Dec. 4, 2001%^$


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%^$NCAA Tournament Bracket in PDF Format
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%^$COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State (27-3 overall), with wins over Robert Morris and Cincinnati in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Championship, has advanced to the semifinals of region two, hosted by Southern California. The Buckeyes will face host the Trojans (24-3) in the second of two semifinals at 7 p.m. PST (10 p.m. EST), Thursday in the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, Calif. The first semifinal of the session will have Arizona (23-4) facing Pacific (28-7) at 5 p.m. PST (8 p.m. EST). The winners of the two matches return at 6 p.m. PST (9 p.m. EST), Friday, Dec. 7 to play for a berth in the NCAA Championship semifinal next Thursday in San Diego, Calif.%^$

%^$Ohio State’s at-large bid to the 2001 NCAA Championship marks the 13th consecutive year the Buckeyes have played in the tournament. OSU received automatic bids in 1989, 1991 and 1994 as the Big Ten champion and an at-large bid in the other years. Ohio State has a 18-12 record in the tournament. The Buckeyes have advanced to regional semifinals nine times and twice reached the NCAA National Championship Semifinals (1991 and 1994). Last year Ohio State hosted first and second round matches defeating Ball State in the first round 3-1 (16-14, 15-3, 14-16, 15-10) and Notre Dame 3-2 (15-12, 3-15, 9-15, 15-6, 15-13) in the second round. Ohio State advanced to the Central Regional Semifinals at Lincoln, Neb., where the Buckeyes lost to eventual NCAA Champion Nebraska 0-3 (9-15, 6-15, 5-15).%^$

%^$Anne Botica (Sr., Windsor, Ontario), Katie Virtue (Jr., St. Charles, Ill.) and Stacey Gordon (Fr., Oshawa, Ontario) have been named to the 12-player All-Big Ten squad. OSU’s Suzie Stiling (Jr., Glenview, Ill.) was an honorable mention All-Big Ten Selection. Virtue, who repeats as a two-time honoree, was the Big Ten statistical champion in assists with a 14.49 per game average. Botica finished fourth in the conference in kills per game at 3.94, seventh in digs at 2.73 and eighth in aces at .42. Gordon finished conference play ranked third in the Big Ten in kills per game at 5.07 and was ninth in hitting percentage at .325. She was sixth in aces at .45 and fifth in digs at 2.77. Stiling was sixth in hitting percentage at .359.%^$

%^$Outside hitter Stacey Gordon was selected as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. She was also named to the six-player Big Ten All-Freshman Team. Gordon ranked in the top 10 in four conference statistical categories. She was third in kills per game with a 5.07 average and ranked ninth in hitting percentage at .325. She was ranked fifth in digs per game at 2.77 and sixth in aces at .45 per game.%^$

%^$The Buckeyes are 27-3 overall and 17-3 in the Big Ten, finishing in second place. OSU received an at-large bid to the NCAA Championship. Anne Botica (Sr., Windsor, Ont.) is the team leader in kills per game at 4.85. Stacy Gordon (Fr., Oshawa, Ont.) is second at 4.71 and Suzie Stiling (Jr., Glenview, Ill.) is third at 3.54. Erin Baker (Sr., Elmhurst, Ill.) is the team leader in hitting percentage at .395 with Stiling second at .388. The top server on the team is Shelly Draeger (Jr., Milwaukee, Wis.) with a .54 per game average with 57 aces. Second is Botica at .47 with 46 aces. Katie Virtue (Jr., St. Charles, Ill.) runs the offense and averages 14.18 assists per game. Defensively, Gordon has a team-high 3.00 digs per game average with Botica second at 2.89. At the net, Stiling is averaging .92 blocks per game with 17 solo and 80 assists. Baker is second at .88 with 9 solo and 82 assists. The Buckeyes are hitting .311 as a team and average 17.52 kills per game. OSU is averaging 2.39 aces, 14.13 digs and 2.12 blocks per game.%^$

