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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

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Volleyball rides 6-match streak into NCAA tournament

The Texas A&M volleyball team travels to Gregory Gym in Austin on Thursday to begin its fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament.
Riding a six-game winning streak to end the season, the Aggies (21-8, 13-5 SEC) drew a first-round matchup against No. 22 Arizona State (19-13, 9-11 SEC), which holds a 4-0 all-time record over A&M.
The Aggies have made it past the first round of the tournament in 16 of the 22 years that head coach Laurie Corbelli has been at A&M.
A&M’s two juniors, middle blocker Shelby Sullivan and outside hitter Angela Lowak, make their third appearance at the tournament. It will also be the third consecutive year that the Aggies begin their tournament run in Austin, giving the team a chance to receive support from local A&M fans.
“This is my third year, so I don’t know anything else but going to Austin,” Lowak said. “It’s a gym that we’re familiar with. We’re familiar with their style of volleyball, as far as UT goes. I mean, what better way to play the first round of the tournament than to have your own fans there, your family there?”
Sullivan made the All-SEC team for the second straight year along with sophomore middle blocker Jazzmin Babers. Setter Stephanie Aiple and right side Ashlie Reasor also received accolades from the SEC, earning spots on the All-Freshman team. A&M is the only team to have two freshmen on the squad.
Two other teams will join A&M and ASU in Austin looking to advance to the second round of tournament play. No. 2 Texas plays Northwestern State after the Aggies face the Sun Devils. A familiar venue for A&M, Gregory Gym has hosted the NCAA tournament for three straight years giving the team a certain familiarity with their surroundings.
Even with the chance of playing the Longhorns, the Aggies must first beat the Sun Devils to give themselves a shot against their in-state rivals.
“We’ll have our hands full, that’s for sure,” Corbelli said. “I think their right side blocker is about 6-foot-4, 6-foot-5, which means that player is going up against our outside hitter and taking a lot of court from the beginning. It will be a great challenge for us.”
Corbelli said ASU’s style of play matches up well with her team’s, and the lack of expectation surrounding the Aggies can be a positive.
“One of the advantages that we have to focus on with our team is that we don’t have a target on our backs,” Corbelli said. “We don’t have the pressure. We get to go out, play loose, have fun and do our thing.”
The Aggies and Sun Devils face off at 4:30 p.m. Thursday on the Longhorn Network.

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