News from MSU Media Relations--Oct. 22

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

Men's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State officially finalized its men's basketball schedule on Friday with the announcement the Bulldogs will play St. Mary's in a one-game deal on Dec. 29 in Las Vegas.

The game will be held at Orleans Arena, and the 10 p.m. CT tip will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

It will mark the second meeting between the two programs, with MSU claiming a 67-54 victory against the Gaels in November of 2004 at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in New York City.

The game will also mark the end of a two-week road trip featuring one game in the Bahamas versus No. 23 Virginia Tech and three in Hawaii, starting with Washington State on Dec. 22 and concluding on Dec. 25.

"We'll finish that extended road trip before SEC play begins against one of the better teams in the country," 13th-year MSU coach Rick Stansbury said. "It will be a great challenge and a great opportunity for our team."

Last season, the Gaels posted an impressive 28-6 ledger and advanced to the Sweet 16 after upsetting Villanova in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

In the latest ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, St. Mary's received two votes and Mississippi State seven.

The Bulldogs, who open the regular season at home on Nov. 12 against Tennessee State, are quite familiar with teams that comprise the West Coast Conference. In eight outings, MSU is 6-2, including last year's 77-68 win at San Diego that evened the series at 1-apiece.

Mississippi State has also faced Gonzaga (0-1), Portland (1-0) and Santa Clara (3-0).

Men's Golf
STARKVILLE, Miss. - In their final tournament of the fall the Mississippi State men's golf team will tee off in the UNCG Bridgestone Collegiate Championship at the par-72 Forest Oaks Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.

This is the third time the Maroon & White have played in the UNCG Bridgestone Championship and the first time since 2008.

MSU is coming off a 10th place showing at the David Toms Intercollegiate where the Bulldogs posted a team score of 879.

"The Bridgestone Championship is a strong field on a great course and we need a good performance to end the fall on a high note," Coach Clay Homan said. "We have had some good rounds this fall but the goal is to have each guy put together three solid rounds. Consistency is what we have lacked so far, but we are learning that is not always about hitting the perfect shot but instead playing within ourselves."

Leading the way for State is junior Lee Heaton who is coming off his team-leading performance at the David Toms Intercollegiate where the Oxted, England-native notched an even-par total of 216. Heaton is the team's leader in first round stroke average (72.0) and is averaging is 71.9 strokes per round this season.

True freshman Chad Ramey is playing in his fifth-straight tournament and has been active in the Bulldog lineup in every event this fall. Ramey is State's leader in second and third round stroke average (70.3 & 70.5) and overall stroke average (71.5). Ramey was State's runner-up at the David Toms Intercollegiate where he had a disappointing first round but bounced back and went 3-under-par in the final two rounds of action.

Joining Ramey in having played in every tournament this fall is sophomore Brad Mason and that streak will continue with Mason also teeing off in the Bridgestone Collegiate Championship. Mason is coming off a below-average performance at the David Toms Intercollegiate, but did record MSU's first ace of the season on the sixth hole in the second round.

Sophomore Mike Genovese and true freshman Axel Boasson return to State's lineup. Both have played in a pair of tournaments this fall.

The first two rounds will be played on Saturday, Oct. 23, and a final 18 played on Sunday, Oct. 24. Results will be made available at when play is concluded each day.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Caitlin Rance and Ashley Newsome combined for 32 kills of Mississippi State's 50 kills Friday night but the Bulldogs came up on the short end of a 3-1 score in a spirited SEC volleyball match against instate rival Ole Miss at the Newell-Grissom Building.

State (11-11, 3-8 SEC) claimed a 25-17 win in the opening set and before Ole Miss (15-5. 9-2 SEC) stormed back to take the next three sets 25-19, 25-23, 25-20 and claim a sweep of this year's two-match series. UM bested the Bulldogs in straight-sets in Oxford on opening weekend for SEC competition last month.

A Mississippi State single-match record crowd of 813 watched the Homecoming weekend Bulldog-Rebel battle.

"We struggled with our serve-receive passing and never could get things going our way after that," said second-year MSU head coach Jenny Hazelwood. "Our fans and the atmosphere they helped create tonight were incredible. It was by far the largest crowd for a volleyball match at Newell-Grissom. This is another part of our building process, developing a strong home court advantage. I just wish we had been able to maintain our early-match momentum and reward our fans with a win on Homecoming weekend."

The Bulldogs were most impressive in the opening set, leading from start to finish and hitting at a match-best .300 clip. Ashley Newsome sparked State with five kills and Chanelle Baker added four as MSU sprinted to an early lead in the match. Whitney Craven helped Ole Miss pull even with a 25-19 decision in the second set, tallying six of her team-leading 15 kills in the stanza. After registering but one kill in the opening set, State's Caitlin Rance kept the Bulldogs in the fray with five of her match-high 17 kills.

The match seemed to turn in Ole Miss' favor in the third set. Mississippi State jumped out to an 8-2 lead, built up 10-4 and 12-6 advantages and, with a kill by Rance, led UM 21-18. But UM scored the next four points to take their first lead of the set at 22-21 and out-pointed the Bulldogs down the stretch for a 25-23 win. Rance again paced the Dogs in the stanza with a six-kill showing.

