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Oct. 8, 2002

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 24th-ranked Ohio State (6-7 overall, 0-4 Big Ten) women’s volleyball team returns to St. John Arena this weekend after four consecutive conference road matches. OSU plays host to two Big Ten conference matches this weekend. The Buckeyes face No. 15 Wisconsin (11-4, 2-2) at 7 p.m., Fri., Oct. 11 and hosts Northwestern (10-6, 3-1) at 7 p.m., Sat., Oct. 12.

STACEY GORDON NAMED BIG TEN PLAYER OF THE WEEK

With averages of 6.88 kills and 3.50 digs from her matches against Michigan State and Michigan last weekend, the Big Ten Conference named sophomore outside hitter Stacey Gordon (Oshawa, Ontario) the Big Ten Player of the Week. Despite losses to No. 22 Michigan State (3-2) and Michigan (3-0), Gordon produced outstanding numbers in both matches. She had a career-high 36 kills against Michigan State while hitting .316. Gordon added a match-high 17 digs, two assist blocks and an ace serve in the five game loss. At Michigan, she had a match-high 19 kills (.250), adding 11 digs, one assist block and an ace serve. For the two matches, Gordon averaged 6.88 kills per game and hit .293 for the weekend. She averaged 3.50 digs and added three assist blocks and two aces. As a freshman, Gordon was honored as the Big Ten Player of the week three times and once as the American Volleyball Coaches Association National Player of the Week.

A LOOK AT OHIO STATE

The 24th-ranked Buckeyes, coached by Jim Stone, are 6-7 overall and 0-4 in Big Ten play. Ohio State lost two conference road matches last week. They fell 3-2 (30-27, 23-30, 30-28, 26-30, 17-15) at 22nd-ranked Michigan State on Friday and lost 3-0 (30-21, 30-25, 30-28) at Michigan Saturday. Stacey Gordon leads Ohio State with a 6.10 kills (299) and a 3.53 digs (173) per game average. Suzie Stiling ranks second in kills at 2.53 (124) and is second in blocks per game at .78 (five solos, 33 assists). Freshman Stephanie Higgins (Fr., Biggsville, Ill.) leads the team in blocks with a .88 per game average (three solos, 39 assists). Katie Virtue (Sr., St. Charles, Ill.) is the team leader with an 11.89 assist (214) per game average. Jackie Schardt (Fr., Colorado Springs, Colo.) is second with a 8.81 (214) average. Heather Whalen (Jr., Kalamazoo, Mich.) is averaging 3.76 assists (169) per game. Gordon has a team-high 17 ace serves for a .35 per game average with Stiling and Draeger second with 15 aces (.31) each. Ohio State averages 14.88 kills per game and is hitting .213. The Buckeyes average 1.63 aces, 13.37 digs and 1.92 blocks per game. OSU opponents average 13.20 kills per game and are hitting .212. Buckeye opponents average 1.22 aces, 12.65 digs and 2.59 blocks per game.

A LOOK AT WISCONSIN

The Badgers, coached by Pete Waite, are 11-4 overall and 2-2 in the Big Ten. The 15th-ranked Badgers last week lost at home to No. 6 Minnesota 3-2 (30-27, 32-30, 17-30, 20-30, 15-10) and defeated Iowa 3-0 (30-15, 30-21, 30-19). Lori Rittenhouse is the team leader in kills per game at 3.24 (162) with Jill Odenthal second at 3.18 (89). Rittenhouse is the top percentage hitter at .377. At setter, Morgan Shields is averaging 13.98 assists (713) per game and has a team-high .67 aces (34) per game average. Beth Haberli is the team leader in digs with a 3.30 (109) per game average. Erin Byrd is second at 3.20 (160). At the net, Amy Hultgren has a team-high 1.04 blocks per game average on four solos and 49 assists. Lauren Ford is second at .92 with four solos and 20 assists. Wisconsin is averaging 17.82 kills per game and is hitting .299. The Badgers average 1.80 aces, 15.67 digs and 2.32 blocks per game. Wisconsin opponents average 12.16 kills per game and are hitting .158. Badger opponents average 1.00 aces, 13.65 digs and 2.10 blocks per game.

