Just about every Wolverine winter and spring team was in action this week, with some getting to the high points of their season and others just getting started.
This Week’s One Thing:
Sat Feb. 15, 1p: #3 Men’s Gymnastics v. #2 Oklahoma
Michigan welcomes the top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners to town, testing themselves against the best. Michigan will need to put up their best score of the season to beat the Sooners, but the Wolverines’ best 413.5 is higher than Oklahoma’s season max of 412.2. A match-up to watch is Michigan’s Cameron Bock and Oklahoma’s Gage Dyer, both in the individual top 10 on parallel bars.
Fri Feb 13:
8p ET, #13 Baseball v. #2 Vanderbilt, MLB Network
9p ET, #22 Wrestling @ #4 Nebraska, BTN
Sun Feb. 15:
Noon, Women’s Basketball @ Rutgers, BTN
4p ET, #22 Wrestling @ #12 Wisconsin, BTN
#11 Softball (5-0)
Softball opened up 5-0, and heads to Chapel Hill this weekend to play North Carolina and Louisville twice each. If you haven’t already, please read my preview. I don’t intend on featuring softball or baseball regularly in this space, as we intend on devoting more coverage to them site-wide this year. It’s not listed, but I would not be surprised if the games against UNC end up streaming on ACCNX, which is free on the ESPN App with an ACC Network login.
MLB4 Tournament, Scottsdale, AZ: Fri Feb. 14, 8p ET v. #2 Vanderbilt, MLBN, Sat Feb 15, 3p ET v. Cal Poly, Sun Feb. 16 v. Connecticut
Sat Feb. 15, 8p @ #9 Arizona State
Baseball opens up this weekend, and you can read more about the team trying to return to the World Series in either Broome’s media day notes, or his great feature. Michigan’s World Series final rematch against Vanderbilt will be on MLB Network, the Cal Poly and UConn games will be on MLB.com, and the ASU game will be on the Pac-12 Network website.
Women’s Basketball (16-7, 7-5 B1G)
Last week: 66-63 W v. Purdue, 77-52 W @ Minnesota
Upcoming: Thu Feb. 13, 7p v. #19 Northwestern, Sun Feb. 16, Noon v. Rutgers, BTN, Wed Feb. 19, 7p v. Illinois
Women’s basketball is now on a three game winning streak after beating Purdue and Minnesota last week, and is now just a game and a half out of a double bye. Michigan led by as many as 12, but Purdue never stopped fighting and kept chipping away at the lead. Purdue got it down to 1 with 1:35 to go but those would be their last points of the night; Hailey Brown blocked a layup, Akienreh Johnson found Naz Hillmon in the paint, and Michigan prevented the three at the other end. There was one final kerfuffle: up 3 with five seconds left Naz Hillmon let an inbounds pass go through her legs. The buzzer blue, but after review they put 1.8 on the clock for Purdue to find the game-tying three. Purdue got the shot off but it was nowhere close. Hillmon finished with her typical double-double, with Johnson adding 17 points and 10 rebounds of her own. Maddie Nolan got 4 blocks and 6 rebounds, and is showing herself to be a more than adaquate defensive replacement for the injured Danielle Rauch. In the Monday game, Michigan went into the barn and dismantled Minnesota. Amy Dilk put up 22 and Naz added 21.
Now, Michigan hosts #19 Northwestern in a huge game for both teams. If Michigan wins, they get a big RPI boost and move closer to safety on Selection Sunday. If Northwestern wins, they move into a tie for first place in the Big Ten. Hopefully Michigan can continue their hot streak.
Wrestling (6-4, 5-2 B1G)
Last week: 27-9 L v. #1 Iowa
Upcoming: Fri Feb. 14, 9p ET @ #4 Nebraska, BTN, Sun Feb. 15, 4p ET @ #12 Wisconsin, BTN
Michigan hosted #1 Iowa on Senior Day, and unfortunately got stomped. Joey Silva won the second match of the day to tie the overall score a 3-3, before Iowa rattled off seven straight wins. The big bright spot was the same as always: in the heavyweight bought against #3 Tony Cassioppi, #2 Mason Parris continued his undefeated season.
