By the by, the Zone is noticeably loud at the Marquette game right now. I'm loving it. Tim's at the game, make sure you get his autograph.
also duty-free guys falling over and grabbing their shins
Note: This may be a bit short to start. I've got an chat with BigTenNetwork President Mark Silverman in a little over an hour and I'm trying to get prepared for that. Also, if you haven't given a listen to the podcast with Coach Rosen, do it.
As previously stated, this is a big weekend for #6 Michigan. Michigan is hosting the Michigan/Adidas Invitational featuring games against undefeated Dayton, 9-2 Marquette, and Oregon State (at Crisler Arena). This will be the last big gut check before we head into BigTen play. All three of these games will be tough.
The women will be sending 11 to Michigan State's Forest Akers East Golf Course in East Lansing for a 6 km race. Jenny Morgan and Danielle Tauro are your projected Michigan leaders. From Coach McGuire:
This race is kind of a building block. Michigan State is in the same boat as us -- they're young, but they have a good quality of depth. So, it will be a good benchmark for where we stand against them and likewise where they are compared to us.
With all of the stuff that's been happening, I sadly couldn't keep up with individual team previews. The men's tennis team is in Napa Valley, St. Helena, CA to be more specific, this weekend. They will be competing in a non-scoring match against Cal-Berkeley, Harvard, and Ole Miss. One of these schools is not like the others.
If you're that interested, the tournament is available at http://www.radiotennis.com/.
The rowing team kicks off their season tomorrow against Michigan State in Belleville, MI. I know nothing more than this.
Michigan is 2-4 this season, but their strength of schedule has to be in the top 3 in the nation. Michigan has played a #1, #2, #4, and #5, accounting for all 4 losses on the season. Michigan will look to gain it's first win over a ranked opponent in Louisville this weekend.
Syracuse will be tough. The Orange has already defeated two top 10 opponents, Old Dominion and Michigan State. They are 5-1 and have a wide array of potential goal scorers.
Louisville is definitely a better chance for the W as Louisville hasn't been tested this season. While they are ranked in the top 20, they are only 9 positions ahead of Michigan. I think this game could be very winnable for Michigan. I'm looking to see Bryn Bain continue her 4 game goal streak with a big outburst here.
The men have one game this weekend against the Broncos. Western is winless on the season, so Michigan should be able to handle them easily.
The women have their last tune up before the BigTen conference slate starts against that Miami. The Hurricanes do have a win over a ranked opponent in then #22 Washington, but that hasn't gotten Miami on the rankings others receiving votes. A couple of really bad losses have kept them out of contention. This should be a really good game between a pair of evenly matched teams.
I'll be updating things throughout the weekend, so check back occasionally.
Update I (Friday 9:30pm):
At the women's cross country meet, Michigan's Danielle Tauro placed second with a time of 21 minutes 19 seconds. Kaitlyn Peale (21:47) and Kaitlyn Patterson (21:56) also finished in the top 10 at 7th and 9th respectively. This was a non-scoring match, so there were no team scores.
On the volleyball court, Michigan won a pair of matches, one on cruise control and one in the most exciting 3 set match ever. In the early game, Michigan faced Marquette and just rolled past the Tigers by scores 25-16, 25-19, and 25-. The team was lead by Alex Hunt's record breaking 9(!) service aces on the match. The 9 broke the previous record set in 2004 by Katie Bruzdzindski and matched by Juliana Paz 6 days ago. (Hunt pictured to right by Mogblue.com)
Also notable in this match was Veronica Rood with a team leading 9 kills. Coach Rosen appears to be making the point to get Vern more looks this weekend. Halfway through the 2nd set, Rosen called a time out to reinforce the Rood option with setter Lexi Zimmerman. Rood went on to score 2 of the next three points easily.
Also notable was the defense. Marquette hit only .027. That's bad. The Tigers had only 21 kills on 73 attempts (only 19 errors). Bower and Hunt had a great set of games with 8 digs a piece. Both also had a solo block, Bower adding three block assists.
