FRANKLIN, Tenn. - All-SEC junior Amanda Mathis fired a 76 to lead Mississippi State in the first round of the SEC Championship on Friday. Mathis stands in a tie for 15th in the individual race while the Lady Bulldogs stand in 12th as a team. The tournament is being played at the Vanderbilt Legends Club just outside of Nashville, Tenn.
Seniors Stephanie Godare and Ashleigh Korzack both stand in a tie for 41st after rounds of 79. Freshman Leigh Phillips shot an 87 and stands in 58th while sophomore Juli Huh fired an 88 to conclude the first round in a tie for 59th.
Auburn holds the lead in the team competition after the first round of play. The Tigers are one stroke ahead of Tennessee and Georgia. Two LSU players share the lead at even-par after Friday's action. Caroline Martens and Alex Rather both shot a 72 and lead by one stroke.
MSU will begin second-round action Saturday with a 8:30 a.m. tee off on hole #10.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team will conclude its regular season Saturday, taking on arch-rival and 13th-ranked Mississippi. The match is slated for a noon start at UM's Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center.
The Bulldogs enter the match with a 4-12 overall record and are 1-9 in Southeastern Conference play. State has lost six consecutive matches with four coming against top-20 teams. The Bulldogs are led by 81st-ranked Ivan Bjelica and 97th-ranked Pierre Mouillon. Mouillon leads the team in overall wins, dual match wins and SEC wins. The Le Perreux, France product is 18-12 overall this season including a 10-5 mark in dual match play. Bjelica is 16-15 overall this season. Bjelica is 4-6 in the SEC, including a win over 13th-ranked Adrians Zguns of Arkansas.
"This match will be a big challenge for us," said MSU head coach Sylvain Guichard. "Ole Miss is one of the top teams in the league and we will have to play exceptional tennis to have a chance to win."
The Rebels are 17-4 overall this season, including a 7-3 mark in the conference. UM is led by 17th-ranked Erling Tveit and 27th-ranked junior Eric Claesson. Tveit is 27-6 this season, including a 7-3 mark in league play. Claesson is 33-10 overall and 14-4 in dual matches. Tveit and Claesson are ranked eighth nationally in doubles and have compiled a 16-7 record this season.
In a series which began in 1907, Missisippi holds a slight 47-46 edge. The Rebels have won the last 16 meetings dating back to the 1999 season. In the matchup earlier this season in the River Hills Cup, UM won a 4-0 decision.
After Saturday's match, both teams will travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala. to compete in the 2006 SEC Championship. First round action begins Thursday (April 20) at 10 a.m.