Michigan has a tough weekend ahead, with both matches televised. Parris will get a shot at Nebraska’s #16 Christian Lance, and Wisconsin’s #5 Trent Hillger.
#7 Women’s Gymnastics (6-0, 4-0 B1G)
Last week: 197.350-195.900 W v. OSU
Upcoming: Fri Feb. 14, 7p ET @ Iowa
Women’s gymnastics took a strong win against OSU. Sierra Brooks got the party started with a 9.975 vault, with Abby Brenner adding a 9.900 of her own. Brooks then added a 9.925 score on the uneven bars, but Natalie Wojcik was able to match it. Despite a slightly weak beam rotation over, Wojcik took a 9.995, and Michigan went into the final rotation with a 0.725 lead. Michigan then absolutely killed it on the floor, with four scores above 9.900. Wojcik took the all-around title.
Michigan now heads to Iowa, their last meet before the big Elevate the Stage five-team meet. Michigan has above 197 in each of their last three meets, while Iowa’s max score this season was 196.175.
#3 Men’s Gymnastics (3-0, 1-0 B1G)
Last Week: 1st of 3 v. UIC, NIU
Upcoming: Sat Feb. 15, 1p v. #2 Oklahoma
The men hosted UIC and NIU for a triple meet. The Flames and Huskies just couldn’t compete with Michgan, who came in at 413.000, where no other team cracked 360.000. Michigan led wire-to-wire, winning every individual event but having no all-around competitors. In every event, at least five Wolverines scored higher than the next-best competitor. A particularly impressive score is Cameron Bock’s 15.05 on bars.
As mentioned above, Michigan now welcomes #2 Oklahoma to Ann Arbor.
#17 Men’s Tennis (8-1)
Last Week: 4-1 W @ Cornell, 4-3 W @ #9 Columbia
Upcoming: ITA National Team Indoor Championship, Madison, WI: Fri Feb. 14, 10a ET v. #7 Texas A&M, Sat Feb. 15 10a ET v. #4 Texas/#16 UCLA
Michigan travelled to the east coast to take on a pair of Ivies and came back with two victories. In a match that was pushed back by a day, the Wolverines thoroughly defeated Cornell. Michigan took the doubles point and then won three straight-set matches. The next day against a ranked Columbia, Michigan won its eighth straight. This one came down to the wire, with Michigan winning the doubles point, and Connor Johnston and Ondrej Styler taking their singles matches. With just #1 singles left on the court, it was all tied up at 3-3, but Andrew Fenty took a decisive 6-3 win in the final set to take the match for the Wolverines.
Michigan now heads to the National Team Indoor Championships, having earned a berth by winning their ITA Kickoff regional two weeks ago. Michigan will open against 4-1 Texas A&M, before taking on either Texas or UCLA.
#14 Women’s Tennis (4-3)
Last Week: 4-3 L v. #1 Stanford, 4-3 L v. #12 OSU, 4-1 W v. Illinois
Upcoming: Sat Feb. 15, 11a @ #11 Virginia
The women’s tennis team had a tough week at their ITA National Team Indoor Championships, losing their first two matches before salvaging a win over Illinois. Up against #1 Stanford, the Wolverines put up a great fight, winning three singles matches to tie the score at 3-3. At #6 singles Anna Craciun pushed it to a third set but couldn’t get the upset win. Michigan lost a similar 4-3 heartbreaker the next day against Ohio State, but dominated Illinois en route to their lone victory.
Michigan now heads to Virginia, with another opportunity to take a ranked upset.
