COLLEGE STATION, TX -- Season tickets for the 2012 action-packed and historic Texas A&M volleyball campaign go on sale Friday, June 1 at the 12th Man Foundation Ticket Center.
Season tickets for the 13-match home slate at Reed Arena are only $100 for reserved seating and $65 for general admission seating, and there are three easy and convenient ways to purchase the tickets: 1) online, 24 hours a day at tickets.12thmanfoundation.com; 2) by phone by calling 979-845-2311 or toll free at 1-888-99-AGGIE; or 3) in person at the ticket office located inside the Zone at the north end of Kyle Field. Ticket office hours of operation are 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. weekdays.
"It's a bargain," said A&M volleyball coach Laurie Corbelli, who will be aiming for the 500th victory of her head coaching career as she begins her 20th season at the helm of the Aggies.
"It's a great deal to get to see that many home matches with guaranteed excitement. Watching these top women athletes competing at the highest level collegiately is a lot of fun. You can see their expressions, you can hear them on the court, and you are up close to witnesses some incredibly athletic female athletes who are very proud to represent Texas A&M University."
The Aggies open the season by hosting the Texas A&M Invitational beginning August 24. Corbelli will have her first chance for her milestone victory when A&M opens the two-day, four-team round-robin tournament against Texas State, which received an automatic berth in the 2011 NCAA tournament after winning the Southland Conference tournament. Later that evening, the Aggies take on Pac-12 defending champion and 2011 Final Four participant Southern California, coached by 2000 Olympic coach and former long-time Texas head coach Mick Haley, who likely holds the unofficial record for prompting the most "sit down bus driver" yells from the 12th Man.
"Mick still tells the story of how the 12th Man told him to sit down more than 100 times, and they only got louder each time," Corbelli said. "He thought he could wear them down and would stand up, sit down, stand up, and they only got louder and louder. We need him to experience that again."
The Aggies conclude the tournament Saturday, August 25 against Great West Conference tournament champion North Dakota, a team that finished No. 52 in the final 2011 NCAA Division I Ratings Power Index (RPI). "That is undoubtedly one of the toughest opening tournaments we have hosted," Corbelli said.
"It is going to be extremely challenging competition with three different styles of opponents. I'm not only real pleased with the level of competition, but also with the things the tournament is going to offer as far as the opportunity to play in front of the 12thMan, the first chance to see where we are in a competitive setting, and the fact that seven of our 18 players will be freshmen, it is real important that they see some tough competition at home as early in the season as possible. So this tournament is going to be a lot of fun in many aspects."
The home conference schedule has a new look as the Aggies compete in the Southeastern Conference for the first time and will use a Friday-Sunday format.
"The weekends highlight sporting events, and they will provide entertainment for families and sports fans alike," Corbelli said. "Several times throughout our season, we will be part of a doubleheader with soccer, which has a great fan base in Aggieland and is located just across the parking lot. Also some weekends there will be a football game sandwiched in between the volleyball and soccer games, and that helps make for never a dull moment in Aggieland in the fall."
A&M makes history when it plays its first SEC volleyball match, Friday, Sept. 14, against Ole Miss at Reed Arena.
"It's our chance to Introduce the SEC to Texas A&M," Corbelli said. "I plan on it being a very memorable match, and I imagine the community and students will want to be a part of that. Our players sense the importance and the significance of that match and all the firsts that come with it, as well as welcoming the SEC to Aggieland and everything we have to offer. It is going to be fun to be a part of that."
The Aggies host Auburn on Sunday, Sept. 16 and then return home Sunday, Sept. 23 for a grudge match against Kentucky, which knocked A&M out of last year's NCAA tournament with a second-round victory at Reed Arena.
"I like that we get to play Kentucky at home," Corbelli said. "It's an opportunity to redeem ourselves in our eyes by how we play against an incredibly tough and talented team."
Other home matches include South Carolina and Mississippi State on Oct. 5 and 7, respectively, as well as what is expected to be the toughest pair of home contests on Oct. 19 and 21, when the Aggies host defending SEC champion Tennessee and perennial power Florida, which came within one victory of reaching the Final Four last year.
"The Tennessee-Florida weekend is going to be huge," Corbelli said. "Those are two of the best teams in the conference and the country, and the quality of volleyball you see that weekend will be the best in the SEC."
Many former Aggie volleyball players are expected to be in town the weekend of Nov. 2-4 when A&M hosts Alabama and Arkansas, where former Aggie volleyball player Carol Price-Torok enters her fourth season as assistant coach. A&M then concludes the home season against former Big 12 Conference foe Missouri on Nov. 16.
"With Texas A&M and Missouri, we are bringing two teams that consistently finished in the top half of top of the Big 12, which is a great conference in volleyball," Corbelli said. Texas A&M and Missouri going into the SEC is going to improve the SEC's RPI ranking and it will improve the perception of volleyball in the SEC. I think that other conferences will be in for some trouble soon, because I think the teams in the SEC are going to continue to make each other better as we go through the years."
Corbelli returns 10 letterwinners from last year's team that went 23-8 and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament after going 11-5 and placing third in Big 12 play. She also welcomes one transfer and a highly touted freshman group of seven accomplished athletes.
"I wouldn't want to miss out on the opening year of SEC volleyball with one of the top Aggie teams that we have had in a long time and with so many returning starters and so many new, fresh faces that make up one of the most athletic and talented recruiting classes we have brought in," Corbelli said. "I think it is going to be an incredibly memorable season."