STATESBORO, Ga. - The Georgia Southern Volleyball team opens their 2011 season by hosting the Spring Hill Suites Invitational in Old Hanner Gym inside the W.S. Hanner Fieldhouse. The Eagles will welcome four teams to the Georgia Southern campus and will play the whole tournament on a sport court surface on Friday and Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. each day.

GSU will play their first game of the 2011 campaign against Stephen F. Austin at noon on Friday and will return to the court for a 7 p.m. match against South Dakota State that night. The Eagles will play at the same times on Saturday and will face the other two teams in the tournament, Jacksonville and Montana State.

The full slate of games can be found online at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com on the Volleyball team's schedule page. Game times are 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday. Montana State and Jacksonville kick off the tournament at 10 a.m. on Friday and Montana State and Georgia Southern will wrap it up at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

The Volleyball Eagles were selected first in the SoCon's South Divison in a poll of the league's coaches. Georgia Southern also led the Preseason All-SoCon Team with three players, all returners from the 2010 Southern Conference Tournament Championship squad.

Kate Van Dyke (Shawnee, Kan.), Bethany Sanford (Avondale, Ariz.) and Parker Small (Charlotte, N.C.) were all selected to the preseason team after stellar 2010 seasons. Van Dyke set the single-season school record for assists with 1,465 last year, while Small's .375 hitting percentage ranks second for a season. Sanford is moving up the career kills chart and ranks third in Eagle history with 1,151.

Joining them are seven newcomers including a large crop of six freshman. The remaining newcomer is Meredith Paskert (Brecksville, Ohio), a Kent State transfer. Paskert played two seasons for the Golden Flashes and earned MAC All-Freshman and All-MAC Second Team honors.

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