ATLANTA--The Georgia State women's tennis team begins play in the star-studded Southern Shootout that features four ranked singles players and three ranked teams on Friday at 9 a.m. at the Sharon Lester Tennis Center in Piedmont Park.

The high-level competition for sixth-year head coach Miha Lisac and the Panthers offers the team an early test before the dual-match season in the spring. The Southern Shootout will feature three teams that finished last season nationally ranked in Georgia State (69), Georgia Tech (20) and South Florida (43).

The tournament also features four nationally-ranked singles players, all of which will be competing at this year's ITA All-American Championship and three that competed in last season's NCAA Singles Championship. Georgia State's Abigail Tere-Apisah (No. 23), the lone All-American of the bunch, is joined by NC State's Joelle Kissell (No. 19), USF's Ecaterina Vasenina (No. 29) and Georgia Tech's Elizabeth Kilborn (No. 93).

Tere-Apisah dueled in an epic three-set thriller in last year's dual-match season, which ended in a Georgia State 4-3 victory in Tampa, Fla. Down 5-0 in the third set, Tere-Apisah rallied to win one game but faced a 40-0 deficit in the next game. She fought off all three match points and eventually won seven straight games to win 7-5 in the set and take the match.

Play at the Southern Shootout begins with doubles at 9 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Sharon Lester Tennis Center. Singles play will immediately follow the completion of doubles each morning. The Panthers enter the tournament following a successful showing at last weekend's Atlanta Classic. GSU didn't drop a doubles match throughout the tournament and two underclassmen, sophomore Chaimaa Roudami and freshman Natallia Vavulina, posted perfect 3-0 records in singles play.

The tournament draw as well as links to live scoring will be available on the women's tennis page on GeorgiaStateSports.com throughout the weekend. Admission to all Georgia State matches at the Sharon Lester Tennis Center is free for all fans.

www.GeorgiaStateSports.com