News from MSU Media Relations--Sept. 24

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Soccer, Volleyball, Women's Tennis, Men's Tennis and Men's Golf.

AUBURN, Ala. - Freshman Elisabeth Sullivan scored her fourth goal of the season as Mississippi State's soccer team opened Southeastern Conference play with a 3-1 road setback to No. 25 Auburn Friday night.

Sullivan's strike came in the 81st minute. Senior Ashley Hood pushed a pass between Auburn defenders, and Sullivan worked to the middle of the field and fired the ball past Tiger goalkeeper Amy Howard.

The Memphis, Tenn., native tied sophomore Rachel Wannek for the team lead in goals and points (11). Hood, a Huntsville, Ala., native, collected her third assist of the season and second in as many matches.

Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Skylar Rosson stopped a personal-best nine shots.

The loss dropped MSU to 7-3 overall and 0-1 in the league. Auburn improved to 7-2 overall, 1-0 in SEC play.

"I felt like we gave them too much respect in the first half. Our defense held its shape really well, but we didn't gamble and try to attack," Mississippi State head coach Neil Macdonald said. "I thought we came back in the second half and played really well. We started to pinch the ball and transition into an attack, and as a result, thought we had the opportunity to make some plays. Auburn is a tough team, and I think we can learn a lot from this match."

Despite the strong second-half effort, the Maroon & White was unable to overcome two first-half scores by the Tigers.

Auburn took the lead in the 11th minute on a Mary Coffed goal. The Tigers' second goal came on a Katie Frierson putback with 22:19 left in the opening frame.

The Dawgs came out strong in the opening seconds of the second half. Senior Kat Walsh directed a 55th-minute kick toward the net, but Howard corralled it for one of her two saves on the night.

Ten minutes later, senior Danielle Kite sailed a long-distance free kick just high of the crossbar.

Sullivan had another opportunity stopped by Howard at the 78:26 mark, but after Gabi Rivera put Auburn up 3-0, she beat Howard for the final scoring of the night.

The Bulldogs return to action on Sunday, traveling to Tuscaloosa to meet Alabama at 1 p.m.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Sophomore Hillary Parker came off the bench to deliver a clutch service ace and teammates Paris Perret and Mandy Mellencamp combined for a match-winning block Friday night as Mississippi State (9-4, 1-1 SEC) successfully opened its SEC home schedule with a five-set win (23-25, 25-13, 26-24, 17-25, 18-16) over SEC West rival Arkansas (7-7, 1-2 SEC). The marathon match, the seventh five-set affair in 14 matches played by Arkansas this fall, lasted two hours and 20 minutes.

Each team claimed both a lopsided and a hard-fought two-point win to send the match into a deciding fifth stanza, with the Bulldogs scoring the final three points of the night for the win, their fourth in the last five Newell-Grissom Building matchups with Arkansas.

"It's a huge win for us," said second-year head coach Jenny Hazelwood. "We saw tonight how good Arkansas can be when they get on a roll. We had problems passing the ball at times tonight, but we maintained our patience. It was a true team effort, with so many different players stepping up and contributing in some difficult situations."

Caitlin Rance had 14 kills and Ashley Newsome added 12 to lead the Bulldogs. Dani McCree followed with eight kills and Paris Perret six. State survived a season-high 34 attack errors and a .113 hitting night. Kayla Woodard registered a season-high 27 digs while Perret notched her third double-double backing her 36 assists with 18 digs. Kellye Jordan, who had six kills on the night, set a career-high with 15 digs. Perret led MSU at the net with a season-best six blocks. Newsome followed with five.

Arkansas had four players reach double figures in kills. Jasmine Norton finished with 15, Stipanovich had 13, Janeliss Torres 11 and Amanda Anderson 10.

The Bulldogs close out their weekend set Sunday playing host to No. 17 LSU (12-0, 3-0 SEC), a 3-0 Friday night winner at Alabama.

State sprinted to a quick 4-0 lead in the opening set. But sophomore Jasmine Norton led an impressive turnaround, registering seven of her team-leading and match-high 15 kills as the razorbacks pulled away from a 14-14 deadlock for a match-opening 25-23 win.

The Bulldogs answered in impressive fashion, parlaying a 7-0 run midway in the second set for a 25-13 win to even the match at the break. State, after hitting a coolish .140 in the opening set, warmed up with .296 hitting and got a five-kill effort from Caitlin Rance.

In a nip and tuck third set that featured eight ties and four lead changes, the Bulldogs trailed 23-21 before rallying for a 26-24 decision. Rance started the rally with her fifth and final kill of the stanza and gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead in the match with a set-ending service ace.

The most lopsided of the sets went Arkansas' way, with the Hogs keeping the match alive with a 25-17 fourth-set win. Amanda Anderson and Kelli Stipanovich combined for eight kills while the Bulldogs committed 11 attack errors. Arkansas hit .321 for the set and at one point held a 22-9 advantage.

