STATESBORO, Ga. - After weeks of preseason practice, the Georgia Southern Volleyball team will finally take the court for the start of regular season competition this weekend. The Eagles officially open the 2010 tournament slate at the War Eagle Invitational, August 27-28, hosted by Auburn.

“We’re all really excited to get the season started. It will be a good test to see where we stand,” stated Head Coach Chad Callihan. “We’ve been working really hard in practice the past few weeks, and it will be good to have a different opponent on the other side of the net.”

Tournament Field
The four-team tournament field includes UT Martin and Troy in addition to Georgia Southern and host institution, Auburn. GS faced both Troy and Auburn last season in championship matches, splitting with the two. The Eagles defeated the Troy Trojans, 3-1, in the championship match of the Holiday Inn Invitational to capture the title, but fell in a five-set heartbreaker to Auburn in the SpringHill Suites Invitational two weeks later.  

Scouting UT Martin
The Eagles open the tournament against UT Martin on Friday, August 27 at 6 p.m. (ET). The Skyhawks finished the 2009 season 8-21 on the year and 2-16 in Ohio Valley Conference play. This will be the first meeting between the two programs. Despite losing three letterwinners from 2009, the Skyhawks returns six starters, plus their libero in 2010.

Scouting Troy
The Eagles will take on a Troy team that went 12-18 in 2009 and 7-10 in the Sun Belt Conference, Saturday morning at 11 a.m. (ET). The Eagles and Trojans have met twice before, splitting matches. The Trojans will be led by senior setter Megan Henderson, middle hitter Brittany McClelland and outside hitter Devin Von Pingel. Henderson owns a career total 3,153 assists in three years.  

Scouting Auburn
Georgia Southern concludes weekend play taking on host Auburn. The Tigers, who have taken the past two matchups in five set heartbreakers, wrapped up 2009 at 16-15 overall. The second-place Western Division regular season contenders capped SEC play with an 8-12 record.  The Tigers lost two letterwinners from last year’s squad, but return six starters and their libero.

Saturday’s match at 8 p.m. (ET) will be the fifth meeting between the non-conference programs in history. Auburn leads the series, 3-1.

“This tournament will provide strong competition for us. Troy and Auburn are two teams that we played last season and we had good matches with both. I expect more of the same this year,” noted Callihan. “This will definitely be a good early barometer for us to see where we stand.”

Follow the action…
Auburn will run live stats for all matches of the War Eagle Invitational. A full tournament schedule and links to live stats can be found on the tournament page at Auburn’s official athletics website. Fans can access the tournament page by visiting Auburntigers.cstv.com or by clicking here.