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Oct. 15, 2002

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State (7-8 overall, 1-5 Big Ten) women’s volleyball team makes its third Big Ten road trip in four weeks as the Buckeyes travels to Purdue (9-9, 0-6) and Illinois (9-6, 3-3). Ohio State faces the Purdue Boilermakers at 7 p.m., Fri., Oct. 18 and then battles the Illinois Illini at 7 p.m., Sat., Oct. 19

STACEY GORDON NAMED CO-BIG TEN PLAYER OF THE WEEK
The Big Ten Conference has named sophomore outside hitter Stacey Gordon (Oshawa, Ontario) the Co-Big Ten Player of the Week. She shares the honor with senior outside hitter Sue Webber from Illinois. Gordon opened the weekend with a 26-kill, 16-dig performance in a 3-1 (30-26, 30-27, 28-30, 30-26) loss to No. 15 Wisconsin. The following evening Gordon produced another 26-kill performance in a 3-0 (30-24, 30-27, 30-22) victory over Northwestern. She added nine kills, two aces and an assist block. The win marked Ohio State’s first conference victory of the season. In the two matches, Gordon recorded 52 kills for a 7.43 per game average. She collected 25 digs for a 3.57 per game average and added three aces and an assist block. Her 52 kills raised her career total to 864 and now ranks her 20th on the Ohio 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 Buckeyes, coached by Jim Stone, are 6-7 overall and 0-4 in Big Ten play. Last week Ohio State lost at home to No. 15 Wisconsin 3-1 (30-26, 30-27, 28-30, 30-26) and defeated Northwestern 3-0 (30-24, 30-27, 30-22). Stacey Gordon leads Ohio State with a 6.27 kills (351) and a 3.54 digs (198) per game average. Suzie Stiling ranks second in kills at 2.61 (146) and is second in blocks per game at .82 (seven solos, 39 assists). Freshman Stephanie Higgins (Fr., Biggsville, Ill.) leads the team in blocks with a .93 per game average (three solos, 48 assists). Katie Virtue (Sr., St. Charles, Ill.) is the team leader with a 12.92 assist (323) per game average. Jackie Schardt (Fr., Colorado Springs, Colo.) is second with an 8.81 (214) average. Heather Whalen (Jr., Kalamazoo, Mich.) is averaging 3.76 assists (169) per game. Gordon has a team-high 20 ace serves for a .36 per game average with Stiling second with 16 aces (.29) each. Ohio State averages 15.30 kills per game and is hitting .215. The Buckeyes average 1.52 aces, 13.66 digs and 1.99 blocks per game. OSU opponents average 13.29 kills per game and are hitting .209. Buckeye opponents average 1.25 aces, 12.66 digs and 2.68 blocks per game.

A LOOK AT PURDUE
The Boilermakers, coached by Jeff Hulsmeyer, are 9-9 overall and 0-6 in Big Ten play. Purdue lost 3-0 (30-21, 30-21, 30-26) at No. 6 Minnesota and 3-1 (30-27, 27-30, 30-17, 30-27) at Iowa last weekend. The Boilermakers have lost six consecutive matches. Joanna Lowry is the team leader in kills (265) per game at 3.73 with Kim McConaha second at 3.72 (264). McConaha has a team-high hitting percentage of .355. Running the offense is Renata Dargan with an 11.25 assist (776) per game average. McConaha has a team-high .39 aces (28) per game average. Daren Poe has a team-high 3.20 digs (227) per game average with Lowry second at 2.90 (206). At the net, McConaha is the team leader in blocks per game at 1.08 with 16 solos and 61 assists. Tiffany Yoskey is second at .56 blocks per game on two solos and 37 assists. Purdue averages 14.35 kills per game and is hitting .230. The Boilermakers average 1.51 aces, 14.55 digs and 1.82 blocks per game. Purdue opponents average 14.92 kills per game and are hitting .217. Boilermaker opponents average 1.66 aces, 14.14 digs and 2.33 blocks per game

OHIO STATE – PURDUE SERIES
Ohio State has a 30-28 lead in the series with Purdue. In West Lafayette, Purdue has a 14-9 advantage while in Columbus, OSU is 14-8. The Buckeyes are 7-6 at neutral sites. OSU won both matches last season, winning 3-0 (30-18, 30-13, 30-21) in Columbus and 3-1 (26-30, 30-21, 30-19, 30-19) in West Lafayette. Ohio State has won six of the last eight matches played at Purdue with one of the two losses coming as a forfeit.

