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No. 16 Seed A&M to Host NCAA 1st & 2nd Rounds

November 27, 2011
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M received a No. 16 seed and will host NCAA first- and second- round matches at Reed Arena on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 1-2, the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Committee announced today.

The Aggies (22-7) received an at-large bid and will face Lipscomb (20-10) in the first round on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The Lady Bisons earned an automatic berth after winning the Atlantic Sun Tournament Championship.

The match will be the second of the day at Reed and will follow the conclusion of the Kentucky (26-5) vs. Dayton (25-6) match, which begins at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The two winners of the first-round matches meet Friday at 6:30 p.m. with the second-round winner advancing to the Lexington, Kentucky Regional to be played Dec. 9-10.

Ticket information will be posted on AggieAthletics.com on Monday and can also be found by calling the ticket office at 1-888-99-AGGIE.

"To see our name right away and to hear that we are hosting, it made for a great finish to the regular season and a great start to the championship season," A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said. "We are absolutely thrilled."

A&M, which is making its 19th overall appearance in the NCAA tournament, including its 15th under 19-year head coach Laurie Corbelli, finished the regular season by winning four of its last five matches and nine of its last 12, capping the season with its biggest win of the year, a 3-1 victory at 14th-ranked Iowa State on Saturday. The Aggies went 11-5 in the Big 12 to finish third behind league champion and No. 1 seed Texas and Iowa State, a No. 4 seed in the 64-team bracket.

"The Iowa State win last night may have helped to eliminate any questions they had when they were considering us," Corbelli said about the Selection Committee's choice to seed the Aggies and have A&M serve as a host site. "Maybe that sealed it. I have to believe that our run in November at 5-2 was really important, and I'm really proud that after the October lull that many teams have, we didn't drop too far down and improved the whole time.

"The team is peaking at the right time. So much is that emotionally they feel ready, they feel fresh, they want to represent Texas A&M as best they can. They know their peers have achieved some great things here as student-athletes, and I think that gives them confidence as well and that they are just as capable. Mentally we are really sharp and confident. Physically we were fortunate to have a bye last week, and our strength coach (Raychelle Ellsworth) has an awesome program that has them peaking with their strength and conditioning. So all things considered, this team is really peaking."

A&M is making its first NCAA appearance since 2009, when the unranked Aggies eliminated No. 19 Arizona, 3-1, in the first round at Baton, Rouge, La., and then stunned No. 15 seed and 18th-ranked LSU, 3-2, at the Pete Maravich Center. A&M advanced to the Omaha Regional, which was also dubbed the "Big 12 Regional" as Big 12 Conference foes Texas, Nebraska, Iowa State and Texas A&M made up the four-team regional field. A&M was eliminated in the regional semifinal after falling to second-ranked Texas.

A&M has never faced Lipscomb or Dayton and is 5-2 all-time against Kentucky but has not met the Wildcats since 1988.

Texas A&M NCAA Tournament Notes: A&M is making its 19th overall appearance (1981, '82, '85, '86, '93, '94, '95, '96, '97, '98,' 99, 2000, '01, '02, '03, '04, '05, '09, '11) since the inception of the tournament in 1981...A&M is 14-0 all-time in home NCAA tournament matches, all of which were played at G. Rollie White Coliseum. This will be the first time for an NCAA tournament match to be played at Reed Arena...The Aggies last hosted first and second rounds in 2003 and swept both Nicholls State and Wisconsin to advance to the Lincoln, Nebraska Regional, where they fell to Southern California in the Sweet Sixteen...A&M sports a 22-18 (.550) all-time record in the NCAA tournament, including a 20-14 (.588) mark during Corbelli's A&M tenure...A&M's best finish in an NCAA tournament was a regional final appearance in both 1999 and 2001...The Big 12 has seven teams in the tournament field, tying the Pac 12 for the second largest representation behind the Big Ten Conference, which has eight teams in the field. In addition to Texas A&M, the Big 12 teams are: No. 1 seed Texas, No. 4 seed Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas State, Missouri and Oklahoma. Texas earned the Big 12's automatic bid by winning the conference title with a 15-1 record...The Aggies are 8-6 this year against the teams in the NCAA tournament field.

NCAA Tournament Notes: Thirty-one conferences were awarded automatic qualification, and the remaining 33 slots were filled with at-large selections to complete the bracket...The top 16 teams were seeded nationally and placed within four regions...Sixteen first-and second-round matches will be played Dec 1-3 on the campuses of participating institutions...Winners will advance to four regional tournaments to be played in Lexington, Ken., Minneapolis, Minn., Gainesville, Fla., and Honolulu, Hawaii, Dec. 9-10...The four regional winners will meet at the Final Four, to be hosted by the University of Texas-San Antonio and held at the Alamodome, Dec. 15 and 17...Penn State is the defending national champion...For complete tournament bracket and information, visit the NCAA official Website at www.NCAAsports.com.

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