In the night cap, Michigan faced their closest game since the AVCA challenge. The undefeated Dayton Flyers brought their A-game and kept the pressure on Michigan the entire match. The first set, Michigan jumped out to an 11-5 lead, only to see it evaporate into a 18-19 deficit. Down 22-24 and facing set point, Michigan rallied with a couple kills from Juliana Paz and an Alex Hunt service ace. Michigan would secure the 28-26 first set lead with a Paz ace.
In set two, Michigan would fall behind early. They were down as many as 5 at 5-10. But the team fought back, eventually tying the game at 19. They would have to rally again to tie the game at 23. The next point would be Michigan's first lead of the set. Michigan would capitalize on a Rood kill and a combined Rood/Zimmerman block to take set two 26-24.
The final set was just as intense. It featured 11 ties, 5 lead changes, and more extra points. In the closing points, Michigan held a 23-21 lead. Then things got fun. With Dayton attacking, a ball hit the top of the net and looked to be falling back for a Michigan point. All of a sudden, the net snaps and the ball falls to Michigan's side. Megan Bower made her case, earning a yellow card, that it was caused by a net violation by Dayton. Both coaches were getting on the refs, and both ended the game with yellow cards. Michigan would lose the lead, going down 24-23.
Down 25-26, Lexi (pictured right by MGoBlue.com) made an attack on two (instead of setting) to give Michigan a tie. Juliana Paz gave the Wolverines the go ahead kill, and Lexi Zimmerman made the attack on two again for the win.
Paz was your kill leader with 18 in the late game at a .448 hitting percentage, but Rood also hit .583. Michigan tied their season high with 9 blocks (the other came in a 4 set game). Most importantly, Michigan showed in this game that they have the mental toughness to stay in when down against a good team.
One of the biggest influences today was the Zone. The Zone got into both opponents' heads this game, as shown by the Marquette coach spiking a ball at them in frustration. That's big. Even if the marketing department and Blue Ice are helping out, it's you fans that show up that make a huge impact.
Make sure you make it to Crisler following the football game. Let's fill the place up. Beat the Beavers.
Updated II (Sunday 11am):
Women's rowing doesn't make that much sense to me. I haven't learned the lingo yet. So here's how it went by my understanding. Michigan scrimmaged Michigan State and Eastern Michigan. Michigan fielded two boats in the 8-woman competition and two boats in the 4-woman competition. Michigan State swept the 5 races in the 8's, while Michigan had teams place 2&4, 2&4, 2&4, 2&3, and 2&4 (those are places out of 6, UM had 2 boats per race).
Michigan fared better in the 4-woman teams, finishing 1&2, 1&2, 1&3, 1&3, and 1&3 (out of 3). If that made any sense to you, more power to you. Perhaps by the time their real season comes about, I'll be able to tell you more about it.
Men's soccer posted a 5-1 win over Western Michigan last night to 6-1-0 on the season. Michigan got a goal from Adam Keller, Cam Cameron, Alex Wood, Justin Meram, and Alex Klein. Meram, Wood, Cameron, Hamoody Saad (2), Chase Tennant, Jeff Quijano, and Daniel Gray all registered an assist.
Also worth noting, Michigan has outscored opponents 16-6 in the second half this season. This game saw Michigan outscore Western 3-1 in the second.
Coach Burns "Man of the Match" was Adam Keller. From MGoBlue.com:
Adam Keller played a really strong game. He started out a center back and kind of felt his way into the game where he could contribute offensively. Then we pushed him forward into a more defensive role. I thought he did a great job of winning balls and winning that part of the space and getting forward in the attack.
In field hockey, the field hockey team made a valiant effort against #7 Syracuse. Falling behind 1-0 at the 15 minute mark, Michigan put on the pressure in the offensive end and tied the score 10 minutes later on Vanessa Sekhon's first goal of the season. This 1-1 tie would last through regulation, until in the 84th minute, Syracuse netted the game-winner for their 5th overtime win of the year.
