News from MSU Media Relations--September 22

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

STARKVILLE, MISS. - Despite closing out a tough non-conference slate last Sunday, the Mississippi State (1-6-0) soccer team's schedule does not get any easier, as it opens SEC play this weekend.

MSU will host Georgia (5-2-0) Friday night at 7:00 p.m. (CDT) before battling eighth-ranked Tennessee Sunday at 1:00 p.m. (CDT).

"Obviously, we've played seven games now," said MSU head coach Neil Macdonald. "They've been very important because, having such young players, its all about preparing them for the SEC. We've played some really good teams, such as SMU, Rice and Memphis. Those are top class programs, and its really going to stand as a huge step as we get into SEC play."

State opens conference play Friday night against Georgia. MSU is 2-5-0 all-time against UGA. The Bulldogs follow Friday night's contest with a game against three-time defending SEC Champion Tennessee. The Lady Vols hold a 7-1-0 record all-time versus MState, having won the last four.

Junior Treena Ferguson leads the team with eight points off a team-leading four goals. Sophomore Brandi Parker leads the team with two assists.

Junior Stephanie Dallas currently leads the conference with 7.00 saves per game; almost three saves more than Alabama's Kara Gudmens in second. Ferguson is also tied for fourth in the conference with four goals.

Macdonald added, "These are going to be two tough games. Both teams are nationally-ranked in the top 25, so they are going to be difficult games. The good thing is that at the end of this weekend, our young girls are going to know exactly what it takes to compete at this level because they will be playing two of the best. We just have to approach the game with confidence, a belief in the system, and the girls need to believe in themselves and the people around them."

The Bulldogs are 2-9-0 all-time in SEC openers, and 3-8-0 in SEC home openers.

Women's Tennis
TUSCALOOSA , Ala. - Mississippi State's women's tennis team opens up its 2006 fall campaign at the 21st Annual Roberta Alison Fall Classic in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Head coach Tracy Lane will be sending René e Joseph, Martina Banikova, Elna de Villiers and Tatiana Feit in addition to the team's two freshmen. Doubles teams will feature Joseph and Feit, de Villiers and Banikova, and the freshmen-duo of DeAndra Saddler and Valeriya Makarycheva.

Hoping to capitalize on last year's success, Joseph and de Villiers return back to the tournament where they both went to the finals in each of their respective draws in singles and doubles play.

The tournament will be held on the campus of the University of Alabama . The tournament is a tribute to the legendary Roberta Alison, who in 1963 became the first female athlete to participate on a men's varsity team for the crimson tide.

The flighted tournament will include teams from Auburn-Montgomery, Birmingham-Southern, UNC-Greensboro, Notre Dame, and Samford, as well as, other Southeastern Conference teams Auburn, Vanderbilt, and host Alabama. The tournament field will include 70 athletes overall with seven players who hold current FILA/Intercollegiate Tennis Association singles rankings as well as three ranked doubles teams.

To track the Lady Bulldogs on the courts, visit the Roberta Alison Tournament page at

Men's Golf
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's men's golf team is ranked 15th in Golfweek Magazine's initial 2006 NCAA team ratings released this week. State opens the new season ratings with a 71.79 according to the publication.

The Bulldogs are off to one their best starts since the 1998-99 campaign. On Tuesday, the linksters won the 2006 Callis Communications Intercollegiate in Mobile, Ala. MSU swept both the team and individual titles with sophomore Matt Fast posting his first career-win at the Azalea City Golf Course. The Maroon and White opened the fall season with a third place finish at the Scenic City Invitational in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The ratings are based on a team's performance against top-25, top-50 and top-100 teams. It also includes strength of schedule in the formula.

State returns to action in Cordova, Tenn. for the Memphis Intercollegiate on Oct. 2-3 at Colonial Country Club.

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team will be back in action this weekend (Sept. 22-24), competing at the 20th annual MTSU Blue Raider Invitational in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Players from seventeen teams will compete in the tournament which will be held at the Buck Bouldin Tennis Center on the MTSU campus.

Eight MSU players will compete in four singles divisions while four State doubles pairs will play in two doubles divisions. MSU senior Ivan Bjelica, ranked 42nd nationally and the #2 seed overall, joins junior Philippe Frayssinoux in Flight A1 singles. A pair of Bulldog freshmen in Christopher Doerr and Artem Kuznetsov will compete in Flight A2 singles while MSU sophomore Ryan Farlow and Freshman Pjotrs Necajevs will play in Flight A3. Junior Josh Irey and Sophomore Eric Lim will be in action in Flight B1 singles.

In Flight A1 Doubles, State's freshmen pair of Doerr and Necajevs along with the tandem of Bjelica and Kuznetsov will be in action. Frayssinoux and Farlow will compete together along with Irey and Lim in A2 doubles.

The tournament will also consist of a first-match consolation for all singles flights which will begin on Saturday morning. Play will get under way each day at 8:30 a.m. on the MTSU campus.

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