What you need to know:

* Georgia State opens the season this Saturday at the UNF Beach Invitational in St. Augustine, Fla.

* GSU will play UNC Wilmington and College of Charleston Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. respectively. The Panthers will finish the tournament with matches against host North Florida and Spring Hill College on Sunday.

* Georgia State comes back to Atlanta to host Austin Peay and Mercer during the Day of Duals next Tuesday, March 7th at the GSU Beach Volleyball Complex. Admission is free to the public.


ATLANTA – After a 26-10 season and NCAA Tournament appearance, Georgia State’s eighth-ranked beach volleyball team is set to open the 2017 season down in St. Augustine, Fla.

The Panthers are gearing up to play four matches at the UNF Invitational starting with UNCW and College of Charleston on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. GSU finishes off the tournament versus host North Florida at 9:30 a.m. and Spring Hill College Sunday at 12:30 p.m. The matches against UNCW and Charleston are GSU's first two CCSA conference matches this season.

“Heading to St. Augustine this weekend will give us a chance to assess our growth since the fall exhibition and give us an opportunity to see how quickly we can adapt as pairs,” head coach Beth Van Fleet said. “We are excited to get back into the rhythm of season and to compete against these highly established programs.”

The beach team begins the season ranked eighth in the AVCA beach volleyball preseason poll. Georgia State finished the season at No. 7 last year after earning a seven-seed in the NCAA Tournament out in Gulf Shores, Ala.

Van Fleet is heading into her fourth season at the helm and has earned a record of 58-18 during her GSU career.

Georgia State is a combined 10-2 against UNCW, Charleston and North Florida. The Panthers will meet Spring Hill College for the first time this weekend.  

This year’s beach team features a young lineup with seven underclassmen including five true freshmen. GSU will look to its four seniors led by Delaney Rohan, who was named to the CCSA Preseason All-Conference team after going 29-6 last season.

The Panthers also have three graduate transfers. Amie Held, Haley Pa’akaula and Chelsea Ross are each transitioning from court to beach volleyball. Last week, Ross was named to the CCSA Watch List.

Georgia State returns nine players that combined for 70 victories last season.

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