STARKVILLE, Miss. - No. 22 Tennessee parlayed a balanced offensive attack and a strong blocking game Sunday afternoon into a straight-sets win over Mississippi State in SEC volleyball at the Newell-Grissom Building.
Five Lady Vols tallied five or more kills and Tennessee hit at a crisp .358 rate as UT (21-5, 12-4 SEC) completed a season series sweep of the Bulldogs (11-15, 3-12 SEC) with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-15) decision.
Junior outside hitter Caitlin Rance led State with 10 kills and just missed her second double-double of the weekend when she finished the day with nine digs. Sophomore Mandy Mellencamp notched her second eight-kill performance of the weekend and senior middle blocker finished with seven kills and three total blocks. One of Newsome's rejections was a solo stop, raising her career total to 75, second-most in Mississippi State volleyball history.
The Bulldogs claimed a 3-0 advantage in the opening set, but an MSU attack error gave UT a 4-3 lead and Tennessee would trail only once the remainder of the afternoon. A kill by Newsome put State up 1-0 to open the second stanza before the Lady Vols took command with a 6-0 run. Tennessee hit at a match-best .517 clip and rode a six-kill performance by DeeDee Harrison in the third set to a match-clinching 25-15 win. UT's Kayla Jeter led both clubs with 11 kills.
Senior libero Kayla Woodard finished the afternoon with 12 digs. Match honors went to UT's Kelsey Robinson with 15.
The Bulldogs return to action this week with a pair of SEC Eastern Division road tilts. State treks to Gainesville, Fla., Thursday for a regionally-televised (FOX Sports Florida) 6 p.m. (CST) match against the SEC-leading and top-ranked Gators (22-1, 15-0 SEC). The Bulldogs then venture on to Columbia, S.C., Saturday for a 6 p.m. (CST) match against the South Carolina Gamecocks (5-20, 2-13 SEC).
PENSACOLA, Fla. - George Coupland of the Mississippi State men's tennis team defeated the 2008 NCAA Champion and former Ole Miss Rebel Devin Britton at the Pensacola Futures in three sets, 7-6, 2-6, 6-3.
Coupland is a junior for the Maroon and White and is ranked 56th in the national collegiate tennis rankings, while Britton is ranked 780 in the world as a professional and as a freshman at Ole Miss won the 2008 NCAA Championship in singles.
Three other Bulldogs were also victorious at the Futures tournament in Pensacola, Fla. 79th-ranked Artem Ilyushin picked up a solid victory over Jordan Kelley Houstan in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1. Houstan is ranked among the top 50 in the world in juniors ranking.
True freshman Malte Stropp won easily in two sets, 6-2, 6-1, taking down Nathan Rosenfeld. MSU's 38thranked Louis Cant faced teammate and true freshman Zach White. White gave the experienced Cant a tough three-set bout before Cant came out on top over his fellow Bulldog, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.
There are only eight spots from the qualifying draw that will advance to the main draw of the Pensacola Futures and MSU could potentially represent four of those slots as the Bulldogs play in the final round of qualifying on Monday. Results will be made available at www.mstateathletics.com.
STANFORD, CALIF. - Mississippi State's women's golf team endured a two-hour rain delay on Sunday to fire a 316 in the final round of the Pac-10/SEC Challenge at the Stanford Golf Course in Stanford, Calif.
Head coach Ginger Brown-Lemm's carded a 941 in the final tournament of the fall season.
Mallory Batson again led MSU, shooting a 77 in the final round.
Freshman Mary Langdon Gallagher knocked nine strokes off of Saturday's second-round total to finish Sunday's rain-soaked action with a 79. Erika Thornton matched Gallagher on Sunday to finish as the top Lady Bulldog with a 229.
Freshman Esther Huffman and sophomore Maria Roos shot an 81 and 84, respectively, for the final round.
Brown-Lemm was thankful for the opportunity to play in the inaugural Pac-10/SEC Challenge, and she hopes her team can grow from the experience.
"What a great experience," Brown-Lemm said. "It was an honor to participate as an SEC school. We played with the number one team in the country, LSU, yesterday. We were able to expose some of our younger players to a seasoned team. We played very well in round two and again today. It was a grind with the rain and an eight-hour round, but it was incredible to play Stanford's course and visit their $10 million practice facility."
MSU opens the spring slate with a trip to Kiawah Island, S.C., to participate in the Kiawah Island Women's Intercollegiate Feb. 20-22.