News from MSU Media Relations--Feb. 9

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

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Eight members of the Mississippi State University volleyball team have been named to the 2010 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll announced this week in Birmingham, Ala., by the Southeastern Conference.

Two seniors, Ashley Newsome (Florence, Ala.) and Kayla Woodard (Addison, Ala.), earned academic all-conference recognition for the fourth time. Juniors Caitlin Rance (Kingwood, Texas) and Faith Steinwedell (La Jolla, Calif.) received SEC Academic Honor Roll distinction for the third time, while a trio of players, Chanelle Baker (Carrollton, Texas), Kellye Jordan (Jasper, Ala.) and Mandy Mellencamp (Prescott, Ariz.) became two-time recipients. Sophomore Hillary Parker (College Station, Texas) earned her initial SEC honor roll selection.

"We are proud of the academic achievements of our student-athletes and their commitment to excellence both on the volleyball court and in the classroom," said MSU head volleyball coach Jenny Hazlewood. "Mississippi State volleyball has a strong tradition of success in the classroom and we are thrilled to see that tradition continue to grow." MSU matched a program-best a year ago when nine Volleyball Bulldogs were named to the 2009 SEC Academic Honor Roll following Hazelwood's first season as head coach at MSU. Hazelwood, a standout player for MSU from 1997-2000, capped her playing career as the program's first four-time academic all-conference honoree.

Mississippi State placed 70 student-athletes from its three fall sports (football, soccer and volleyball) on the 2010 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.

The list of MSU volleyball honorees could expand following the 2010-11 academic year when the league announces the 2010-11 SEC Freshman Honor Roll.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Every soccer player dreams of playing in the World Cup. That dream is becoming reality for Mississippi State's Monica Alvarado as she has headed to Mexico City to train with the Mexican National Team in preparation for this summer's FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany.

The Southlake, Texas, native will train with the squad next week and again at the end of February.

"It's really exciting to have the opportunity to play in the World Cup," Alvarado said. "I kind of got to experience it last year when I played in the U20 World Cup. It will be exciting to have the opportunity to play against the best players in the world."

Alvarado says the intense daily training she goes through as part of the Bulldog program has helped her prepare to take on the world's top players.

"We have been working very hard during the off-season, and I think it has helped me greatly in preparing to train with the national team," she said. "I have really worked hard on my fitness and improving my speed, and the work we have been doing has really helped me."

Alvarado logged 1,330 minutes for the Dawgs last season, notching one assist from her position in the midfield.

Through her first two seasons wearing the Maroon and White and playing in the challenging Southeastern Conference, she has scored seven points on two goals and a trio of assists.

Playing in the SEC is very competitive. This league is very physical with everyone always going for a tackle," Alvarado said. "I get to play every weekend against good, physical players, and that will be the same challenge I'll face playing with the national team."

The Women's World Cup will be played June 26-July 17.

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State University varsity sports have won three-straight over in-state rival Ole Miss with soccer, football and men's basketball all being victorious over the Rebels this season. On Thursday, the Mississippi State men's tennis team will look to keep that streak alive as they serve up against the Ole Miss Rebels in the 14th annual River Hills Cup at River Hills Country Club in Jackson, Miss.

The 32nd-ranked Bulldogs (1-2) will be competing with its highest ranking since Feb. 28, 2006 when they face the 17th-ranked Rebels (2-2). Ole Miss will be MSU's third top 25 opponent of the season with both its losses coming from opponents ranked in the top 25. State is coming off a 4-0 setback at then-ranked No. 22 Georgia Tech, while the Rebels dropped a 6-1 decision at fourth-ranked Ohio State in their most recent match.

MSU will also be looking to snap a hefty losing streak to the Rebels in tennis action, which now stands at 25-straight matches and 11-straight River Hills Cup setbacks. The last Bulldog victory over Ole Miss came in the 1999 River Hills Cup, where MSU claimed a 4-3 decision. State is 22-45 all-time against the Rebels and 7-18 in neutral site matches.

MSU will also attempt for redemption after a heartbreaking 4-3 loss in last season's River Hills Cup matchup, where the Maroon and White held a 3-0 lead before eventually watching it vanish.

State is led by 60th-ranked Louis Cant, who is 6-3 on the season and the winner of four-straight matches. Boasting a streak of his own is Bulldog newcomer James Chaudry, who has now won three-straight including a victory over a ranked opponent against Texas A&M.

The Rebels boast two ranked players in singles, led No. 32 Marcel Thiemann followed with 107th-ranked Tucker Vorster. In doubles, Ole Miss is paced by the No. 2 nationally ranked duo, Marcel Thiemann and Christoph Thiemann.

The Bulldogs and Rebels will battle at 5 p.m. CT at the River Hills Country Club in Jackson, Miss. Tickets are on sale and may be purchased by calling (601) 987-4438. Live stats will be available at

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