The Wolverine

February 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 64 of 75

FEBRUARY 2017 THE WOLVERINE 65   OLYMPIC SPORTS UPDATE "I think the biggest challenge is the physicality of the game," Barnes Arico said. "I think that was the big- gest transition for her last year, is handling people bumping her and people being physical with her and double-teaming her. "Just becoming more aggressive, becoming more confident and becom- ing a better defender so we can keep her on the floor for longer periods of time [is the key]. That's something that she's always continuing to work on." The improvements have shown up this season. In addition to her re- bounding average going from 5.4 last year to 7.7, which ranks eighth in the Big Ten, her blocks (1.3 per game last year, 1.8 this year) and steals (0.4, 0.7) are all up this season while her fouls are down (3.3, 2.6). Despite the impressive statistics, all that Thome hopes to accomplish in basketball is still just about the team. "[I'm] definitely concentrating on what we want to do as a team and putting the team first this year," she said. "At the end, whatever happens, if I get first-team All-Big Ten or what- ever I get, I don't really care. "I just want to make sure that as a program we make it further than we have in the past." MEN'S LACROSSE LOOKING TO IMPROVE WITH NEW FACES Last year's Michigan men's lacrosse season never really had a chance to reach its true potential, and the team finished 3-10 overall. Injuries to top offensive players Kyle Jackson and Ian King undercut head coach John Paul's fifth season in charge, and with Jackson graduating and moving on to a career in Major League Lacrosse, the team will need other players to step up and fill the void. "I think we're going to have to be a little bit more of a team offense," Paul said. "We learned that last year when we lost both Ian and Kyle at the same time. I think we lost about 60 percent of our offense in one day, so the team we've been offensively so far through the fall and through our first couple practices here is certainly much more of an offense by committee." King, who set the program record for assists in a season last year (17), is healthy once again and ready to lead the offense. With three points this season, the senior will join Jackson as the only players in team history to have 100 points in a career. He opens the campaign just 16 points away from tying Jackson's school record of 113. Though King is in place to lead the offense, Michigan will need to fill the void at faceoff man and goalie following the graduation of faceoff specialist Brad Lott and the transfer of starting goalie Gerald Logan to Johns Hopkins. The Wolverines will see Logan again when the team trav- els to Johns Hopkins April 22. Michigan has a number of options at goalie, including senior Robbie Zonino, who started the 2014 season for the Wolverines and had a record of 5-11 with 161 saves during that campaign. At the faceoff position, ju- nior Michael McDonnell should step in, and he had a strong fall according to Paul. This freshman class is also the deepest Paul has had in his time at Michigan, and he is looking for it to have an impact right away. Rookies Christian Ford and Avery Meyers will both have an opportunity to play in the midfield, and Matt Trowbridge is already in the mix for starting goalie. The Wolverines will begin their sixth year of competition at Cleve- land State Feb. 4. — Leland Mitchinson SENIORITY PUTS WOMEN'S LACROSSE IN NEW POSITION For the first time in the program's short history, the Michigan women's lacrosse program will have seniors on its roster, and the leadership of that first class will be the key to the Wolverines' season. "I think this year we've actually re- ally found our identity," head coach Jennifer Ulehla said. "I would say last year was a disappointing season for all of us, for several different reasons. "Over the summer, we were able to regroup and had a great fall, and right now this team is more focused and working on getting better every single day." Michigan returns three players that reached the 100-point mark last year in seniors Kim Coughlan, Jess Anger- man and Anna Schuler. Coughlan led the team last season with 41 points, and she and fellow senior Madeline Dion became the first Wolverines to be named to the All-Big Ten team. "Our leadership is stronger than ever," Ulehla said. "Not only from the seniors — they had no one to learn from — but from the juniors. "Coming into it, I think this year is the first year the leadership is in every class and everyone is coming together on the same page to under- stand what it takes to be successful." For Michigan, the goal this season will be to get the program's first con- ference win after finishing last season 6-12 overall and 0-5 in Big Ten play. The team will also attempt to make it into the conference tournament, which will be limited to the top four teams for the first time this season. U-M having a full four classes of players is going to be integral to achieving those goals. "This is the first year we're going to have a good amount of depth, which is obviously a very important part of be- ing successful," Ulehla said. "I would say most of our seniors will be receiv- ing a tremendous amount of playing time. However, between the juniors, sophomores and our freshman class — which is outstanding — they just need the experience, and they're also going to be seeing some playing minutes." Michigan will open the 2017 season Feb. 4 at Oregon. — Leland Mitchinson MEN'S TENNIS MOTIVATED FOR MORE IN 2017 After finishing last season with a 21-8 record and the most wins since the 1988 season, the No. 21 Michi- gan men's tennis team is ready to reach even greater heights this year. Last year's squad did not have any members graduate, and the added experience on the roster is helping the Wolverines grow as a unit. "It's been a great building process here from the first year to the second, now we are in our third year," head coach Adam Steinberg said. "I've never had a team more motivated, ever, in all my years of coaching to really be successful. So, that really goes a long way." Redshirt junior Alex Knight was the team's only member to earn All- Big Ten honors last season, earning a spot on the second team. Knight will be looking to improve on his 15-10 singles record in dual-match play, which earned him the No. 125 rank- ing in the country by the end of last season. He was ranked No. 82 in the preseason listing done by the Inter- collegiate Tennis Association.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - February 2017