What You Need to Know:

* The Panthers host the Mercer Bears in an exhibition match Friday.

* GSU returns nine letter winners from the 2016 team, and welcomes in eight newcomers.

* The match is set for noon at the GSU Sports Arena.

ATLANTA- After two weeks of preseason workouts, the Georgia State volleyball team will face the Mercer Bears in an exhibition match Friday. It will be the first and only tune-up for the Panthers before beginning regular season play. The match will be the first opportunity for fans to see the eight newcomers who will join the 2017 roster.

“Our players came in ready to learn this preseason, working hard to get the most out of every rep”, said Panther head coach Sally Polhamus who is entering her fourth year at the helm for GSU.

The Panthers return nine letter-winners from the 2016 team to round out the seventeen-player roster. Key returnees include juniors Anna Rantala and Sarah Renner, as well as sophomore Celeste Friesen, each of whom saw action in all twenty-eight GSU matches last season. Also returning is junior Crystal Lee, who enters the season with 275 career kills.

 The coaching staff is eager to see how the new faces and experienced veterans meld together. “This scrimmage gives us an opportunity to test a variety of line-ups and see how we compete as a unit”, said Polhamus. “We cannot wait to face another opponent across the net.”

The Panthers will kick off the regular season next Friday, August 25 at the East Carolina Invitational. Georgia State will battle Rutgers, William and Mary, and ECU during the two-day tournament.

Georgia State has faced Mercer 40 times since the 1986 season, and the Panthers have enjoyed great success totaling a 34-6 record in that time. Mercer posted a 15-14 record in 2016, finishing sixth in the Southern Conference. The Bears will open regular season play on August 25th against South Carolina.

The exhibition is set for noon at the GSU Sports Arena. Admission to the match is free. Parking for the event will be available at Georgia State’s G Deck for $3.00. Entrances to G Deck are located at Courtland Street, Collins Street, and Central Avenue.