MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Mississippi State's Philippe Frayssinoux, Ivan Bjelica and Eric Lim all reached the semifinals of their respective brackets Friday at the MTSU Blue Raider Invitational. Frayssinoux and Bjelica advanced in Flight A1 while Lim moved to the semis with two wins in Flight B1.
Frayssinoux opened up play, knocking off South Florida's Henning Hipp 6-1, 6-0 in the first round. In the second round, Frayssinoux upset 32nd-ranked and top-seeded Andreas Siljestrom from homestanding MTSU 7-5, 6-2, capturing possibly the biggest win of his career to date.
Bjelica, ranked 42nd nationally, rolled through his first-round match with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Armstrong Atlantic's Davor Zink. In the second round, Bjelica overcame a one-set deficit to defeat Kentucky's 107th-ranked Peter Bjork 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and join Frayssinoux in the semis. Bulldog sophomore Eric Lim won his first-round match over Indiana State's Bruno Echer 6-4, 4-6, 10-4. Lim then solidified his spot in the semis with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Kentucky's Shane Collins in a second-round matchup.
MSU freshman Artem Kuznetsov won his first career match in Flight A2, defeating Belmont's Faucho Rocha 6-3, 6-3. Kuznetsov fell in the second round 6-1, 6-3 to MTSU's Marc Rocafort. Fellow freshman Pjotrs Necajevs won his first-round match over South Florida's Mark Gattiker 6-2, 6-4 before falling to Mississippi's Chris Rea 7-6(2), 6-3 in the second round.
In other first-round singles action, Christopher Doerr, Ryan Farlow and Josh Irey dropped their first round matches and will play consolation matches on Saturday. Singles consolation matches will be played first at 8:30 a.m. Saturday followed by main-draw singles and the first two rounds of doubles. Play will conclude Sunday at the Buck Bouldin Tennis Center on the MTSU campus.
STARKVILLE, MISS. - Despite holding the lead for most of the game, the Mississippi State (1-7-0, 0-1-0) soccer team gave up two Georgia (6-2-0, 1-0-0) goals in the final 15 minutes, falling 3-2 in its SEC opening match.
The game opened with MSU taking the play to Georgia. Just over three minutes in, Kevyn Shelledy dribbled the ball to the front of the net and fired a shot that rang off the crossbar. Twelve seconds later, Treena Ferguson rifled a shot off the right post.
However, in the sixth minute, State finally was able to put it between the post. Sophomore defender Bethany Frazier took a pass from Hannah Tyler and booted a kick from 40 feet out that sailed over a leaping Michelle Betos and snuck under the crossbar, giving MSU the early 1-0 advantage. It was Frazier's first goal of the season. It was also the earliest goal that UGA had given up this year, and snapped its shutout streak at 323:40.
Cortni Joyner twice almost tied the game for UGA. In the 14th minute, Joyner rang a shot off the crossbar. Seven minutes later, Georgia sent the ball deep into MSU territory, leaving a footrace for the ball between State goalkeeper Stephanie Dallas and Joyner. Dallas slid and tried to trap the ball, but Joyner reached it first and dribbled around Dallas. However, Joyner's shot went left of the wide open net, and State kept the lead.
However, Georgia tied the game at the 33:57 mark. In what looked like a replay of Frazier's goal, Leslie McConnell sent a shot toward the net that snuck in between a leaping Dallas and the crossbar, and the teams went into the half tied a one. State retook the lead less than two minutes into the second half. After MSU sent the ball down the left sideline, UGA netminder Michelle Betos, in an attempt to get the ball, tackled Shelledy. Treena Ferguson took the ensuing penalty kick and scored her team-leading fifth goal, giving MState a 2-1 lead in the process.
From that point on, the game became a chippy affair, and Georgia slowly began to gain momentum. Although UGA began to take control, the State defense did not allow many scoring opportunities. However, Georgia broke through in the 74th minute. McConnell sent her corner kick toward the net. Randi-Lynn Bruso corralled the ball, and snuck it past Dallas, tying the game.
The game seemed to be heading toward overtime, but UGA had other plans. With five minutes remaining, the ball was sent deep into MSU territory. Olivia West took it at the top of the box, dribbled in, and beat Dallas, handing UGA its first lead of the game. State tried to tie the game, but the Georgia defense did not allow them any room to work.
