The UCLA women's volleyball team, defending Pac-10 Conference champion and ranked fifth nationally this year by Volleyball Monthly, will open the season at 7:30 p.m. Friday at No. 9 San Diego State.
Three starters return from last year's Bruin squad, which finished 31-10 overall and 17-1 in the Pac-10 and was eliminated by Loyola Marymount in the first round of the NCAA playoffs. Returning leaders are junior setter Ann Boyer, a second-team All-American last year; senior outside hitter Lori Zeno, an all-conference selection, and senior outside hitter Wendy Fletcher.
UCLA will compete Tuesday in the All-Cal Tournament at UC Irvine.
Nina Matthies, coach of the No. 19 Pepperdine's women's volleyball team, has reason to be optimistic about improving on last year's 18-17 record. Matthies has 11 letter winners, including all six starters.
The Waves, led by senior outsider hitter Julie Evans, a two-time All-West Coast Athletic Conference selection, open against UC Santa Barbara at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Firestone Field House in Malibu and will play at USC at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.