News from MSU Media Relations--February 9

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

Women's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's Lady Bulldog tennis team closes out their 2007 opening homestand this weekend. State will welcome Southern University on Thursday [ 2 p.m.], and No. 68 Troy on Saturday [1 p.m.] at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.

The match versus Southern will serve as the first meeting between the two schools. The Jaguars enter the match 0-1 with a 5-2 loss to Xavier [ La.]. The match on Saturday will mark the fourth meeting between State and Troy. The Trojans are 1-1 with a 4-3 win over No. 71 Louisville and a loss to Southern Methodist. State leads that series 2-1.

MSU enters this weekend's action coming off a 4-1 loss to No. 44 Colorado last Friday. Head coach Tracy Lane hopes to see her squad rebound from the loss.

"We are coming off a tough indoor loss," said Lane. "Losing the doubles point [against Colorado ] hurt us and then losing those close 3-setters. The key for us is to get a win under our belt against Southern as we head into the weekend against Troy."

Following this weekend's action, the Lady Bulldogs will hit the road for the first time and travel to South Alabama. The USA match on Feb. 15 is slated to begin at 11 a.m.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's women's tennis squad notched its first win of the 2007 campaign by blanking Southern University, 6-0 at the McCarthy Gymnasium on the MSU campus on Thursday afternoon. The match was moved indoors due to weather conditions and singles were played first to speed up the match.

State's Martina Banikova and Daniela Juskova blanked the Jaguars at the No. 1 and No. 2 positions to pace the day. Banikova defeated SU's Megan Wiltz 6-0, 6-0 at the one spot, while Juskova quick-worked Jaguar foe Janelle Mosley, 6-0, 6-0.

MSU's Renee Joseph claimed her match 6-1, 6-2 over SU's Sydney Lartigue at the No. 4 position. At court No. 3, Elna de Villiers battled through a 6-1, 6-3 match versus Bethlehem Workeneh to claim the match point for State.

Rounding out the afternoon, Freshman Valeriya Makarycheva aced her competition versus Gabrielle Marshall. Makarycheva bested her Jaguar foe 6-1, 6-2 at No. 5. With her first action of the spring, Tatiana Feit downed her match 8-0 against Southern's Khyelle Anthony.

"It was a good win," said head coach Tracy Lane. "It was a match that we knew we had to win. It gave us an opportunity to just play a match outside of practice. We just know have to get ready for Saturday against Troy. It is going to be a really tough match that we have to be ready for."

The match against No. 68 Troy is slated to begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10, at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.


Softball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State softball team will open the 2007 campaign a home for the fourth time in five years when it hosts the Bulldog Round Robin, February 9-11, at the MSU Softball Field.

Winner of six of their last seven season openers, the Bulldogs open their portion of the Round Robin on Friday at 2:00 p.m. taking on Iowa State, before finishing the day against Purdue at approximately 4:00 p.m. State will take on Kennesaw State, Saturday at 2:00 p.m., before battling Iowa State at approximately 4:00 p.m. MState will close out the tournament on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. versus Purdue.

State returns 15 letterwinners and eight starters off of last year's squad. Also joining the Bulldogs this year are five newcomers. MSU is 26-11 all-time in season-opening tournaments, including 16-1 in the Round Robin.

The Owls return six field starters and four pitchers from a team that churned out a 38-17 record and a second place finish in the Atlantic Sun Conference last season. Kennesaw State returns Atlantic Sun Pre-Season Player of the Year Keri McKee, who led the team with a .410 average last season. Preseason All-Atlantic Sun honorees Kelly Cowart hit .356 with five home runs and 29 RBI last season and was joined on the preseason all-conference squad by Jennifer Nolan who hit .351 with a team-leading 11 home runs and 53 RBI last year. KSU was projected to finish second behind Stetson in a preseason poll of the Atlantic Sun coaches.

Purdue brings back four field starters and two starting pitchers from last season's 30-30 squad that finished ninth in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers are highlighted by the return of senior DaQueta Johnson. Johnson hit .294 with a team-leading ten homeruns and 46 RBI. The Dolphins were projected to finish fourth in a preseason poll of the Atlantic Sun coaches.