This game was an oddly quiet one for both Meredith Way and Bryn Bain. Way didn't even register a shot and Bain had only 2 shots, neither on goal. Alicia Mayer was the shot leader with 4, 3 on goal. Mayer also had the assist on Skehon's goal.
Also worth noting that Paige Pickett went the full game in the net, allowing just the two goals. That's a good showing for any net keeper. I think it's also a testament to the defense for allowing only 6 shots on goal. As a comparison, Michigan took 13 shots. Great play by the defense.
Volleyball…sigh. They'll get their own post in a few minutes. I'll update this with that link after I get it out. Mini-update: Volleyball Swept By Oregon State.
Update III (Sunday 5pm):
The women's soccer team posted a 1-0 shut out of Miami (FL) in a game that saw the Wolverines outshot by a margin of 21-6. Holly Hein put in the lone goal by heading in a Jackie Carron free kick in the 44th minute. The header kicked off the top cross bar of the net and into the goal. Haley Kopemeyer was in goal for the full 90 minutes, posting 6 saves. This is a solid win for Michigan heading into BigTen play.
Field hockey went to overtime again against Louisville in the second game of the weekend, and yet again, they came out on the losing side – 2-3 this time in 77 minutes. Michigan gave up a quick goal in the third minute, but netted goals by Alex Zeringue and Meredith Way to take a 2-1 lead. Both goals came off penalty corners, including Zeringue's which was a rebound from the initial shot.
In overtime, Louisville set up a pass from the center of the circle to their player posted right on the goalie. The Cardinals spun the ball around and flipped it into the net.
Despite losing both games this weekend, Michigan took a pair of ranked opponents to sudden death overtime. This is encouraging as the team appears to be playing better as they move along.
Men's tennis is still yet to report back from the final day of the Napa Valley invitational. Freshman Evan King was due to play in the championship of the singles tournament at 2:15pm ET today.
By the by, the Zone is noticeably loud at the Marquette game right now. I'm loving it. Tim's at the game, make sure you get his autograph.
Paz thought her serve was off earlier this week, someone's got to step it up with a ridiculous number of aces.
I love that the Zone got their coach to spike a ball at them in frustration.
The night cap was intense. Went to extra points in the first and last set (of 3). Both coaches had yellow cards, as well as a few players. The Zone was loud enough to get Michigan the final tying point. This game was huge.
M had some mental lapses but it all worked out. Dayton definitely came to play, with a very young team. The people (non-college couple) behind me were new and thought it was the most awesome Friday night event ever.
Also, Michigan birthday hats and free cake!
Was great, but we can't take all the credit. A huge round of awesomeness to the extremely good looking marketing intern that gives us free t-shirts and sometimes free pizza/cake/birthday hats? keeps us informed of everything and is very attractive. Also, a big shout out to 'Blue Ice' for coming over and donating their leftover subs and cookies to The Zone.
Also #2, do you know what the yellow cards were given out for FA? That head ref was all over the place, messing up the rotation a couple times, a ton of cards... after she got her card, I saw Megan Bower give the ref a glare that, well, if I had been the recipient of that look I'd probably still be running and screaming.
Also #3, Lexi, if you're reading this, MARRY ME!!!!!
Also #4, if for anybody going to the Eastern Game tomorrow, make sure you stop my Chrisler afterward and cheer the girls on, they are amazing! And the atmosphere is great, very Yost-ish (at least in Cliff Keen). And since a decent portion of The Zone consists of band kids that will be unable to attend the game, due to all the stuff they have to do after the EMU game, they can use all the extra fans. And you will really enjoy it, I believe. GO BLUE!!
I missed the initial cards. Bower was for arguing the ball on top of the net that made it over. According to the radio broadcast, she was arguing that it made it over because of a Dayton net violation, and by arguing, I mean ferociously making her case.
I've got an update coming out in a couple minutes. Feel free to fill in my holes in the comments.