Men’s Lax (1-0)
Last Week: 16-9 W v. Cleveland State
Upcoming: Sat Feb. 15, 11a @ Hofstra, Tue Feb. 18, 4p v. Canisius
Michigan braved the cold to open its lacrosse season at home, scoring a decisive victory over Cleveland State. The scoring started early, with Freshman Jake Bonomi scoring just under five minutes into his Wolverine debut. Michigan ran out to a 9-3 lead at halftime, with Bonomi scoring a second and Bryce Clay adding two of his own. Clay would finish with a hat trick. The Wolverines and Vikings traded goals for much of the second, but Cleveland State never got it closer than a six-goal margin.
Michigan is in its third year under Kevin Conry, only the second coach in program history. Dogged by injuries, they’ll look to make a big leap this year and qualify for their first NCAA Tournament. Michigan will head east for a pair of games, taking on 1-0 Hofstra and 0-1 Canisius.
#8 Women’s Lax (1-0)
Last Week: 10-8 W @ Jacksonville
Upcoming: Sat Feb. 15, 3p ET @ USC
The Michigan women’s lacrosse team headed to a warmer locale to get their season going, taking a narrow road victory over a Jacksonville squad they had met in last year’s NCAA Tournament. This time it was Jacksonville sprinting out to the early lead, scoring the first two. Senior Molly Garrett halved the Jacksonville margin but soon it was 4-1 Dolphins. Michigan roared back, scoring the next four and taking its first lead after a Maggie Kane goal with 10 minutes to play in the first. The teams spent much of the rest of the match each taking one-goal leads, until Kirby Chandler scored the decisive tally up a player with 11:40 to go in the match. Five minutes later Nadine Stewart scored the insurance goal and that was that.
The Wolverines will go to a different warm place, heading to California to take on USC. The Trojans narrowly defeated Hofstra in their season opener, and the game will be streamed on the Pac-12 Network website.
Upcoming: Sat-Sun Feb. 15-16, 11a, First Chance Meet
Michigan will open its post-season at the First Chance Meet in its own pool. It is as yet not announced whether any other teams will join them in this tune-up for the Big Ten Championships. Ultimately, the main goal is just to get times down, so whether they do it against each other or against a lesser team is moot.
Track and Field
Last week: Meyo Invitational, South Bend, IN
Upcoming: Fri-Sat Feb. 14-15, Music City Invitational, Nashville, TN (Vanderbilt), Tyson Invitational, Fayetteville, AR (Arkansas), Iowa State Classic, Ames, IA (Iowa State)
Last week the Wolverine track team headed to Notre Dame and the Meyo Invitational, coming away with several podium finishes and one victory for each team. Cole Johnson came away with a win in the 800m, and Ben Hill joined him on the podium in third. Emma Lane, Jade Harrison, Julia Hall, and Chloe Foster combined for the fastest time in the women’s 4x400m.
The Wolverines will now spread out across the nation, with each discipline going to whichever meet offers the best direct competition between the Music City Invitational at Vanderbilt, the Tyson Invitational at Arkansas, and the Iowa State Classic in Ames.
Upcoming: Sun-Tue Feb. 16-18, IJGA Collegiate Invitational, Guadalajara, Mexico
The women’s golf team will open their spring season in Mexico, at the IJGA Collegiate Invitational. The tournament is hosted by Virginia, and both Cal and Stanford will also attend. Little other information is available.
Last week: Big Ten Match Play, Palm Coast, FL: 3-3 T v. Iowa (lost by tiebreaker), 3-3 T v. Indiana (shortened match due to darkness), 3.5-2.5 W v. Wisconsin, 5-1 L v. OSU
Michigan had a mixed week at the Big Ten match play, showing that it could compete with its Big Ten peers but not quite getting over the top. Michigan was almost able to take the first round victory and stormed back to tie it at 3-3, but due to Iowa’s superior margin of victory Michigan was eliminated from the tournament’s main bracket. The Indiana match was called without a winner at 14 holes, and Michigan did pick up their one win of the weekend against Wisconsin. One bright spot of the weekend was the 4-0 record compiled by Patrick Sullivan, while no other Wolverine went better than 2-2.
The men will not return to action until early March.