An Interview With Volleyball Coach Mark Rosen

An Interview With Volleyball Coach Mark Rosen

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.]

Download

Labor Day Weekend Olympic Sports Recap

Labor Day Weekend Olympic Sports Recap

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on September 7th, 2009 at 3:20 PM

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.

Volleyball Stuns Huskers

Volleyball Stuns Huskers

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on August 29th, 2009 at 11:02 AM

victory For the last few years, Michigan has been building a name for themselves in volleyball. It wasn't too long ago that Michigan was always a bottom wrung team. Under the tutelage of Coach Mark Rosen, Michigan has scraped its way to respectful. Today, it took the next step. Today, Michigan made a statement.

In front of a packed house of 5,772 in Omaha, NE, just an hour away from the University of Nebraska campus in Lincoln, the Wolverines took on the #3 Cornhuskers in the Runza/AVCA Challenge, the top tournament in the college volleyball regular season. This game was going to be tough; Nebraska has dominated Michigan in 3 games, sweeping Michigan in 3 games each time. The Cornhuskers have only lost once ever in the Qwest Center. Nebraska was coming off yet another Final Four appearance, knocking Michigan out in the same stadium during the Sweet 16 round.

But Michigan came out looking to match the effort of the 2007 season opener against Hawaii in Hawaii. They wanted to take out the crowd early. They wanted to get into the heads of the younger Husker lineup. They did just that. Michigan came out strong early. Juliana Paz and Alex Hunt were putting tremendous pressure on the Huskers front line. Megan Bower and Courtney Fletcher, who wasn't even slated to start until the last minute, were strong on the front, affording Michigan plenty of opportunities for easy passes. Everything clicked.

hunt Alex Hunt was the true hero though. When Paz was getting stuffed with blockers, Alex Hunt ripped the ball with no mercy. Her left handed shots seemed to confuse the Nebraksa blockers who sent her shots wide if they were able to stop it at all. Hunt finished with 14 kills, twice the total of any other player on either team. At one point, just when Nebraska showed signs of gaining momentum, Hunt's shot to end the first set went right into the face of the Nebraska libero. It bounced all the way into the stands, which at the Qwest center, aren't very close. That point put the nail in the coffin.

Michigan was in the driver's seat, leading or tied for the lead on 73 of the next 78 rallies. Nebraska became lost – "bewildered" was repeated over and over again by the announcers. By the third set, Michigan jumped out to such a big lead, the Cornhuskers all but threw in the towel. Michigan was the well oiled machine. Nebraska was making the small errors that had cost Michigan several games over the last few years. There was a total role reversal from last year.

Michigan would win 3-0, with scores of 25-23, 25-21, and 25-17. It was their first win over a top 5 team in program history. So while this young Nebraska team is probably a little overrated, Michigan made the statement tonight that it plans on taking it to the competition, and that's something to be excited about.

Nebraska coach John Cook summed it up thus:

We got a good old butt kicking tonight. Michigan brought it and played great tonight. They put a lot of pressure on us and we did not do a very good job of handling it. This will be a great learning match for us. Michigan was a scary team for us to play. They went on a foreign tour, they got a lot of players back and they were much more organized and played much better as a team tonight than we did.

He also compared us to the Stanford team that did this and later won the national championship. That's probably too far of a stretch, even for the biggest Michigan volleyball homer, but it's encouraging nonetheless. But I mean hey, last year, three of the four teams invited to the AVCA tournament made the Final Four. Michigan probably won't be aiming for this, but we definitely have a shot of at least putting pressure on Penn State.

rood As for my other thoughts:

  • I thought Paz was getting set pretty deep to start the game. Some of the sets from Zimmerman were almost to the 10 ft line. The blockers for Nebraska were able to get a better read on the ball and react accordingly.
  • Alex Hunt had a terrific kill from the back row to save a possession. I missed who made the great pass while falling away from the court, but it came right to Alex who, being left handed was left wide open to wail on it. She knocked it perfectly into the open near corner.
  • Lexi Zimmerman had the only solo block of the game. She turned around to see a hit coming on a 2 (instead of pass, set, spike, you hit instead of set), and she made an amazing effort to throw the ball back down.
  • Our middles seemed quiet the first two sets. Nebraska was able to exploit the inside of the block by waiting on the middle to commit, then shooting behind them. That was concerning to start the game. Looking back at the box score, I was really surprised to see that Rood and Fletcher combined for 11 kills. I can't remember too many 0 or 1 sets to the middle.
  • Sloane Donhoff redeemed herself for the NCAA tournament game against Nebraska. She looked solid in the libero role and comfortable receiving serve, a vast improvement over last year's finale.
  • Michigan didn't make any substitutions outside of using the libero. This seemed somewhat strange, but at the same time, each of our hitters plays the back row really well and are normally consistent servers.

Coming Up Next

Michigan takes on #22 Kansas State on Saturday. K-State is fresh off a 5 set loss to Minnesota, but the Wildcats looked very good through much of the game. Their two outside hitters, Ludwig and Chisholm, definitely looked strong and will most likely be a tougher test than what we saw from Nebraska. What does bode well for Michigan is their ball handling. During the 1st, 2nd, and 5th sets, K-State was having a lot of problems passing and setting the ball. Their unforced errors really are the main reason Minnesota won the first two sets. During 3rd and 4th sets, however, K-State played solid and really turned the game around. If the Wildcats play consistently at that level, it will be rough.

The first serve is slated for 7:00p ET on CBS College Sports. There will be another CiL liveblog on mgoblue.com. The liveblog curse seems not to affect mgoblue.

Women's Soccer Season Preview

Women's Soccer Season Preview

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on August 16th, 2009 at 1:34 PM

Note: A big thanks to Paul for getting an interview with Coach Ryan and Captain Kylie Neschke to supplement this preview. While he isn't posting much yet, his work behind the scenes is invaluable.

While soccer is no new subject on mgoblog, women's soccer and more importantly, Michigan soccer are new to this realm. As the official first sporting match of the season (men's soccer plays an exhibition first), the women's team will be spotlighted in our first season preview of the year. I'll be trying to preview each non-revenue team over the next 4-5 weeks, following those up with roundup posts during the actual year.

Brief History

Our women's soccer team has actually been rather successful in the 15 seasons of its existence. Their overall record is 164-118-42, with 2 Big Ten Tournament Championships and 9 NCAA appearances. Each of those championships and post season appearances were under coach Debbie Rademacher, who stepped down following the 2007 season to be spend more time with her two young children. During her tenure, Michigan saw talents such as Big Ten POY in 2002 Abby Crumpton who still holds the record for points in a career (116) at Michigan.

The team was most successful from '97-'99 when the team was at the start of its NCAA streak of 8 seasons in a row. The team went 49-17-3 in that three year stretch lead by all time goal leader Kacy Beitel and all time saves leader Carissa Stewart. The team would see the next few years each have double digit win totals and NCAA appearances until 2005 when the team would finish with a sub-.500 record. The 2006 season saw a return to the post season, but it would Michigan's last to date. The 2007 season was a sour one, seeing Michigan go the dreaded 3-9 with 6 ties.

Following that season, Greg Ryan stepped in.

Coach Ryan

Greg Ryan was a big of a hire as Rich Rodriguez. There, I said it. Ryan not only ranks among the winningest coaches in NCAA women's soccer, but he also had just finished a three year tenure as a coach with the US National team, compiling a 49-1-9 record with a bronze medal in the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup. He was also an assistant on the 2004 Olympic team that won the gold medal.

At the college level, Ryan has lead four different teams to a 189-91-23 combined record. He began his career with Wisconsin, taking them so far as the NCAA championship game. He also led his alma mater SMU (where he was an All-American) and lead a rebuilding job at Colorado College.

