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Dec. 2, 2002

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Big Ten Conference, by a vote of the league coaches, has named Ohio State’s Stacey Gordon (So., Oshawa, Ontario) the Big Ten Player of the Year. The 5-11, outside hitter averaged 5.87 kills per game to lead the Big Ten Conference. Gordon averaged 3.18 digs, .30 aces and .43 blocks per game. She had double-figure kills in all 20 conference matches and had 20 or more kills in 15 contests. Gordon recorded her career-high of 36 kills at Michigan State. She had 16 matches with double-figure digs in league play with a career-high of 21 at Illinois. Gordon was named the Big Ten Player of the Week four times this season with all four honors coming against league opponents. She was ranked third nationally last week in kills per game at 5.90. Gordon is the first Ohio State student-athlete to be named the Volleyball Player of the Year since Vanessa Wouters in 1996

Gordon was OSU’s only player to be named All-Big Ten but three student-athletes were named as honorable mention All-Big Ten. These included Shelly Draeger (Sr., Milwaukee, Wis.), Suzie Stiling (Sr., Glenview, Ill.) and Katie Virtue (Sr., St. Charles, Ill.). In addition, Stephanie Higgins (Fr., Biggsville, Ill.) was named to the six-player Big Ten All-Freshman Team.

Draeger, a 5-11, outside hitter, averaged 2.91 kills and 2.15 digs per game in conference play. She hit a team-high .303 in league action and averaged .20 aces and .61 blocks per game. Stiling, a 6-1, middle blocker, averaged 3.00 kill and 1.23 digs per game. She had a team-high 1.20 blocking average and a .20 aces per game mark. Virtue, a 5-9 setter, was the conference statistical champion in assists per game at 13.88 for conference matches. This despite missing the first four league contests with a fractured hand. She was second on the squad in digs per game at 2.35 and was third in blocks at .82. Higgins, a 6-0, middle blocker, was fourth on the team in kills per game at 1.85. She was second on the squad in blocking with a 1.05 blocks per game average in Big Ten matches.

The Buckeyes finished the regular season with a 19-10 mark and was 13-7 in the Big Ten, finishing fourth in the league standings. After losing the first five Big Ten matches, Ohio State won 13 of 15 and finished the season with an eight-match winning streak.

OSU received an at-large bid to the NCAA Championship and will host first and second round matches. On Friday, Louisville (27-5) faces Ball State (25-7) at 5 p.m. with Ohio State playing Robert Morris (27-11) 30 minutes after the end of the first match. The Friday winners return on Saturday at 7 p.m. to play for a berth in the Pacific Regional.

2002 BIG TEN VOLLEYBALL HONORS

ALL-BIG TEN NAME CL POS. HOMETOWN / HIGH SCHOOL Melissa Brewer, INDIANA JR MB Bloomington, Ind./North Erin Moore, MICHIGAN JR MB Tiffin, Ohio/Columbian Angela Morley, MICHIGAN STATE SR MB Holland, Mich./West Ottowa Cassie Busse, MINNESOTA* JR OPP Prior Lake, Minn./Prior Lake Christian Paula Gentil, MINNESOTA FR LIB Fortaleza Ceara, Brazil/Lake Highland Prep (Fla.) Lindsey Vander Well, MINNESOTA SO S Prinsburg, Minn./Central Minnesota Christian Erika Lange, NORTHWESTERN* JR MB Orland Park, Ill./Carl Sandburg Stacey Gordon, OHIO STATE* SO OH Oshawa, Ontario/Eastdale Collegiate Cara Smith, PENN STATE* JR MH Lafayette, Ind./Harrison Mishka Levy, PENN STATE SR OH Houston, Texas/Episcopal Erin Byrd, WISCONSIN* SR OH Glen Ellyn, Ill./St. Francis Morgan Shields, WISCONSIN JR S Watertown, Wis./Watertown

HONORABLE MENTION: ILLINOIS: Sue Webber INDIANA: Katie Pollom, Christina Archibald OHIO STATE: Shelly Draeger, Katie Virtue, Suzie Stiling PENN STATE: Robyn Guokas, Sam Tortorello

BIG TEN ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM NAME POS. HOMETOWN / LAST SCHOOL Paula Gentil, MINNESOTA LIB Fortaleza Ceara, Brazil/Lake Highland Prep (Fla.) Jessica Byrnes, MINNESOTA MB Minnetonka, Minn./Minnetonka Stephanie Higgins, OHIO STATE MB Biggsville, Ill./Union Sam Tortorello, PENN STATE S Shorewood, Ill./Joliet Catholic Acad. Renata Dargan, PURDUE S New Lenox, Ill./Providence Central Sheila Shaw, WISCONSIN MH Muskego, Wis./Muskego

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Stacey Gordon, OHIO STATE DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Paula Gentil, MINNESOTA FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Sam Tortorello, PENN STATE COACH OF THE YEAR (Coaches & Media): Mike Hebert, MINNESOTA

* – Unanimous Selection