March 23, 2011


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The Texas A&M volleyball team plays its first tournament of the spring season on Saturday as the Aggies compete in the Texas Pride Collegiate Invitational at Slater's Sports Zone in Richmond, Texas.

The Aggies will play four matches during the one-day tournament, opening against Wichita State at 9:40 a.m., followed by contests against Texas-San Antonio at noon and TCU at 1:10 p.m. A&M concludes the tournament against LSU at 3:30 p.m.

"Everyone is eager to get onto the court and compete," A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said. "It is a totally different feel when you go up against another university, and it brings another element to the table that you can't get from practices. I haven't looked much at what the other teams have coming back, but just knowing their past level of success, this will be a high quality tournament and it will give us good feedback about the things we have been working on."

Regular spring practices began the week before Spring Break, and Corbelli welcomed back 13 of 14 letterwinners, including all six starters plus the libero, from last year's team that went 13-17.

"This is the first spring that we have had so many returning players in the gym in the spring, and that has allowed us to put in some new things into our system and really accomplish a lot of team things," said Corbelli, who is entering her 19th season at the helm of the Aggies. "We have several multi-position players, and we've had the chance to move them around and look at different ways to strengthen and better the team. Plus every player is another year older, another year stronger and another year experienced. It is fun to see the progress they have made and to see them improve daily."

Matches will be best 2-out-of-3 sets.

Other teams participating at the 16-team tournament are Big 12 Conference teams Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas, as well as Houston Baptist, Lamar, Louisiana University, Mississippi State, Rice, Tulane, Tulsa and Wichita State.

Tickets purchased in advance at are $8 for adults and $6 for students and senior citizens. Prices at the door are $10 and $8, respectively.

Slater's Sports Zone is located at 727 Plantation Drive in Richmond.

Later this spring, A&M will compete at the Rice Spring Tournament in Houston on April 16. Other teams competing include Temple, Stephen F. Austin, Lamar, Sam Houston State, and Texas State, among others. Action starts at 9 a.m. and takes place inside Tudor Fieldhouse and Fox Gymnasium.