Tennis Teams Ranked in Pre-Season Top-35

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's men's and women's tennis teams will begin 2006 ranked in the top-35 of the pre-season Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings administered by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, the organization announced on Tuesday. The Bulldogs will go into the season ranked No. 25, while women's head coach Tracy Lane's squad is in the 33rd spot in the team rankings.

On the men's side, State concluded the 2005 season ranked 25th in the nation under the guidance of Sylvain Guichard. That final ranking a year ago marked the highest finish for the Maroon and White under the 2005 SEC Co-Coach of The Year. The squad is coming off a 12-10 overall record, while posting a 6-5 mark in conference play, both team bests under Guichard.

The Lady Bulldogs are coming off one of the best years in women's tennis history at MState, finishing the year at 12-8 and a SEC Western Division title. The lady netters closed out last year ranked 26th.

State received one individual ranking in Tuesday's poll with men's junior Ivan Bjelica ranked in the 74th spot in the singles rankings. Bjelica posted an 8-5 singles record during the fall semester, highlighted by an appearance in the main draw of the Polo Ralph Lauren/ITA All-American Championships. Three of his eight wins came against top-100 individuals.

Both teams will begin spring competition on Friday, Jan. 20. The men's squad will take part in the SEC Coaches Indoor Championships in Lexington, Ky. The women will travel to Athens, Ga., to compete in the Georgia Indoors.

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