%^$The Trojans of coach Mick Haley are 24-3 overall. Last week USC defeated Liberty 3-0 (30-18, 30-20, 30-14) and Duke 3-0 (30-18, 30-19, 30-22) in matches played in Durham, N.C. to advance to the regional semifinals. April Ross has a team-high 4.04 kills per game average. The top percentage hitter is Jennifer Pahl at .396. Setters Toni Anderson (8.54 assists per game) and Tracy Lindquist (5.82) have shared the duty. Nicole Davis is the top server with 29 aces (.32). Six player average two or more digs per game with Ross the team leader at 2.97. Katie Olsovsky leads the team in blocking at 1.24 per game on 22 solos and 91 assists. Second is Fahl at 1.21 (13-95). The Trojans are hitting .318 as a team and average 17.48 kills per game. USC averages 1.25 aces, 16.23 digs and 2.98 blocks per game%^$

%^$Each team has a win in the series. USC won 3-0 (15-8, 15-13, 15-11) at the Cal State Fullerton Tournament in 1989 and Ohio State won 3-0 (15-12, 15-4, 15-3) at the Long Beach State Invitational in 1994.%^$

%^$The Wildcats of coach David Rubio are 23-4 on the season. Last week Arizona defeated Eastern Illinois 3-0 (30-14, 30-14, 30-20) and Illinois 3-1 (32-30, 30-26, 26-30, 30-20) in matches played in Champaign, Ill. to advance to the regional semifinals. Lisa Rutledge is the team leader in kills per game at 4.24. The top percentage hitter on the squad is Jill Talbot at .430 and is the team leader in digs at 3.31 per game. Dana Burkholder is averaging 13.12 assists per game. She also has a team-high 29 aces (.31 per game). Stefani Saragosa leads the team in blocking with a 1.07 per game average on 11 solos and 87 assists. Arizona is hitting .304 as a team and is averaging 17.33 kills per game. The Wildcats average 1.69 aces, 15.41 digs and 2.53 blocks per game.%^$

%^$Arizona won the only meeting with the Buckeyes, a 3-2 (5-15, 15-5, 7-15, 15-12, 15-11) win in 1995 at the Buckeye Classic in Columbus, Ohio.%^$

%^$The Tigers of coach Jayne Gibson-McHugh are 28-7 on the year. Last week Pacific defeated Alabama A&M 3-0 (30-18, 30-13, 30-16) and Louisville 3-1 (24-30, 30-26, 30-19, 30-22) in matches played in Louisville, Ky. to advance to the regional semifinals. Jennifer Joines is the team leader in kills per game at 4.78. She is also the top percentage hitting on the squad at .320 and leads the team in blocking with a 1.53 average on 16 solo and 174 assists. Setter Megan Hauschild is averaging 11.57 assists per game. She has a team high 49 ace serves (.49 per game). Jamie Hamm has a team-high 4.19 digs per game average. Pacific is hitting .263 as a team and averages 16.19 kills per game. The Tigers average 1.93 aces, 15.85 digs and 2.77 blocks per game.%^$

%^$Pacific has a 3-2 lead in the series with Ohio State. OSU has won two of three neutral site matches against the Tigers and lost both matches played at Pacific. The squads last played in 1994 Northwest Regional Semifinals at Long Beach State. Ohio State won 3-1 (15-10, 10-15, 15-11, 15-4).%^$

%^$In the latest release (Nov. 25) of the national statistics by the NCAA, Ohio State ranks fourth in hitting percentage at .313, seventh in aces per game at 2.44, sixth in kills per game at 17.46 and was seventh in assists per game at 15.67. Individually, Katie Virtue was ranked first in assists per game at 14.12. Suzie Stiling and Erin Baker were tied for 12th in hitting percentage at .390. In kills per game, Anne Botica was 19th at 4.85 and Stacey Gordon was 25th at 4.68.%^$

