ATLANTA – The Georgia State sand volleyball team announced its inaugural schedule Monday. The 2013 season features two events at the new Georgia State Sand Volleyball Complex..

“We are very excited and ready to compete this spring,” said head coach Tami Audia. "We feel our schedule allows us to see the best competition we can to prepare us for the end of the year AVCA National Tournament. Since we were one of the few schools that got the opportunity to practice all fall, we have maximized our play dates and will be ready to go that first weekend.”

The Panthers open up the season Saturday March 9 in the first day of the two-day Ron Jon Surf Shop Beach-n-Boards Festival on the sands of Cocoa Beach, Fla. GSU joins Stetson, Jacksonville, College of Charleston, and future Sun Belt rival Louisiana-Monroe in the event.

The Panthers host local rival Mercer in the inaugural competition at the new sand volleyball complex Tuesday March, 12 at 5 p.m. Georgia State will host the first-ever GSU Sand Invitational April 6 and 7. The event will feature Florida State, Tulane, and Louisiana-Monroe. 

“We are really looking forward to the opening dual match at home against Mercer and our home tournament the first weekend of April,” said Audia. “This will give is a chance to really show off our outstanding facility and get the support of the students and community.”

The Panthers face future Sun Belt foe Florida Atlantic as well as Florida International, Pepperdine, UAB, and Tulane at the Florida International Invitational March 30 and 30 in South Beach Fla.

GSU returns to the Sunshine State for the three-day Fiesta at Siesta Tournament in Siesta Key, Fla. April 12 through 14 and the Panthers face FSU, UAB, and College of Charleston in a two-day tournament at Florida State April 20 and 21.

The Panthers travel to Louisiana Monroe for a head-to-head competition April 27 before the AVCA National Championships, which are slated for May 3 through 5.

A sand volleyball dual match consists of five matches between two pairs from each school, similar to doubles tennis. Each match will follow a standard sand volleyball format with which viewers of Olympic sand volleyball will be familiar. The squad that wins three out of five total matches wins the event.