MSU bolted to a 7-2 lead in the 15-point fifth set but had to fend off a late charge by the Razorbacks. Arkansas fought off a pair of match point serves by the Bulldogs and took a 16-15 lead with a kill by Kendall Cleveland. Ashley Newsome drilled a kill to knot the score before Parker served up an ace and Perret and Mellencamp blocked an attack by Stipanovich.

Women's Tennis
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Mississippi State Lady Bulldog tennis team had a solid first day of play at the Roberta Allison Fall Classic Friday.

"We had a decent first day," said head coach Daryl Greenan. "The girls are clearly making progress and we see improvement from our last tournament a couple weeks ago."

In the Maria Sharapova draw of singles play, MSU sophomore Danielle Terpko pulled off a straight-set upset against top-seeded Katerina Gresova of Georgia State, 6-4, 6-3. Another outstanding performance came from Lady Bulldog junior Mariia Ryzhova in the Carolina Wozniacki draw. The #3 seed Ryzhova defeated Baylor's Aya Bara in a thrilling three-set match, rallying for a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 victory. Freshman Vivian Pietraroia and junior Jordan Zachary of the Lady Bulldogs both fell in straight sets in their respective draws.

In doubles action, Mississippi State's duo of Pietraroia and Zachary began their day by falling to the third-seeded Samford pair of Madelie Rensberg and Jessica Diamond 8-5 in the Australian Open draw. Pietraroia and Zachary were able to bounce back in their first round consolation match by defeating the second-seeded Kentucky crew of Caitlin McGraw and Misha Testerman, 9-7.

In the US Open draw, Ryzhova and Terpko fell in their first round match against the #3 seed Georgia State tandem Kir Kemp and Tereza Lerova 8-5. Ryzhova and Terpko were unable to defeat their first round consolation foes Andrie Meiring and Rebecca Kirven of Samford, falling 8-2.

Play will resume Saturday morning at 8 a.m. CT with more singles and doubles action.

Men's Tennis
ATHENS, Ga. - Malte Stropp and Hrehan Hakeem highlighted the opening day of the Southern Intercollegiate Championship for the Mississippi State men's tennis team with a pair of straight-set victories in singles.

Stropp, a true freshman, was competing in his first collegiate match and won in dominant fashion. Stropp blanked Sam Parfitt of Chattanooga in the first set and clinched the match with a 6-2 second set victory in the first round of the Division I singles draw.

"It was a nice start for Malte (Stropp) picking up his first win," said Coach Per Nilsson, who is leading MSU in his fourth season.

After receiving a first round bye in the Division II singles draw, Hakeem, a junior for the Maroon and White, won a straight set victory in the round of 64 over Campbell's David Clavera, 6-3, 6-0.

"Hrehan was really impressive in how he played and looked great today," Nilsson said. "It is great that he gets off to a good start this season."

Also competing in singles today, senior Tanner Stump dropped a hard-fought three set battle to Parul Verma of Eastern Kentucky, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, in the second round of the Division II singles draw.

"Tanner (Stump) lost a tough battle today," Nilsson said. "But I am confident that he will bounce back tomorrow."

In doubles action, MSU's Stropp and classmate Zach White dropped a tight doubles bout in the first round to East Tennessee State's Robin Akser and Juan Ramirez, 9-7, in the first round of the Division I doubles draw.

Action will resume tomorrow for both singles and doubles play. Results will be made available at

Men's Golf
FRANKLIN, Tenn. - Continuing to ride his wave of success from the season opening tournament, true freshman Chad Ramey leads the Mississippi State men's golf team through the first round of the Mason Rudolph Championship being played in Franklin, Tenn., at the par-71 Legends Club, following a 1-under-par effort in the opening round. The Bulldogs are in a tie for ninth with an 8-over-par opening day score 292.

Memphis and Oklahoma are in a tie for the lead for the 17-team field with a 10-under-par effort. In-state rival Ole Miss is the only team under par on the opening day with a 2-under-par 282 and is in third. SEC-foe South Carolina and host-school Vanderbilt round out the top five, while Davidson, Akron and Chattanooga stand sixth, seventh and eighth. MSU is tied with Middle Tennessee for ninth to close out the top 10.

Ramey is in a tie for 11th among the 89-member individual field and was among the leaders in par 4 scoring. Ramey also led the Bulldogs in pars made with 15.

Playing in his first tournament of the season, junior Lee Heaton notched an even-par 71 on the opening day and is tied for 16th in the individual field. Heaton also led State in birdies made with four. True freshman Axel Boasson went 2-over-par in the first round and is in a tie for 38th. Sophomores Robi Calvesbert and Brad Mason round out the Bulldog lineup with rounds of 78 and 81.

MSU will tee off second round action tomorrow from the 10th hole at 8 a.m. CT. Live stats will be available at

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