Nov. 25, 2000
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 17th-ranked Ohio State (24-6 overall, 14-6 Big Ten) women’s volleyball team overcame a 2-0 lead by No. 7 Minnesota (28-3, 17-3) to capture a 3-2 (12-15, 14-16, 15-8, 15-13, 18-16) victory and blocked the Gophers hopes of winning its first Big Ten Championship. Minnesota and Wisconsin (29-3, 18-2) were tied for first going into tonight’s action. The Badgers defeated Michigan State 3-0 (15-5, 15-11, 15-12) to win the Big Ten title outright.
OSU setter Katie Virtue (So., St. Charles, Ill./St. Francis), despite a stress fracture in her left foot, directed a balanced attack that had five Buckeyes score double-figure kills topped by Sue Calligaris (So., Palermo, Italy/Liceo Linguistico) recording a team-high 21 kills, tying her career high set against Michigan State. Other OSU players in double-figure kills included Suzie Stiling (So., Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) with 21, Shelly Draeger (So., Milwaukee, Wis./Wisconsin Lutheran) 17, Anne Botica (Jr., Windsor, Ont./St. Joseph) 16 and Dana Stearns (Sr., Bexley, Ohio/Bexley) 10. Minnesota’s Nicole Branagh had a match-high 23 kills for the Gophers with Stephanie Hagen adding 21, Yvonne Van Oort 15 and Charnette Fair 10.
Defensively Ohio State had five players with double-figure digs led by a career-high 20 from Calligaris. OSU’s Draeger equaled her career-high with 20 while Botica had 17, Stearns 13 and Virtue 11. Gophers Lindsey Berg and Branagh had twenty digs each for Minnesota with Van Oort adding 17. At the net OSU’s Virtue had a career-high seven assist blocks along with seven by Stiling which equalled her career high. Minnesota’s Stephanie Hagen had a team-high six assist blocks while Fair had five total blocks (three solo and two assists). Minnesota opened game one with an ace by Berg. The Buckeyes went ahead 5-1 on five consecutive Gopher errors. OSU had an 8-3 lead before Minnesota tied the match at eight with a Hagen kill. Two OSU errors and an ace by Hagen put Minnesota ahead 11-8. A Gopher error cut the lead to 11-9. A Botica kill made it 11-10 and a Minnesota error tied the game at 11. On a kill by Stearns, OSU took a 12-11 lead. A Hagen kill tied the game at 12. A Buckeye error put the Gophers up 13-12. After eight consecutive sideouts, a Buckeye error and an ace by Berg closed the game for Minnesota at 15-12. The Gophers hit .262 for the game to .233 for Ohio State.
Ohio State broke a 2-2 tie in game two, taking a 6-2 lead on a kill by Botica and three Gopher errors. Minnesota came back to tie the game at six with kills by Hagen, Branagh, an ace by Lisa Axel and an OSU error. A kill by Hagen and two Buckeye error put Minnesota ahead 9-6. An ace and an overpass kill by Stearns for the Buckeyes and a Minensota error tied the game at nine. The Gophers went ahead 10-9 on an OSU error. An ace by Berg and a block by Fair and Lisa Aschenbrenner made it 12-9 Minnesota. After an OSU timeout, kills by Botica, Virtue and Draeger tied the game at 12. A Gopher error put OSU ahead 13-12 and an ace serve by Calligaris set game point one for OSU. A Branagh kill sided out. Botica’s kill set OSU’s second game point but a Van Oort kill stopped it. Axel’s second ace closed the lead to 14-13. A Gopher error returned the serve to OSU for its third game point. A Buckeye service error sided the ball back to Minnesota where an ace by Carrie Noble tied the game at 14 and an OSU error put Minnesota ahead 15-14 serving game point. Draeger’s kill stopped the attempt but the following Buckeye serve was long. A Hagen kill ended the game, 16-14 for Minnesota giving them a 2-0 lead in the match. The Gophers hit .190 for the game to .273 for the Buckeyes.
