News from MSU Media Relations--Sept. 27

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

Soccer
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Mississippi State's soccer team put up a valiant fight Sunday afternoon, but came up short in a 2-0 setback to Alabama at the UA Soccer Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The loss dropped head coach Neil Macdonald's squad to 7-4 overall and 0-2 in SEC play. Alabama improved to 2-0 in the league, 7-2 on the season.

"I was really disappointed in the performance overall today. We didn't take responsibility and hold each other accountable out there today," Bulldog coach Neil Macdonald said. "We played better in the second half, but to win games on the road at this level you have to be highly disciplined and work as a unit. We did neither of those things."

After being out-shot in the opening half, State came roaring back in the final stanza, firing six more shots than UA. Despite matching Alabama with eight on-goal attempts, however, the Dawgs were unable to find the back of the net.

Both teams battled to a stalemate in the first half, but Alabama struck in the 54th minute with a Kendall Khanna goal.

The Bulldogs' Elisabeth Sullivan just missed the equalizer in the 73rd minute as her shot toward the top shelf was tipped by Bernier over the crossbar.

A minute later, the Bulldogs switched the ball to the right side to junior Tarah Henderson, but the Martinez, Ga., native's shot carried to the left of the goal.

Henderson paced MSU with six shots in the match.

Alabama extended the lead to 2-0 in the 81st minute as Brooke Rogers put a Victoria Frederick pass past Rosson.

Rosson made six stops on the afternoon, while Bernier finished the match with eight saves.

Despite the deficit, the Bulldogs kept fighting. Sullivan flicked a pass to Kim Pettit with three minutes left, but the junior's attempt went just wide of the goal.

State wraps a season-long road trip next weekend, traveling to Florida on Friday and South Carolina on Sunday for a match that will be televised by Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast.


Volleyball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Defending SEC volleyball champion LSU entered Sunday afternoon's match with Mississippi State as the only unbeaten team in the Southeastern Conference. And thanks to a balanced offensive attack, the Tigers registered an impressive straight-sets win over the Bulldogs to maintain their unblemished record. The LSU win (25-19, 25-23, 25-14) snapped State's five-match season home win streak and a run of eight straight home court wins over the past two seasons.

"LSU is well-coached and has so many ways that they can come at you - that's why they're nationally ranked and in contention for the conference championship again," said second-year MSU head coach Jenny Hazelwood. "We did a lot of good things at times, and at spots we were able to keep up with one of the best teams in college volleyball."

But in the end LSU (13-0, 4-0 SEC) presented too much steady firepower for Mississippi State (9-5, 1-2 SEC). The Tigers doubled the Bulldogs in kills, 54-27, and out-hit State .358 to .143. Angela Bensend tallied 16 kills and 16 digs and led a foursome of Tigers reaching double figures in kills. Desiree Elliott, Michele Williams and Madie Jones had 10 kills apiece.

The Bulldogs got nine kills from team season kills leader Caitlin Rance and seven kills and two blocks from Ashley Newsome. Kellye Jordan paced the Bulldogs' defense with 10 digs.

In the opening set, State took an 11-10 lead on a setting miscue by the Tigers. But LSU reeled off the next six points, three on kills by Bensend, to get the game under control and hit at a match-best .457 rate to claim a 25-19 win in the opening set.

Senior middle blocker Ashley Newsome rang up five of her nine kills on the afternoon during the second set. The Bulldogs battled the Tigers down to the wire before bowing in a 25-23 tussle. MSU held several four-point leads before the Tigers pulled even at 13-13 and built out a four-point bulge of their own at 21-17. State trimmed the lead to a point four times before Bensend ended the set with a kill.

Caitlin Rance gave the Bulldogs a 7-5 advantage in the third set with the eighth of her team-leading nine kills. But the Tigers answered with a 6-0 run en route to a match-clinching 25-14 win. Michele Williams was the star of the set for LSU with six kills.

LSU held the Bulldogs to a season-low 27 kills in earning their fourth win in as many league outings this fall.

Attendance at the match was 478, the eighth-largest volleyball crowd at the Newell-Grissom Building and the third top-10 attendance total registered this season.

Following the 1-1 weekend showing, the Bulldogs hit the road for their next two matches. State visits Auburn for a 7 p.m. match Friday and ventures on to Athens, Ga., for a regionally-televised (FOX Sports Net South) match Sunday (12 p.m. CT) at Georgia.


Men's Tennis
ATHENS, Ga. - Due to excess rain, the Mississippi State men's tennis team were not able to complete play at the Southern Intercollegiate Championship which was hosted in Athens, Ga.

Tanner Stump, a senior from Bradenton, Fla., was not able to play his final consolation match for the Maroon and White due to the damp conditions.

The Bulldogs ended the event picking up four total singles victories, with Stump, junior Hrehan Hakeem and true freshmen Zach White and Malte Stropp all earning a victory each.

MSU will return to the courts next Friday, Oct. 1, in Tulsa, Okla. at the ITA All-American Championships.


Men's Golf
FRANKLIN, Tenn. - True freshman Chad Ramey continues his strong play as he is being introduced to collegiate golf with his second-straight top 10 individual finish, while the Mississippi State men's golf team finished 10th with a three-round total of 869 at the Mason Rudolph Championship played at the par-71 Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn.

Ramey fired a 2-under-par 69 on Sunday in the third and final round of action and was tied for the team lead in birdies made in the third round with four. Ramey finished the event in a tie for seventh among the 89-player individual field with a 3-under-par 54-hole score of 210. Ramey was among the leaders in par 4 and par 5 scoring and was MSU's leader in pars made through three rounds with 39.

