The Texas A&M volleyball team, under the direction of first-year head coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn, plays its first match of the spring season on Friday as the Aggies take on Rice at 6 p.m. at Tudor Fieldhouse in Houston.
Admission is free.
“It will be exciting to finally see the team compete against an opponent,” Kuhn said. “I'm looking forward to see how our team looks and just our energy and our competitive confidence, where we are at versus another team. We've started playing more in practice, competing six-on-six and letting them go live. Whenever anyone starts competing, the energy gets ramped up, so for us to go into someone else's gym and compete for the first time this spring, it gets even more exciting.”
Rice, coached by Genny (Wood) Volpe, a former Aggie volleyball standout and Texas A&M Class of ’95, went 21-9 last year after reaching the first round of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC). The Owls swept Houston, 25-22, 25-22, 28-26, in their spring opener on March 9.
“Rice has always been solid,” Kuhn added. “They are going to be a solid opponent to open up against with the new team that we are, the new chemistry that we have, the new everything that we have. The match will be a good measuring stick to see where we are as a team, with the systems and all the skills we have been working on. It will be very cool, too, because Genny is an alum. I know she is excited to have us there, and it will be fun to get there and be in the gym with them and watch our teams compete.”
The Aggies, who went 10-15 last year, have nine returning letterwinners and a redshirt transfer on the roster, as well as four freshmen who graduated high school early and enrolled at Texas A&M for the spring semester. Who will start against the Owls is to be determined.
“We don't know for sure just yet who our starters will be,” Kuhn said. “We've been putting them in certain lineups and trying people in different places, so as we work through this week and keep competing, that has been one of our focuses.”
The Aggies will continue their spring slate with a match at Texas on Wednesday, April 4 and at the F.A.S.T. Collegiate Invitational Texas in Houston on Saturday, April 14. A&M also will take a foreign training tour to Europe in mid-May.