Texas A&M, North Carolina St. Face Off in NCAA Volleyball First Round in Austin

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M received an at-large bid to the 2012 NCAA Volleyball Championship and will face North Carolina State in the first round, Thursday, Nov. 29 at Gregory Gym in Austin, Texas, the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Committee announced today.

The match against the Wolfpack will begin at 4 p.m. and will be followed by a first-round match between No. 3 seed Texas and Colgate at 7 p.m. The two winners will meet in the second round, Friday at 7 p.m. at Gregory Gym, with the winner earning a berth into the Austin Regional, Dec. 7-8, also at Gregory Gym.

Tickets to the Austin site are available online at TexasSports.com or by calling (512) 471-3333.

A&M (24-5, 16-4 SEC), which is making its 20th overall appearance in the NCAA tournament, including its 16th under 20-year head coach Laurie Corbelli, closed out the regular season on a nine-match winning streak to win the SEC Western Division and finish second overall to Florida, which received the league’s automatic bid and is a No. 14 seed.

NC State, 22-9 overall, finished fourth in the ACC regular-season standings and is coming off a 3-2 loss at No. 23 North Carolina. The Wolfpack is making its second appearance in the NCAA tournament, with its only other appearance occurring in 1987.

A&M is 3-0 in the all-time series against the Wolfpack, but the teams have not met since 1990. Corbelli will be coaching against NC State for the first time in her 27-year head coaching career.

Texas A&M NCAA Tournament Notes: A&M is making its 20th overall appearance (1981, '82, '85, '86, '93, '94, '95, '96, '97, '98,' 99, 2000, '01, '02, '03, '04, '05, ’09, ’11, ‘12) since the inception of the tournament in 1981…A&M sports a 23-19 (.548) all-time record in the NCAA tournament, including a 21-15 (.583) mark during Corbelli's A&M tenure...A&M’s best finish in an NCAA tournament was a regional final appearance in both 1999 and 2001… A&M was a No. 16 seed last year and was selected to host first and second rounds. The Aggies defeated Lipscomb, 3-1, in the first round and then fell to then-future SEC foe Kentucky, 3-0, in the second round…The SEC has five teams in the tournament field. In addition to Texas A&M, the SEC teams are: No. 14 Florida, No. 16 Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas. Florida earned the SEC’s automatic bid by winning the conference title with a 19-1 record...The Aggies are 4-5 this year against the teams in the NCAA tournament field.

NCAA Tournament Notes: Thirty-one conferences were awarded automatic qualification, and the remaining 33 slots were filled with at-large selections to complete the bracket...The top 16 teams were seeded nationally and placed within four regions...Sixteen first-and second-round matches will be played Nov. 29-Dec. 1 on the campuses of participating institutions...Winners will advance to four predetermined regional sites: Berkeley, Calif., West Lafayette, Ind., Omaha, Neb., and Austin...The four regional winners will meet at the Final Four, to be held at the KFC Yum! Center, in Louisville, Ky., Dec. 13 and 15...Penn State is the No. 1 seed…UCLA is the defending national champion...For complete tournament bracket and information, visit the NCAA official Website at www.NCAAsports.com.

Texas A&M Coach Laurie Corbelli quotes:
(On seeing Texas A&M pop up in the bracket)
It’s certainly a huge, huge benefit for us to be in great conferences, the Big 12 over the past 15 years and then this year in the SEC, to get to compete against some of the best. It prepares us really well for the tournament, and it allows us to get the kind of seeding and the RPI that we really need.

(On how the team is playing)
I feel like we are playing really, really good volleyball. We have a good rhythm on our offense. Our setters are distributing the ball beautifully. Overall with the experience that we have and the talent that we have, we are playing as well as we have played in a long time.

(On what you know about NC State)
They are going to be very, very tough. I know the coaching staff, and I have seen their results. However, I don’t know a lot about their talent, the individual athletes. I’m hoping that the SEC has prepared us well for whatever we do happen to see. I don’t know a lot about them, but we will certainly know a lot more in 24 hours.

(On playing at a familiar place)
It is very familiar. For 20 years we have been playing over there. There are no surprises. We’ll have a lot of Aggies there in our contingency, and a lot of families will be able to be there. And it’s tournament time, so crazy things can happen, and you just have to go out and give it your best. We have no pressure. We’ll just be prepared, and if we can get past the first round, which is obviously our main focus, we’ll look forward to being in Gregory against the Longhorns.

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