The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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No. 16 Texas A&M volleyball opens home schedule against No. 6 Wisconsin

Volleyball+Preview
Photo by File
Volleyball Preview

The long awaited No. 16 Texas A&M volleyball home opener has arrived. A young volleyball squad, led by a few key veterans, returns to Aggieland to face No. 6 Wisconsin in search of topping an award-winning 2015 season.

Head coach Laurie Corbelli is taking on her 24th season with the Aggies and anticipates an exciting matchup against a top 10 opponent.

“I personally really enjoy preparing my team for these kinds of teams because it’s really easy,” Corbelli said. “It’s a lot harder to prepare your team for an opponent that doesn’t come in with a big name, [because] they’re just going to work their tails off to beat you. [Our players] know these teams are going to be really good so they take care of a lot of the preparation on their own.”

It is now the time that big-game jitters and butterflies start to settle in. Corbelli said she’ll be looking toward her veteran players to take control of the game as well as their emotions.

“With so many returners on the court, they do a really good job of executing the gameplan,” Corbelli said. “Then you have got to add in the emotion and the expectations from each of them on themselves. I think the team’s prepared to go, ready to go, looking forward to playing in Texas again. Lots of families and friends and fans will be there and it’ll be pretty easy actually for these matches to be really fired up.”
The Aggies are entering the season after compiling a 6-4 record in the preseason. They’re coming off an impressive three-match sweep last weekend at the Borderland Invitational and a loss at long-time rival Texas.
“We set the tone last week in practice a little differently than we have been,” Corbelli said. “We just needed to raise the standards a little bit. We made things a little bit clearer for some things that maybe the team wasn’t too sure about. Those kinds of things just really set the tone differently in their heads and they came out really focused and really determined and the leadership on the court was better.”
Corbelli said she expects her most experienced players like Amy Nettles and Jazzmin Babers to take the reins of leadership this Friday.
“I think what they’ll try and do is just be really confident and relaxed,” Corbelli said. “I think they’ll smile a lot trying to relax their younger teammates that might be a little nervous. I think they’ll lead with their intensity and I really trust them in terms of the game they need to play for that match for us to get the win. I trust that they’ll be ready to do those things, and if things aren’t working, their experience allows them to make changes as needed.”
Last weekend gave Texas A&M an opportunity to debut some fresh faces to the squad. A big home court performance is the perfect chance for fans to be introduced to the newcomers.
“I think you’ll enjoy watching Hollann Hans on the outside,” Corbelli said. “She’s a freshman from Corpus Christi who’s touching about 10’3’, 10’4’ and brings power that her physique doesn’t look like she could bring. She’s kind of a quiet player but then she comes and kind of dominates quite often on the outside. I think the fans will enjoy watching Kaitlyn Blake. She’s in the middle and has got SEC Player of the Week. She’s a phenomenal blocker and is coming along real nicely in middle attacking.”

Fans will also get a chance to glimpse their favorite players returning from a 2015 season which ended when the Aggies fell to No. 7 Hawaii in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

“Our returning SEC Player of the Year, Stephanie Aiple, our setter running the show is always fun to watch,” Corbelli said. “She’s a phenomenal setter and she brings an intensity to the court and runs the score up with a lot of fire and confidence.”
The Aggies take the court at 4 p.m. Friday at Reed Arena.

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