January 19, 1999

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Sixth-ranked Ohio State (1-2) opens defense of its Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association regular season championship with a Thursday match with Ball State (1-0) at 7 p.m. The Buckeyes were undefeated last season in league play at 10-0 while the Cardinals were 4-6, finishing third in the east division. OSU is coming off back-to-back home losses to Brigham Young. The Buckeyes lost 15-13, 13-15, 15-17, 4-15 on Friday and 5-15, 11-15, 15-10, 16-14, 13-15 on Saturday.


%^$The Cardinals opened the 1999 season with a 3-0 (15-8, 15-9, 16-14) win over league opponent Mercyhurst on Sunday under new head coach Joel Walton. Jason Fehr had a match-high 19 kills with Brian Hughes adding 16 and Dainis Matison 12. Brent Schulz recorded 10 assist blocks. Ball State had an overall record of 10-18 last season.


%^$The Buckeyes fell twice to Brigham Young last weekend in home matches. In Friday’s match the Buckeyes held a 1-0 lead but dropped the next three games. The Buckeyes held a 13-8 lead in game two, losing 15-13 and had four game points (15-14) before the Cougars won 17-15. Jose Pereira had a team high 24 kill and Phil Kerewich 20. In Saturday’s match the Buckeyes trailed 0-2 in games but rallied to tie the match and force a fifth game. OSU led 13-12 in that game but BYU scored three consecutive points for the win. The Buckeyes reached the fifth game thanks to the play of Greg Lehman and Pieter Olree off the bench. Lehman had a career and match high 33 kills while Olree scored a career high 31.


%^$Ohio State won both matches last season. In Columbus (Mar. 14) the Buckeyes won 15-8, 15-8, 15-7 and in Muncie the Buckeyes won 15-10, 15-6, 15-12. In the latter match Chris Fash had a career high 11 kills, coming in the third game, coming with the OSU trailing 1-7 to help secure a 15-12 win for the match.


%^$In the first USA TODAY/AVCA Coaches Top 15 Poll released, Ohio State is ranked sixth. The Buckeyes finished the 1998 season ranked sixth after reaching the No. 2 spot near the end of the season. Volleyball Magazine ranks Ohio State eighth this week after having the Buckeyes ranked fifth in its preseason poll.


%^$All-American setter Angel Aja had 101 assists in the Saturday five-game match with the Cougars. That was the fifth time in his career that Aja has recorded 101 or more assists. Last season he had three matches surpassing the century mark. They included 104 against Lewis, 123 versus Loyola and a career-tying high of 124 at Lewis. He set his career high of 124 in 1997 against Southern California.


%^$Outside hitter Greg Lehman came off the bench to produce a career-high 33 kills in the Saturday match against Brigham Young. Lehman, in four games, had only five errors in 49 attempts to produce a .571 hitting percentage. He also had six digs and two blocks in the match. Lehman’s previous kill high was 17 last season at Stanford.


%^$Along with Lehman’s 33 kills, outside hitter Pieter Olree, also off the bench, had a career high 31 kills in the Saturday match. Olree, in four games, also had 10 digs and an ace serve.


%^$In the first three matches this season the Buckeyes are averaging 4.08 blocks per game. OSU has four players averaging one plus blocks per game. Rene’ Esteves is the team leader with a 1.75 per game average on 21 blocks including seven solos. Colin McMillan is second at 1.50 (1-17-18) followed by Chris Fash 1.38 (4-7-11) and Angel Aja 1.08 (1-12-13). The Buckeyes have outblocked its opponents in two of three matches. Opponents are averaging 2.75 blocks per game.


%^$In kills per game Ohio State is averaging 23.58 per game this season. Last season OSU had a 22.23 average.


%^$In his 15th year at Ohio State, Pete Hanson has put together one of the top men’s volleyball teams in the country. Ranked second in the country in the latter stages of the season, his squad finished sixth in the USA TODAY/AVCA Coaches Poll. They were also honored as the top team in the final regular season Volleyball Magazine Poll. That magazine honored Hanson as the Coach of the Year for his 25-2 season and MIVA regular season championship.

%^$Hanson has a 16-year career record of 277-201 (.579) and is 263-189 (.582) in his 15-year tenure with the Buckeyes. His squads have won six MIVA championships and made three NCAA tournament appearances. Hanson has been named the MIVA Coach of the Year four times including last season.


%^$Ohio State concludes a four-match homestand hosting MIVA rival Mercyhurst on Jan. 27. The Buckeyes then continue league play as they travel to Indiana-Purdue on Jan. 29.


%^$1999 USA TODAY/AVCA Coaches Top 15 Poll

%^$as of Jan. 19, 1999%^$Rank School Total 1999 ‘98%^$(First Place Votes) Points Record Rank%^$ 1 UCLA (16) 240 1-0 1%^$ 2 Lewis 206 1-0 4%^$ 3 Hawaii 191 2-0 3%^$ 4 Brigham Young 189 4-0 7%^$ 5 Pepperdine 184 4-0 2%^$ 6 Ohio State 153 1-2 6%^$ 7 Long Beach State 139 1-0 5%^$ 8 Stanford 136 2-0 8 %^$ 9 Loyola-Illinois 102 2-0 9%^$10 Indiana-Purdue 91 0-0 10%^$11 Southern California 84 0-1 N/R%^$12 Penn State 60 0-4 15%^$13 Loyola Marymount 46 0-2 11%^$14 UC Santa Barbara 32 0-1 13%^$15 Pacific 23 1-0 N/R

%^$1999 Volleyball Magazine Top 10 Poll

%^$Jan. 19, 1999%^$Rank School 1999 Pre- %^$ Record Season %^$ 1 UCLA 1-0 1%^$ 2 Lewis 1-0 2%^$ 3 Hawaii 2-0 3%^$ 4 Pepperdine 4-0 4%^$ 5 Brigham Young 4-0 6%^$ 6 Long Beach State 1-0 8%^$ 7 Stanford 2-0 7%^$ 8 Ohio State 1-2 5%^$ 9 Loyola-Chicago 2-0 9%^$10 Indiana-Purdue 0-0 10

%^$Weekly Polls%^$ %^$ USA TODAY VB Mag.%^$Preseason Not Released 5%^$Jan. 19 6 8%^$