STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's women's tennis team (4-6, 0-3 SEC) dropped a 6-1 match to No. 62 Auburn (6-4, 1-2 SEC) on Friday at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. Despite taking the early advantage in doubles, AU rallied to claim all six singles matches, four of them in three-set battles.
The 64th-ranked Lady Bulldogs took the early lead with the doubles point, posting triumphs at courts #1 and #3. State was led by the tandem of Martina Banikova and Valeriya Makarycheva with an 8-4 upset victory over Auburn's 20th-ranked duo of Alex Haney and Melissa Koning at No. 1. Clinching the point was MSU's duo of Renee Joseph and Daniela Juskova who took an early 6-0 lead against AU's Kelly Adams and Jil Hastenrath to boost them to an 8-5 win. On court #2, State's Elna de Villiers and DeAndra Saddler dropped their match 8-4 to Auburn's Fani Chifchieva and Whitney Chappell.
Auburn then took a 3-1 lead, winning the first three singles matches completed. State's Juskova dropped a 6-1, 6-2 match to AU's Haney on court #3. Saddler fell to Hastenrath 6-1, 6-4 at the No. 5 spot. At No. 2, State's de Villiers lost a tough three-set affair, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 to Auburn's Melissa Koning.
AU ultimately secured the team win at the top position in a three-set battle. There, Auburn's 39th-ranked Chifchieva took a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 decision from MSU's Banikova. The other two matches were also decided in three-set affairs. At No. 6, MSU's Tatiana Feit won the first set 6-3 against Adams, before dropping the next two sets 6-0, 6-0. On court #4, State's Joseph fell 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 to Auburn's Chappell.
"I am really proud of how hard we worked today," said MSU Head Coach Tracy Lane. "We lost some close matches. They [Auburn] just played better in the end and we ran out of steam."
The Lady Bulldogs will be back in action this Sunday, March 11, as they play host to visiting No. 57 Alabama. The match against the Crimson Tide is slated for 1 p.m. at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
AUBURN, Ala. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team dropped a 5-2 decision to Auburn Friday at the Auburn Intramural Courts. State fell to 3-6 on the season and is now 0-3 in Southeastern Conference play.
The Tigers claimed the opening doubles point, winning two of the three matches. The first complete came on court #3 where AU's Lukas Marsoun and Pawel Dilaj defeated MSU's Ryan Farlow and Pjotrs Necajevs 8-3. State's tandem of Edouard Benchetrit and Philippe Frayssinoux were victorious in their match on court #2, downing Auburn's team of Robert Lathouwers and Tsyrenov in a tiebreaker 9-8(2). AU clinched the the opening point on court #1 when Tigers Alex Schweizer and Terence Nugent defeated State's Ivan Bjelica and Artem Kuznetsov 8-4.
Early in singles, Auburn continued to gain momentum. Auburn took a 2-0 lead when AU's Lathouwers downed State's Frayssinoux 6-0, 6-4 on court #2. State then closed the gap when 42nd-ranked Bjelica topped Schweizer of Auburn 6-0, 6-4. On court #5, The Tigers gained a 3-1 advantage when AU's Marsoun defeated State freshman Benchetrit 6-2, 6-2. The fourth and clinching point for Auburn came on court #4, where Tiger Tsyrenov defeated MSU's Kuznetsov 6-3, 6-4. Auburn took a 5-1 lead when Tiger Milan Krnjetin downed MSU's Farlow 6-4, 6-4 on court #6. In the last match completed, State's Necajevs outlasted AU's Dilaj 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 to give the Bulldogs their second point.
With the loss, State is now 17-19 all time against Auburn. State dropped the doubles point for the seventh time this season on Friday. With a win at the #1 position, Bjelica moved to 17-10 overall this season. Necajevs snapped a three-match losing streak with his win on Friday.
State will now travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face the Alabama Crimson Tide. Match time is set for 1 p.m. at the Alabama Tennis Stadium.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - In what is the start of a ten-game road trip, Mississippi State (15-8) opens the Southeastern Conference portion of its 2007 schedule with a weekend series against the third-ranked Crimson Tide of Alabama (21-0). The teams will play a doubleheader Saturday at 1 p.m. CT at the UA Softball Complex, followed by a single game on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. CT. All games can be heard on MSU's radio station, WMSV 91.1 FM and can be heard live on the station's website, www.wmsv.msstate.edu.
Alabama leads the all-time series with State, 29-7. The Crimson Tide have won six straight contests, dating back to an April 9, 2005 doubleheader sweep in Tuscaloosa. MSU's last win in the series came on April 10, 2004 when the Bulldogs defeated UA 10-5. MState hasn't won in Tuscaloosa since defeating the Crimson Tide, 7-3, April 13, 2003.
Chelsea Bramlett looks to keep her strong start to her collegiate career going. The freshman leads MSU in hitting with a .429 batting average. She also leads the conference in stolen bases (22) and runs (26), and is tied for second in hits with 36. Her 22 stolen bases currently put her third on MSU's all-time freshman list.
Kelli Miller leads the Bulldogs from the mound with a 6-3 record and a 1.13 ERA. In 49.2 innings of work, the senior has struck out 29 batters. Sara Hickerson is 2-2 with 33 strikeouts in 37 innings of work. She also has a conference-high five saves.
Alabama will be MSU's fourth ranked opponent this season, and second ranked in the top ten. The Bulldogs beat then-10th ranked California, 9-0 on February 16 at the UNLV Louisville Slugger Leadoff Classic. MSU then fell to then-No 20 Florida State, 4-2, and No. 1 Nebraska, 7-6, at the NFCA Leadoff Classic. Mississippi State is 0-6 all-time against teams ranked No. 3. State's last win over a ranked conference opponent was on April 24, 2005, when they knocked off No. 16 Florida, 3-0.
Alabama comes into the SEC opener ranked third in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and tied for fourth in the USA Today/NFCA poll. The Crimson Tide is coming off a 4-0 showing at the Easton Spring Fling. In the opening game, UA defeated Seton Hall, 12-0. The following day, the Crimson Tide shutout No. 11 Louisiana-Lafayette, and then run-ruled Seton Hall, 9-1. On the final day, Bama beat ULL for a second time, 6-3. Alabama is led by infielder Lauren Parker. The sophomore is hitting .511 with five home runs and 21 RBI. She also has crossed the plate 21 times. From the mound, junior Chrissy Owens is 10-0 with a 0.25 ERA. She also has 57 strikeouts in 55.0 innings.
Following this weekend's action, the Bulldogs will travel to Lexington, Ky. for a doubleheader on Tuesday starting at 3:00 p.m.