His philosophy to bring Michigan back to a winner is skill, smarts, and scoring:

We’ve really made a major shift in philosophy from just athletic, big, players to just recruiting soccer players and they may be big, they are athletic, but our number one goal is that they are very, very skillful,they are very smart and they are just very passionate about playing the game of soccer. So what the outcome in the field will be is that we will be able to possess the ball much better than we ever have, we will be able to attack better than we ever have and most of the players that I’m recruiting now, whether they are backs or whether they are forwards or midfielders, can score goals. That has been a huge problem for this team -- they just don’t score enough goals. They can defend well, but don’t score enough goals. So as I am looking at players, even the defenders, I'm recruiting goal scorers.

Woo! Fewer 0-0 ties! While I've yet to find any recruiting class rankings for this upcoming class, Ryan's 2008 class was ranked #16 by Soccer Buzz magazine. Coach Ryan has already targeted 5-6 commits in the class of 2010, all "high level attacking players."

[The team, the outlook, and the swanky new stadium en route after the jump.]

Calendars and Non-Revenue Television Times

Calendars and Non-Revenue Television Times

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on August 12th, 2009 at 2:55 PM

Sports start next week.  Women's soccer starts next Friday with a home game versus Arkansas. Get, uh… excited?  I'll be trying to get a small preview out next weekend to give a brief overview of the soccer teams.  If you consider yourself a Michigan soccer fan and would like to give me a general overview or insight on where to start with the team, drop a line at formerlyanonymous (at the) gmail.com type emails.

Sport Calendars

Football

Volleyball

Field Hockey

Hockey

W Soccer

M Soccer

Downloadables: For those of you interested in an electronic calendar for Michigan Athletics, I've made them available for each of the sports who have announced their schedules thus far. As more schedules become available, I'll look to release those as well. These are "ical" files, which can be used in MS Outlook, google calendar, and many other calendar programs including those that can sync with your phone. I'll also update these throughout the season as game times are either changed or announced.

There are more schedules that haven't been released yet (x-country, golf, etc), but I'll have those available a little later down the road. Also, remember some game times haven't been announced yet. I plan to update those as the season goes along, but that will require you to update your file(s).

Watchables: The BigTenNetwork has announced their TV schedule for most of the 6 sports listed above.  Michigan is slated for 9 non-football broadcast on the BTN with an opportunity to gain a 10th.  The breakdown is as follows:


 

M Soccer

W Soccer

Volleyball

Field Hockey

Team Total

Michigan

3

1

3

2

9

Illinois

 

3

5

 

8

Indiana

4

2

2

1

9

Iowa

 

1

2

2

5

Michigan State

4

3

3

2

12

Minnesota

 

2

5

 

7

Northwestern

2

1

3

1

7

Ohio State

2

1

3

2

8

Penn State

2

2

6

2

12

Purdue

 

1

4

 

5

Wisconsin

2

1

2

 

5

SPORT TOTALS:

16

17

35

10

78

Michigan also has a good shot of landing the November 28th game at Penn State on the BTN as that date has been listed as a "wild card" to be announced later.  The home match versus PSU is already reserved for ESPN (although taped delayed by 2 days), so I wouldn't be surprised if the BTN shows the road game.  Penn State is a powerhouse that held on to the #1 ranking in American since October 29, 2007.  The one thing that may keep it from being on BTN is Penn State already having more televised games than any other volleyball team.  They also have a pair of ESPN matches as well.  I could see the BTN trying to keep fair coverage of other teams available.

Volleyball is also going to be on CBS College Sports for the Runza/AVCA Tournament to start the year.  The tournament is being held in Omaha, NE and is more or less hosted by volleyball juggernaut Nebraska.  We face the Huskers in the first game and Kansas State, another team that is consistently ranked, in the second game. 