Lee Heaton, a junior from Oxted, England, made his season debut for the Maroon and White and posted a top 20 finish, tying for 17th with a 1-over-par tournament total of 214. Heaton led the Bulldogs in birdies made at the Mason Rudolph Championship with 10 and was among the leaders ranked in par 3 scoring.

True freshman Axel Boasson notched an impressive four birdies on the back nine and was consistent in three rounds of play recording scores of 73-74-73 for a 7-over-par total and finished in a tie for 49th.

Sophomore Robi Calvesbert had his best round on Sunday with a 74, bringing his three-round total to 227. Calvesbert was also among the leaders in pars made with 37. Brad Mason rounded out the Bulldog lineup with a 54-hole score of 228. Mason had a difficult first round but bounced back in the second and third round notching a 1-over-par score on the final day and finished the tournament among the leaders in par 5 scoring.

MSU improved its team score each round after firing a 292 in the opening round followed with a 290 in round two and a 287 on the final day.

Memphis won the Mason Rudolph Championship with a 10-under-par effort through three rounds. SEC-foe South Carolina was the runner-up, followed by in-state rival Ole Miss, Oklahoma and Middle Tennessee rounding out the top five.

The Bulldogs will return to the links on Oct. 11 at the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate, played at the par-70 Old Overton Club in Vestavia Hills, Ala.


Women's Golf
STARKVILLE, MISS. - Finishing just ahead of the rain, the Mississippi State women's golf team shot a 316 on Sunday to sit in 12th place following the opening round of the UNCG Starmount Fall Classic being played at Bryan Park Golf Course in Greensboro, N.C.

Senior Erika Thornton led the Lady Bulldogs with a 2-over-par 74, putting her just four strokes off the tournament lead. Fellow senior Mallory Batson finished three shots behind Thornton with a 77, while freshman Esther Huffman followed her with an overall score of 81. Junior Perry Katherine Furr and freshman Mary Langdon Gallagher both carded 84s in the opening round.

"I am hitting the ball well, but I need a few more putts to fall," Thornton said. "Overall we are disappointed though. We know we can score very well on the course so we can make a comeback in the next two rounds."

Mississippi State tees off round two at 11 a.m. CT on Monday, weather permitting.


Softball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State remained perfect in fall softball action with a doubleheader sweep of Wallace State Community College Sunday afternoon at the MSU Softball Field. The Bulldogs won the opener 4-3 in eight innings before rolling to a 9-4 win in the second game.

State closes the fall slate next Sunday, hosting West Alabama at 1 p.m. and Shelton State Community College in a 3 p.m. first pitch.

Game 1
Ali Bainbridge went 3-for-4, including a two-run home run in the eighth inning, as the Bulldogs scored three runs in the final frame for a 4-3 win.

The Dawgs took a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning as Bainbridge singled home Briana Bell.

Wallace State answered with a run in the seventh to force the extra frame, and took a 3-1 advantage with a two-run eighth.

The Bulldogs kept fighting against the 2010 NJCAA national runner-up, scoring three runs in the bottom of the eighth to clinch the win.

With freshman Jessica Offutt at second base via the international tiebreaker rule, Bainbridge tied the game with a towering two-run blast over the wall in center field. Brittany Bell and Jessica Cooley followed with back-to-back singles, and Bell crossed home plate with the winning run on Courtney Nesbit's ground ball that was mishandled by the Lady Lion third baseman.

Junior Misty Flesher tossed the final five innings to earn the win. The Lone Grove, Okla., native allowed three runs (one earned) and struck out two while giving up five hits. Sophomore Kylie Vry drew the start and hurled three scoreless innings, surrendering three hits in the contest.

Laurin Watts was saddled with the loss for Wallace State after giving up two earned runs (four total) on six hits in 3.1 innings of relief work.

Game 2
Mississippi State scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 9-4 victory in Sunday's nightcap.

Junior Ka'ili Smith paced the Bulldogs with three hits and an RBI, and freshman Rachael Zdeb contributed a pair of RBIs as the Dawgs followed-up a 10-hit opening game with 11 hits in game two.

MSU jumped out to an early lead with a two-run first inning. Freshman Heidi Shape put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard with an RBI single that scored Briana Bell. After taking third on a Bainbridge sacrifice, Shape gave State a 2-0 advantage as she came home on a Smith ground-out to second base.

Cooley extended the lead to 3-0 in the second as she connected on her second home run of the fall, a one-out, solo shot to left center.

The lead was short-lived, however, as Lacy Driggers put the Lady Lions up 4-3 with a third-inning grand slam off State starter Lindsey Dunlap, who struck out six over three innings.

Sophomore Stephanie Becker and freshman Shana Sherrod shut down WSCC the rest of the way, surrendering just three hits over the final four innings.

Becker hurled three innings of one-hit softball to earn the win. Sherrod scattered two hits and struck out a pair in her lone inning of work.

MSU scored four runs of its own in the fourth to take the lead for good. Freshman Samantha Lenahan tied the game with an RBI single, and an error on the play allowed Cooley, who walked earlier in the inning, to score the go-ahead run.

Chelsea Raines extended the lead to 6-4 with an RBI single, and she scored on a Briana Bell triple to the center-field wall to cap the inning.

The Dawgs added the game's final two runs in the sixth inning on a Zdeb single that scored Offutt and Briana Bell.

Heather Parker gave up seven runs (six earned) over four innings in the losing effort for Wallace State.


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