But the rules weren’t passed down from the university, the athletic department or even a coach. They were developed over the summer during a group conversation between all players on the team. Together, they talked about their expectations for each other and how to best minimize risk of infection.
Mann started 35 games between the pipes and made 987 saves for a .939 save percentage in his sophomore campaign, earning him the title of Big Ten Goaltender of the Year. Now, he’ll be the Wolverines’ first non-senior captain in five years.
Last year’s three top scorers — forwards Jake Slaker, Will Lockwood and Nick Pastujov — are all gone. While those holes won’t be easy to fill, the freshman class knows how to get the puck into the net.
In another reality, Jess would be finishing up her finals in Ann Arbor and gearing up for another Big Ten Championship. Or she’d be ramping up her practice schedule for the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Switzerland. Instead, she finishes her peanut butter toast and sits down at her computer. When she’s done with her school work, she tries to keep herself occupied, spending time with her family and running — she even dyed her own hair a couple weeks ago.
That’s the routine she’s developed since getting home to Johannesburg in the middle of March, when her rowing career, her Olympic dreams and her life were put on pause because of COVID-19.
In 2019, the team came back to Ann Arbor from their weeks on the road with a cumulative batting average of .237. This year, Michigan returns for its home opener hitting just above .222 since the end of its hot streak on Feb. 22.
Both seasons, the Wolverines dropped several unranked matchups — Louisville, Stanford and South Dakota in 2019 and Iowa State, Liberty and Loyola Marymount in 2020.
But if Michigan continues to follow last year’s trajectory, its saving grace may be just around the corner: the first home game of the season.
The Michigan softball team won just two of five games at this weekend’s Judi Garman Classic. The Wolverines had a rocky start to the weekend, falling to Loyola Marymount on Friday and No. 13. Texas on Saturday before picking up a win against No. 25 Texas Tech later that afternoon.