A LOOK AT ILLINOIS
The Illini, coached by Don Hardin, are 9-6 overall and are 3-3 in the Big Ten. Illinois lost 3-1 (30-25, 24-30, 30-22, 30-27) at Iowa and then upset No. 6 Minnesota 3-2 (28-30, 30-28, 27-30, 30-22, 15-11), in Minneapolis, last week. Lisa Argabright has a team-high 3.25 kills (179) per game average with Sue Webber, last week’s Co-Big Ten Player of the Week, second at 3.24 (178). Argabright is the team leader in hitting percentage at .332. Betsy Eiserman runs the Illini offense and averages 11.69 assists (631) per game. Webber averages a team-high .36 aces (20) per game with Argabright second at .35 (19). Webber is the team leader in digs (163) per game at 2.96 with Lauren Harks second at 2.64 (145). At the net, Argabright has a team-high 1.24 blocks per game average on 10 solos and 58 assists. Second is Shelly O’Bryan at .80 with six solos and 38 assists. Illinois averages 14.47 kills per game and is hitting .221. The Illini average 1.65 aces, 13.71 digs and 2.46 blocks per game. Illinois opponents average 13.71 kills per game and are hitting .176. Illini opponents average 1.73 aces, 13.29 digs and 2.32 blocks per game.

OHIO STATE – ILLINOIS SERIES
Ohio State has a 26-25 lead in the series with Illinois. The Illini have a 12-11 advantage in matches played in Champaign with each team winning 10 times in Columbus and OSU have a 5-3 edge in neutral court matches. Last season the Buckeyes won both contests, winning 3-0 (30-16, 30-22, 30-22) in Columbus and 3-0 (30-24, 30-26, 30-25) in Champaign. Ohio State has won seven of the last nine contests played in Champaign, including one forfeit loss.

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. Three of the five student-athletes have not returned to competition. Schardt returned to action with starts at Michigan State and Michigan and Virtue returned to start against Wisconsin and Northwestern. 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 15 matches, the Buckeyes have used 12 different starting combinations and prior to using the same lineup against Wisconsin and Northwestern had a different starting lineup in each of the previous nine matches. Each of the 14 student-athletes has now started at least one match this season.

VIRTUE RETURNS TO ACTION
After missing seven matches with a hand injury, setter Katie Virtue returned to the starting lineup against Wisconsin. She produced 61 assists, season-highs of 10 digs and five assist blocks and two kills against the Badgers. In the Northwestern match, Virtue helped the Buckeyes win its first conference match of the season with 48 assists, six digs and five assist blocks.

DRAEGER REACHES 1,000 CAREER KILLS
With 16 kills against Wisconsin, Shelly Draeger became the 14th Ohio State student-athlete to surpass 1,000 kills. She ended the night with 1,001 career kills. The next night, Draeger recorded a season-high 18 kills while hitting a season-high .538 (18 kills, 4 errors, 26 attempts). Her 18 kills against the Badgers gives her 1,019 career kills and moves her to 14th on the OSU career-kills list.

KASTEIN RECORDS CAREER-HIGH 14 DIGS AGAINST BADGERS
In her second match as the libero, Rebecca Kastein (Fr., Mt. Lebanon, Pa.) recorded a career-high 14 digs against Wisconsin. Her previous high was eight digs at Michigan.

STILING NOW 11TH IN CAREER KILLS
With 11 kills against Wisconsin, Suzie Stiling raised her career kills total to 1,153 and moved into 11th place on the OSU career kills list. She passed Anne Botica (1998-01) who had 1,151. Stiling added 11 kills against Northwestern and now has 1,164 kills for her career.

GORDON HITS 20TH IN CAREER KILLS
With 26 kills in matches against Wisconsin and Northwestern, Stacey Gordon now has 864 career kills and has moved to 20th on the OSU career kills list. Gordon passed Erika Schlitz (1988-91) with 816 in the Wisconsin match. She needs 32 kills to move to 19th and pass Vicki Wright (1983-86) who has 895.

GORDON CONTINUES DOUBLE-FIGURE KILLS STREAK
Stacey Gordon continued her consecutive streak of double-figure kill matches 26 kills against Wisconsin and Northwestern. She now has recorded double-figure kills in her last 31 matches. For her career, Gordon has double-figure kills in 44 of 46 matches and has 19 matches with 20 or more kills. Defensively, Gordon has 29 matches with double-figure digs in her career and recorded a season-high 20 digs against Miami (Ohio). She has had 28 double-doubles (kills-digs) in her career.

GORDON RANKED THIRD NATIONALLY IN KILLS PER GAME THIS WEEK
Stacey Gordon, with a 6.27 kills per game average this week, was ranked third nationally in the national statistics release by the NCAA. 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. National leaders from last week are listed below:

OSU RECEIVING VOTES IN USA TODAY/AVCA POLL
Ohio State received 65 points in the USA Today/AVCA Poll released Monday. It marks the first time this season OSU has not been in the top-25. OSU stands at 28th. Last week the Buckeyes were 24th. Southern California (15-0) is ranked No. 1.

OSU LISTED IN VOLLEYBALL MAGAZINE POLL
The Buckeyes are listed under others in the Volleyball Magazine poll for the second consecutive week. Southern California (15-0) 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 416-237 record with the Buckeyes and is 237-136 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 466-279.

NEXT WEEK FOR OHIO STATE
The Buckeyes close out the first half of the conference schedule with home matches against No. 6 Minnesota (18-3, 5-1) at 7 p.m., Fri., Oct. 25 and Iowa (8-8, 2-4) at 1 p.m., Sun., Oct. 27.