Saying Goodbye To 2013

Submitted by LSAClassOf2000 on December 31st, 2013 at 10:09 AM

SAYING GOODBYE TO 2013

The news regarding Mitch McGary’s upcoming back surgery and the rather unfortunate result of the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl have, at least in my mind, put a sad cap on what has been a mostly frustrating 2013. I thought that I might burn one further diary as an opportunity to say “goodbye” to this year and some of its memories, but also to say that I am hopeful that 2014 will bring some pleasant surprises to Michigan.

First, allow me to focus on the positive, for it wasn’t all gloom. Some examples:

We were more or less inches from being the NCAA Champions in hoops. That was a phenomenal run down the stretch, and at least to me, Trey’s Trey – as I like to call it (inspired by a fellow MGoBlogger) – lives on as one of the best Michigan basketball moments in a long time. If you’re like me and remember the Fab Five but were college-aged during the dawn of the Ellerbe years in basketball around here, you might have also been looking for something special to happen and that season and all of its ups and downs certainly qualifies.

 We have over two dozen varsity sports, and several of them were also doing quite well in 2013. For example, Michigan softball captured its sixth consecutive (I think this is right) conference championship and made an appearance in the WCWS. In men’s gymnastics, we won the NCAA championship and also accomplished this great feat in men’s swimming as well, if I am not mistaken. This is not a comprehensive list, and I realize a fair number of people here probably don’t follow much beyond football, basketball and hockey, but I point these out to illustrate the good that was going on here in Ann Arbor.

Even within the context of the football season, it was not entirely awful. Granted, the peak of the season’s hype was probably UTL II and that was the second game of the season, but we were pretty much in control for the entire game and it was overall an excellent experience. It was perhaps what we wished the entire season could have been on some levels, but it produced positive memories for me in any case. Even in each individual game, typically we could find some individual plays or moments that made us feel a little better about things even if the holistic view of the season gave us some fits.

Now, all that being said, 2013 obviously had some downer moments. A couple of the major ones:

Michigan hockey found itself watching the NCAA tournament on television, not from an arena, and it was the first time a little over two decades, I believe. It was a disappointing finish to what had been a very un-Michigan season compared to what we had become used to with Berenson at the helm. These things happen, but that doesn’t make it easy to watch necessarily. Fortunately, we’re off to a much better start in the new season to date.

Finishing a rather frustrating 7-5 season with a bowl loss didn’t make us feel any better about the year on the whole either. We watched a team that simply seemed out of alignment, if you will, and couldn’t run on all cylinders consistently. We watched football that was – at times – technically unsound, if you will, and we were quite rightly unhappy about it. We could talk about a lot of specific issues, but that’s what the board is for and I am sure that we’ve analyzed them past death. At the end of the day, we’re Wolverines through and through, but it wasn’t an easy season on the board, to be sure.

Most recently, we found out that we could very well lose Mitch McGary for the season because of the surgery he will have soon (at the time of this writing, it is soon anyway). I know this weighs heavily on our estimates of performance for conference play in basketball, which now starts in mere days. It definitely was not welcome news, and it even prompted one MGoBlogger to suggest that we cover a fictional basketball season. Strangely, I found myself entertaining the idea, as I had grown that tired of the year by that point.

There is more, of course, but you get the idea, I think.

If there is a conclusion here, hopefully it is that shit happens, and it is frustrating when it seems like it is only piling up around us. My sincere hope is that we can go into 2014 with some optimism and that it is, in fact, a better year for the sports that are currently having some struggles. In the end, I know we wish all of our teams nothing but the best.

Go Blue, friends, and here is to a new start in 2014.

-LSAClassOf2000

Comments

mgobaran

December 31st, 2013 at 10:35 AM ^

This isn't necessarily 2014 optimism (please don't let it be 2014 optimism!) but I am optimistic about Shane Morris. Couldn't be happier with his debut. It gives me a lot of hope heading into the future.

