Aug. 22, 2006

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State opens its 36th season of women’s volleyball playing in the Towson University Invitational in Towson, Md., Aug. 26-27. The Buckeyes open the Invitational by facing Robert Morris at 10 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 26 and then play Houston at 5 p.m. Ohio State closes out play by facing host Towson, Sunday, Aug. 27 at 2 p.m. Last season, Ohio State finish with a 22-9 overall record and a 14-6 mark in the Big Ten Conference, finishing in a tie for third in the league. The Buckeyes received an at-large big to the NCAA Championship, advancing to the second round before losing.

Head coach Jim Stone is in his 25th season with the Buckeyes. In 2005, Ohio State was 22-9 overall and finished tied for third in the Big Ten Conference with a 14-6 mark. The Buckeyes have nine letterwinners returning including six starters and the libero. Top returnees for Ohio State include setter Marisa Main (5-9, Sr., Louisville, Ky.) and junior middle blocker Danielle Meyer (6-1, Jr., Cincinnati, Ohio). Main was an American Volleyball Coaches Association Second Team All-American and Meyer, a third team selection. Additional return starters include outside hitters Briana McCarthy (Jr., Beaver Dam, Wis.), Felicia Jones (Sr., Concord, Ont.) and Ashley Kiel (Sr., Allenton Wis.). McCarthy missed the 2005 season but started at outside hitter in 2004 and at setter in 2003. Jones started 15 matches and Kiel 29 last season. Libero Brittany Dahms (Jr., Byron, Ill.) had 22 starts last season, playing in 29 matches. A LOOK AT ROBERT MORRIS
Head coach Rob Thomas is in his fourth season with the Colonials. In 2005, Robert Morris was 16-13 overall and finished second in the Northeast Conference with a 7-1 mark. The Colonials have 11 letterwinners returning with three lost and has four starters returning for the 2006 season. Key returnees include middle blocker Janette Schneider, a 6-2 senior who earned All-NEC Second Team honors and defensive specialist/libero Alaina Gibson, a 5-7 sophomore who was the NEC Rookie of the Year.

Ohio State is 2-0 against Robert Morris. The squads have played both matches in the first round of the NCAA Championship. OSU won 30-17, 30-16, 30-13 in 2001 and 30-22, 30-20, 30-16 in 2002. Both matches were played in Columbus, Ohio.

Head coach Bill Walton is in his second season with the Cougars. In 2005, Houston was 18-12 overall and finished second in Conference USA with a 10-4 mark. The Cougars have eight letterwinners returning including four starters. Houston’s top returning player is middle blocker Becca Sartori, a 6-1 senior who was named to the 2005 American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Midwest Region team.

Houston has won all seven meetings with Ohio State. The first meeting was in 1976 at the AIAW Championships at Texas with Houston winning 15-7, 15-3. The only match in Columbus was played in 1994 at the Buckeye Classic, a 14-16, 16-9, 1-15, 15-8, 15-12 Cougar win. The last match was played in 1999 at the Furama Volleyball Classic held at Loyola Marymount. Ohio State won the match, 15-7, 6-15, 15-6, 15-12, but later had to forfeit the victory.

Head coach Paul Koncir is in his first season with Tigers. Towson was 28-7 overall in 2005 and finished third in the Colonial Athletic Association with a 14-4 mark. The Tigers reached the finals of the CAA Tournament last season. Towson only lost two players from the 2005 squad. The top returnees for the Tigers include middle blocker Christina Grempler, a 6-4 senior and setter Kim Snider, a 5-11 senior, who were All-CCA second team selections in 2005.

This is the first meeting with Towson.

The CSTV (College Sports Television/AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) 2006 Preseason Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll has Ohio State ranked 23rd. OSU finished the 2005 season ranked 23rd. The Buckeyes are one of five Big Ten squads ranked in the CSTV/AVCA Poll. Others include Penn State second, Wisconsin ninth, Purdue 16th and Minnesota 22nd. Additionally, Northwestern was listed as receiving votes.

Jim Stone enters his 25th season at Ohio State. He has a 493-270 record with the Buckeyes and is 277-157 in Big Ten play. His squads have won Big Ten Championships in 1989, 1991 and 1994 and finished tied for second in 2004 being named the Big Ten Coach of the Year. He was the 1991 Volleyball Monthly National Coach of the Year and the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1989, 1991, 1994 and 2004. Under Stone, Ohio State has participated in the NCAA championship in 14 of the last 17 years, advancing to the national semifinals in 1991 and 1994. Stone’s coaching career record includes three years at Wyoming (1979-1981). His 27-year career record is 543-312.

Three Ohio State players named to the 12-player 2006 Preseason All-Big Ten Volleyball Team, announced by the conference office. Setter Marisa Main (Sr., Louisville, Ky.) and outside hitter Ami Stevens (Jr., Centerburg, Ohio) earned their second-straight preseason selection with middle blocker Danielle Meyer (Jr., Cincinnati, Ohio) earning her first selection.

