Aggie Spikers To Open At Home

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas- A season-opening home tournament and an overall 14-match home slate highlight the 2007 Texas A&M volleyball schedule, announced by Aggie coach Laurie Corbelli.

A&M is scheduled to play a total of 31 matches during the regular season. Thirteen of the matches will be against teams that advanced to the 2006 NCAA Championship, including two against defending national-champion Nebraska. A total of 12 matches are against teams that advanced to at least the second round of the NCAAs, and 10 of those matches will be against teams that ranked in the final Top 25 Poll.

“The overall strength of schedule is there,” Corbelli said. “It starts out right where we need to be playing and builds into a Big 12 Conference schedule that certainly will challenge us but also give us opportunities to excel.”

The Aggies make their season debut Friday, August 24 when they take on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on the first day of the Texas A&M Invitational at G. Rollie White Coliseum. The Aggies face Centenary and 2006 NCAA-participant Prairie View A&M on Saturday to conclude the two-day tournament.

A&M then heads to the Montana State Holiday Inn Classic in Bozeman, Mont., Aug. 31-Sept. 1. The Aggies are slated to face Utah State, Washington State and the host Bobcats.

After a midweek match at Texas State, the Aggies conclude the pre-conference schedule at the UTSA Classic in San Antonio, Sept. 7-8. A&M will meet Louisiana Tech, Auburn and Texas-San Antonio.

“With the stage that we are in now and for the growth and development of this program, these three tournaments lend themselves to helping us to continue to evaluate our strengths and weaknesses, most importantly our weaknesses so that we can turn them into strengths,” Corbelli said. “We have to make sure that we are well prepared to compete hard and get wins in the pre-conference, because the Big 12 is so challenging.”

A&M opens Big 12 play Wednesday, Sept. 12 against Oklahoma at G. Rollie White Coliseum. The Sooners placed second in the league, advanced to the NCAA regional semifinals and ranked No. 12 in the final poll last year.

The Aggies conclude the regular season with a home match against Baylor on Saturday, Nov. 24.

“Our first goal is to get back into the NCAA tournament,” Corbelli said. “It has been repeatedly proven that the Big 12 has prepared us so beautifully for the NCAA tournament, because we will have seen every style of offense, every style of attacker and every defensive configuration. We will have seen them all.”

NCAA first- and second-round matches will be played Nov. 29-30, Nov. 30-Dec. 1 or Dec. 1-2 at participating campuses. Regionals will be held Dec. 7-8 in Gainesville, Fla., University Park, Pa., Stanford, Calif., and Madison, Wis.

The semifinal and championship matches will be Dec. 13 and 15 at ARCO Arena in Sacramento, Calif.

“Until last year, we had never lost a first-round match except once, and we would like to challenge ourselves to get to at least the second round,” Corbelli said. “It is not outside our reach. Then we’ll grind it out and see if we can go further. It defines our team in terms of the talent and ability we have.

“I have a group of very determined players, and after the stumble we took last year,

this is a redemption year and a year to use the schedule to our advantage. It’s a strong, yet manageable schedule. We just have to take care of business, consistently perform and remain healthy in key positions.”

Corbelli returns five starters -- including three who were freshmen – from last year’s team that went 12-16.

Season tickets and individual tickets to A&M home matches will be available for purchase online at www.12thmanfoundation or by calling 1-888-99-AGGIE.