Blueroller

December 31st, 2013 at 2:33 PM ^

2013 wound up sucking, all right, but I never would've believed that before October. The hoops tournament run was my favorite Michigan thing that's happened in many years. And while Trey's Trey (love that!) was the greatest moment, I'll always treasure the regional final demolition of Florida. There is nothing so beautiful in basketball than watching John Beilein's offense firing on all cylinders while being operated by NBA-level talent. I was literally slack-jawed at times. It was the most sustainably exhilarated I've felt in a long time… Until Spike went nuts in the first half of the final. Too bad we had to wake up from that dream, but man it was great while it lasted. And I refuse to let these dismal last months rain too heavily on that terrific parade.

MGoStrength

December 31st, 2013 at 10:42 PM ^

I still think the football future is bright.  Unfortunately it won't come to fruition until the lines develop which may not be until 2015-2016.  We won't be patient to wait that long or give Hoke that much time, but if we continue to recruit the way we are with top 10 classes and gain depth, can RS freshman, and develop our lines, the team will be good.  There are no gurantees of conference champtionships with OSU in our division who is already good, but we'll be much improved nonetheless and more than talented enough to beat them at least 2/5 years.

chatster

January 2nd, 2014 at 1:07 PM ^

Let's check the records.  (Dave Brandon can not be happy.)
 
Sure. there were some highlights (that are highlighted here), but overall, excluding the sports where team records usually don’t involve dual competitions (cross country, golf, gymnastics, track and field, and swimming and diving), but including some competitions that occurred in 2012 for basketball and hockey, Michigan Men were 120-97-6 during this past year, a .552 winning percentage if you treat half the ties as wins and half as losses.  (I'll consider the women's performances in a later post.)
  • Baseball finished 29-27 (14-10 in Big Ten), lost both games in the Big Ten Tournament, but was 8-0 against Michigan State, Penn State and Notre Dame (but did not play Ohio State.)
  • Men’s Basketball’s magical season ended with their incredible run to the NCAA Championship game, a 31-8 record (12-6 in the Big Ten; 17-1 at home) and the Wooden Award for National Player of the Year Trey Burke.
  • Men’s Cross Country, ranked 13th in the country, finished second in the Big Ten and first in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional, but only 21st out of 31 teams at the NCAA Championships.  Junior Mason Ferlic became Michigan’s first All-American since 2004.
  • Football finished 7-6 (3-5 and fifth in the Big Ten Legends Division) and with an embarrassing  bowl game loss.
  • Men’s Golf finished 10th out of 12 teams in the Big Ten Tournament.
  • Men’s Gymnastics won the Big Ten and NCAA Championships.  Junior and USA Olympian Sam Mikulak became the first Michigan men’s gymnast to have six All-America citations in one championship and the team tied a program record for total championship citations in program history with 13.
  • Despite missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1990 and having the first losing season since 1986-1987 (at 18-19-3 overall and 10-15-3 in the CCHA), the hockey team finished the season on an 8-0-1 streak, with the tie becoming a shootout win, before losing to Notre Dame in the CCHA semifinals.  Freshman Jacob Trouba was selected as a First Team All-American defenseman.  Although the current team started well, it’s 0-3-1 in its last four games and is 10-4-2 on the season.
  • Men’s Lacrosse finished 1-13 in their second varsity season.
  • Men’s Soccer was 8-7-3 (3-3 in the Big Ten) and lost their opening game in the Big Ten Tournament. Tyler Arnone was selected as Big Ten Midfielder of the Year and was NSCAA First Team All-Region, just the sixth Michigan player ever to be so honored.
  • Men’s Swimming and Diving, led by Olympian and Big Ten Swimmer of the Year Connor Jaeger, won Michigan’s 12th NCAA Championship, and its first since 1995.
  • Men’s Tennis finished 16-10 (10-2 in the Big Ten), was runner-up to Ohio State in the conference tournament and lost to Virginia Tech in their opening match in the NCAA Regionals.
  • Men’s Track and Field finished 9th of 11 teams in the Big Ten Indoor Championships and 10th of 11 teams in the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, but had three All-American performances at the NCAA Outdoor Championships: junior Ali Arastu in the 400M hurdles, sophomore Mason Ferlic in the 3,000M Steeplechase and junior Cody Riffle in the shot put.
  • Wrestling was 10-7 (3-5 in the Big Ten) and sixth out of 12 teams at the Big Ten Championships, with no wrestler finishing higher than fourth.