Our BTN games:

Men's Soccer
October 10 Indiana Noon
Nov 1  Northwestern 2p
Nov 7 @Ohio State 6p
Volleyball
Oct 21 at Michigan State 7pm
Nov 7 at Northwestern 8pm
Nov 18 Michigan State 6pm
Women's Soccer
Oct 18 Indiana (delayed to 4pm)
Field Hockey
Sept 25th Iowa (tape delay to 27th at 6pm)
Oct 26 MSU (tape delay 26th 8pm)

As far as BTN coverage as a whole, I'm perpetually disappointed by how little is shown.  If you can stream half of the women's basketball games, I think you could potentially stream a lot else.  The streaming page for the BTN has been temporarily disabled as they plan for the upcoming school year.  The only shreds of hope for a sports channel actually showing more sports comes from the BTN.com FAQ:

OLYMPIC SPORTS:

Other sports such as baseball, field hockey, soccer, softball, volleyball and wrestling have enjoyed major upgrades in television coverage. All of these sports had previously received little to no television coverage. During the first year of the Big Ten Network, more than 170 Olympic sport events and 17 Big Ten Championships were televised to a national audience. Nearly every event was produced in high definition. The network has future plans to augment that level of coverage by streaming hundreds of additional events in the future that would not have previously received television coverage.

Emphasis is mine.  They go on to mention games like baseball, wrestling, and softball being streamed.  It seems that they're still not quite ready to stream fall events.

8/9 Baseball Notes

8/9 Baseball Notes

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on August 9th, 2009 at 11:43 AM

Alumni

  • Clayton Richard was traded from the White Sox to the Padres in the Jake Peavy deal (sorry to hear about that Tigers fans).  Richard had just come off back-to-back 8 inning gems (again, sorry Tiger fans) with the White Sox allowing just one run in each game.  Now with the Padres, he's started 2 games, going 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA.  He also collected his first RBI as a batter this week.
  • Also related to that trade, recent graduate Chris Fetter of the Padres minor league system was moved back down from Single A Fort Wayne TinCaps back to the Short Season A-Ball Eugene Emeralds to make room for another one of the pitching prospects from the trade.  Fetter is 2-1 in 8 starts and one long relief appearance (a 4-inning save?) with a 2.57 ERA.  His 47 Ks in 42 innings is impressive, but his numbers at Eugene definitely weighted the totals down.
  • Bobby Korecky of the Diamondback's Reno Rattlers Triple A team had been dominating this year as their closer (13 saves by the all star break), but his season was ended due to Tommy John surgery this last week.  The injury caused him to miss the Triple A All Star game.
  • Rich Hill also is out for the season with shoulder surgery on his labram. He's expected back for spring training.
  • Mike Cervenak (pictured to the right by Joe Gill of Express-Times Photo) continues to do great in Triple A for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs of the Phillies.  Cervenak is hitting .294 with 57 RBIs and a .765 OPS.  I'm still surprised he hasn't been traded by the Phillies. He's getting to the age where the Phillies probably won't be able to use him, especially behind Ryan Howard and Pedro Feliz in the depth chart.  He's a two time Triple A All Star as it is, some other team could use him.

Recruiting

  • No new updates on the drafted recruits (previous update here).  The last I've heard on each recruit is that they plan on being enrolled at Michigan in the fall.  Supposedly, not even batting practice with Evan Longoria could sway Dennis from his commitment.  The recruits could leave at any time until the season starts, much like Derek Jeter did back in the day.  I'll keep my eye on transaction lists until the season starts.

Current Team/Player News

  • Tyler Burgoon is also listed as the 18th best player this summer by Church Of Baseball.
  • Michigan backstop Chris Berset has been named a finalist for the Great Britain baseball world cup team.  What the hell this means?  I have no idea, but it sounds awesome.  I'll be investigating this further if he makes the 25 man roster which seems unlikely given the other catchers on the 40-man roster includes minor league guys for the most part.
  • Yahoo! college baseball writer Kendall Rogers wrote this last week a report card for the BigTen teams last season.  Perhaps it was his opening statement's stupidity (he seems to think the BigTen hasn't had very good success the last five or so years), but his grade of Michigan seemed a little off base. 