Ole Miss wasted little time putting the match away, taking a 3-0 lead on a pair of Bulldog attack errors and an ace by Craven, and building the lead out to 11 points at 20-9 before closing the night with a 25-20 win.

UM held a slim 53-50 edge in kills and a 75-66 advantage in digs, while the Bulldogs' strong play showed up in a 9-6 State advantage in total team blocks. Caitlin Rance backed her 17-kill performance with a team-best 17 digs for her eighth double-double of the year. Senior libero Kayla Woodard tallied 15 digs and climbed past Jennifer Shupe (1996-1999) to fourth on MSU's career digs list with 1,275. With a team-leading six blocks, middle blocker Ashley Newsome climbed to third in MSU's career total blocks listing with 369.

The Bulldogs hit the road for their next two matches, taking on SEC West co-leader LSU Friday (Oct. 29) in Baton Rouge and divisional rival Arkansas Sunday (Oct. 31) in Fayetteville.

Men's Tennis
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - In the opening day of the ITA Southern Regional Championships the Mississippi State men's tennis team advanced six players to the round of 32 in singles and two doubles teams advanced to the round of 16.

"I was very pleased with the outcome of today, I saw lots of positives and am excited about tomorrow," Coach Per Nilsson said. "We can't become complacent we have to keep things going and stay focused but I think we can manage that."

Hrehan Hakeem and Max Gregor of the Bulldogs got State started off on the right track in singles with each picking up victories in the first round of the tournament while all other MSU players received first round byes. Hakeem took down Adam Bernstein of Tulane in straight sets 6-2, 6-1 and Gregor defeated Jacksonville State's Axel Sundberg in a come-from-behind three setter, 3-6, 7-6(8), 6-0.

In second round action there were six Bulldogs that tabbed victories to advance. 79th-ranked junior Artem Ilyushin played his first match of the fall after battling injury and won in straight-set fashion 6-0, 7-6(5) over James Tubervill of LSU. Louis Cant is State's highest ranked player at No. 38 nationally and Cant picked up his second victory of the fall with a 6-0, 6-3, win over Gustavo Holz of Jacksonville State. 56th-ranked George Coupland was also victorious by winning handily over UAB's Daniel Moser, 6-1, 6-4.

Hakeem continued the winning trend in the second round and beat Carson Kadi of Samford in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. True freshman Zach White snapped a three-match losing skid and picked up an identical-set victory over Alabama's Carlos Taborga, 6-4, 6-4. Fellow true freshman Malte Stropp, who stands as the 10th-ranked freshman nationally added to his team-high victories, which now equals four, by taking down Yanick Madnl of Louisiana-Lafayette in two-sets, 6-1, 6-4.

A pair of Bulldogs fell in the second round of the singles draw with Gregor falling to No. 73 Alex Stamchev of Auburn, 6-2, 6-0, and senior Tanner Stump slipping up against Samford's Zac Dunkle in a three-set battle, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.

In first round doubles action MSU's team of Gregor and Hakeem took care of business, 8-2, over Dunkle and Alex Sajonz of Samford but later were defeated in the second round, 8-6, to Tom Puetz and David Zimmerman of UAB. The Bulldog tandem of Cant and Stropp defeated Carlos Abalos and Oliver Reynolds of Samford, 8-3 to advance to the second round of the doubles draw. MSU's Stump and White fell, 8-6, to South Alabama's Parker Allen and Dauw Kruger.

In the second round, State's Coupland and Ilyushin who stand 11th in the country advanced by blanking Thomas Bellman and Joshua Bourke of Jacksonville State, 8-0. Cant and Stropp kept their win streak alive with an 8-3 takedown over Tom Knights and Stefan Szacinski of LSU.

State will return to the courts on Saturday, Oct. 23, to continue play at the ITA Southern Regional Championships. After play has been concluded for the day results will be made available at

Women's Tennis
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Mississippi State's women's tennis team concluded a tough first day of action at the ITA Southern Regional Tournament.

Lady Bulldogs Vivian Pietraroia and Mariia Ryzhova opened the day for the team as they were defeated after a tough match in the doubles Main Draw by Tulane's tandem of Hila Elster and Elizabeth Hamlin, 9-7. In the B Draw of doubles action, Mississippi State's duo of Elizabeth Hall and Jordan Zachary were also defeated in their first round match against Hannah Appleyard and Tara Vasovic of Louisiana Lafayette, 8-3.

In singles play, Mariia Ryzhova was unable to take a victory as she was ousted by LSU's eighth seeded Whitney Wolf in her first round match, 7-5, 6-2. Ryzhova also lost in her consolation match against Martine Rubesova of Northwestern State, 6-1, 6-4.

Zachary and Pietraroia received first round byes in the B Draw of singles action but were unable to achieve victories in their respective second round matchups. Hall lost a thrilling 7-5, 7-5 match to Kylie Adamek of LSU in the B Draw as well.

The Lady Bulldogs will return to action Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. CT with more singles and doubles action.

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