Dmscmxi

January 5th, 2014 at 11:53 AM ^

OK, first time post. I've been on the site for years, it helped me get thu living in SoCal during the RichRod years. Quick addition to the above, several of our women's teams have been performing at a hight level for years. As a parent of an elite gymnast, I find the accomplishments of the Michigan women's gymnastics program to be nothing short of amazing. Something on the order of 17 B1G titles in the last 20 years, contending for national titles on a regular basis. Next time you're at Crisler look for the banner. Truly an elite program and one of which we can be proud. Not to mention softball, women's track and cross country. All have been performing at a high level. 

chatster

January 7th, 2014 at 1:43 PM ^

Yes; Larry David probably would have to say that the performance of Michigan's women's sports teams during the past year was "pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good!"  Michigan Women outperformed Michigan Men during the 2012-13 season, finishing 164-60-1 in sports other than those that don't usually involved dual competitions.  That's a winning percentage of .731, counting the tie as half a win and half a loss, and it's about 18 points hgher than the men's winning percentage last year. There were plenty of highlights and several All Americans.
  • Basketball:  Finished 22-11; 9-7 in Big Ten; lost to Michigan State in second round of Big Ten Tournament; beat Villanova, then lost to No. 4 Stanford in NCAA Tournament.  Senior guards Kate Thompson (Second Team - Coaches and Media) and Jenny Ryan (Second Team - Coaches and Media), and senior forwards Rachel Sheffer (Honorable Mention - Coaches and Media) and Nya Jordan (Honorable Mention - Media) received All-Big Ten honors.
  • Cross Country:  Second in the Big Ten Championship; first in NCAA Great Lakes Regional;  fourth out of 31 teams in NCAA Championships.  Coach Mike McGuire became eight-time winner of NCAA Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year.  Freshman Erin Finn. the Big Ten’s Athlete of the Year and Freshman of the Year, won the Big Ten championship and finished 30th at the NCAA Championship to earn All American status.
  • Field Hockey:  Finished 12-8; 4-2 in Big Ten; upset No. 6 Penn State; lost opening game in Big Ten Tournament to No. 20.  Senior forward and Big Ten Player of the Year Rachael Mack was named a First Team All American, and she and redshirt junior midfielder Ainsley McCallister were named to the All Region First Team.
  • Golf:  Finished 10th of 12 teams in the Big Ten Tournament.
  • Gymnastics:  Won 11 of 12 regular season events, barely losing to No. 12 Minnesota at their gym; finished second to Nebraska in the Big Ten Championships; first in the NCAA Regional and fourth of six teams in the NCAA semifinals.  Three-time NCAA All American junior Joanna Sampson was national champion in floor exercise, NCAA Northeast Region and Big Ten Gymnast of the Year.  At the Big Ten Championships Sampson was third in all-around and tied for second in floor exercise; seven-time NCAA All American senior Katie Zurales was national runner-up on balance beam and tied for first in the vault at the Big Ten Championships where seniors Natalie Beilstein and Brittnee Martinez were runners up on the uneven bars.  Each of them received All Big Ten Tournament honors.
  • Rowing:  Second of seven teams at the Big Ten Championships; 12th out of 15 teams at the NCAA Championships.
