The Aggie volleyball team is back in action tonight as they take on the UT Arlington Mavericks. Tonight's match signals the start of the second half of the WAC schedule and there are three teams, Utah State (8-2), New Mexico State (7-2) and Idaho (7-2) all within a half game of each other at the top of the standings. The Aggies and Vandals got some help on Monday from UTSA who went into Logan and swept the UtAgs. That result has been indicative of the parity from top to bottom in the league this season. Just as an example -- The Aggies swept UTSA at home, UTSA swept Utah State in Logan but Utah State swept the New Mexico State in Logan. The Aggies defeated Idaho in five and defeated SJSU in four but SJSU swept Idaho (but lost to UT Arlington) and Idaho swept Utah State in Logan. And then you look at the bottom of the standings and Seattle has just two WAC wins but has gone to five sets with every team in the WAC that's outside of Texas (for some reason all three Texas schools, UTA, UTSA and Texas State have all been able to handle Seattle).
So what does it all mean? It means that the old coaching cliché than any team can beat any other team on any given night is actually true this season in WAC volleyball. If you don't bring your 'A' game, no matter what team you are, there's a good chance you're going to lose. It also means that finishing first or second in league play will be at a premium in order to secure a match against a "lower" seeded team in the first round (although, we would really not want to be the team to have to face Seattle in round one) and it also means that the WAC Volleyball tournament is going to be an absolute free-for-all with any number of teams with a good shot at winning. There is no clear-cut favorite at least as of right now.
As far as the Aggies are concerned, they need to win the WAC tournament to get in to the NCAA tournament. The RPI numbers haven't panned out the way the Aggies had hoped and they're currently hovering just inside the Top 100. It also means that there will be just one team from the WAC making the NCAAs, that being the tournament champion.
If you checked out this week's interview with head coach Mike Jordan, you know that the coaching staff is a little concerned with certain rotations in their lineup and that changes will likely be made this week. There have been a few instances this season where the Aggies have gotten stuck in a bad rotation and been unable to get out of it, the home match in the first set against Louisiana Tech is a prime example. The Aggies were up 20-11 but got stuck in a bad rotation and LA Tech came all the way back to win. In Saturday's loss to Texas State the same thing happened with Meredith Hays and Desiree Scott stuck in the back row and the Aggies unable to close out a 23-20 lead which would have given them a 3-1 victory. Instead the Bobcats clawed back, took set four 26-24 and went on to win the match 3-2.
It will be interesting to see what the lineup changes will be. Tonight's match is scheduled for a 6:00 p.m. (MDT) first serve with streaming video available via the UTA athletic website.
The UT Arlington athletic website previews tonight's match.
Gus Contreras of The Shorthorn previews tonight's match.
If you've found an article that you think other Aggie fans would like to read, send it to us! Select "The Daily Aggie" from the 'Category' drop-down