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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s volleyball team opens the 2009 season by traveling to Honolulu, Hawai’i for the 15th Outrigger Hotels Invitational. The 10th-ranked Buckeyes will play host No. 13 Hawai’i at 12 p.m. ET, Thursday. OSU will battle top-ranked Penn State at 9 p.m. ET, Friday and face seventh-ranked Southern California at 9 p.m. ET, Saturday. The other pairings in the invitational have Penn State and Southern California playing Thursday at 9 p.m. ET. Hawaii will host Southern California Friday and Penn State Saturday in 12 p.m. ET contests.

OHIO STATE
The Buckeyes, coached by Pete Hanson, posted a 20-8 overall record last season and finished 11-1 in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA), winning a second-consecutive league championship. Ohio State won the MIVA tournament to advance to the NCAA championship semifinals when it lost to eventual NCAA champion Penn State, 3-0. The Buckeyes are ranked tied for 10th in the preseason Bison/American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division I-II Men’s Coaches Top 15 Poll.

HAWAII
The Rainbows, coached by Mike Wilton, finished 13-16 overall last season and were 8-14 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation finishing ninth in conference play. Hawai’i opens the season ranked 13th in the Bison/AVCA poll.

PENN STATE
The Nittany Lions, coached by Mark Pavlik, won the national championship last season with a 30-1 overall record. Penn State finished first in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association with an 11-1 mark. The Nittany Lions are the preseason top-ranked team in the Bison/AVCA poll.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
The Trojans, coached by Bill Ferguson, finished 11-16 overall last season and were 8-14 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation finishing eighth in conference play. Southern California begins the season ranked seventh in the Bison/AVCA poll.

BUCKEYES PICKED TO FINISHED THIRD IN THE MIVA
Ohio State was picked to finished third this season in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association preseason poll. The coaches voted Lewis first and Ball State second. Rounding out the voting was Loyola-Chicago in fourth, IPFW fifth and Quincy sixth. Two Buckeyes, Robbie Klein and Ben Spurlock, were named to the preseason MIVA all-conference team. Joining the Buckeyes on the 10-player team were Mike Iandolo, Nicky Perakes, Drew Pickering and Billy Sahagian of Lewis, Todd Chamberlain and Matt McCarthy of Ball State and Kris Berzins and Nick Lamoureux of Loyola-Chicago.

BUCKEYES WIN TWO-MATCH EXHIBITION SERIES WITH WATERLOO
Ohio State won two 3-0 exhibition matches last weekend against Waterloo in St. John Arena. OSU defeated the Warriors, 30-20, 30-23, 30-21, Friday behind double-figure point performances by Shawn Sangrey (12.5), Kevin Heine (11.0) and Robbie Klein (10.5). The Buckeyes defeated Waterloo, 30-23, 30-25, 30-22, Saturday with double-figure point performances by Ben Spurlock (13.0), Ted Schoenfeldt (11.5), John Klanac (11.0) and Kevin Heine (10.0).

KLEIN HAS CAREER NUMBERS
Robbie Klein is ranked near the top in several Ohio State career statistical categories. He ranks 12th in kills with 954 and needs five to pass No. 11 Mike Terpstra (1990-93) with 958. Klein is fourth in aces with 102 and needs six to pass No. 3 Daniel Mathews (2005-08) with 107. In career aces per game, Klein is the OSU career leader at .35 per game. He is 21st in digs with 403 and needs eight to pass No. 20 Andy Cole (2003-06) with 410. In points, Klein ranks 11th with 1,141.5. He needs 79 to pass No. 10 Phil Kerewich (1996-99) with 1,218.5.

ALBERTSON HIGH IN CAREER BLOCK TOTALS
John Albertson returns to action this season after missing the majority of last season. His 257 career assist blocks ranks 13th on the OSU career list. He needs six assist blocks to pass No. 12 David Frette (1989-91) with 262 and eight to pass No. 11 Angel Aja (1997-00) with 264. In total blocks, Albertson ranks 14th with 277 (20 solos, 257 assists). He needs 17 total blocks to pass Aja (1997-00) with 293 (29-264). In blocks per game, Albertson ranks fifth at 1.38.

HEAD COACH PETE HANSON
Pete Hanson is in his 25th season at Ohio State. He has a 477-263 record with the Buckeyes and has 11 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association championships, including 2008. Named the MIVA Coach of the Year eight times, including 2008, he was the American Volleyball Coaches Association National Coach of the Year in 2000 when Ohio State was the NCAA national championship runner-up. Hanson was also the 1998 Volleyball Magazine Coach of the Year. His teams have advanced to the NCAA championships seven times including back-to-back appearances in 2000 (runner-up) and 2001 (semifinalist).

UPCOMING OHIO STATE MATCHES
The Buckeyes open the home portion of the schedule by hosting Stanford at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16 and Juniata at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 18 in St. John Arena.

***OhioStateBuckeyes.com***