News from MSU Media Relations--March 30

The lastest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...

STARKVILLE, Miss. - A total of five Mississippi State basketball players were named to the 2005-06 SEC Winter Academic Honor Roll, as announced Thursday by SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. Bulldog veterans Wesley Morgan, Michael Boler, Piotr Stelmach and Billy Begley were joined by Lady Bulldog Amy Reeder on this year's composite league list for their respective classroom efforts.

A fifth-year senior center for coach Rick Stansbury's Bulldogs, Morgan led the way for MSU by collecting SEC Academic Honor Roll recognition for the fourth consecutive year. A native of Gallatin, Tenn., Morgan completed his sports communication degree last summer while compiling a 3.21 cumulative grade point average.

Also on the men's side, Boler, a senior swingman, received honor roll status for the third straight season, while juniors Stelmach and Begley were both named to the league's academic listing for the second year in a row. A Greenwood native, Boler has put together a 3.54 cumulative GPA and will graduate this spring with a degree in biological sciences.

A forward hailing from Poland, Stelmach has accumulated a 3.39 grade point average while pursuing a degree in physical education/clinical exercise physiology. A walk-on guard from Henderson, Ky., Begley has compiled a 3.46 cumulative GPA in management and is on target to complete his undergraduate degree this coming fall. Stelmach and Begley were both previous members of the SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll in 2003-04.

For coach Sharon Fanning's Lady Bulldogs, Reeder, a sophomore guard/forward, is a first-time member of the SEC Winter Academic Honor Roll after earning a spot on the league's Freshman Academic Honor Roll in 2004-05. A physical education major with a concentration in fitness management, the Pontotoc, Miss., native has maintained a cumulative 3.19 GPA.

With this year's four SEC Academic Honor Roll recipients, the Bulldogs rank third in the league both this season and with 25 total honorees in the eight seasons since Stansbury took over State's head coaching duties in 1998. Including five recipients apiece this season, Florida and LSU also jointly lead the way with 26 total honor roll recipients dating back to the 1998-99 campaign. The Bulldogs' 18 total academic honorees over the past four seasons lead the conference in men's basketball ahead of both Georgia and LSU with 14 total selections apiece.

Encompassing the winter sports of basketball, gymnastics, swimming & diving, rifle and bowling, a total of 330 student-athletes were named to the 2005-06 SEC Winter Academic Honor Roll, which is based on grades from the 2005 Spring, Summer and Fall terms.

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE,Miss. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team will continue conference play this weekend, hosting 16th-ranked Arkansas Friday, before traveling to Baton Rouge, La., to take on #19 LSU Sunday . The Bulldogs enter this weekend's activity with a 4-8 overall record, including a 1-5 mark in Southeastern Conference play.

"This is a very important weekend for our team," said MSU head coach Sylvain Guichard. "We are playing two of the top teams in the country and we will have to play extremely well to win either one of these matches. The guys are excited about the opportunity and it should be a great weekend of tennis."

Arkansas enters Friday's match with a 12-6 overall record and are 3-3 in league play. The Razorbacks are led by three seniors in Ardians Zguns, Matt Roberts and Rohan Gajjar. Zguns, currently ranked 13th nationally, is 20-5 overall this season and has a 12-2 record in dual matches. Roberts is 22-6 including a 5-1 record in SEC competition. Gajjar is 15-6 and sports a 10-3 dual match record. UA has knocked off six top-50 teams this season including a 4-2 win over 11th-ranked Virginia at the National Indoor Championship. In the overall series between MSU and Arkansas, State holds an 18-5 advantage including a 7-1 mark in Starkville. The Bulldogs have won 15 of the last 16 matches with the Razorbacks dating back to 1991. MSU defeated UA twice last season, once in a regular season meeting in Fayetteville and the other in the first round of the SEC Championship.

LSU comes into the weekend ranked 19th in the latest ITA rankings. The Tigers are 11-7 this season and 4-2 in the SEC. The Tigers are led by 22nd-ranked junior Ken Skupski. Skupski is 24-7 overall this season including a 14-4 mark in dual match play. He also won the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships to open the 2006 spring season. The doubles team of Skupski and Mark Growcott are currently ranked 12th nationally and are 5-2 in SEC play this season. LSU is coming off two wins this past weekend including an upset win over eighth-ranked Florida. LSU leads the Bulldogs 27-8-1 in the overall series and have won four straight over MSU. Last season, LSU defeated State 4-3 in Starkville.

Friday's match is set to begin at 2 p.m. CT at MSU's Pitts Tennis Centre while Sunday's match is slated for a 1 p.m. start at LSU's Dub Robinson Stadium.

Women's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - After a taxing loss against 12th-ranked Vanderbilt last Sunday, Mississippi State's Lady Bulldog tennis squad (3-10, 1-5 SEC) looks forward to a road match-up against 55th-ranked Arkansas (5-8 ,1-5 SEC) on Friday at UA Varsity Courts before they host 57th-ranked LSU (8-8, 0-6 SEC) on Sunday at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.

The Lady Dogs look to duplicate their performances against these two teams with last year's match-ups, where they won 4-0 and 4-3, respectively, against Arkansas and LSU in regular season play. MSU later matched up with LSU again in the 2005 SEC Tournament where they won again 4-3 over the Tigers in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Leading the squad with 14 wins on the season is senior Anastasia Kugakolova, who has remained the top spot throughout the season.

The Lady ‘Backs are coming off their first SEC win of the season, where they came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the match. Spurring the return was No. 23 Aurelija Miseviciute who won her 10th dual match and who is 5-2 in her last seven matches. The Lady Tigers are looking to regroup after being swept last Sunday by sixth-ranked Florida. LSU's tandem of Lauren Seaman and Tiffany Tucker are 6-1 in dual play at the top doubles spot for the season.

The Lady Netters are 8-6 all-time against Arkansas and 8-24 versus LSU. Match times for this weekend's activity commence at 3 p.m. in Fayetteville, Ark., on Friday, and at 1 p.m. versus LSU at A.J. Pitts on Sunday.

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