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Oct. 22, 1999

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State (9-7 overall, 3-6 Big Ten) trailed 0-2 to No. 23 Minnesota (17-4, 8-1) before putting together game three and four wins, but fell in the rally scoring fifth game. The 15-5, 15-10, 11-15, 13-15, 15-9 Gopher win in front of 1,198 saw four Minnesota players score double-figure kills. Stephanie Hagen scored a team-high 20 with Nicole Branagh 18, Charnette Fair 13 and Yvonne Wichert 10 for the Gophers. Hagen added a match-high 11 assist blocks while Lindsey Berg and Branagh each had a match-high 16 digs. The Buckeyes received a career/match-high 21 kills off the bench from Anne Botica while Jen Flynn added 15 and Shelly Draeger 13. Flynn chipped in a team-high 14 digs and Suzie Stiling had a team high six blocks (one solo and five assists).

Minnesota broke a 4-4 tie in game one off a Yvonne Wichert kill and added four additional points to take a 9-4 lead. The Buckeyes trailed Minnesota 11-5 and with four OSU errors the Gophers won the game 15-5. Minnesota hit .250 for the game to .100 for OSU. Gopher Wichert had six kills in the game to go with three blocks (2-1).

Ohio State opened a 6-1 lead over Minnesota in game two. The Gophers closed the gap and took a 9-8 lead on a Charnette Fair kill. Anne Botica’s kill tied the game at nine, but Linda Shudlick responded with a kill to take a 10-9 lead. OSU’s Shelly Draeger connected on a kill to tied the game at ten. Two OSU errors and kills by Stephanie Hagen, Lindsey Berg and Nicole Branagh closed the game at 15-10 for Minnesota. For the game Minnesota hit .417 to .271 for OSU. Gophers Fair and Hagen were near impossible to stop in the game as Fair had seven kills in 10 attempts and Hagen was a perfect seven for seven. OSU’s Botica made an impact in the game with six kills and hitting .500.

Minnesota opened a 3-0 lead in game three, but four Gopher errors put OSU in the lead 4-3. With the game tied at seven, a Gopher error put the Buckeyes up 8-7 and a kill by Suzie Stiling and another Minnesota error pushed the OSU lead to 10-7. Two OSU errors and a Nicole Branagh kill tied the game at 10. OSU took a 12-10 lead on kills by Anne Botica and Shelly Draeger, but a block by Charnette Fair cut the lead to 12-11. A Sue Calligaris kill put Ohio State up 13-11 and a Gopher error made it 14-11 with OSU serving for the game. Draeger connected on a kill to end the game for OSU 15-11. The Buckeyes hit .139 for the game to -.024 for Minnesota. For the Buckeyes Botica continued to be the hot hand with seven kills and hitting .455.

Ohio State had an early 4-2 lead in game in game four, but two OSU errors tied the game at four. With the game tied at seven a Gopher error and kills by Shelly Draeger, Sue Calligaris and Jen Flynn put the Buckeyes up 11-7. Minnesota, with the help of three OSU errors and a kill by Lindsey Berg tied the game at 11 and took a 12-11 lead on an ace serve by Susan Shudlick. After a side out kill by Katie Virtue, Jen Flynn’s ace serve tied the match as 12 and a Gopher error put OSU ahead 13-12. Another Minnesota error set the OSU game point at 14-12. Nicole Branagh’s kill gave the side out to Minnesota and a Charnette Fair kill cut the lead to 14-13. The Buckeyes sided out and served two more unsuccessful game points before an Anne Botica kill closed the game at 15-13 sending the match to game five and rally scoring. Ohio State hit .265 in the game to .115 for Minnesota. Buckeye Jen Flynn stepped up in game four with seven kills and hitting .500. Botica contributed five kills, hitting .444 while Calligaris had four kills and four blocks.

Tied at two each in game five, Minnesota recorded blocks by Nicole Branagh and Stephanie Hagen and Hagen and Lindsey Berg to take a 4-2 lead. The Gophers built up a 10-5 lead and coasted to the end with Hagen and Berg scoring the match-winning block for a 15-9 win. The Gophers hit .636 in the game to .000 for Ohio State. Hagen provided the firepower for Minnesota with four kills and three blocks in the game.

Besides Anne Botica’s career-high 21 kills, she also set a carer-high in hitting with a .515 mark in the match. OSU setter Katie Virtue also recorded a career-high in assists with 69 in the contest. Virtue also tied her career-high of 12 digs.

Ohio State will face Iowa (4-12, 3-6), a 3-15, 5-15, 4-15 loser to No. 1 Penn State (19-1, 9-0), Saturday night at 7 p.m. in St. John Arena.