ATLANTA- Georgia State volleyball began the 2019 preseason with a practice Friday morning in the GSU Sports Arena.  

The Panthers will have three weeks to prepare for the season opener against Western Carolina on Aug. 30 in the GSU Sports Arena. The match against the Catamounts will be the first of three for GSU in the annual GSU Invitational. The team will also face Lamar and Fordham on Aug. 31. The team will travel for the next several weekends before returning to action in the GSU Sports Arena on Sept. 20 to face Northwestern State. 

GSU welcomes several new faces on the court this season. This year’s roster includes five freshmen and two transfers. This rookie group adds depth at every position and includes two new setters for the Panthers. 

Alongside the GSU rookies is a strong veteran core led by seniors Sydney Stroud, Morgan Hash, and Madelyn Ott. Stroud finished last season with over 200 kills. Hash contributed over 100 kills, despite battling injury. 

Defensively, Meisheia Griffin leads the charge at the net after notching 124 blocks last season, the third most in the Sun Belt Conference. Lauren Bandera will lead the defensive efforts in the back row after finishing last season with a team high 350 digs.

GSU’s 27-match schedule is highlighted by 12 home meetings at the GSU Sports Arena. 

The Panthers will begin Sun Belt play with a trip to the Carolinas, taking on Appalachian State on Sept. 27 before traveling to Conway, S.C. to face Coastal Carolina on Sept. 29. The team will return to the Sports Arena for the conference home opener Oct. 4 against South Alabama. GSU will face seven conference opponents at home this season.

For the third straight year the Panthers will finish regular season play with a home and home series with Georgia Southern. GSU will visit Statesboro on Nov. 12 and three days later the Eagles will travel to Atlanta to face off in the regular season finale. This match will also serve as the GSU Senior Day. 

Georgia State looks to end the season with a deep run in the Sun Belt Tournament, which will be held in San Marcos, Texas Nov. 21-24. 

Entering her sixth year as head coach, the Panthers are led by Sally Polhamus. She is assisted by third year assistant coach Ashley Beyer and newcomer Chris Duenow

“This is what we have been looking forward to since the last ball dropped in 2018. It is exciting to have our family together for the first time this season. We have been preparing to start a new journey together in the gym and classroom to be our most competitive self,” said Polhamus. 

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