OHIO STATE – WISCONSIN SERIES

Ohio State leads the series with Wisconsin, 25-19. The Buckeyes are 12-7 in matches played in Columbus, 11-10 in Madison and 2-2 at neutral sites. The Badgers won both matches last season taking a 3-0 (30-25, 30-28, 30-16) win at Wisconsin and a 3-1 (30-24, 27-30, 30-22, 30-28) victory in Columbus. Wisconsin has won the last five matches played in Columbus.

A LOOK AT NORTHWESTERN

The Wildcats, coached by Keylor Chan, are 10-6 overall and 3-1 in the Big Ten. Last week the Wildcats won 3-0 (30-24, 30-22, 30-21) at home against Iowa and lost to No. 6 Minnesota 3-0 (30-22, 30-28, 30-22). Wildcat Erika Lange has a team-high 4.20 kills (193) per game average with Iwona Lodzik second at 3.47 (191). Lange is the top percentage hitter on the team at .373. Setter Drew Robertson averages 11.69 assists (678) per game and is second in digs with a 3.02 (175) average. Lodzik is the team leader in digs with a 3.15 (173) average and leads the team in aces (25) per game at .45. Second is Christie Gardner at .38 (22) with Cassie McKnight third at .37 (20). At the net, Lange has a team-high 1.46 blocks per game average on 11 solos and 56 assists. Second is Sarah Ballog at .73 with four solos and 37 assists. Northwestern is averaging 15.43 kills per game and is hitting .214. The Wildcats average 1.95 aces, 14.84 digs and 2.45 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.90 kills per game and are hitting .177. Wildcat opponents average .133 aces, 13.12 digs and 2.10 blocks per game.

OHIO STATE – NORTHWESTERN SERIES

Ohio State has a 34-13 series record against Northwestern. OSU is 16-4 in matches played in Columbus, 12-7 in Evanston and 6-2 in neutral court matches. Ohio State won both contests last season winning 3-1 (27-30, 30-21, 30-15, 30-19) at Northwestern and 3-0 (30-22, 30-13, 30-15) in Columbus. The Buckeyes have won 15 of the last 17 matches played in Columbus with the two losses being forfeits.

INJURED BUCKEYES OFF TO WORST CONFERENCE START

Ohio State has started the 2002 Big Ten Conference season with four losses. The Buckeyes, in the 20 previous years of conference play, have never started the conference season, 0-4. OSU had started league play 1-3 four times (1999, 1998, 1997 and 1987). OSU had not lost four consecutive matches since the end of the 1988 season when OSU lost the final six matches of the season.

BUCKEYES HURT BY INJURIES

Ohio State, in the first four weeks of the season, was hit hard by injuries. The Buckeyes returned from Hawaii to find out that outside hitter Maria Pongonis (Fr., Cincinnati, Ohio) had a stress fracture in her left foot. Two weeks later setter Katie Virtue (Sr., St. Charles, Ill.) suffered a fracture to her right hand during the road match at Illinois-Chicago. The day prior to the Miami (OH) match, setter Jackie Schardt (Fr., Colorado Springs, Colo.) suffered a concussion in practice. The next day outside hitter Katherine Grant (Fr., Nashville, Tenn.) suffered a dislocated elbow during the match with the RedHawks. The following Friday in practice, Anna Andersson (Fr., Angelholm, Sweden) suffered a knee sprain. Four of the five student-athletes are currently unavailable for competition. Schardt returned to action with starts against Michigan State and Michigan. Pongonis started all three matches in Hawaii while Virtue had six starts prior to her injury. Schardt, who replaced Virtue, had started two matches as had Grant. Andersson had four starts prior to her injury.

WHO IS STARTING?

