COLLEGE STATION -- The Texas A&M volleyball team kicks off its spring exhibition season against strong competition at the Pepperdine Tournament Saturday in Malibu, Calif.
“We will be competing against some great teams, and this tournament will give us a really good indication of where we are right now,” A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said. “The team has been working extremely hard with their strength and conditioning and in the skills and execution areas, and I have seen huge strides and progress being made in every area – especially amongst our eight freshmen. It will be exciting to see how we measure up against these teams.”
The Aggies are slated to play four abbreviated matches during the one-day tournament, including a contest against Southern California, which reached the 2006 NCAA regional and ranked eighth in the final poll. A&M also will face 2006 NCAA participant Pepperdine, as well as Wichita State and Cal State Fullerton.
“We will be going against some huge blocks and strong defenses,” Corbelli said. “We will also see some great serving, and it will test our serve reception and attack patterns, and we really need that.
“We will be using a new 6-2 system and incorporating every player we have in the gym, so whatever the competition is going to offer us, we need it. There are only going to be good things that come from the weekend.”
Match play begins at 9 a.m. (PDT) at Firestone Fieldhouse on the Pepperdine campus. Matches will be two games to 30 points or one hour. Wins and losses will not be counted, and a tournament champion will not named.
The Aggies begin play at approximately 10 a.m. against Wichita State and immediately follow with a match against USC. A&M will have an hour break and then conclude the tournament with back-to-back matches against Pepperdine and Cal State Fullerton.
“This is such an exciting time for our coaching staff, because we are working with such a young group and getting to compete against some great teams,” Corbelli added. “We have a group that likes to be intense, and I know that they are going to be striving to win. Even though it is spring, their only interest is in learning to win as often as possible.”
Corbelli returns 12 letterwinners, including five starters from the 2006 season.
The following is the complete tournament schedule:
Court 1 Court 2
9 a.m. Pepperdine vs. CS Fullerton USC vs. CS Northridge
Match 2 Pepperdine vs. CS Northridge A&M vs. Wichita State
Match 3 A&M vs. USC Wichita State vs. CS Fullerton
Match 4 Pepperdine vs. USC CS Fullerton vs. CS Northridge
Match 5 Pepperdine vs. A&M Wichita State vs. CS Northridge
Match 6 Wichita State vs. USC CS Fullerton vs. A&M
The Aggies then return home to host an all-day tournament on Saturday, March 31 at G. Rollie White Coliseum. Teams slated to compete are Blinn, Rice, Stephen F. Austin and Texas-San Antonio, and admission is free.
The following is A&M’s complete spring tournament schedule:
March 22 at Pepperdine Tournament, Malibu, Calif.
(Cal State Fullerton, Pepperdine, Southern California, Wichita State)
March 31 Texas A&M Tournament, College Station, Texas
(Blinn, Rice, SFA, UTSA, Texas A&M)
April 12 at Sam Houston State Tournament, Huntsville, Texas
April 14 at Tornados College Cup, Houston, Texas