COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M has withdrawn from the Lone Star Classic College Showcase to be held Saturday in Dallas due injuries to an already shorthanded squad, Aggie head coach Laurie Corbelli announced.
“Obviously we are all disappointed that we do not have enough healthy bodies to compete this weekend in Dallas,” said Corbelli, who is beginning her 21st season as head coach of the Aggies. “We will work to stay in shape during the summer and be ready for a very tough and competitive SEC season in the fall.”
The Aggies would have only one healthy middle blocker, Jazzmin Babers, available for the final tournament of the spring after Darby Graff suffered an ankle injury late last week. In addition, Shelby Sullivan is still limited after having surgery following a knee injury at the end of the 2012 season. Come the fall season, all three players will be competing to take over starting roles previously held by last year’s senior starters, Lindsey Miller and Stephanie Minnerly.
A&M, which loses a total of five seniors from the 2012 team that won the Southeastern Conference Western Division and finished 25-6 after advancing to the second round of the NCAA Championship, also is shorthanded at the outside hitter position with only Ashley Vrana and Angela Lowak able to play in the front row. The most experienced returning outside hitter, Heather Reynolds, is out while recovering from a minor knee surgery.
Meanwhile outside hitter Shelbi Vaughan has been successfully competing with the Texas A&M track and field team and has been unable to compete in any volleyball tournaments this spring. Sierra Patrick also has seen limited practice time while training with the track team, although she did play in the back row in the Aggies’ home tournament earlier this month.
A&M went 3-1 in its spring exhibition season opener at the F.A.S.T. Spring College Tournament in Houston on March 23. The Aggies defeated TCU, Baylor and Sam Houston State before falling in three sets to Wichita State, a team that lost only one starter after advancing to last year’s NCAA regional finals.
In their own tournament, the Aggies played four matches at G. Rollie White Coliseum, winning their first three contests in straight sets before splitting sets in their final match of the day.
”The competitions we have already played this spring have been extremely helpful for the team,” Corbelli said. “We have primarily seen improvements in our team defense, specifically our blocking.”
The Aggies open the 2013 season August 30 at a tournament hosted by University of North Dakota.