COLLEGE STATION, TX -- The Texas A&M volleyball team took the court tonight at Reed Arena for an organized Maroon and White scrimmage, closely following an actual match protocol.
With the scoreboard and ribbon boards flashing and lively music blaring, the squad of 18 players warmed up for approximately 50 minutes. They then donned their Aggie jerseys and were introduced to the crowd before dividing into the two teams.
The first set was tightly contested with the White team pulling out a 27-25 victory. White then took command of the second set to win 25-15.
“It was about what I expected,” Aggie head coach Laurie Corbelli said about the scrimmage. “I thought the passing was very shaky -- especially early -- because our serving really is very good. I know we’ve got to catch up a little bit with our passing.
“Overall I thought the girls really did have some jitters. I’m so glad we did this in this fashion because it mimicked as best we can a real match. It certainly does bring out a lot of distraction in your own mind as an athlete, and they got a lot of those out I’m sure, so I’m just really glad for this scrimmage.”
For the 15-point third set, the Maroon team consisted of all returners, while the White team had only one returner along with all eight newcomers -- seven freshmen and junior setter Mariah Agre, a transfer from New Mexico who also was celebrating her 21st birthday. Maroon went on to win, 15-7, to conclude the scrimmage.
“I thought overall the young players did a really good job and were very aggressive for the most part,” Corbelli said, “It was hard to really tell the difference sometimes between the new ones and the old ones, so that is a good thing. But I think once we put the returners on one side and the young ones on the other side to kind of finish off things, it was a little bit more fluid on the experienced side since they have played together longer. Things went a little bit better from the speed of the offense to understanding the defense.”
With the season opener only four days away, Corbelli was asked whether she was close to settling in on a starting lineup.
“I think there are some obvious ones just because of their years, but there are some positions that are really being contested very well every day,” she said. “And even if there is a starter, someone in that starting role is going to be continued to be pushed because the depth is incredibly athletic. Even though the depth might be a little bit young or inexperienced, it still can offer us a point here and a point there and who knows how many more after that. That is one of the most exciting things about the season.”
The Aggies begin their inaugural season as members of the Southeastern Conference on Friday as they host the Texas A&M Invitational at Reed. Corbelli will be going for the 500th victory of her head coaching career and her 400th A&M victory in her 20th season at the helm of the Aggies in the team’s season opener at noon 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.
The Aggies conclude the tournament Saturday 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).
Season tickets and individual match tickets can be purchased online, 24 hours a day at tickets.12thmanfoundation.com; by phone by calling 979-845-2311 or toll free at 1-888-99-AGGIE during normal business hours; in person at the ticket office located inside the Zone at the north end of Kyle Field; or at the Reed Arena Box Office beginning one hour before the match.