TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The 12th-seeded Mississippi State men's tennis team moved into the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Championship with a 4-2 upset win over fifth-seeded and 20th-ranked LSU on Thursday. The Bulldogs advance to face fourth-seeded Kentucky at 2 p.m. on Friday at the Alabama Tennis Complex.
LSU won the opening point of the match, winning all three doubles matches. The first completed was on court #2 where the 30th-ranked duo of Danny Bryan and Colt Gaston knocked off State's Ryan Farlow and Florent Girod 8-2. The Tigers clinched the doubles point when Tigers James Cluskey and Paul White defeated MSU's pair of Eric Lim and Josh Irey 8-3 on court #3. The match on court #1 was suspended with the ninth-ranked LSU pair of Mark Growcott and Ken Skupski leading Bulldogs Ivan Bjelica and Jose-Carlos Pinto 7-2.
When singles play began, it was the Bulldogs that gained the early momentum. State won the first set on five of the six courts. However, it was LSU that won the first singles match to gain a 2-0 lead when Growcott defeated MSU's Mouillon 6-3, 6-4 on court #2. State narrowed the margin to 2-1 when sophomore Philippe Frayssinoux won 7-5, 6-0 over LSU's Bryan on court #4. MSU evened the match at 2-2 when Bulldog senior Florent Girod overcame LSU's Cluskey 7-6, 6-3 at the #5 spot. State's Lim snapped a five-match losing skid and gave the Bulldogs a 3-2 advantage with a 7-6, 7-6 win on court #6. The clinching point for State came on court #3 when Bulldog senior Pinto outlasted LSU's 110th-ranked Gaston 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 to give State their first win over LSU since 2001. The match on court #1 between LSU's 24th-ranked Skupski and 80th-ranked Bjelica was suspended with Skupski leading 3-6, 7-6, 5-4.
The win over LSU solidifies State's 14th appearance in the last 16 years in the quarterfinals of the SEC Championship. The Bulldogs will meet Kentucky for the second time this season as UK won a 4-3 decision earlier this season in Lexington, Ky. The Wildcats are 16-8 overall this season including a 7-4 mark in league play. MSU and UK have met two previous times in the SEC Championship since it was initiated in 1990. The Bulldogs won 5-2 over UK in the quarters of the 1994 tournament while the Bulldogs fell to UK 4-2 in the first round of the 2002 tournament.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Mississippi State's competition in the 2006 Southeastern Conference Women's Tennis Championship was short lived with No. 6 seed Alabama blanking the No. 11 seed Lady Bulldogs 4-0 in the opening round of the annual league championship.
UA opened the match with the doubles victory with the Crimson Tide's 14-ranked pairing of Ashley Bentley and Robin Stephenson clinching the first point over State's duo of Martina Banikova and Elna de Villiers 8-2.
"We were definitely out-played. Alabama's had a good year. They've proven themselves and we lost to a good team today," said MSU head coach Tracy Lane. "It's hard coming into a match when you've already given up a point. We've had to work through that the last couple of weeks. Our main focus is just trying to build character within the program right now and make improvements in our game. We're ready to move forward," said Lane.
Bama continued its impressive court play in singles with three straight points on courts No. 1, 3 and 6. UA's Stephenson, ranked 19th, topped MSU's Renee Joseph on court one 6-2, 6-3, while Mari Muller quickly worked State's Daniela Juskova 6-1, 6-1 at No. 3. The on-court temperature of the match between the Lady Bulldogs and Tide topped 100 degrees.
Once the match was determined the other three matches in progress were suspended.
MState finishes the 2006 tennis campaign at 3-16 overall and 1-10 in SEC play.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's men's golf team will get Southeastern Conference Men's Golf Championship competition underway on Friday, April 21, at Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Ga. The 54-hole event will run thru Sunday, April 23 at the par-71 course.
This season marks the sixth consecutive season that the 12-team championship has been hosted in Sea Island, Ga. State looks to improve from two-consecutive 10th-place finishes from the past two seasons in the annual event.