That extremely good looking intern you refer to is not actually an intern but the assistant director of marketing and promotions. I found this out at the soccer game today. She graduated in 2007. I was very disappointed.
If she's a real employee that means that she's here longer to enjoy :-)
She does baseball and volleyball marketing. She's one of the most active at her job from what I hear. I've also heard she is damn good looking. Can't say I've seen her live yet.
Lexi (MARRY ME!) showed why she's an All-American, especially with some clutch clutch clutch service points down in the second set, just a ton of great plays all over the place to keep us in it, along with her normal excellent setting. Every time it seemed like nobody was clicking in the nightcap Veronica Rood would get a kill to keep things somewhat close until one of the big guns would show up and do some damage. She definitely had some HUGE moments in the match.
The HUNTress didn't seem to be very on during the match either. She seemed to have a few more errors than normal and not very many kills, she was also having some control troubles and Dayton capitalized by serving it to her a ton. Her serve was also a little suspect. She was rotated to serve first for Michigan and I think 2 of the 3 sets she gave Dayton the point on the first U-M serve with an error. But she got some kills when it mattered and I believe an ace or two? Either way, great win for Michigan.
A lot of the team (even Lexi made a mistake or two!) seemed to have stretches when they couldn't get anything to hit the floor (Dayton's defense?), but Alex seemed the most off.
The Marquette coach made The Zone absolutely furious by complaining about us. Bad idea.
There were a couple service errors by Dayton that we felt pretty good about causing, one from a absolutely brilliant taunt about one of the server's hair clips and one that took advantage of a trickle-over, we argued that it wasn't going to make it over the net, the first one was just luck. As a result, she hit it long. We have our moments :-)
Dayton's cheering section used the opposing player's names in their taunts, a big no-no.
Does anybody else think of the Serena Williams tirade when FA talked about Bower "ferociously arguing her case"? Obviously it probably lacked the profanity and death threats, but...
EDIT: Apparently Hunt had 11 kills, second on the team to Juliana (who always seems to show up when needed) and 3 aces. She didn't seem that effective in the game, especially past about the midway point of the first set, but I guess I was wrong.
Ugly headband girl from Dayton had a fresh white headband when they came out to practice after the Debacle from Down-Under yesterday. My daughter pointed that out. So, the Zone really did get to her.
+1 Other Daughter. +1 The Zone
Sigh, we're not playing well and this 6'5" Australian is destroying us. She has 15 kills and 5 service aces. That's better than most people's full matches, not just 2 sets. Alex Hunt is having an off night. Even Paz isn't her normal dominant self.
Hunt just did not seem to be there mentally. The same could be said for a number of players. I don't know, going up so fast and then coming down so hard when Rourke was serving in the first set must have been tough. Lots of new fans in the stands and they didn't get a reason to come back -- not even a compelling loss.
During the Marquette game we (the Zone) were stealing service signals from their coach and calling them out. We did this in a few games last year as well. He was the first coach to actually complain about it and Katy, the lovely sports marketing intern, told us that the referee said we had to stop.
stealing signs. Part of the game and it's your own fault that you made the signals obvious and easy to decipher. The coach is just mad that he's dumb enough to make it simple.
To put it in another way, there's always people watching for baseball signs. If you can figure it out, then great. It's part of the game.
I learned two things:
1. In fall races, MSU has beaten Michigan's woman's 8+ boats more often than not.
2. MSU's men's crew team (I assume it's a club sport) is an epic fail. Here's an interesting result from the American Heritage River Fall Classic, held on November 5, 2006 (I believe that would be located in Wyandotte, MI):
Michigan State Lightweight Men's 8+ Time: 19:37:00
Ann Arbor Huron High School Lightweight Men's 8+ Time: 16:42:00.
(I looked it up on Regatta Central, but I can't give a hard link for the result as it's a PDF on a database within the main result's webpage, which is https://www.regattacentral.com/index.jsp?tab=results )
ouch. looks like the orange prevailed...