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Daily Sports Power Rankings: Fifth Edition

BY NICK SPAR
Daily Sports Editor
Published October 25, 2010

1. Lexi Zimmerman, Setter (Volleyball)
After an unexpected three-set loss to Indiana on Friday, Zimmerman carried Michigan to a five-set win over Purdue on Saturday. She had a season-low 23 assists against the Hoosiers but followed that up with a whopping 58 assists against the Boilermakers. I checked to see if those 58 assists were close to breaking any sort of NCAA record and learned two things. Zimmerman’s career high in assists isn’t even Saturday’s 58 — it’s 75. And the NCAA record for assists in a five-set match is 109. But hey, Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 points don’t make 75 points something to scoff at. With last weekend’s matches, that’s eight straight for Zimmerman with at least 20 assists, five kills and five digs.

2. Denise Muresan (Women’s Tennis)
On Monday, Muresan earned a spot in Tuesday’s final of the Midwest Regional Championships. If she wins, we could very well see a new No. 1 in these rankings next week. But as for this week, she won four matches in the last three days to earn the No. 2 spot and, more importantly, a chance at a title. The only set she lost was in the quarterfinals to fellow Wolverine Brooke Bolender.

3. Men’s Golf Trio: Kim, Garber and Thompson
Senior Lion Kim and freshman Joey Garber are familiar names in the rankings, but the trio is completed with the addition of junior Matt Thompson. All three finished in the top eight at last weekend’s Bridgestone Intercollegiate, which helped Michigan record its third lowest 54-hole score ever. The successes of Kim are well documented and Garber is a freshman who has wasted no time in making an impact. But Thompson — who finished in sixth place at nine-under — very well could be the key for the Wolverines when their season resumes in February. He helped guide Michigan to its best NCAA Finals finish since 1952 two seasons ago as a freshman. Now a seasoned veteran, Thompson could be a part of the formula for another deep postseason run. If only we didn’t have to wait until April to find out.

4. Evan King (Men’s Tennis)
Ohio State’s Blaz Rola seems to be King’s only nemesis. The sophomore rolled through four straight matches at the Midwest Regional Championships in South Bend, dropping only one set on his way to the semifinals. But he fell to Rola in the semis, the same Rola who defeated King at the ITA All-American Championships two weeks ago. Rola was the third-ranked player at that tournament, and King took the first set in both matches between the two, so consider both losses quality losses. But the sophomore was just a few points away from knocking off one of the nation’s elite players and advancing to the championship round.

5. Alex Hunt, Outside Hitter (Volleyball)
It is a bit odd that Zimmerman stays put at No. 1 and Hunt drops only a spot after the discouraging loss to the Hoosiers. But the duo helped the Wolverines avoid a completely disastrous weekend with the tight five-set win over Purdue, as Hunt contributed 26 kills and nine digs. Michigan is still among the Big Ten’s elite, dropping just two spots to No. 15 after the weekend split. And Hunt ranks 17th in the nation in kills per set.

6. Bryan Hogan, Goaltender (Ice Hockey)
Last week, Hogan and Shawn Hunwick shared a spot in the rankings after solid performances from both. But after Hunwick’s start in last weekend's home series against Nebraska-Omaha ended with a 4-2 loss and Hogan’s a 6-1 win, it seems the scale has shifted in Hogan’s favor. The team’s quality of play was clearly better in front of Hogan than it was in front of Hunwick. But Hunwick allowed a couple of soft goals and Hogan made 35 saves to earn a win. So maybe the Michigan coaching staff prefers Hogan over Hunwick for now, which yes, is a complete 180 from last week’s prognosis.

7. Scooter Vaughan, Forward (Ice Hockey)
Is it time to start the Scooter-for-Hobey discussion? Not quite, considering many fans might not even know hockey season started. And because it would be an exponentially hastier discussion than the Denard-for-Heisman chatter, which was hasty in its own right. But Vaughan, a converted defenseman, has had a pleasantly surprising start to the season. He is tied for the team-lead in goals (four) and helped incite Michigan’s rebound victory over Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday with two scores.

8. Nkem Ezurike, Forward (Women’s Soccer)
Ezurike is back in the rankings after leading Michigan to an upset road win over No. 23 Minnesota in dramatic fashion on Friday. She scored the game-winning goal to break a scoreless tie in double-overtime. The game was just 27 seconds away from ending in a tie. The Wolverines were outshot 12-1 in the first half, so in a sense that victory was complete robbery. And if they went on to tie or lose that game, the weekend would have been a heartbreaker since Michigan was on the wrong end of a 1-0 double-overtime loss two days later.

9. David Wohlberg, Forward (Ice Hockey)
Wohlberg set a school record by scoring eight seconds into Saturday’s game against the Mavericks. And despite the lopsided 6-1 outcome, it was a much-needed goal. If Michigan wasn’t able to gain any early momentum on Saturday and earn a split, it would have been pretty reminiscent of the early-season home struggles that plagued the team for much of last season.

10. Kourtney Moody (Women’s Cross Country)
Moody edged out teammates Mackenzie Adams and Taylor Pogue to claim her first-ever victory at the EMU Fall Classic. Five Wolverines finished in the top 16 and several Michigan runners recorded personal best 5,000-meter times. No one could outdo Moody, though, as she shattered her personal best by 41 seconds – a perfect confidence booster heading into the Big Ten Championships this Sunday in Madison.


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