"I'm really proud of the way we played from start to finish," said MSU head coach Neil Macdonald. "We took the game to them as much as we could. They're (Georgia) a Top 25 program, and it showed in the end. But you have to give credit to our girls. They battled; they won the 50-50 balls. We scored two good goals. Overall, we've got to be happy with our performance and our commitment."
The Bulldogs return to action on Sunday when they host No. 8 Tennessee at 1:00 p.m. at the MSU Soccer Field. You can follow all the action live at www.mstateathletics.com.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Mississippi State's women's tennis program served up the first competition of the fall season Friday at the Roberta Alison Fall Classic.
The Lady Bulldogs opened the tournament featuring two doubles wins including Renee Joseph and Tatiana Feit defeating Whitney Miles and Courtney Akel of UNC-Greensboro 8-2 in the White Draw as the fourth seed. In the Black Draw, also as the fourth seed, the freshman tandem of DeAndra Saddler and Valeriya Makarycheva defeated Anna Jackson and Whitnie Warren of Samford, 8-5.
In singles, Makarycheva (6-4, 6-0, against Paulina Bigos of Alabama) joined sophomore Tatiana Feit with wins in their respective singles draws. Feit won by default in the first round against Vanderbilt's Hannah Blatt and went on to defeat Birmingham-Southern's Lauren Russell 6-1, 6-0 to advance her into the finals of the Orange Draw. Makarycheva's semifinal match was being played late Friday night due to the rain.
Joseph fell in her first match against Auburn-Montgomery's Hannah Kuervers (6-4, 6-1), but came back in the White Draw singles consolation to defeat Kathryn Carroll of Birmingham-Southern, 6-1, 6-1. Likewise, Elna de Villiers came back from a first round loss to defeat Birmingham-Southern's Casey Ragsdale, 6-1, 6-3 in consolation play. Martina Banikova followed suit in the same fashion with a loss to Notre Dame's 91st-ranked Christian Thompson 7-5, 6-0 and a following win over UNC-Greensboro's Emily Wade 6-1, 6-0.
Due to weather, late singles and second round doubles competition was taken inside to continue late Friday night. The Lady Bulldogs will take the courts again Saturday at 8 a.m. with the third round of singles competition and the doubles finals.
STARKVILLE, MISS. - Mississippi State fans will get their first opportunity to see the 2006-07 softball team in action this weekend as the team hosts the first of two consecutive Fall Tournaments.
The Bulldogs will play two games on Saturday and will follow it up with two games on Sunday.
State will play host to the University of West Alabama and Wallace State Community College. West Alabama and Wallace State will get the action started on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. followed by Mississippi State-West Alabama at 3:00 p.m. Mississippi State-Wallace State will close out the action at 5:00 p.m.
On Sunday, West Alabama and Wallace State again get things started at 11:00 a.m. followed by Mississippi State-Wallace State at 1:00 p.m. Mississippi State-West Alabama will close out the weekend at 3:00 p.m.
All games will be played at the MSU Softball Field and admission is free.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - As a part of its ongoing efforts to serve the Starkville community, the Mississippi State University women's basketball team participated in two community service events this past week. On Thursday, the Lady Bulldogs assisted at the Starkville Church of God's Compassion Pantry, while Thursday featured a visit to Starkville's Ward-Stewart Elementary School to kickoff the 2006 Bully's Book Blitz.
On Tuesday, Sept. 19, members of the team helped participants at Starkville Church of God's Compassion Pantry. Each team member assisted in the areas of registration, sacking groceries and delivering groceries to vehicles.
According to the church, every third Tuesday of each month, the Compassion Pantry opens its doors for anyone expressing a need for supplement food. Each household comes away with a bag of groceries and is offered a hot meal. Compassion Pantry has been in operation since April 1999 and currently serves more than 200 families each month.
On Thursday, Sept. 21, the Lady Bulldogs -- along with several other MState athletes, including MSU's mascot Bully -- kicked off the 2006 Bully's Book Blitz with fourth-graders at Starkville's Ward-Stewart Elementary School. The Book Blitz is designed to encourage and improve reading skills. The winning class from this year's event will be guests-of-honor at a football game later this season.
Throughout the school year, the Lady Bulldogs will participate in various other community service activities in the Golden Triangle area. Pictures from various projects may be viewed at Mississippi State's official athletics Web site, www.mstateathletics.com.