What you need to know: 

* Georgia State opens regular season play this weekend at the ECU Invitational.

* The Panthers will face Rutgers, ECU, and William & Mary.

* GSU plays Friday at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday at 10:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

ATLANTA- Georgia State volleyball will open the 2017 regular season this weekend at the ECU Invitational in Greenville, North Carolina. The Panthers will play Rutgers, East Carolina, and William & Mary in the weekend tournament.

The 2017 campaign will officially get underway at 4:30 p.m. Friday when the Panthers take on Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights, of the powerhouse Big Ten Conference finished the 2016 season with a 4-29 record. “Rutgers is a physical team that plays against top competition, they compete first point to last point”, said Panther head coach Sally Polhamus. Friday’s match will mark the first ever meeting between the two teams.

Saturday’s slate sees the Panthers face ECU at 10:00 a.m. and close out tournament play against William & Mary at 4:30 p.m. Georgia State is 4-3 all time against East Carolina, who finished last season with an even 15-15 record. The Panthers have faced William & Mary 14 times in program history, winning the most recent meeting 3-0 last September.

 “ECU is a feisty team with key senior returners, they pride themselves on not letting the ball hit the floor”, said Polhamus. “William & Mary is a well coached team that does not make many mistakes, we saw last year they have two great outside hitters.”

 For the Panthers, attention to detail will be a primary focus. “Our biggest emphasis is to come out and compete for every point”, said Polhamus. “We want to better the ball and be consistent in our offensive and defensive systems.”

 Georgia State returns nine letter winners, including five starters from the 2016 team. Juniors, Anna Rantala and Sarah Renner, as well as sophomore, Celeste Friesen played in all 28 GSU matches last season.

 The Panthers won their only preseason tune-up match, defeating Mercer four sets to one in a five set exhibition on August 18th. All seventeen GSU players saw action in the match.

 Video of Saturday morning’s match will be available through the link provided on the GSU schedule page. Live stats will be active for all three matches.

 Follow along with Georgia State on Twitter (GeorgiaStateVB) for the latest news.