Iowa State brings back six starters and all three arms of its pitching staff as the Bulls look to improve on its 23-28 mark in. The Cyclones will be led by Ashley Killen. The senior catcher hit .336 with seven home runs and 40 RBI last season. Alyssa Ransom (12-16, 3.16 ERA, 104 K) will look to pace Iowa State in the circle. ISU was projected to finish tenth in the Big XII pre-season poll.

Following this week's action in Starkville, the Bulldogs will take the road for the first time in 2007 when they travel to Las Vegas, Nev. for the UNLV Louisville Slugger Classic, Feb. 15-17.


Track & Field
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's Lady Bulldog track squad will venture to Fayetteville, Ark. on Friday, Feb. 9 to compete in the Tyson Invitational, hosted by the University of Arkansas. The meet will serve as a tune up for the upcoming 2007 Southeastern Conference Championships to be held on Feb. 23-25 in Lexington, Ky.

MState's portion of the two-day event will get underway at 11 a.m. CST with the long jump. Competition will continue through Saturday evening. The invitational will take place in UA's Randal Tyson Track Center. The indoor facility will serve as host to the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships this coming March.

"This meet will give us a good idea on how we match up with the teams from the SEC," said MSU head coach Al Schmidt. "Hopefully, this will be a good weekend for us."

State returns to the competitive track after a weekend off after the Bayou Bengal Invitational in Baton Rouge, La. on Friday, Jan. 27. At the LSU-hosted event, the Lady Bulldog distance squads dominated the mile and 3000-meter runs by claiming five of the too 10 spots in the mile run and three of the top-five positions in the 3000-meter run. Junior Annie Falor won the 3000-meter run and claimed runner up honors in the mile run.

Freshman Wendy Copeland will look to continue her impressive collegiate start. The Tupelo, Miss.-native has etched her name in the MSU indoor laurels after her performance at LSU. She posted a jump of 19 feet, two and a half inches in the long jump, which ranks second all-time at MState. Her mark of 39-03 in the triple jump is third-best in indoor competition.

Live results from this weekend's meet will be available at www.hogwired.com.

After the Tyson Invite, the Lady Bulldogs will head to the University of Kentucky's Nutter Fieldhouse for the 2007 SEC Indoor Championships beginning on Friday, Feb. 23.


Men's Tennis
JACKSON, Miss. - Despite some closely-contested matches, the Mississippi State men's tennis team dropped a 4-0 decision to fifth-ranked rival Mississippi Thursday at the River Hills Cup in Jackson. The Bulldogs (1-1) fell behind early and never recovered as the Rebels won their eighth-straight River Hills Cup and moved to 6-0 this season.

The Rebels grabbed the opening point of the match, topping State in doubles. UM's Eric Claesson and Erling Tveit topped State's pair of Ivan Bjelica and Philippe Frayssinoux 8-3 on court #1. Mississippi's Robbye Poole and Jonas Berg clinched the point for UM with an 8-6 win over MSU's freshman tandem of Edouard Benchetrit and Chris Doerr on court #3. The third doubles match was suspended on court #2 with State's 28th-ranked freshman pair of Artem Kuznetsov and Pjotrs Necajevs leading UM's 10th-ranked duo of Chris Rae and Jakob Klaeson 6-4.

Mississippi extended its lead to 2-0 when UM's Tveit defeated State's 31st-ranked Frayssinoux 6-3, 6-2 on court #1. UM went up 3-0 when the Rebel's 79th-ranked Robbye Poole held off State rookie Artem Kuznetsov in a fierce battle 7-6(1), 6-3 at No. 3. UM clinched the match when the Rebel's Claesson rallied to defeat MSU's 32nd-ranked Bjelica 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 on court #2. Play on courts #4 and #5 were suspended at that point.

"We had a great effort tonight against a top-five team," said MSU head coach Sylvain Guichard. "Our young guys were very competitive tonight and this match will make us alot better throughout this season."

With the win, the Rebels claimed their 18th straight in the series, dating back to 1999. The Bulldogs will be back in action Friday, Feb. 16, when they travel to Memphis, Tenn., to take on the Memphis Tigers at 5 p.m. and then travel to Murfreesboro, Tenn., to take on Middle Tennessee State Sunday, Feb. 18, at 1 p.m.


Gene's Page Top Stories