July 16, 1999

COLUMBUS, Ohio – With the 10-of-11 student-athletes from the 1998 squad returning, Ohio State should improve upon last year’s 17-14 overall record. Despite key injuries during the season, the Buckeyes participated in its tenth consecutive NCAA tournament and now look forward to the 1999 season.

Five seniors anchor the squad including fifth-year Brianne Spiers, a middle blocker, who returned last season after missing the 1997 season. She missed 14 matches in the middle of last season, but her play before and after her injury helped the team achieve the heights it did reach. Setter/outside hitter Jen Flynn spent most of last season at setter, but did see action as an outside hitter on occasion. She ranks fourth in career assists with 3,018. This past summer she was a member of the USA Volleyball Team at the World University Games. Outside hitter Rosie Snow was an All-Big Ten selection last season. She was the team leader in kills with 540 last season and ranked 13th nationally with a 5.09 kills per game average. Middle blocker Shellye Sills saw action in 23 matches and came on big late in the season as a blocker. She had 86 total blocks, a 1.26 per game average that led the squad and ranks fourth best on the OSU season record list. Middle blocker Laura Stalling saw action in 14 matches last season and was an Academic All-Big Ten selection.

The junior class is small in size but played big during last season. Middle blocker Dana Stearns, an Academic All-Big Ten selection, had a team-high 100 blocks last season and served a team leading 40 aces. Outside hitter Angelee Abbring added firepower to the Buckeye offense as the season progressed. She had 18 double-figure kill matches including back-to-back career-high 23 kill matches.

The sophomore class showed promise last season and will continue to develop. Middle blocker Anne Botica played in 30 matches and came on strong at the end of the season. She had career-highs of 14 kills and digs against Texas Tech in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Middle blocker Erin Baker played in 13 matches and had a career-high five kills at Minnesota. Defensive specialist Nikki Cisco joined the squad as a walk-on. She saw action in 26 matches playing in the back row and collected a career-high 18-digs at Florida in the NCAA Tournament.

Three newcomers will join the Buckeyes this fall. Outside hitter Shelly Draeger was the Player of the Year in Wisconsin. She was first team all-state in her final two seasons. Middle blocker Suzie Stiling, an honorable mention all-state selection, was her conference and team MVP as a senior. Setter Katie Virtue was all-state and all-conference in leading her team to the state championship and is a member of the Volleyball Magazine Fab 50. A member of the USA Junior National Team, she helped win the gold medal at the 1998 NORCECA Championship. Both Virtue and Stiling played club ball for Sport Performance.