The Texas A&M volleyball team hosts its spring tournament
Saturday in what will be somewhat of a nostalgic event held at the Aggies’ former home, G. Rollie White Coliseum.
Admission is free.
Action gets underway at 11 a.m. as the Aggies welcome Rice, Stephen F. Austin, Texas State and UTSA to the Texas A&M Spring Invitational, which likely will be the last A&M athletic competition to be held at the “Holler House” before its impending demolition.
“It will be a fun day of non-stop volleyball with some of the best players in Texas,” A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli said. “It also will be a chance for us to reminisce and say goodbye to G. Rollie. It served us well for many, many years and for many great victories, and I know that many of my former players are really sad that G. Rollie is going away.”
A&M opens the tournament at 11 a.m. against Rice, followed by a contest against SFA at noon. After taking an hour lunch break at 1 p.m., the Aggies return to the court at 2 p.m. to play UTSA. A&M plays its fourth and final match at 3 p.m. against Texas State.
Two courts will be set up side-by-side on the main floor, and a total of nine matches will be played throughout the day. Matches will consist of two sets to 25 points, win by two. A third set will not be played regardless if the teams split the first two sets.
Genny (Wood) Volpe, who played for the Aggies from 1990-93, and Laura (Neugebauer) Groff, who was an assistant coach at A&M in 1991 and 1992 and also frequented G. Rollie during her playing days at Texas, will be in attendance as the head coaches at Rice and UTSA, respectively.
Corbelli, who is entering her 21st season as head coach of the Aggies, returns only two starters 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.
Seniors-to-be Allie Sawatzky, a three-year starting setter, and outside hitter Heather Reynolds, who started at outside hitter last year but will be playing only back row on Saturday due to a knee injury, are A&M’s only returning starters. Corbelli also welcomes four experienced upperclassmen in outside hitter Ashley Vrana, setter Mariah Agre and defensive specialists Kelsey Kinley and Hannah Hood.
In addition, freshmen middle blockers Jazzmin Babers and Darby Graff, who redshirted last year, and outside hitter Angela Lowak will be in action this weekend, as will early high school graduate Victoria Arenas, a libero who enrolled at A&M in January.
Outside hitters and two-sport athletes Sierra Patrick and Shelbi Vaughn, will miss the tournament this weekend as they will be competing with the Texas A&M track and field team, and middle blocker Shelby Sullivan is recovering from a knee injury and has seen limited playing time in practice.
“Being in a competitive situation with your peers in your training season is so incredibly beneficial, especially with the number of freshmen we have,” Corbelli said. “As much as we are improving in every area, we are still really young and spring tournaments are a great experience for the players and a great experience for the coaches to evaluate.”
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.
A&M concludes its spring season Saturday, April 20 at the Lone Star Classic College Showcase at the Dallas Convention Center Arena.
Texas A&M Spring Invitational Schedule:
Time Court 1 Court 2
11:00 a.m. TAMU vs. Rice SFA vs. Texas State
12:00 p.m. TAMU vs. SFA Rice vs. UTSA
1:00 p.m. Lunch Break Lunch Break
2:00 p.m. TAMU vs. UTSA Rice vs. Texas State
3:00 p.m. TAMU vs. Texas Sate SFA vs. UTSA
4:00 p.m. Rice vs. SFA