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The top five Michigan sports moments that went under the radar this summer

BY NICOLE AUERBACH
Chantel Jennings and Andy Reid
Published September 8, 2009

Ofili’s teammate and roommate, Gall, won her second consecutive 800-meter run championship and picked up her 10th All-American accolade of her career. Her time of 2:00.8 was a lifetime best as the senior led the race from start to finish.

The Wolverine also won the 800-meter run indoor national championship during her junior and senior campaigns. Following her impressive collegiate career, Gall joined the professional Oregon Track Club and represented the USA at the 2009 World Championships, placing 14th in the 800-meter run.

2. Softball makes a run to the College World Series

If you’re addicted to ESPN and ESPN2 (like us), you probably didn’t miss this. But for the more casual sports fan, we’ll clue you in on the Michigan softball team’s incredible postseason run. It started with a sparkling 41-10 regular-season record and a 21-game winning streak that helped the Wolverines capture their first outright Big Ten Championship since 2005. Michigan cruised through regional and super regional play, earning a trip to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.

It marked the first time the Wolverines returned to the tournament since they won it in 2005, the most recent NCAA team championship at Michigan. Much of the team’s success can be attributed to the dynamic pitching duo of Jordan Taylor and Nikki Nemitz combined with an explosive offensive attack.

In Oklahoma City, Michigan erupted for six runs to beat No. 4 Alabama in the first round. But that would be the Wolverines’ final win of the season after two heartbreaking losses to top-seeded Florida and red-hot Georgia knocked Michigan out of the tournament.

Still, the magical run points to only positive things for the coming season. Eight of Michigan’s nine starters from last year will return, including both ace pitchers. A trip back to the World Series could very well be in store for the Wolverines.

1. Lacrosse's back-to-back titles

The record books say that the last team national championship won at Michigan was the 2005 softball College World Series title. Try telling that to the lacrosse team.

Although the Wolverines have yet to gain true varsity status, lacrosse is one of the fastest-growing sports on campus — and for good reason. After two straight 20-win, undefeated seasons, Michigan is the two-time defending national champion in club varsity lacrosse.

Along with the 40 straight wins, Michigan is gaining national notoriety. In a move meant to gauge the team’s readiness to make the jump to varsity, the Wolverines hosted Army and St. Johns in 2008 in a tournament at Elbel Field. Although Michigan didn’t pull of either upset, the tournament definitely got the attention of Athletic Director Bill Martin, who has the final say about the varsity situation.

Back in May, the Wolverines traveled to Denver to defend their title against a tough Chapman squad. They won in a 12-11 barnburner.

Few people on campus know about the lacrosse team, whose home games are in Oosterbaan Fieldhouse, the Michigan football practice facility. But the fans that do show up are loyal and loud. Don’t be surprised to hear a lot more about this team in the future.


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