ATLANTA--A match against local-rival Georgia Southern on Saturday kicks-off the No. 60 Georgia State Men's Tennis team's weekend slate that finishes against Nicholls State on Sunday.
The Panthers (4-1) battle the Eagles on Saturday at 1 p.m. and take on Nicholls State on Sunday at 10 a.m. This year marks the fourth-consecutive season Georgia State and Georgia Southern will meet in men's tennis and the 24th time in series history. Georgia State, led by first-year head coach Joerg Barthel, owns a 14-9 (.609) edge in the all-time series. Sunday's match will be the first meeting all-time between GSU and Nicholls State.
Several of the Panthers can draw on experience from the fall semester in Saturday's match vs. GSO. Seniors Victor Valente and Lucas Santa Ana, junior Robert Schulze and freshman Sofiane Chevallier competed in the Georgia Southern Championships in Statesboro, Ga., from Oct. 5-7, 2012. Valente won the singles title of the Blue Draw while Schulze and Chevallier won the doubles title in a dominating performance from GSU. Each player defeated competition from Georgia Southern throughout singles play.
Georgia Southern will be playing in its first action since it won a 4-3 match vs. Mercer on Jan. 26 in Macon, Ga. Senior Mathijs Verdam leads the Eagles at the No. 1 position while sophomore Andrew Dromsky plays at No. 2.
Nicholls State hails from Thibodaux, La., which is about an hour drive west of New Orleans. The Colonels are 4-3 to begin the season and compete in the Southland Conference. Nicholls State takes on Kennesaw State at Noon on Saturday prior to battling the Panthers on Sunday. Senior Dimitry Kozionov plays in the No. 1 singles position for the Colonels and is off to a 3-3 start.
"We are fortunate to have competed against Georgia Southern's players in the fall which will provides us better insight into playing styles and matcups," GSU assistant coach Cesar Vargas said. "I also expect Nicholls State to come in with plenty of confidence after a win against a highly-regarded program such as SMU and they have plenty of experience in their starting lineup."
Georgia State junior Thomas Cook earned the first Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week award of the season on Wednesday. Cook has gotten off to a hot start this season with a 5-0 record during singles play. He has clinched three victories for Georgia State with singles victories at the No. 2 singles position.
Live stats will be available for both matches this weekend from the Blackburn Tennis Center on the men's tennis page on GeorgiaStateSports.com. Fans can also follow the men's tennis team on Twitter at "@GSUMTennis" for live results. Visit the site following the match for a full recap and results.