  • Soccer:  Ranked 6th in the country in the final NCAA Coaches’ poll; finished 18-4-1; 9-1-1 in the Big Ten; upset by Iowa 1-0 in opening game of Big Ten Tournament; lost to No. 1 Virginia in NCAA quarterfinals.  Senior forward Nkem Ezurike was named First Team All American and senior midfielder Meghan Tooey received Second Team All American honors.  Team captains Ezurike, Toohey, redshirt senior defender Holly Hein and senior defender Shelina Zadorsky were named to the NCAA Great Lakes All Region Team.  Ezurike was named to Top Drawer Soccer’s Best XI Team.
  • Softball:  Advanced to College World Series, but was eliminated in three games; finished 51-13; 20-2 in Big Ten regular season; upset in second game of Big Ten Tournament.  Head Coach Carol Hutchins was named Big Ten Coach of the Year.  Freshman SS Sierra Romero, the Big Ten Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, was named a Second Team All American; senior 2B Ashley Lane was named a Third Team All American.  Romero and Lane, along with junior 1B Caitlin Blanchard, sophomore RHP Sara Driesenga, freshman OF Sierra Lawrence and sophomore C Lauren Sweet were named to the All Big Ten First Team; and sophomore LHP Haylie Wagner earned All-Big Ten Second Team honors.  Romero was picked for the NCAA All Region First Team; Blanchard, Driesenga and Lane were named to the All Region Second Team.
  • Swimming and Diving:  Finished sixth of 12 teams at the Big Ten Championships and 38th at the NCAA Championships.  Junior Angela Chokran, the team’s MVP, received NCAA Honorable Mentions in two events (100 breaststroke and as part of the 200 medley relay team.)
  • Tennis: Finished 23-6; 10-1 in Big Ten regular season; lost 4-1 in Big Ten Tournament final to No. 15 Northwestern; won NCAA regional; lost 4-2 in NCAA Sweet 16 to No. 7 UCLA.  Coach Ronni Bernstein was named Big Ten Coach of the Year; Ronit Yurovsky was chosen Big Ten Freshman of the Year.  Yurovsky, sophomore Emma Bektas and junior Brooke Bolender were named to the All Big Ten First Team; sophomore Sarah Lee was picked for the All Big Ten Second Team.
  • Track and Field: Third of 11 teams in the Big Ten Indoor Championships; fourth of 11 teams in Big Ten Outdoor Championships (with a 1-3-4-5 finish in the 1500M run) and 47th in the NCAA Championships.  School of Public Health graduate student Amanda Eccleston, a transfer from Hillsdale College in her first year at Michigan, was First Team All American indoors in the distance medley relay and outdoors in the 1500M run.  She won the Big Ten indoor mile and outdoor 1500M events and ran the last mile leg for the Wolverines when they won the NCAA Indoor Distance Medley Relay.
  • Volleyball:  Finished 18-14; 8-12 in the Big Ten; lost 3-2 to LSU in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.  Senior middle blocker Jennifer Cross was named to the All Big Ten First Team; middle blocker Abby Cole was named to the Big Ten All Freshman Team.  Cross, senior Molly Toon and junior Lexi Dannemiller were named to the AVCA All North Region team and were honorable mentions for the All American Team.
  • Water Polo: Finished 20-14; 3-1 in Big Ten; third in the CWPA Western Division Championships; lost 7-5 to Princeton in the final of the CWPA Eastern Division Championships.  Freshman Bryce Beckwith was named CWPA Western Division Rookie of the Year.  Seniors Kiki Golden and Lauren Colton (First Team) and junior Kelsey Nolan (Second Team) received All-Conference honors.

 

chatster

January 7th, 2014 at 1:52 PM ^

I've completed posting my comments summarizing the success (or lack thereof) of Michigan Athletics during the 2012-13 season. May there be brighter days ahead for Michigan Athletics during the 2013-14 season. For all we lost during 2013, rest in peace.