Because of the five injuries for the Buckeyes, Ohio State has tried to find the right starting combination with the available players. In 13 matches, the Buckeyes have used 11 different starting combinations and has had a different starting lineup in each of the last nine matches. Each of the 14 student-athletes has now started at least one match this season.

SCHARDT RETURNS TO ACTION

The first of Ohio State’s injured five returned to action against Michigan State last weekend. Jackie Schardt (Fr., Colorado Springs, Colo.) who suffered a concussion Sept. 17 returned to the starting lineup for Ohio State against Michigan State. Schardt produced a career-high 62 assists in the five-game loss and added a career-high five assist blocks. She started the next night at Michigan recording 24 assists and seven digs. Down 0-2 in the match to the Wolverines, Schardt was replaced with Heather Whalen (Jr., Kalamazoo, Mich.) who played the final game. Whalen had started the three matches the Schardt missed with the concussion.

GORDON HAS 36 KILLS AT MICHIGAN STATE

Stacey Gordon continued to swing away last weekend as she produced a career-high 36 kills (.316) at Michigan State. She added a match-high 17 digs, two assist blocks and an ace serve in the match. Her 36 kills ranks in a four-way tie for third in OSU match records. She is tied with Anne Botica, at Iowa (11-24-01), Rosie Snow, Purdue (10-31-98) and Vanessa Wouters, at Notre Dame (12-8-96. Wouters has OSU’s top two matches with 45 kills at Iowa (11-22-96) and 39 kills against Penn State (10-16-96). Gordon tied the MSU’s Jenison Field House kill record with Michigan State’s Veronica Morales vs. Penn State (11-5-94).

GORDON CONTINUES DOUBLE-FIGURE KILLS STREAK

Stacey Gordon continued her consecutive streak of double-figure kill matches with a career-high 36 kills at Michigan State and 19 at Michigan. She now has recorded double-figure kills in her last 29 matches. For her career, Gordon has double-figure kills in 42 of 44 matches and has 17 matches with 20 or more kills. Defensively, Gordon has 28 matches with double-figure digs in her career and recorded a season-high 20 digs against Miami (Ohio). She has had 27 double-doubles (kills-digs) in her career.

GORDON RANKED FOURTH NATIONALLY IN KILLS PER GAME LAST WEEK

Stacey Gordon, with a 6.03 kills per game average prior to the past week, was ranked fourth nationally in the national statistics release by the NCAA. Including last week’s matches, Gordon is currently averaging 6.10 kills per game. The NCAA national leaders will be released later this week on the NCAA web site at http://goomer.ncaa.org:8080/stats/reports’sportCode=WVB&rpt=wkly.

KASTEIN DIGS A CAREER-HIGH EIGHT MICHIGAN ATTACKS

In her first start as a Buckeye, Rebecca Kastein (Fr., Mt. Lebanon, Pa.) collected a career-high eight digs against Michigan. Her start was as a backrow defensive specialist and became the 14th Buckeye to start this season.

HAGERTY CONTINUES TO IMPROVE

Freshman Brie Hagerty continues to improve her play. Against Michigan State, she had five digs, four kills and three assist blocks. In the Michigan match, Hagerty had seven kills.

DRAEGER IMPROVES ON DEFENSE

With 12 digs against Michigan State and 11 at Michigan, Shelly Draeger has put together four consecutive matches with double-figure digs and has double-figure digs in six of the last eight matches. Draeger also recorded 11 kills, to equal her season-high, and added three assist blocks against the Spartans and had five kills against Michigan.

DRAEGER NOW SEVENTH IN OSU CAREER ACES

Shelly Draeger recorded her 134th career ace serve at Michigan State and moved into seventh on the OSU career list. She had been tied for seventh with Audrey DiPronio (1988-90) and Leisa Wissler (1988-90) at 133. She now stands three behind Jenny Jackson (1992-95) who is ranked sixth with 137.

DRAEGER CLOSES IN ON 1,000 CAREER KILLS

With 985 career kills, Shelly Draeger needs 15 kills to become the 14th Ohio State student-athlete to reach 1,000 career kills.

