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July 11-Bolstered by the return of seven letterwinners, including five starters fromlast year's team that advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament,the Pepperdine women's volleyball team is ranked No

July 11-Bolstered by the return of seven letterwinners, including five starters from last year's team that advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament, the Pepperdine women's volleyball team is ranked No. 6 in the 2002 Volleyball Magazine preseason poll.

The Waves finished the 2001 campaign with a 23-4 overall record, captured the West Coast Conference (WCC) championship with a perfect 14-0 mark and reached the "Sweet 16" for the third time in the last four years. Pepperdine concluded the year ranked No. 8 by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and No. 9 by Volleyball Magazine.

Entering her 20th season as head coach at Pepperdine, Nina Matthies welcomes back four players who earned All-WCC honors, including junior outside hitter Katie Wilkins, who was tabbed a second team All-American, named to the All-Pacific Region team and was the WCC's "Player of the Year".

Also returning to the Waves' line-up in 2002, are senior setter Paola Rodriguez (All-WCC), senior middle blocker Stacy Rouwenhorst (All-Pacific Region, All-WCC) and junior middle blocker Lyndsey Hache' (All-WCC). The roster is further bolstered by seven newcomers that comprise Volleyball Magazine's No. 7 recruiting class, including outside hitter Katy Daly (San Clemente, CA / San Clemente HS), outside hitter Breegan Mulligan (Santa Ana, CA / Mater Dei HS) and setter Missy Mehlhorn (Chandler, AZ / Valley Christian HS). All three players were ranked on Volleyball Magazine's Fabulous 50 list.

Pepperdine's 2002 schedule includes a total of 11 teams that reached the NCAA Tournament last year and eight teams that are ranked in Volleyball Magazine's preseason Top 20 poll.

The following is the complete 2002 preseason Volleyball Magazine poll with the 2001 records in parenthesis:

1. Stanford (33-2)
2. Hawaii (29-5)
3. USC (25-4)
4. Nebraska (31-2)
5. Florida (28-2)
6. PEPPERDINE (23-4)
7. Long Beach State (33-1)
8. Arizona (25-5)
9. Pacific (28-8)
10. Ohio State (27-4)
11. Utah (23-8)
12. Wisconsin (27-4)
13. UCLA (21-9)
14. Northern Iowa (31-2)
15. UC Santa Barbara (17-14)
16. Michigan State (21-8)
17. Penn State (22-8)
18. Illinois (21-9)
19. Notre Dame (22-7)
20. Colorado (19-11)