MSU head coach Clay Homan will start Logan Young, Matt Fast, Carlos Sainz, Jr., Noah Goldman and Josh Oller. Goldman is coming off his sixth top-20 finish of the season two weekends ago at the Billy Hitchcock Intercollegiate in Auburn, Ala. Sainz, Jr. leads the squad in scoring with a 73.77 average. Oller, the lone MState individual that has competed at the SEC Championship, finished tied with former Bulldog linkster Joe Deraney for 25th at the 2005 edition of the event.
The Maroon and White will be paired with Auburn and Mississippi during the opening round with tee times beginning at 10:30 ET.
For up to date information on the 2006 league championship, log on to MSU's official web site www.MStateAhletics.com and click the tournament central link.
Track & Field
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State University's track and field teams travel to the Plains of Auburn, Ala. for the Auburn Invitational this weekend. Action begins at 1:30 p.m. CT on Saturday at the Hutsell-Rosen Track on the Auburn campus.
"We're going to Auburn hoping to qualify for regionals," said MSU head coach Al Schmidt. "We've still got the 1500 to qualify in. We've got some throwers we think can qualify, and Elzie (Coleman) in the 400-meter dash.
"Our main goal is to finish off the qualifying since our next meet (Penn Relays) is the majority relay events."
In addition to Auburn, teams scheduled to compete include Army, Birmingham Southern, Jacksonville State, Kennesaw State, Mississippi State, Samford, South Alabama, Tennessee State, Troy State, Wallace State and members of the Alabama women's team.
This weekend's meet will feature the dedication of Auburn's new track facility.
A week ago, the MSU squads closed out the 2006 home schedule by setting six regional qualifying marks and winning 13 events at the Jack Lacoste Invitational.Senior Jasmine Walls (Picayune, Miss.) led the way for MSU, clearing a regional qualifying 5 feet, 10-and-three-quarters inches in the high jump to set a new MSU school record and Jack Lacoste Invitational record.
Freshman Janelle Finley (Mobile, Ala.) qualified for June's Mideast Regional in the long jump, leaping a personal best 19-113/4. The mark ranks as the second best in school history. Finley went on to take fifth in the triple jump with a personal best mark of 39-08, the fifth-best in the event in MSU history. Junior all-American Arthur Davis (Mobile, Ala.) also met a regional mark in the men's 400-meter dash, finishing third in 46.40 seconds.In the women's 200-meter dash, Gabrielle Dillon (Liberty, Miss.) ran the fifth-best time in school history, crossing the tape in 23.96, a regional qualifying mark and personal best for the freshman.
Freshman Marrissa Harris (Memphis, Tenn.) ran 13.97 seconds to win the women's 100-meter hurdles and 24.46 in the 200-meter dash to finish fourth. Junior Jen McPherson (Nampa, Idaho) picked up her first win of the outdoor season, taking the meet title in the 1500-meter run in 4:28.11. Zita Magloire (Tallahassee, Fla.) followed with a personal-best 4:29.69 and a regional-qualifying 2:09.16 in a second-place finish in the 800-meter run. Junior Liz Grube (Sherwood, Wis.) placed third in 4:38.53, junior Mina Thorstenson (Okauchee, Wis.) was fourth with a personal-best 4:39.40 and freshman Michelle Corrigan (Green Bay, Wis.) took fifth in 4:43.12. Senior Meggan Hodge (Beaumont, Alberta) recorded her best time of the season in the 3000-meter steeplechase, breaking her Jack Lacoste record from 2005 by winning the 2006 title in 10:56.40. Junior Joy Griffth (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) followed Hodge, taking second in 11:02.82.
In the men's 4x400-meter relay of junior Ezra Jones (Wildwood, Fla.), sophomore all-American Elzie Coleman, A. Davis and junior Bruce Davis (Phenix City, Ala.) combined to run a regional qualifying 3:07.98. The MSU women's 4x100-meter relay tied their season-best time, taking third in 46.66. Harris led off with the lead lap and freshman Antrese Banks (Gloster, Miss.), Dillon and Finley followed. In the 4x400-meter relay, Banks, freshman Dot Youmans (Poplarville, Miss.), sophomore Andrea Wahlin (Cold Spring, Minn.) and Magloire ran 3:56.14.
Following Saturday's meet, State's team travel to Philadelphia, Pa. for the 2006 Penn Relays.