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There's no place like home

Published October 10, 2004

Phyllis Ocker Field is not only the home turf of the Michigan
field hockey team, it is also where the team holds its practice. To
coach Marcia Pankratz, that is one of the field’s biggest
advantages. “The surface is very fast, and very comfortable
for us since we practice on it every day,” Pankratz said.
Yost’s winning tradition has extended to the field hockey
team as it has earned a berth into the NCAA Tournament in each of
the last five seasons. “We won on our home field (in 2001) to
go to the Final Four, beating North Carolina and Michigan State in
overtime,” said Pankratz of her best memory of the field.

The soccer field’s perfectly conditioned grass reflects
its short tenure as the home for the men’s and women’s
varsity teams. The women’s team was the first to break it in,
taking the field in 1995 after playing its first varsity season at
nearby Elbel Field. The men’s program began playing at the
field in its inaugural season in 2000. Today, the black iron gate
and classic red brick that encloses the field mirrors the entrances
to Michigan Stadium. In the case of the Michigan Soccer Field,
football and soccer do seem to mix. In competition with more than
110,000 spectators that crowd Michigan Stadium, the 1,500 fans that
pack Michigan Soccer Field make up for their reduced numbers with
increased enthusiasm.

— Max Kardon and Matt Venegoni


“With over 60 crazy students filling up ‘the
Zone’, the atmosphere couldn’t have been better,”
LSA senior Jeff Gdowski said. The vivacious crowd of 1,721 fans
that showed up to Cliff Keen Arena Wednesday night for the
women’s volleyball game against Michigan State was the
epitome of a Cliff Keen Arena experience. Built in 1956, the arena
can seat up to 1800 fans. It was named after long-time Michigan
wrestling coach Cliff Keen. “Whenever we play in Cliff Keen
Arena, we protect our house,” Michigan volleyball team
captain Sarah Allen said.

“Cliff Keen Arena not only has nice facilities and a good
closed-in area, but the student sections are new for us and the
fans create great energy for us to feed off of,” sophomore
Erin Cobler added. Cobler and her teammates all agree that the
facilities in Cliff Keen are some of the best they’ve seen.
During the summer of 2002, an expansion and renovation of the
volleyball lockerroom gave the team the latest in digital video
filming and editing equipment. They also received a team room,
which provides them with a homely atmosphere. “We have the
best arena in the conference and we want that,” Michigan
coach Mark Rosen said. “If another place has a better arena,
then I’m sure they can’t have a better student section
then ours. We actually can’t thank the fans enough for their
energy. They’re the other factor that makes Cliff Keen Arena
so great.”

— Jacqueline E. Howard


- Page design by Ellen McGarrity.


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