Illinois, Minnesota, and Ohio State. This is pretty much on par with the final standings last year, where Michigan finished tied with Ohio State in 4th place.
Coach Rosen via MGoBlue:
"Preseason polls do not mean much," 12th-year head coach Mark Rosen said. "The conference is good enough right now that one through 11 is up for grabs. I really think that the Big Ten is the deepest it has ever been this year. We have a lot of work to do to live up to that finish, but I think that our team is up for it."
Along with the standings, Michigan also had two players named to the Preseason All Big Ten Team. Senior setter Lexi Zimmerman makes her 3rd consecutive Preseason All Big Ten Team, this time as a unanimous pick.
Joining Zimmerman on the Preseason All Big Ten Team is junior left side hitter Alex Hunt. Hunt makes her first appearance on the Preseason Team, and looks to be Michigan's biggest returning weapon after the graduation of Juliana Paz and Veronica Rood.
(Photos via MGoBlue)