What you need to know:
*Georgia State defeated Mercer in a five set exhibition Friday.
*All seventeen Panthers played in the match.
*GSU will open the regular season next Friday at the East Carolina Invitational.
Georgia State defeated Mercer (25-23, 25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 15-11) in a five set exhibition Friday afternoon at the GSU Sports Arena. The match marked the only tune-up for the Panthers before next week’s regular season opener. All seventeen players saw action in the match.
“It was great to be back on the court, and I am proud of how our team played”, said head coach Sally Polhamous. “Mercer is a great defensive team and a great challenge for us, I am thankful they were able to make the trip.”
The Panthers got off to a hot start in the first set. A pair of aces by junior Anna Rantala made the score 9-3 and prompted a quick timeout by the Bears. Georgia State led by as many as ten in the set. Mercer battled back to tie the game at twenty-three, but a Bear service error and a kill by Sydney Stroud secured the set victory for GSU.
Junior transfer Carley Eiken began the second set serving for seven consecutive points, propelling the Panthers to another early lead. Once again, Mercer continued to battle tying the score at twenty-one before a kill and a block by Morgan Hash closed out the set.
Set three saw Mercer get out to the early advantage. The Bears jumped on the Panthers for a 7-2 lead. A 10-3 run by GSU put the Panthers on top. The two would exchange leads before Mercer pulled away giving them the win.
The back and forth play continued into the fourth set. But the Panthers were able to separate late to earn a 25-20 win and clinch the match. The teams determined before the match that they would play a fifth set regardless of outcome. Georgia State defeated Mercer in the fifth set to take four of five on the day.
The Panthers will begin regular season play next Friday, August 25 against Rutgers as part of the East Carolina Invitational. GSU will take on William and Mary and ECU Saturday, August 26 as part of the tournament.