Main is a two-time All-Big Ten selection and was named to the 2005 Preseason All-Big Ten Team. Last season, she averaged 12.78 assists, 2.08 kills and 2.30 digs per game while hitting .388 in conference play. Main is a two-time American Volleyball Coaches Association second-team All-American selection.

Stevens was a 2005 Preseason All-Big Ten selection. Last season she averaged 3.44 kills and 2.71 digs while hitting .230 in conference play. She has played for USA Volleyball the last three years as a member of the United States Junior National team in 2004 and 2005 and with the USA National A-2 Team in 2006.

Meyer was a 2005 All-Big Ten selection. She averaged 4.11 kill, 2.48 digs and 1.14 blocks per game while hitting .260 in conference play. Meyer was a 2005 AVCA third-team All-American.

Ohio State, by a vote of the Big Ten conference coaches, was picked to finish fourth in the league by a vote of the conference coaches. The Buckeyes finished in a tie for third with Minnesota in 2005. The Gophers were picked to finish third, with Wisconsin second and three-time defending Big Ten Champion Penn State chosen to repeat.

Ohio State will have three matches televised as part of a 14-match lineup announced by the Big Ten Conference Thursday. The Buckeyes will appear in two national and one regional cable telecasts. OSU’s television schedule will open with a live telecast at Penn State, Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. ET on College Sports Television (CSTV). The Buckeyes will then appear in the first of three Big Ten-ESPN2 matches at Purdue, Friday, Sept. 29. The Purdue match will be shown, Sunday, Oct. 1 at 2:30 p.m. ET. Ohio State’s third televised match will be at Minnesota, Friday, Oct. 27 on Comcast SportsNet Chicago (CSN Chicago). The Minnesota match will be broadcast Saturday, Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. ET.

The Big Ten Conference will have six national and eight regional televised matches this season. CSTV and ESPN will have three matches each and CSN Chicago with broadcast eight contests including a wildcard match the final weekend of the season.

For more than a decade, the Big Ten has been a leader in collegiate volleyball television exposure. The conference enters its 12th-consecutive year of partnership with ESPN2 in which at least three matches will be telecast.

#1 Meghan Simons (Middle Blocker, 6-3, Fr., Carroll, Ohio) –

#2 Brittany Dahms (Libero/Defensive Specialist, 5-5, Jr., Bryon, Ill.) – 2005 played in 29 matches with two starts at defensive specialist and 22 at libero – named to the Academic All-Big Ten squad – season-high 25 digs at Cleveland State 2004 started seven matches at libero and three as a defensive specialist – averaged 2.23 digs per game with a career-high 19 against Michigan – double-figure digs in 10 matches.

#3 Anna Tengnas (Libero/Defensive Specialist, 5-5, Sr., Hyletbruk, Sweden) – 2005 has played in 15 matches with four starts at libero – named to the Academic All-Big Ten squad – 2004 played in 16 matches with three starts at libero – averaged 1.43 digs per game in 2004 with a season-high of nine against Dayton and North Carolina.

#4 Megan Blake (Libero/Defensive Specialist, 5-3, Sr., West Jefferson, Ohio) – 2005 played in one match 2004 did not play – named to the 2005 Buckeye Power Club for strength and conditioning.

#5 Lindsay Schad (Libero/Defensive Specialist, 5-4, Fr., St. Louis, Mo.) –

#6 Danielle Meyer (Middle Blocker, 6-1, Jr., Cincinnati, Ohio) – 2005 a third-team AVCA All-American – All-Big Ten – a second team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District selection – named to the Academic All-Big Ten squad – started all 31 matches – ranked fourth in the Big Ten in kills per game at 4.11 – career-high 29 kills at Cleveland State – career-high 31 points at Bowling Green – career-high 19 digs at Indiana – tied her career-high nine blocks at Iowa (1-8) and at Purdue (2-7) – equaled her career-high of four aces at Northwestern – 25 matches with double-figure kills – nine matches with 21 or more kills – 11 matches with double-figure digs – named to the Buckeye Classic All-Tournament Team – named to the Bowling Green Invitational All-Tournament Team 2004 started all 34 matches – averaged 2.91 kills, .75 digs and 1.10 blocks per game – career-high nine blocks against Illinois – USA National experience includes the Youth National Team in 2003.

