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January 14, 1999

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State (1-0). coming off a 3-0 (15-8, 15-12, 15-8) win at Penn State, has its home opener this weekend. The Buckeyes, who finished sixth in the final 1998 USA TODAY/AVCA Coaches Poll, will host the Brigham Young (2-0) on Friday and Saturday night in St. John Arena (13,276) at 7 p.m.

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BRIGHAM YOUNG UPDATE

%^$The Cougars opened the 1999 season with two wins over UC Irvine. Last weekend, BYU defeated Irvine 15-11, 15-9, 7-15, 15-5 on Friday and 15-4, 15-7, 15-13 on Saturday. Brigham Young was 16-6 last season and finished ranked seventh in the USA TODAY/AVCA Coaches Poll.

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OHIO STATE UPDATE

%^$The Buckeyes opened the 1999 season with a 3-0 win at Penn State. Colin McMillan topped the Buckeyes in statistics with 18 kills, two aces, three digs and six assist blocks. He hit .625 for the match. Jose Pereira had 17 kills, hit .444 and added seven digs and two blocks. Rene’ Esteves had 15 kills and six total bocks including two solos and two digs, while Phil Kerewich collected 10 kills, four digs and a solo block. Chris Fash rounded out the starting hitters with nine kills, three digs and five assist blocks. Setter Angel Aja had 60 assists in the match along with four kills, six digs, an ace serve and three assist blocks. The Buckeyes outhit Penn State .352 to .228 and controlled the net with a 13 to 9.5 advantage in blocks. OSU also outdug the Nittany Lions 26 to 21 and scored on four ace serves while holding PSU to none. The win marked the third consecutive victory over Penn State in the last two years.

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FASH GETS THE START

%^$Chris Fash is the answer. The question was who would be the new starter to replace senior Jeff Koterba in the lineup for the Buckeyes. Fash picked up nine kills, three digs, four assists and five assist blocks against Penn State earlier this week. The four assists and five assist blocks were career high for Fash who saw limited action last season in 15 matches. His career high of 11 kills came last season against Ball State in one game. His play in that game helped OSU overcome a 7-1 Ball State lead to win the game 15-12 and capture the match.

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MCMILLAN HITS UP A STORM

%^$Middle hitter Colin McMillan hit a match-high .625 against Penn State earlier this week. In 24 swings he scored 18 kills and had only three errors. McMillan, the OSU career leader in hitting percentage at .474, hit .458 last season and .503 in his freshman year. He was ranked eighth in the country last season in percentage and had nine matches where he hit .615 or better.

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MIDDLES PACING THE BLOCK

%^$The middle tandum of Rene’ Esteves and Colin McMillan had six blocks each against Penn State. Esteves picked up two solo and four assists while McMillan had six assist blocks. The pair combined for 277 blocks last season with Esteves being ranked 19th in the country with a 1.48 per game average. McMillan averaged 1.40 per game.

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HONORS LAST SEASON

%^$Angel Aja was named a first team and Rene’ Esteves, second team, AVCA all-American in 1998. In addition, Volleyball Magazine honored Aja on their second team, graduated senior Jeff Koterba on the third team and Esteves as an honorable mention selection. Coach Pete Hanson was named by the magazine as their Coach of the Year. Hanson was also named the MIVA Coach of the Year. Other league honors included Aja, Esteves and Koterba being named to the all-MIVA first team and Colin McMillan selected to the season team.

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HONORS OFF THE COURT

%^$The Buckeyes had six players honored as academic all-Big Ten selections last season. They included Colin McMillan, Rene’ Esteves, Angel Aja, Chris Fash, Greg Lehman and Jeff Koterba. Additionally, the above players and Ross McLain were recognized as Ohio State Scholar-Athletes.

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KEREWICH ONLY SENIOR SQUAD MEMBER

%^$Outside hitter Phil Kerewich is the lone senior on the 14-player roster. He was twice named the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Player of the Week and was the MIVA leader in digs with a 2.92 average last season.

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AJA DIRECTS THE OFFENSE

%^$Angel Aja, a first team AVCA all-American last season, will direct the Buckeye offense. He posted 60 assists in the match against Penn State adding four kills, six digs and an ace serve. Aja averaged 18.42 assists per game last season, ranking second in the country. He also contributed 124 digs, 68 blocks and 18 assists a year ago.

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TOP HITTING PERCENTAGE IN 1998

%^$The Buckeyes were the top team in the country last season in hitting percentage at .365. NCAA champion UCLA was second at .353.

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A LOOK BACK AT 1998

%^$Ohio State finished last season with a disappointing four-game loss to Loyola in the MIVA Semifinals. Prior to that, the Buckeyes had won 22 consecutive matches including a four-game victory over then No. 1 Pepperdine in Malibu. The only other loss suffered by the Buckeyes was a close four-game decision at Stanford early in the season.

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HEAD COACH PETE HANSON

%^$In his 15th year at Ohio State, Pete Hanson has put together one of the top men’s volleyball teams in the country. Ranked second in the country in the latter stages of the season, his squad finished sixth in the USA TODAY/AVCA Coaches Poll. They were also honored as the top team in the final regular season Volleyball Magazine Poll. That magazine honored Hanson as the Coach of the Year for his 25-2 season and MIVA regular season championship.

%^$Hanson has a 16-year career record of 277-199 (.582) and is 263-187 (.584) in his 15-year tenure with the Buckeyes. His squads have won six MIVA championships and made three NCAA tournament appearances. Hanson has been named the MIVA Coach of the Year four times including last season.

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UPCOMING MATCHES%^$Ohio State continues at home next week when they open play in the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association by hosting Ball State on Thursday, Jan. 21 and Mercyhurst on Wednesday, Jan. 27.