The Wolverine

November 2011

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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������ olympic sports profiles Sophomore Fabio Pereira Sparks Soccer���s Offense At a weekday practice leading up to ing the shot to them. the fierce rivalry game with Michigan ���You have the have a certain level of State, the Wolverines cut their practice cheekiness to try things like that,��� Michifield in half to play a close-quarters gan coach Steve Burns said, smiling and scrimmage. comparing the shot The play is intense, to the famous penalty and the players heated. kick France���s Zinedine Fabio Villas Boas Pereira Zidane took in the 2006 ��� a sophomore beanWorld Cup final. pole forward from Sao You���ll likely never see Paulo, Brazil ��� gets Pereira attempt such a right in the thick of it, wild shot in an actual jockeying for position game. In practice, it���s in front of the net, and OK, because the goaldraws a foul. ies are so familiar with On the ensuing penhis usual penalty kick alty kick, he pounces at preferences. the ball with full speed. But Pereira���s creativity Goalkeeper Adam Grinon offense does come wis braces himself for in handy on game day. the shot and dives just Pereira used his quick feet and cre- His improvisational ball as Pereira pulls up and ative abilities to post a team-leading skills have helped sochips it into the top 13 points (four goals and five assists) lidify a young offense corner, the ball floating through Oct. 26. that needed to replace photo courtesy gently into the twine. 94 percent of its scoru-m sports information Pereira ran down the ing from 2010. sideline whooping and hollering, point���That���s what makes him a special ing at his fellow teammates and dedicatplayer, that creative spontaneity that makes it hard for teams to pin him down,��� Burns said. ���That���s what you need in a league like this, where you���re fighting every week. ���He���s one of the few players one our team who���s hungry, aggressive and selfish ��� and I mean that in a good way ��� with the willingness to score goals.��� Pereira used his quick feet and creative abilities to post a team-leading 13 points (four goals and five assists) through Oct.��26. He also leads the team in shots on goal with 24. ���I wanted to come to Michigan to help raise the program up to the next level,��� Pereira said. ���They had the coaches and these great facilities, and now we���re starting to take the next step. ���You can see that with how we���re maturing every game. We���re a young team, and it���s starting to come together. We���re going to be a great team next season.��� The present may be difficult, while Michigan struggles with a rebuilding project ��� but take one look at Pereira on the pitch, and it���s easy to see where his optimism originates. ��� Andy Reid Lexi Erwin Evolving Into All-Around Volleyball Threat Coming into the 2011 season, it seemed like a foregone conclusion senior outside hitter Alex Hunt would be the centerpiece of the Wolverine offensive attack. After all, Hunt led the Big Ten with 4.41 kills per set and tallied a whopping 242 more terminations (503 total) than any other Michigan player in 2010. While Hunt shined, true freshman outside hitter Lexi Erwin registered a respectable 147 kills. A talented prospect out of Spring, Texas, Erwin was an offensive role player, who came in to relieve Hunt of the burden of being the offensive focal point. Fast-forward to the heat of the Big Ten slate this year. Hunt is putting up solid numbers, knocking in 3.28 kills per set (266 total) through Oct. 27. But it���s Erwin leading the team with 287 kills, 3.38 per set. ���What she���s been able to do is become more of an all-around player. She can play the back line on defense and serve,��� Michigan coach Mark Rosen said. ���And that���s really helped her offensive game, because she���s not leaving the floor, and she can get into a rhythm.��� After her freshman season, Erwin 110��� the wolverine��� ������ NOVEMBER 2011 worked with the Michigan strength and defense, that���s a huge addition. conditioning coaches ��� a relatively ���I knew as soon as we got back on the new experience. She had lifted weights court that first week of practice that I before, in high school, but never with was feeling so much better,��� Erwin said. the serious attention ���It���s been a big boost.��� to detail she received Rosen was ecstatic in Ann Arbor. with the improvements Erwin was introduced Erwin made through to new lifts and techthe summer and niques that greatly quickly worked her into enhanced her atha more important role. leticism. Exercises like It has allowed the the power clean were Wolverines offense brand new ��� and took to cultivate a level of some getting used to. balance that it sorely ���I���m sure the strength missed last season, coaches got a little frusand it���s been highly trated at times, but it���s effective. The Wolverdifficult to learn how to ines rank second in do all these correctly,��� Erwin, a sophomore outside hitter, the conference in total Erwin said. ���Once I got led the Wolverines in kills with 287 kills (14.29�� per set), them, my power, speed (3.38 per set) through Oct. 29. yet have no one in the photo courtesy and jumping ability top�� 10 in the conferu-m sports information started skyrocketing.��� ence in individual kills. When Erwin checked into camp, she ���We knew Lexi had the talent to be was jumping three to four inches higher this kind of player,��� Rosen said. ���We saw than she had the year before. For an that she could be a player who���d play all outside hitter, playing so close to the over the court. She just had to put it all net and trying to force the ball through together, and you���re starting to see that.��� the awaiting, outstretched arms of the ��� Andy Reid

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