With eight newcomers along with 10 returners on the roster, Aggie head coach Laurie Corbelli emphasized how important it was for the team to experience the match-like setting prior to its season opener on Friday at the Texas A&M Invitational.
“I’m so grateful that we had a chance to play in front of a crowd and simulate a match, because the first 15 minutes was pure jitters,” said Corbelli, who is entering her 22nd season at the helm of the Aggies. “I saw them work through that and get into a team rhythm. If anything, that was so valuable. We might still have a little bit of the jitters carry over, but they worked through it and that was really nice to see. Rallies started getting longer, there was more defense and things began to smooth out.”
Corbelli altered the lineups throughout the scrimmage, which included two sets to 25 points with an unscheduled third set to 15 points added at the end.
“It’s pretty obvious to me that we have a lot of competition,” she said. “We are going to have competition at each position all year long. I’ve already seen that to be one of the biggest factors for our team in terms of how quickly we have improved over the last two weeks.
“Tonight we kind of know each other and what each player was going to do, but it’s still really hard to stop a few players depending on if they get the right set. It was obvious that we are going to challenge a lot of blocks and defenses. I thought our serving was a little bit shaky. A lot of it was the jitters, but we also were trying to go hard with the serve.”
A&M opens the season Friday at 10 a.m. against Big Ten foe Iowa at Reed. It is the first of two matches the Aggies will play that day, as they return to the court at 5 p.m. to face Tulane. A&M closes out the tournament Saturday at 3 p.m. against defending Conference USA regular- season and tournament-champion UTSA. The Roadrunners will be looking to avenge a season-ending loss against the Aggies in the first round of the 2013 NCAA tournament.
“We are ready, as ready as we can be,” Corbelli said about starting the season. “They have set their goals really high and they are going to be really excited. We don’t get to do an exhibition competition with another team, so we start off and we go at it. We can’t wait to see all new faces on the other side.”
Tickets are available for purchase in advance at 12thManFoundation.com. Tickets also can be purchased on match days at Reed Arena beginning one hour before the start of the match.
Visit 12thMan.com for more information on Texas A&M volleyball. Aggie fans also can keep up to date with the A&M volleyball team on Facebook and on Twitter by following @AggieVolleyball.