OSU 24TH IN USA TODAY/AVCA POLL

Ohio State was ranked 24th in the USA Today/AVCA Poll released Monday. Last week the Buckeyes were 16th. Southern California (12-0) is ranked No. 1.

OSU LISTED IN VOLLEYBALL MAGAZINE POLL

The Buckeyes are listed under others in the Volleyball Magazine poll this week. Ohio State was ranked 15th last week in the poll. Southern California (12-0) tops the poll this week.

OHIO STATE TABBED AS PRESEASON BIG TEN FAVORITE

The Ohio State women’s volleyball squad has been voted as the preseason favorite to win the 2002 Big Ten Conference Championship by the conference coaches. The Buckeyes, who finished second at 17-3 last season, finished ahead of 2001 conference champion Wisconsin in the preseason poll.

THREE BUCKEYES NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN TEAM

By a vote of the Big Ten coaches, Ohio State student-athletes Stacey Gordon, Suzie Stiling and Katie Virtue have been named to the 13-player 2002 Preseason All-Big Ten Team. Gordon, an outside hitter, was an All-Big Ten selection as a freshman and was the Big Ten and American Volleyball Coaches Association Freshman of the Year. She also was named a second team AVCA All-American. Stiling has been honored as an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection the last two seasons. Virtue, a two-time All-Big Ten selection, was a Volleyball Magazine honorable mention All-America selection last year. The Buckeyes, with three student-athletes on the team, lead the preseason team. Michigan State, Minnesota and Penn State placed two players each to the squad.

TV MATCHES INCLUDE NATIONAL AND REGIONAL BROADCAST

Ohio State will be featured in a national and regional broadcast this season. The Buckeyes will face Wisconsin in a Saturday, Nov. 2 match that will be cablecast by ESPN2 Sunday, Nov. 3 at 3 p.m. CST. OSU will play at Michigan State Friday, Oct. 4 in a match that will be cablecast by Fox Sports Chicago at 3 p.m. CST Sunday, Oct. 6.

ONN TO CARRY FIVE BUCKEYE CONTESTS

The Ohio News Network will cablecast five Ohio State matches this season. Four matches will be broadcast on a delayed basis while the fifth match against Iowa at 1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 27 will be carried live. The other contests include OSU’s matches against Cleveland State (Friday, Sept. 6, broadcast Saturday, Sept. 7, 1 p.m.), Loyola-Chicago (Friday, Sept. 13, broadcast Saturday, Sept. 14, 1 p.m.), Miami (Ohio) (Wednesday, Sept. 18, broadcast Saturday, Sept. 21, 1 p.m.) and Minnesota (Friday, Oct. 25, broadcast Saturday, Oct. 26, 1 p.m.)

BUCKEYE HEAD COACH JIM STONE

Jim Stone is in his 21st season at Ohio State. He has a 415-236 record with the Buckeyes and is 236-135 in Big Ten play. His squads have won Big Ten Championships in 1989, 1991 and 1994 and in the last 13 years have finished in the Top 3 in the league 10 times. In the championship years, he was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year and was the 1991 Volleyball Monthly National Coach of the Year. Under Stone, Ohio State has participated in the NCAA championship in 11 of the last 13 years, advancing to the national semifinals in 1991 and 1994. Stone’s coaching career record includes three years at Wyoming (1979-1981). His 23-year career record is 465-278.

NEXT WEEK FOR OHIO STATE

The Buckeyes return to the road with matches at Purdue (9-5, 0-2) at 7 p.m., Fri., Oct. 18 and Illinois (7-4, 1-1) at 7 p.m., Sat., Oct. 19. OSU then closes out the first half of the conference schedule with home matches against No. 6 Minnesota (15-2, 2-0) at 7 p.m., Fri., Oct. 25 and Iowa (6-5, 0-2) at 1 p.m., Sun., Oct. 27.

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