    Michigan

    Grade: D+

    Season analysis: The Wolverines entered the season with high hopes, but had much trouble establishing consistency in conference play. Michigan compiled a 9-15 conference record and actually still finished the season with an overall record of 30-25. If not for winning overall record, the Wolverines would’ve finished the season with an F. It was a season to forget for coach Rich Maloney and his players.

    Michigan lost its top pitcher, top two hitters, and its entire infield over the off season. It lost it's closer and catcher for nearly half of the season. We didn't get our every day right fielder back until a month into the season. We lost our second baseman and on field leader for the last 2 weeks of the season. It's no surprise Michigan wasn't competing for the conference crown.  I'm not saying we deserved higher than a C+, but to say the .500 record saved us from an F is a bit over the top.

Summer ball updates after the jump due to length

Summer Baseball Update – MGoMerger Edition

Summer Baseball Update – MGoMerger Edition

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on July 26th, 2009 at 10:58 PM

Hi. I'm formerlyanonymous.  You may recognize me from other Michigan sports blogs as Maize 'n Brew and Varsity Blue.  For those of you not familiar with my posts, my primary topic has been Michigan baseball.  Obviously the season is a well over, but I'm also following our players through their summer leagues.  There are plans on the table to include more non-revenue sports in the future, and info on that will come after the dust of MGoMerger settles.

Also, for those with concerns about "non-revenue sports clogging your mgoblog internet tubes," the current plan is for my posts to be presented on Sundays.  Brian's previous football season schedules have generally left Sunday open for reflection on the previous days game with the column like post on Monday.  I'm hoping these non-revenue posts will take up that open space and not interfere too much with your football dependency – at least during the football season. 

To see the previous summer baseball update, visit Varsity Blue (July 4th Edition).  Also, those of you familiar with the team or my previous posts, I'll try to remember to include some information on who these players are in this post, but I'll go ahead and apologize up front.  You're basically walking into the last line before the credits of a movie.  You've missed all of the introductions, action, climax, and a majority of the falling action.  I promise there will be less parentheses in future posts.

Honors – Several players have received honorable mention for Pitcher and Hitter of the Nights, as well as Team Players of the Week.  Hitter and Pitcher of the Night are named by SummerBall. Charts:


Date Player League/Team Award Stats
7/9 Tyler Mills Northwoods Hitter of the Night Honorable Mention 2/4, HR, 3 RBI, R
7/11 Tyler Burgoon Cape Cod Pitcher of the Night Honorable Mention 1 IP, 3 K
7/16 Kevin Vangheluwe Northwoods Pitcher of the Night Honorable Mention 1 IP, K
7/17 Matt Miller Northwoods Pitcher of the Night Honorable Mention 2 IP, BB, 4 K
7/24 Mike Dufek Leesburg Player of the Week On Sunday,went 3/5 with HR, and a walk of single

The Cape Cod League (the most respected league) – Tyler Burgoon (Michigan's sophomore closer) has continued to be the best Michigan player this summer and ergo making the most news. As of the 20th, he’s racked up 17.1 innings of work with a 1-1 record and a 0.00 ERA. His 9 saves lead the league and his 27 strikeouts (14.2 per 9 innings) is ridiculous. He made the Cape Cod All Star Game at Fenway, but alas, the rain ended the game in just the 4th inning. He was slated to throw the 9th (or as necessary). Meanwhile, Ryan LaMarre (Michigan's starting left fielder and 3-hole hitter) still struggles, but less badly by comparison. He’s now got his average up to .243, good for third on the Gateman team. He’s also second on the team in RBIs with 12.

Prospect League – Garrett Stephens (back up 1st baseman who sees time when Dufek pitches) represented UM and the Richmond RiverRats at the Prospect League All Star game. He’s currently 8th in the league with 21 RBIs. John Lorenz hasn’t seen much playing time since the last update.

klcrlt-locos001odb Lima Locos – Lots of good has been coming out of Lima lately. Kolby Wood (occasional 4th starter) has his ERA down to 0.66 in 11 relief appearances stretching 13.2 innings. His three saves are good for second on the team, which makes me contemplate his role next season for Michigan. Could we see another attempt at moving Burgoon to starter and put Kolby Wood as the closer? Looks good on paper right now.

