News from MSU Media Relations--May 1, 2012.

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

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's ninth-ranked men's tennis squad (19-6) learned Tuesday that it has been selected as a host for the 2012 NCAA Championship First and Second Rounds. State will host the event Friday and Saturday, May 11-12, at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on campus.

Play will begin Friday, May 11, with the first match pitting 28th-ranked Baylor against 32nd-ranked Memphis at 11 a.m. CT. Then, at 2 p.m. that afternoon, No. 9 MSU will meet the Alcorn State Braves. The winners of the Friday affairs will then face each other in the second round matchup on Saturday, May 12 (time TBA) for the right to advance to the NCAA round of 16 in Athens, Ga., on May 17.

MSU received the No. 9 overall seed in the 64-team NCAA Men's Tennis Championship, which concludes with four rounds in Athens, Ga., May 17-22. It is State's highest overall seed since being the national No. 4 in 1998.

"We are really excited to get the NCAA's started," head coach Per Nilsson said. "Our guys are happy that we were rewarded for such a solid season by getting to host, but now we have to prepare for some really tough matches ahead."

Coming into Starkville as the 17-32 alphabetical seed is Big 12 member Baylor. The Bears finished a solid season at 17-11 after falling to top-seeded Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship final. Baylor downed eight ranked opponents on the year, including SEC champion Kentucky on the road. The Bears earned a bid to the ITA National Indoor Championships in February after downing Florida State in the ITA Kickoff Weekend final. BU, making its 15th straight NCAA appearance, won the national crown in 2004.

Baylor's first round match-up will be the Memphis Tigers, a 33-48 seed nationally making their first-ever appearance in NCAA competition. On the year, Memphis posted a remarkable 19-5 record while finishing 5-1 in Conference USA. The Tigers earned an impressive seven wins over ranked opponents this season, all on the road and two of which came against SEC members and in-state foes Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

The final team entering MSU's site will be the Alcorn State Braves, a 49-64 seed nationally. Hailing from Lorman, Miss., the Braves earned a spot into the NCAA Tournament by taking their second-straight (and eighth overall) SWAC Championship with a win over Prairie View. Earning a 10-8 overall record this season, Alcorn State has earned its second-straight bid into the NCAA Championship and sixth overall.

Tickets for the NCAA event at MSU may be purchased in advance or on each day of the tournament. An all-tournament pass is $8 for adults and $5 for senior citizens, college students, and children under 17. Single-day tickets for Friday and Saturday are $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens, college students, and children under 17. Fans interested in purchasing advance all-tournament tickets may do so by contacting the Mississippi State Athletic Ticket Office (662-325-2600 or 1-888-GO-DAWGS) beginning Thursday, May 3.

This is the second year in a row for MSU to make the NCAA Championships and the program's 21st appearance overall. Last year was the Bulldogs' first bid to the tournament since a 2005 berth in Durham, N.C. As a top 16 national seed, MSU hopes to earn its way to the round of 16, a feat the program has accomplished 10 times in its impressive history, but has not done so since 2001.

State is hosting the first and second rounds of the NCAA's for the first time since the bracket expanded to regional play in 1999.

The Bulldogs enter NCAA action at 19-6 overall and 9-2 in SEC play, both State bests since 1998. The Bulldogs earned their second consecutive outright SEC Western Division Championship in 2012 as well.

Selections for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships will be released Wednesday. Several Bulldogs are expected to earn bids to the individual draws.

2012 NCAA Men's Tennis Championships, First and Second Rounds - May 11-12
A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre - Starkville, Miss.

5/11/12 - First Round
Match 1 (11 a.m. CT) - Baylor vs. Memphis
Match 2 (not before 2 p.m. CT) - Mississippi State vs. Alcorn State

5/12/12 - Second Round
Match 3 (Time TBA) - Match 1 Winner vs. Match 2 Winner

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Summer is rapidly approaching, which means there is not much time to register for Mississippi State's exciting slate of summer soccer camps!

Registration forms, camp schedules and additional information can be found online at or by contacting MSU assistant coach Andy Manners at or (662) 418-7694.

State's camp slate includes a pair of Youth Day Camps (June 4-8 and July 23-27), the third annual Striker-Keeper Camp June 22-24.

The Youth Day Camps will run 1 p.m.-4 p.m. for ages 4-7 and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. for ages 8-13. Cost for the afternoon session is $129, while the day-long camp will be $239 per camper. The full-day camp includes lunch each day. Camp registration for both age groups includes an MSU camp t-shirt and a soccer ball.

The day camps, which will be held at the MSU Soccer Field, are designed to meet the needs of the youth soccer player in a safe and fun learning environment. During the week-long camps, campers will work on developing soccer fundamentals such as dribbling, turning, shooting, passing, shielding, running with the ball, heading and goalkeeping.

Mississippi State head coach Neil Macdonald, along with Manners, fellow assistant coach Myranda Sanders and volunteer assistant coach Robbie Kroger, will be conducting the Striker-Keeper Camp for the third-straight year after stellar reviews in the camp's first two years. The camp, which is open to players ages 8-18, costs $199 for commuters and $249 for residential. The camp will focus on building the fundamental skills of beginner or experienced strikers and goalkeepers.

Strikers will work on dribbling to shoot, moving off the ball to create scoring opportunities, finishing, shooting and attacking headers. Goalkeepers will focus on shot handling, diving, defending crosses and breakaways, foot skills and distribution from Kroger, a 20-year veteran goalkeeper.

Gene's Page Top Stories