From a 2-2 tied in game three, Minnesota took a 5-2 lead off a block by Branagh and Hagen, an OSU error and a Fair kill. Two Gopher errors and an ace serve by Nikki Cisco (Jr., Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman) tied the game at five. Two Minnesota errors put OSU ahead 7-5. At 10-8 Ohio State, a Stiling kill and a block by Virtue and Stiling put OSU up 12-8. A Gopher error and a kill by Botica set game point at 14-8 for the Buckeyes. A Branagh kill sided out, but a Gopher serve error set OSU’s second game point. That effort was stopped by a Fair-Aschenbrenner block. Stiling’s kill returned the serve to OSU for its third game point which resulted in a kill by Stearns for a 15-8 Buckeye win. Ohio State hit .127 for the game to .017 for Minnesota.
Game four opened with a Gopher error giving OSU a 1-0 lead. Minnesota kills by Branagh, Fair and Van Oort and an OSU error put the Gophers ahead 4-1. Botica and Draeger kills cut the Minnesota lead to 4-3. A Buckeye error made it 5-3 while a Calligaris kill cut the lead to 5-4. Ohio State tied the score at five with a Draeger kill. A Branagh kill put Minnesota ahead 6-5. OSU tied the game at six on a Botica kill and took an 8-6 lead with an ace by Calligaris and a Draeger kill. With kills by Van Oort and Berg, Minnesota tied the game at eight. A Gopher triple block by Van Oort, Hagen and Berg put the Gophers ahead 9-8 but a Calligaris kill tied the game at nine. Minnesota went ahead 10-9 on a Buckeye error but a Calligaris kill tied the game at 10. A Branagh kill gave the Gophers an 11-10 lead but a block by Virtue and Stiling tied the game at eleven. The Buckeyes scored three consecutive points on a kill by Stiling, a Gopher error and a Botica kill to take a 14-11 lead and serve game point. A Van Oort kill sided out to Minnesota and a block by Hagen and Aschenbrenner cut the lead to 14-12. Stiling’s kill sided out for OSU but a Van Oort kill stopped OSU’s second game point attempt. Minnesota cut the lead to one at 14-13 on a kill by Hagen. A Botica kill returned the serve to OSU for its third game point attempt, a solo block by Stearns to end the game at 15-13 for Ohio State, tying the match at two-all.
Ohio State opened the rally scoring fifth game with a 3-0 lead off two Gopher errors and a kill by Calligaris. An OSU error cut the lead to 3-1. Kills by Calligaris and Draeger put the Buckeyes ahead 5-1. Three Branagh kills and a Berg ace tied the game at five. Stiling’s kill made it 6-5 Ohio State, but a Buckeye error tied the game at six. Botica’s kill put OSU up 7-6, but a Van Oort kill tied the game at seven. The teams exchanged errors to tie the game at eight. The Gophers took a 9-8 lead on a Hagen kill, but OSU tied it at nine with a kill by Calligaris. Ohio State took a 10-9 lead on a Minnesota error but a Hagen kill tied it at 10. Minnesota went ahead 11-10 on a block by Hagen and Branagh, but a Calligaris kill tied the game at eleven. OSU’s block by Calligaris and Stiling put Ohio State up 12-11 and a block by Draeger and Stiling made it 13-11 Ohio State. Minnesota cut the lead to one at 13-12 with a Hagen kill. A Calligaris kill made it 14-12 Ohio State, serving match point. A Buckeye error stopped OSU’s attempt and cut the lead to 14-13. The Gophers tied the game at 14 with a Branagh kill. Ohio State took a 15-14 lead on a Stiling kill and served its second match point, a service error that tied the game at 15. Minnesota, with a solo block by Van Oort took a 16-15 lead and served its first match point. A Stiling kill stopped the match point and tied the game at 16. A block by Stearns and Virtue put Ohio State ahead 17-16, serving its third match point. A Gopher attack attempt hit the antenna closing the two hour and twenty minute match at 18-16 for Ohio State. The Buckeyes hit .143 for the game to the Gophers .000.
For the match, Ohio State hit .216 to .160 for Minnesota. The Buckeyes had an 85-75 advantage in kills and an 88-77 margin in digs. The Gophers outblocked Ohio State 14-11 and had an eight to four edge in ace serves.
Ohio State awaits the announcement of the NCAA Tournament selections Sunday at 8 p.m.