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May 9, 2002

Tulsa, Okla. - The University of Tulsa has signed four more players to National Letters of Intent, raising the number of newcomers for the 2002 season to six players. Sam Rutherford, Nathalia Araujo, Patricia Marques and Gabrielle Penaluna have chosen to continue their education at Tulsa as announced by TU Head Coach Matt Sonnichsen.

Rutherford, a 6-2 middle hitter, will graduate this month from Klein Oak High School in Spring, Texas. She is a three-year letterwinner for volleyball, her team's MVP the past two seasons. She was selected to the first-team all-district squad as a junior and a senior after serving as team captain in 2001. Rutherford was also selected as a Who's Who Among American High School Students.

Araujo transfers to TU from Frank Phillips College in Borger, Texas. A native of Fortaleza, Brazil, the 5-9 outside hitter enjoyed a banner year in 2001. Araujo not only earned her second straight all-region selection, she also earned a spot on the all-conference team as the Western Junior College Athletic Conference Player of the Year. A two-time team MVP, Araujo served as the team's captain in 2001, helping lead the Lady Plainsman to a 30-6 record, a conference championship and a berth in the regional championship match.

Margues is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The 6-0 outside hitter transfers to TU from Universidade Candido Mendes. A red-shirt sophomore, Marques will have three years of eligibility left. As the team captain of Club Flamengo, she helped lead the squad to four consecutive Torneio In?cio (Juvenil) championships. She also was selected to play beach volleyball for Let?cia Pessoa, coached by five-time World of Beach Volley Champions Adriana Behar and Shelda's.

Penaluna is a 5-9 outside hitter from Cedar Falls, Iowa. Averaging 4.11 kills per game, the senior at Northern University High School earned a first-team all-state selection, as well as a spot on the all-state tournament team. A three-time team MVP, Penaluna helped lead her high school team to their best finish ever, a berth in the state quarterfinals. She holds the school record for most kills in a season with 468 as well as the record for most kills in a career with 930.

"This is the largest recruiting class at The University of Tulsa," said Sonnichsen. "We are very excited about our diversity and feel that we have filled our program's specific needs to have a great season in 2002."

Tulsa 2002-2003 Incoming Freshman Class
NamePos.Ht.Cl./Exp.Hometown (Last School)
Nathalia AraujoOH5-9Jr./JCFortaleza, Brazil (Frank Phillips)
*Evyn BandyS/DS5-7Fr./HSTulsa, Okla. (Wright Christian Academy)
*Tate HinklemanMH6-2Fr./HSSan Antonio, Texas (Ronald Regan HS)
Patricia MarquesOH6-0So./TRRio de Janerio, Brazil (Universidade Candio Mendes)
Gabrielle PenalunaOH5-9Fr./HSCedar Falls, Iowa (Northern University HS)
Sam RutherfordMH6-2Fr./HSSpring, Texas (Klein Oak HS)
*signed in early November signing period