STATESBORO — Georgia Southern fifth-year volleyball head coach Chad Callihan has 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 Sept 4.
The pre-conference tourneys are expected to help prepare the Eagles for what is expected to be a difficult Southern Conference slate.
“The conference schedule is going to be extremely challenging this year,” Callihan said. “It is strong from top to bottom. This is probably the strongest the conference has been since I have been affiliated with it.”
The Eagles will open at the Benson Hospitality Bulldog Invitational. Callihan will take his 2012 squad to his old stomping grounds of Georgia’s Ramsey Student Physical Activities Center in Athens, where he served as an assistant coach for the Bulldog. The Eagles will face Georgia on Aug. 24 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 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.
In the Auburn Tournament the following week, Georgia Southern 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 play a week later in the Lobo Invitational at Albuquerque. The field for that tournament includes California-Santa Barbara and Portland.
Before heading off to New Mexico, GSU will play the first of 13 games inside Hanner Fieldhouse beginning Sept. 4 with Mercer. After returning from their final tournament, the Eagles will host South Alabama, Wisconsin, Savannah State and Jacksonville 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,” Callihan said.
Georgia Southern opens Southern Conference play Sept. 21 at Wofford. The home conference slate begins the following weekend against The Citadel and the College of Charleston. The SoCon tourney is set for Nov. 17-19 in Davidson, N.C.
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