News from MSU Media Relations--November 6

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

Volleyball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Junior setter Eva Kriegel notched her fourth "triple-double" of the season and freshman outside hitter Martina Gregusova delivered 17 kills Sunday afternoon as Mississippi State (16-10, 7-9 SEC) completed an SEC weekend sweep with a 3-1 win (30-19, 30-20, 23-30, 30-26) over Georgia (6-20, 2-14 SEC). With the win MSU set a school record for conference wins and clinched back-to-back winning seasons for State for the second time in program history.

Kriegel, who set a school record with four triple-doubles last year, matched that mark with 14 kills, 45 assists and a career-high 15 digs. The Jaszbereny, Hungary, native also raised her career assists total to 1,576, climbing to fifth among MSU's all-time career assists leaders. The "triple-double" was the eighth of her two-year MSU career.

"This was a good ending to a good weekend," said third-year MSU head coach Tina Seals. "We got off to a quick start, winning the first two games impressively. We lost our focus and struggled with out serving, particularly in that third game. But we managed to get back on track and finish the match in four games. Martina (Gregusova) is beginning to play like a seasoned veteran on a regular basis, and Eva (Kriegel) contributes in so many ways. We also got a strong performance off the bench from Cristina (Jucan), and that lift she gave the team was a key factor today."

Georgia led briefly in the early going before State broke an 11-11 deadlock with a 15-2 burst. The Bulldogs reeled off nine straight points off serves by Jamie Joyner, two of which fell in for aces. Eva Kriegel hit .833 with five kills in six error-free attacks and Jucan tallied four kills off the bench to spark MSU to a 30-19 opening-set win.

MSU warmed up on offense in the second game, hitting at a match-best .455 clip. State raced to a 5-1 advantage and was never seriously challenged in taking a 30-20 win in game two. Gregusova tallied eight of MSU's 19 kills in the second stanza. Georgia's Maria Taylor tallied seven of Georgia's kills in the frame.

After the break, the visiting Bulldogs came to life, using a pair of MSU service errors to race to a 4-1 lead. State knotted the score at 4-4 and later at 7-7 on an ace by Megan Lukasek. But UG hit .304 for the game while State bogged down offensively with 11 hitting errors in the game. The offensive lapse enabled Georgia to build its lead out to seven points at 20-13 before closing the game with a 30-23 win.

The fourth game featured 15 ties and six lead changes. But with the game tied at 22-22, Gregusova gave State the lead with a kill and added two more down the stretch as MSU out-pointed Georgia 8-4 for a match-clinching 30-26 win. Eva Kriegel's fourth kill of the set ended the game and the match.

Gregusova's 17-kill, 15-dig effort included a .389 hitting display. Eva Kriegel had 14 kills and with 15 digs shared match honors with Georgia's Brooke Burlingame.

Jamie Joyner and Cristina Jucan added 12 kills apiece as MSU amassed a 67 to 44 advantage in kills for the match. Joyner, Erin Seago and Ioana Demian led a strong MSU showing at the next with three blocks each.

Georgia's Maria Taylor took match honors with 19 kills, equaling her Oct. 13 kills total against MSU in Athens, Ga. Brooke Peugh had eight kills and a match-high five blocks.

State struggled at the service line with 15 serving errors. But Joyner served up four aces and Orshi Kriegel added three to lessen the damage at serve.

The win clinched the second straight winning season for Mississippi State following last year's 15-12 finish. State's only previous back-to-back winning seasons came in 1989 and 1990. The win over Georgia was State's seventh against an SEC foe, breaking the previous school mark of six SEC wins set in 2005. Tina Seals' first MSU team tied the school record for SEC wins with five in 2004.

With the Sunday victory, MSU clinched its second two-win week in league play this season. The Bulldogs completed a two-match season series sweep of South Carolina with a 3-0 win Friday night at the Newell-Grissom Building.

State resumes SEC competition on the road this weekend, visiting Auburn Friday (Nov. 10) and No. 10 Florida Sunday (Nov. 12). The Bulldogs close out their 2006 schedule the following weekend, entertaining nationally-ranked LSU (Nov. 17) and Arkansas (Nov. 19) at the Newell-Grissom Building.


Women's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Mississippi State University Lady Bulldogs host the Houston Jaguars on Monday, Nov. 6 in an exhibition contest at Humphrey Coliseum. Tip-off for State's lone exhibition contest is slated for 7 p.m. and admission is free.

Monday's meeting marks the sixth straight between the Lady Bulldogs and the Jaguars. State leads the overall series 3-2. Last season, Houston defeated MState, 92-79. The Jaguars' roster may potentially feature three former Lady Bulldogs: Renea Jones (2000-03), LaCharlotte Smith (1992-96) and LaToya Thomas (1999-2003).

State returns eight letterwinners from last season squad, including the team's leading scorer and second-leading rebounder – sophomore Robin Porter. Porter started all 28 contests as a freshman and averaged 10.6 points per game while bringing down six rebounds in each game. Also returning, sophomore Heather Hollis saw action in 26 games, starting 18 of those. Hollis averaged eight points per contest while shooting 76.2 from the free throw line. During Southeastern Conference play, Hollis led the team with 9.7 points per game.

Mississippi State officially begins its 33rd season of women's basketball on Friday, Nov. 10 when the Lady Bulldogs host the Trojans of Troy University in a 7 p.m. tip-off at Humphrey Coliseum. Following the Troy contest, State's next six contests are all at home.


Women's Tennis
PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. - Mississippi State's doubles tandem of Renee Joseph and Elna de Villiers notched a consolation victory in their last match of the fall season at the 2006 SEC Fall Coaches Classic Sunday, concluding the weekend for State at the tournament.

The MSU duo defeated Alabama's Shelley Godwin and Bianca Svenson 8-4 in B Draw consolation play Sunday after downing another Crimson Tide pair on Saturday in the same fashion.

In C Draw consolation singles Sunday, de Villiers took to the court versus Courtney Ulery of Vanderbilt. The State sophomore dropped a close 6-3, 7-6 decision in that affair.

Head coach Tracy Lane's squad returns to action Jan. 19-21, 2007, at the Georgia Indoors in Athens, Ga. State will open up its 2007 dual match season at home against the Buffaloes of Colorado on Feb. 2 at the A. J. Pitts Tennis Centre.


Football
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State senior middle linebacker Quinton Culberson (Jackson, Miss.) was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week, the Foundation announced Sunday. His 51-yard interception return for touchdown in the game has been nominated for Pontiac's Game Changing Performance.

Culberson earned the Camp award with his standout play in the Bulldogs' 24-16 win at Alabama Saturday. The 6-0, 234-pounder recorded a team-high 10 tackles, including a half-tackle for loss (minus 4 yards) against the Crimson Tide. He also returned an intercepted pass 51 yards for a touchdown and spearheaded an MSU defensive effort that held Alabama without an offensive touchdown.

The interception return has been nominated as one of the four finalists for this week's Pontiac Game Changing Performance. Fans around the globe will decide which team will receive a $5,000 contribution to its general scholarship fund and become a finalist for the $100,000 Pontiac Game Changing Performance of the Year.

To vote for the Pontiac Game Changing Performance, fans should visit the weekly award's headquarters on ESPN.com. Fans who vote become eligible to enter for a chance to win a $5,000 scholarship for themselves or their family.

Saturday's game marked Culberson's fifth double-digit tackle performance of the 2006 season, the ninth of his career. His interception return for score came with just under three minutes left in the first half and handed Mississippi State a 24-10 lead at the time. It was his fourth career interception, the second he returned for a touchdown.


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