%^$Ohio State has produced 251 ace serves in 30 matches this season. The Buckeyes had 187 aces in all of last season (33 matches). OSU ranks first in aces per game (2.39) for all matches in the Big Ten and in conference matches (2.27). The Buckeyes were ranked seventh in the country as of Nov. 25 in aces with a 2.44 per game average.%^$

%^$Ohio State is 4-2 against ranked teams this season. The Buckeyes lost to No. 6 Wisconsin, 3-0, and No. 5 Wisconsin, 3-1, and have defeated No. 6 Penn State, 3-2, No. 20 Minnesota, (3-2), No. 11 Penn State (3-0) and No. 24 Illinois (3-0).%^$

%^$Take a freshman and senior from Canada and you have a lot of firepower for the Buckeyes. Freshman Stacey Gordon (495 kills, 4.71 per game) and senior Anne Botica (475 kills, 4.85 per game) have combined for 53 percent of the kills this season for Ohio State. They have combined for 970 of OSU’s 1,840 kills (.527). The duo also has 598 (Gordon 315, 3.00, Botica 283, 2.89) of OSU’s 1,484 digs (.403).%^$

%^$Ohio State opened the 2001 season with 13 consecutive wins. The Buckeyes have had two other winning streaks that opened a season. OSU went 11-0 to start the season in 1996 and was 16-0 last season.%^$

%^$In the national poll released on Monday, Dec. 3, Ohio State was ranked 10th in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll and the Volleyball Magazine Poll. Long Beach State is ranked No. 1 in both polls with Nebraska second. The Big Ten has five teams ranked in the coaches’ Top 25. They include Wisconsin at sixth, Ohio State 10th, Penn State 17th, Michigan State 19th and Illinois 20th. Minnesota is listed as receiving points. In the Volleyball Magazine Poll, Wisconsin is seventh, Ohio State 10th, Penn State 16th and Michigan State 19th. Illinois and Minnesota are listed as others.%^$

%^$Ohio State, with 15 kills from Anne Botica, 12 from Stacey Gordon and 10 from Shelly Draeger defeated Robert Morris 3-0 (30-17, 30-16, 30-13) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. OSU hit .388 for the match to -.074 for the Colonials. With a 3-1 (30-16, 22-30, 30-27, 30-20) win over Cincinnati in the second round of the NCAA Championship, OSU advanced to the regional semifinals. Stacey Gordon had match-highs of 24 kills and 15 digs in the win. Anne Botica added 19 kills and 15 digs and Suzie Stiling added 13 kills and 14 digs. The Buckeyes hit .237 for the match to .149 for Cincinnati. The Bobcats did outblock OSU, 14 to nine, while the Buckeyes had a season-high 75 digs in the contest.%^$

%^$Jim Stone is in his 20th season at Ohio State. He has a 451-191 record with the Buckeyes and is 259-108 in Big Ten play. His squads have won Big Ten Championships in 1989, 1991 and 1994 and in the last 12 years have only finished below third twice. In the championship years, he was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year and was the 1991 Volleyball Monthly National Coach of the Year. Under Stone, Ohio State has participated in the NCAA Championship the last 12 years, advancing to the national semifinals in 1991 and 1994. Stone’s coaching career record includes three years at Wyoming (1979-1981). His 22-year career record is 501-233.%^$

%^$Ohio State, over the last three years, has won 21 consecutive regular season, non-conference matches. The streak includes OSU’s 7-0 mark this season, a 10-0 mark in 2000 and four wins in 1999.%^$

%^$Two additions were made to the squad this summer. Freshmen Trine Melsether (Aalesund, Norway/Fagerlia) and Tamika Drake (Euclid, Ohio/Euclid) joined the squad for preseason practice. Melsether, a 6-1 outside hitter, played for the Aukra Club last season, winning the Junior Championship. Previously she played for Bindheim Club. Drake, a 5-7 defensive specialist, played four years at Euclid High School as a middle hitter. She also played for the Leva Volleyball Club in Riverside-Painesville.