What you need to know:
*Georgia State will face Georgia Southern in a home and home series beginning Wednesday at the GSU Sports Arena.
*Half a point in the Rivalry Series will be on the line, going to the winner of each match. The Rivalry Series is currently tied 1.5-1.5.
*The Panthers swept Georgia Southern in the final two matches of the 2017 season.
ATLANTA- First place in the Rivalry Series will be on the line this week as Georgia State and Georgia Southern face off in a pair of crucial Sun Belt matches. The Panthers will host the Eagles in the GSU Sports Arena Wednesday night, before taking the trip to Statesboro for Friday’s regular season finale. Both matches will have 6:30 start times.
The winner of each match will earn their school a half point in the Rivalry Series standings. The Panthers and Eagles are tied with 1.5 points per side after the first three competitions of the year.
“These are matches we look forward to all season,” said Panther coach Sally Polhamus. “We always want to be playing our best volleyball at the end of the season, and we have a great opportunity to do that this Wednesday and Friday.”
The Panthers are hoping to replicate their recent success over Georgia Southern. State swept the 2017 season series with Southern, winning both matches by the score of 3-2. Meisheia Griffin dominated the match in Statesboro, hitting .429, recording 14 kills, and seven blocks. Morgan Hash stole the show in Atlanta with a career high 23 kills in a five set win at the GSU Sports Arena.
The pair of 2017 wins over Georgia Southern gave coach Sally Polhamus wins number 100 and 101 of her head-coaching career, and helped Georgia State to a 16.5-5.5 Rivalry Series victory. It was the Panthers third straight Rivalry Series win.
Wednesday’s home match will mark the final regular season outing at the GSU Sports Arena for seniors, Shae Chapman, Carley Eiken, Crystal Lee, Anna Rantala, and Sarah Renner. The Panthers honored the quintet before an October 27 win over Little Rock.
While the seniors have had an extraordinary impact for GSU, State has found great production of late from a trio of younger players. Junior Madelyn Ott has recorded 33 kills in the past four matches and averaged just less than one block per set.
Griffin, a sophomore and freshman Lauren Bandera have led the way defensively for Georgia State through ten conference matches. Griffin ranks second in the Sun Belt with 1.44 blocks per set in conference play, and her 1.26 blocks per set rank her 39 in the NCAA. Bandera leads all conference freshmen with 4.21 digs in Sun Belt matches, and has recorded double digit digs in her last nine outings.
Admission to all Panther volleyball matches is free. As a reminder, construction of the Courtland St. Bridge is ongoing. Parking for the matches is still available via G Deck, but we encourage fans to allow extra time to navigate the construction.
Live stats for both matches will be available via the links in our schedule page. Fans can watch Wednesday’s action live on PantherVison and use the link provided to watch Friday’s match.
For more news and notes follow @GeorgiaStateVB on Twitter.