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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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Southern slugfest
May 23, 2024
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
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Texas A&Ms attendance for the Alabama game was at 108,101 fans ranking it at the third largest game in Kyle Field history.(Ishika Samant/The Battalion)
‘The Mexican 12th Man’
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • May 30, 2024

Growing up in the hills of Monterrey, Mexico, Pedro and Carlos Luna were surrounded by soccer.  Clad in the gold and blue of Tigres UANL,...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Seniors, coaches prime infused youth

 
 

Expectations aren’t just high for the Texas A&M volleyball team in 2013, they also come with a caution label.
Warning: Team contains an influx of young talent.
The Aggies graduated all five starting seniors, but that didn’t stop Southeastern Conference coaches this offseason from voting the team as co-favorites to repeat as SEC West champions.
“It’s kind of built in that it’s motivating to match last years success in the SEC and as well as the tournament,” said A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli.
Though freshmen and sophomores may drive the team, it will not be without strong senior leadership.
Senior setter Allie Sawatzky and outside hitter Heather Reynolds will provide guidance as captains.
Sawatzky ranked fourth on the team last year in kills and has been the team’s starting setter for the past three years. Reynolds saw reserve time and has now emerged as a feature athlete on the squad.
“It’s definitely a struggle every year because we always have such a great senior class,” Sawatzky said. “Last year was five of them on the court, but I think they did a good job of leaving experience and tips with younger players in their position for them to get better. Those players now will go on the court knowing what to expect.”
For Reynolds, the preseason tie with LSU for the SEC West crown wasn’t enough.
“We’re going to be competitive and I don’t think we should be tied with LSU in the West side,” she said. “We’re going to have our moments where we may look like a young team, but I don’t think it’s going to affect us where we lose matches because of it.”
The Aggies will play a tough schedule that includes ranked matches against No. 15 Iowa State, No. 18 Florida State, No. 7 Michigan and conference foes Florida and LSU.
“We circle all of them because those are matches that are going to challenge us,” Corbelli said. “Great teams like that expose you and the world to your weaknesses.”
The middle blocker position boils down to sophomore Shelby Sullivan and redshirt freshman Jazzmin Babers. Sullivan is still recovering from December’s major knee surgery, which she opted for after suffering an injury during the first round of the NCAA Championships.
Corbelli expects Sullivan to be back to 100 percent by conference play though she is scheduled to work with around the 75 percent limit during non-conference games.
The team that most fans will see on the court early in the season is certain to change with time, Corbelli said.
“We’re young, I’m not going to lie,” Corbelli said. “We’re an untested group and the SEC is much improved from last year. We’re going to evolve, I can just see it now.”
The expectations for Corbelli and the Aggies are as high as they ever are at A&M coming off an SEC West title and a trip to the second round of the NCAA Championships.
“I think they are going to surprise a lot of people,” Corbelli said. “We’re definitely capable of returning as the SEC West champion and the SEC Championship. We have to believe it for sure before we could even see it. I know they believe they can.”

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