ATLANTA--The Georgia State men's tennis team begins a new era under first-year head coach Joerg Barthel with a challenging fall and spring schedule announced on Tuesday.

The Panthers, who enter the season ranked No. 60, look ahead to a difficult spring schedule that pits them against 10 nationally-ranked teams. GSU competes in its first action under Barthel this fall in the Georgia Southern Championships on Oct. 5-7 in Statesboro, Ga. The early October tournament kicks-off a fall schedule that includes trips to Tallahassee, Fla., for the elite ITA Southeast Regional Championships from Oct. 18-22 and Rock Hill, S.C., for the Winthrop Invitational beginning on Nov. 2.

"We are playing a tough schedule on the national level in the fall and I feel like this will give us the perfect preparation towards a successful spring season," Barthel said.

Georgia State begins the dual match schedule on the weekend of Jan. 11 with the Crimson Tide Indoor Invite in Tuscaloosa, Ala. GSU will also compete in the prestigious ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Charlottesville, Va., from Jan. 26-27. The ITA Kick-Off weekend will pit GSU against two ranked opponents in No. 58 Arkansas on the first day and either No. 2 Virginia, last year's NCAA runner-up, or No. 66 North Florida on the second day. The Panthers host their first dual match of the 2012-13 season on Feb. 3 vs. Samford.

Georgia State returns four starters from last year's team, including two seniors in Victor Valente and Lucas Santa Ana. Valente and Santa Ana own stellar singles records across their three seasons at GSU with Valente earning a 51-13 record and Santa Ana posting a 43-12 mark. Those singles records are good for first and third respectively on GSU's career singles wins list. Also returning this season are junior Thomas Cook, 17-7 in singles play last year, and sophomore Sofiane Chevallier who earned nine singles wins last season.

Visit the men's tennis page on throughout the fall for previews of all fall tournaments and full recaps of the Panthers' results.