The Wolverine

November 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 13 of 83

14 THE WOLVERINE NOVEMBER 2018   INSIDE MICHIGAN ATHLETICS Veteran Matthews Needs To Lead By Brandon Brown Michigan head basketball coach John Beilein has plenty of talent to work with this season, but a lot of it is young and unproven. Because of that, redshirt junior guard Charles Matthews — the lone player in his fourth year of college on the roster — is extremely important to the success of the Wolverines. At 6-6, Matthews will need to improve on his defense a bit, but of- fensively he's crucial to U-M. Matthews is really the only proven scorer on the team and will have to up his production even more with Moe Wag- ner off to the NBA. During U-M's magical run in the NCAA Tournament last year, Matthews averaged 14.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. No one else on the roster has shown that they can do that consistently, so it'll be up to Matthews to be at least one piece Beilein can count on. There could be a lot of freshman talent on the floor for U-M this year, but rook- ies are rarely reliable. Sophomores Jor- dan Poole and Isaiah Livers have shown flashes of potential, and junior Zavier Simpson chips in here and there, but Mat- thews needs to set the tone as the elder statesman. This is Zavier Simpson's Team By Chris Balas Simpson might never be the leading scorer on this team — he averaged 7.3 points per game a year ago and shot less than 30 percent from three-point range — but he's the heart and soul of Michigan. He's different than many of head coach John Beilein's past point guards in that he's more defensive minded than offensive, and he makes his living with assists and steals and by lock- ing down opposing point guards. Michigan State's Cassius Winston was the other point guard Michigan recruited heavily in his class, and many thought he would have been a great fit at U-M with the way he can shoot the ball. Simpson has gotten the better of Winston in the last two meetings and has taken his offensive game to another level in those victories, notching 16 points and 15 points in the wins. Bottom line: Simpson brings some of the toughness this program might have been missing, is one of those guys who demands his teammates play as hard as he does and is a guy they need on the floor. This team will go as far as he takes them, and it could be really good if he shoots just a bit better. POINT ❙ COUNTERPOINT WHO IS JOHN BEILEIN'S MOST IMPORTANT PLAYER THIS SEASON? Women's soccer sophomore midfielder Sarah Stratigakis had an outstanding freshman campaign in Ann Arbor last year, starting all 18 matches and finish- ing second on the squad with 11 points, en route to second-team All-Big Ten and All-Freshman league honors. She is off to hot start in 2018, tying for second on the club with six goals through Oct. 15. Here a few other interesting facts you may not have known about Stratigakis: Nickname: "My teammates call me Strats." Favorite restaurant in Ann Arbor: "I like Mani [Osteria & Bar], because it has so many options. I love their wood-fire pizzas and salads." Best meal she can cook by herself: "I'm not a great cook, but I like to take a piece of toast and put an avocado and an egg on it." Sports she plays besides soccer: "When I was little, I used to be a gym- nast. I also really liked playing basket- ball." Hobbies: "I enjoy reading, listening to music and actually just started col- lecting records." Favorite TV show: "'The Office.'" Favorite movie: "'Forrest Gump.'" Dream vacation: "I've always wanted to go to Hawai'i. I'd also love to travel all over Europe and visit Greece." Favorite place she's been to: "Jor- dan." Favorite professional athlete: "[Ca- nadian soccer player] Christine Sinclair." Role model: "My parents." Why she chose Michigan: "It's the perfect combination of academics and athletics. I also loved the campus and the tradition they have here." What she hopes to do after soccer: "I'm not sure yet, but I may want to go pro in soccer. For now, though, I want to make sure I get in my four years here and get my degree." Her overall experience at Michigan: "I've absolutely loved it, and there's no place I'd rather be." — Austin Fox Getting To Know Women's Soccer Sophomore Midfielder Sarah Stratigakis Through 16 matches, Stratigakis ranked second on the team in minutes (1,212) and goals (six), and third in points (13). PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETICS Junior point guard Zavier Simpson aver- aged 7.3 points, 3.7 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game last year. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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