STATESBORO, Ga. - Georgia Southern fifth-year Volleyball Head Coach Chad Callihan unveiled the 2012 schedule which includes 30 matches and one exhibition against Serbia. The Eagles will play three tournaments on the road to start the season but will break that up with their first home match on Sept 4th.
Georgia Southern will face a number of quality teams in the three tournaments to open the season which should help prepare them for a tough Southern Conference slate.
"The conference schedule is going to be extremely challenging this year," said Head Coach Chad Callihan. "It is strong from top to bottom. This is probably the strongest the conference has been since I have been affiliated with it."
To get themselves prepared for the SoCon schedule, the Eagles will open the year at the Benson Hospitality Bulldog Invitational and the Auburn Invitational. Callihan will take his 2012 squad to his old stomping grounds of Georgia's Ramsey Student Physical Activities Center where he served as an assistant coach for the Bulldogs in the first tournament of the year.
The Eagles will face Georgia on Aug. 24 to open the year and will close out the tournament with matches against Georgia State, Serbia and Troy. The match with Serbia will be an exhibition contest that will give coach Callihan a unique opportunity.
"The exciting thing with that match is that it gives us an opportunity to play with some lineups. We can throw some younger players in and see who thrives well in match situations," said Callihan.
Georgia Southern will remain on the road the next week at Auburn's tournament and will face the host Tigers on Aug. 31. The rest of the tournament lineup includes matches against Jacksonville State and High Point on Sept. 1. The Eagles will play a week later in New Mexico's Lobo Invitational. The field for that tournament will also include UCSB and Portland.
Before heading off to New Mexico, GSU will play the first of 13 games inside Hanner Fieldhouse beginning with Mercer on Sept. 4. After returning from their final tournament, the Eagles will host four games against South Alabama, Wisconsin, Savannah State and Jacksonville over a three day stretch from Sept. 13-15 to wrap up the non-conference schedule.
"It is a challenging schedule that helps us identify any weaknesses, see where we are early on and gives us a chance to prepare before we enter conference play," said Callihan.
Georgia Southern opens Southern Conference play the next weekend at Wofford on Sept. 21. The home conference slate begins the following weekend against the Charleston duo of The Citadel and the College of Charleston. The Eagles will return to the road following their Sept. 29 match against the Cougars and will visit the site of the 2012 Southern Conference Tournament when they face Davidson on Oct. 8.
"To get up to Davidson and just let the kids get comfortable is a good opportunity to have," stated Callihan about playing at the site of the Nov. 17-19 conference tournament early. "We will get a practice in there as well, and I think it helps, particularly with our younger kids."
The Eagles will face Samford, the defending Southern Conference Tournament Champions, a couple of weeks later on Oct. 20 in Birmingham, Ala. The conference slate wraps up with four consecutive home games against Western Carolina, Davidson, Furman and Wofford. Georgia Southern will also play conference games against Appalachian State, UNCG, Elon and Chattanooga.
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