What you need to know:
* Georgia State volleyball is back in action this Friday in Arlington, Texas for the Sun Belt Championship. The Panthers (10-17, 6-10) enter the SBC Tournament as the No. 8 seed and take on the top-seeded Arkansas State Red Wolves Friday at 6 p.m. ET. The winner moves on to take on the victor of UT Arlington and Little Rock in the semifinals.
* Head coach Sally Polhamus and GSU are looking to finish the season strong out in Arlington. The Panthers are coming off a disappointing stretch after dropping two matches to Georgia Southern and three in a row. On the other hand, Arkansas State (23-7, 15-1) has not lost a match since Oct. 7 at Texas State.
* Kristina Stinson, Eliza Zachary, Celeste Friesen and company will prepare this week for the team’s first conference tournament appearance since Nov. 27th of 2014. Stinson and Zachary have led the Panther attack in SBC play with nearly 300 combined kills. Friesen has compiled 258 digs in conference play as part of her impressive freshman campaign.
ATLANTA – On Wednesday night, Georgia State will travel to Arlington, Texas for the 2016 Sun Belt Volleyball Championship. Head coach Sally Polhamus and the Panthers will meet the top-seeded Arkansas State Red Wolves (23-7, 15-1) Friday at 6 p.m. ET inside UT Arlington’s College Park Center.
The Panthers (10-17, 6-10) are thinking upset after dropping four of their last five matches heading into the tournament. The Red Wolves head to Arlington red hot as winners of 11 consecutive matches. Arkansas State has dropped just two sets total in those victories.
Seniors Kristina Stinson and Eliza Zachary have commanded the offense in Sun Belt play, averaging well over two kills per set. Sophomore setter Sarah Renner’s total of 878 assists is sixth-best in the conference. GSU’s Celeste Friesen and Anna Rantala lead the team defensively with 636 combined digs on the season.
Under head coach David Rehr, Arkansas State has won at least 20 matches in each of the past three seasons. The Red Wolves have six players with at least 100 kills including sophomore outside hitter Carlisa May, who is averaging nearly four kills per set. Redshirt freshman Kenzie Fields has deepened the Red Wolves’ attack with 262 kills on the year.
The Arkansas State offense runs through senior setter Mallory Warrington. She leads the conference in total assists (1,253) and assists per set (11.93). Warrington is in the top three in the nation in both categories. Senior defensive specialist Markie Shaedig is first in the SB in digs per set (5.30) and is second in total digs (557).
The Panthers are hard at work this week and are excited for the challenge at hand. GSU will be looking for its first-ever win over Arkansas State in nine opportunities.
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