Meanwhile, Bobby Brosnahan (redshirted last year as a freshman) is cruising right along with a 2.35 ERA over 15 innings pitched thus far. He’s making his case to be a middle inning or set up guy next season as a redshirt freshman. The last Michigan player with the Locos is short stop Anthony Toth (starter) has raised his average from .215 to .281 and has played solid defense.

Also, Toth was interviewed in a piece about baseball gloves by the LimaOhio.com. To give you a small sample of why baseball budgets are fairly large:

“We have a contract at Michigan with Louisville Slugger. The rep just came, had a bunch of models out and we got to pick out whichever one felt best. I went with that one and it worked out pretty well. … I think this is a $320 glove.”

That’s just one glove for one player. Not multiply that by the 20 or so on the roster, plus backup gloves each player probably has, you’ve got yourself quite the bill just for fielding gloves.

Alexandria Beetles – Again with the closers Michigan’s been developing, Matt Miller (one of our setup men) has 7 on the season, 4 in the last three weeks. He’s dropped his ERA a full run over that time. Kevin Vanghelwue (saw very limited time during the season and what he did wasn't good) also is pitching better and has lowered his ERA almost 2 runs. Tyler Mills (redshirted as a freshman this year) isn’t playing much. The freshman is just 6/36 hitting in limited playing time.

Valley League – At Fort Royal, Jeff DeCarlo (left handed reliever who saw little time) is pitching so far above his normal level I’m just perplexed. The guy has a 2.35 ERA now, and since the last update he’s thrown 5 appearances (9.2 IP) and only given up one earned run. He hasn’t even hit a batter in that stretch. He got a save? Who is this guy? His teammate Kevin Krantz (redshirted as a freshman this year) has tailed off and seems to be seeing less and less playing time. Krantz's defense has been spotty at best at third/shortstop. His batting average has also fallen .050 points to .239.

At Winchester, Brandon Sinnery’s (another occasional fourth starter) had a rough 3 starts, but his team has bailed him out each time. His ERA jumped from 2.00 to 4.31, but he has kept his 9 K’s-per-9-IP. Teammate Matt Gerbe (one of our setup men) continues to watch his ERA fall, this time from 9.69 to 6.29. It’s good to see he’s doing better since moving back to the bullpen.

Mike Dufek for the Lightning

Leesburg Lightning – Alan Oaks (right fielder and pitcher) went 1-1 over three starts in the last 3 weeks. His ERA has dropped to only 3.89, but his strikeout to walk ratio over the last 3 starts is 9:7 which isn’t good. Those walks have to go down. Eric Katzman (left handed pitcher) has just one relief inning in three weeks. He’s become buried in the pitching depth it looks like.

Mike Dufek (first base and sometime closer) has held down the closer role for the most part, recording 2 saves in 3 outings in the last three weeks. Not much playing time, but he’s made the most of it to a 0.93 ERA. At the plate, Dufek is only hitting .268, but he has cut down his K’s per At-Bat to just about 1-in-5. During the season he was closer to 1-in-4 at bats. It became crippling at times. I think our strategy for next season should mimic the MLB All Star Game. Let’s just throw 5 closers to shut down every game.

Travis Smith – Looks like Smith (3rd or 4th starter) has lost his spot in the rotation. After a few tough luck losses of the 1-0 variety, he lost two ugly starts over the last 3 weeks and was then used out of the bullpen. He’s currently 0-5 with a 4.58 ERA. Not good my friends.

Coley Crank – Crank’s (backup catcher or designated hitter) struggling. He’s still the everyday catcher, but his average is down to .198, third lowest on the team and lowest regular starter.

Matt Broder – Despite Broder's (redshirted as a freshman this season) team’s horrible website, I ran by an article in The Observer. Broder went the full 7 innings complete game, facing only 24 batters in the effort. Great job Matt.