#7 Ami Stevens (Outside Hitter, 6-1, Jr., Centerburg, Ohio) – 2005 a third team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District selection – started and played in 29 matches – named to the Academic All-Big Ten squad – career-highs of 26 kills at Bowling Green – career-high 28.5 points at Northwestern – season-high .500 (13-0-26) hitting percentage at Michigan – ranked 10th in the Big Ten in kills per game at 3.44 – season-high 22 digs against Brigham Young – double-figure kills in 20 matches – double-figure digs in 15 matches – Ohio State Athlete of the Week for her play at Wisconsin and Northwestern – 2005 Preseason All-Big Ten Selection – named to the Buckeye Classic All-Tournament Team – named to the Bowling Green Invitational All-Tournament Team 2004 started all 34 matches – named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team – averaged 2.78 kills, 3.02 digs and .43 blocks per game – career-high 17 kills against Northwestern and vs. Tennessee in the NCAA Regional Semifinals – career-high 27 digs vs. Tennessee – double-figure kills in 18 matches – double-figure digs in 16 matches – USA National experience includes the Junior National Team in 2004 and 2005.

#8 Briana McCarthy (Outside hitter, 6-2, Sr./Jr., Beaver Dam, Wis.) 2005 did not play – named to the Academic All-Big Ten squad – 2004 started 26 matches – averaged 1.33 kills, .58 digs and .88 blocks per game – 2003 started 26 matches at setter and two at outside hitter in – averaged 11.53 assists per game with a career-high 66 assists against Temple.

#9 Felicia Jones (Outside Hitter, 5-11, Sr., Concord, Ontario/Southwest Missouri State-West Plains) 2005 played in 25 matches, starting 16 – career-high four digs at Penn State – career-high 13 kills at Illinois and at Michigan State – hit a career-high .421 (9-1-19) at Penn State – career-high 15 points at Michigan State – career-high four blocks (1-3) against Marshall 2003-04 played two years at Southwest Missouri State-West Plains Junior College – first team American Volleyball Coaches Association Junior College All-American and a National Junior College Athletic Association All-American in 2004 – averaged 4.12 kills, 3.68 digs and .33 blocks per game in 2004 – a second-team AVCA and NJCAA JC All-American – career-highs of 23 kills against Southern Idaho in 2003 and 27 digs against Tennessee in 2004.

#11 Ashley Hughes (Setter, 5-11, Fr., Carroll, Ohio) –

#12 Kristen Dozier (Middle Blocker, 6-2, Fr., Sandy Spring, Md.) –

#13 Marisa Main (Setter, 5-9, Sr., Louisville, Ky./Xavier) – 2005 An AVCA second-team All-American – All-Big Ten – a third team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District selection – started all 31 matches – named to the Academic All-Big Ten squad – named the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week and the Big Ten Player of the Week for her play at No. 12 Wisconsin and at Iowa – named the Big Ten Player of the Week for her play against Michigan State and Michigan – season-high 70 assists against Purdue – season-high of 14 kills at Cleveland State – career-high 22 digs against Purdue – season-high 16 points at Michigan State – has five triple-doubles this season – 14 kills, 54 assists, 14 digs at Cleveland State – 11 kills, 47 assists and 10 digs against Michigan – 12 kills, 37 assists and 13 digs at Minnesota – 10 kills, 60 assists and 10 digs at Iowa – 12 kills, 42 assists and 15 digs against Northwestern- hit a season-high .786 against Michigan – eight matches with double-figure kills and 13 matches with double-figure digs – finished second in hitting percentage in the Big Ten at .398 and was third in assists per game at 12.78 – twice named the Ohio State Athlete of the Week – 2005 Preseason All-Big Ten Selection 2004 second-team AVCA All-American – first team AVCA Mideast All-Region – All-Big Ten – started 34 matches in 2004 averaging 14.88 assists, 2.35 digs and .46 blocks per game – career-high 85 assists against Tennessee in the NCAA Regional Semifinals in Minneapolis – Ohio State season assist leader with 1,785 – Big Ten statistical champion at 14.68 assists per game and finished second nationally in NCAA statistics at 14.88 – double-figure digs in 13 matches 2003 played at Xavier University – named to the Atlantic-10 All-Conference and All-Rookie teams.

#14 Anna Szerszen (Outside Hitter, 6-3, Fr., Conflans Ste Hne, France) – Not available until early September due to playing for France in the European Junior National Championship.

#15 Ashley Kiel (Outside Hitter, 5-11, Sr., Allenton, Wis./Northern Michigan) 2005 played in 31 matches, starting 29 and had one start at libero – season-high 17 kills against Purdue – hit a career-high .600 (7-1-10) against Marshall – season-high 20 digs at Indiana – season-high seven total blocks (1-6) at Michigan State – six matches with double-figure kills and 12 matches with double-figure digs 2003-04 played two seasons at Division II Northern Michigan – 2004 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference All-Conference Selection – averaged 2.58 kills, 3.24 digs and 1.10 blocks per game in 2004 – career-high 23 kills at Ashland in 2004 – career-high 26 digs at Hillsdale in 2004 – second team GLIAC All-Conference selection in 2003 – named the 2003 AVCA Great Lakes Region Freshman of the Year – 2003 Great Lakes All-Region honorable mention selection.

#16 Michelle Hammond (Libero/Defensive Specialist, 5-9, Fr., Columbus, Ohio) –