News from MSU Media Relations--August 19

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

STARKVILLE, MS - After battling throughout the first period, the Mississippi State soccer team allowed two quick second half goals, falling to UAB, 4-1 in a tune-up before the regular season.

The teams spent the majority of the first half scrapping. Neither team got a shot off until UAB netminder Katie Forbis stopped Treena Ferguson 13 minutes into the game. The teams continued to battle until UAB broke the scoreless tie with 18 minutes remaining in the half. Caitlin Marple broke down the right side, sending a cross towards the net, where Danya Barsalona headed it past MSU goalkeeper Stephanie Dallas, giving the Blazers a 1-0 lead. Mississippi State outshot UAB, 5-4, despite trailing at the half.

The second half began with UAB applying pressure on the Bulldog defense. Eight minutes into the half, the Blazers increased its lead to 2-0 on Sally Palmer's goal. Ten minutes later, Jill Porto took a pass from Katie Henricks and beat goalie Taryn Holland for a 3-0 UAB advantage.

Mississippi State finally broke through at the 78:43 mark. Julie McFarland stopped Ashley Hood's point-blank shot, but Brandi Parker, playing her first match after redshirting last season, sent the rebound into the back of the net.

However, the Blazers got the goal back less than eight minutes later. Jennifer Williams sent a shot towards the net from just inside the midfield line that crossed the goal line just inside the right post to close out the scoring.

"This was a great test," said MSU head coach Neil MacDonald. 'We knew going in that we weren't where we should be. UAB is a top-class program, and they showed it tonight. But, we never stopped running, we never stopped fighting. There's lots of potential in this group. This was a good learning experience."

The Bulldogs open the 2006 season next Friday when they travel to Houston, Texas to face Rice at 7:00 p.m.

Men's Golf
STARKVILLE , Miss. - The 2006 United States Amateur Golf Championship will have a Mississippi State connection with men's golfer Greg Huxman competing in the U.S. Golf Association sanctioned event in Chaska, Minn. The championship will be contested at Hazeltine National Golf Club beginning Monday, Aug. 21 and concluding on Sunday, Aug. 27 with 36 holes of match play. This is the second consecutive U.S. Amateur that has had MSU representation. Last year, Bulldog head coach Clay Homan earned a spot in the event.

Huxman, a senior on the MSU squad this season, qualified for the prestigious event in amateur golf in his hometown of Miami, Fla. at the Don Shula Hotel and Golf Club over the summer break. He fired a two-day total 139 during qualifying trials.

The first two rounds of competition are stroke play. Stroke play will be played on the Hazeltine course along with The Chaska Town Course. The field will be reduced to the lowest 64 scorers after the first two days. Match play competition begins on Wednesday (Aug. 23). All matches are 18 holes, excluding the championship match which will be contested over 36 holes on Sunday, Aug. 27.

The 2006 U.S. Amateur is an addition to the Hazeltine National GC championship resume. The par-72, 7,473 yard layout was the venue for the 2002 PGA Championship as well as host for two U.S. Open Championships since it opened in 1959. In 1999 the NCAA Golf Championships were held there.

Huxman will begin his quest for the Amateur Championship Title at 8:10 a.m. CT on Monday at The Chaska Town Course. He will test Hazeltine National GC at 1:25 p.m. on Tuesday.

Live scoring of the U.S. Amateur will be available at Fans can also catch the action live on the Golf Channel on Wednesday-Friday from 3-5 p.m. CT. NBC will broadcast the semifinal and championship matches on Saturday and Sunday from 3-5 p.m. CT.

The winner of the U.S. Amateur receives an invitation to play in the Masters at Augusta National in April 2007.

Men's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - In preparation for a Labor Day weekend of competition in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, coach Rick Stansbury's Mississippi State men's basketball team began preseason practice Friday afternoon on the MSU campus.

Organized by Basketball Travelers, Inc., headquartered in Edmonds, Wash., the Bulldogs' upcoming trip to Canada will consist of playing three games in two days (Sept. 2-3) against Canadian universities and college-level teams. The tour will begin with a Saturday doubleheader (Sept. 2), as MSU first takes on University College of the Fraser Valley at noon PST in Abbotsford, British Columbia. The Bulldogs later head to New Westminster, British Columbia to meet the University of Saskatchewan Saturday evening in a contest to be played on the Douglas College campus. State will conclude the Labor Day weekend of basketball competition by meeting Douglas College in a Sunday night (Sept. 3) contest before heading back to the United States Monday morning.

Other NCAA Division I programs slated to participate against Canadian competition this Labor Day weekend in British Columbia include Arizona, Fresno State, New Mexico State and Wichita State. Canada-based schools Simon Fraser, Trinity Western and the University of British Columbia are also scheduled to participate during the upcoming holiday weekend in Vancouver.

Coach Stansbury's 2006-07 Bulldogs return nine lettermen, including four starters, from last year's youthful 15-15 team. Headlined by reigning All-SEC junior forward Charles Rhodes and 2005-06 Freshman All-SEC guard/forward Jamont Gordon, State welcomes back 76 percent of its scoring from a year ago, as well as 74 percent of the team's rebounding and 79 percent of the club's assist totals from last season. MSU's current newcomer class will also be able to participate during the club's upcoming visit to Canada.

"The key for us is that we get 10 days of practice over a 14-day period. It's a great time for a young team to get in these extra days of practice," Stansbury noted. "And it lets us do what we want to do, coach basketball early. Then we'll have five weeks before the start of (preseason) practices to make adjustments."

The last time a Mississippi State basketball team competed outside of the United States during the off-season came during the summer of 1994 when the Bulldogs spent two weeks in Finland. MSU would later advance to th1995 NCAA Sweet Sixteen before making the school's first-ever Final Four appearance the following year.

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