News from MSU Media Relations--March 23

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

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - After a 12 day layoff from conference play, the Mississippi State men's tennis team returns home to face SEC foe Kentucky on Friday. The match is slated for a 2 p.m. start at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on the MSU campus.

State enters Friday's contest with a 3-9 overall record and an 0-4 conference mark. The Bulldogs have lost seven straight this season with the last three coming as 4-3 decisions. MSU is led this season by 39th-ranked junior Ivan Bjelica. The Belgrade, Serbia, native has won four straight to improve his season's record to 20-10. Also helping State's cause is sophomore Ryan Farlow. The second-year product from Madison, Miss., is 16-10 this season including a 7-3 clip in dual matches.

Kentucky comes in with a 10-6 overall record and a 2-2 mark in the conference. The Wildcats are led by 88th-ranked sophomore Bruno Agostinelli who was the SEC rookie of the year last season. Agostinelli is 16-10 this season including an 8-5 dual match record. Also making an impact for the Cats this year are transfers Will Ward and Peter Bjork. Ward is 9-5 overall this season while Bjork is 15-9. Ward and Bjork also lead UK in doubles as they are 8-0 this season and are ranked 22nd.

UK holds a slight 20-17 lead in the all-time series dating back to 1971. The Bulldogs however hold the advantage in Starkville, as they have won 10 of the 14 meetings. The last meeting between MSU and UK came last season in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament where the Bulldogs came away with a 4-3 win and advanced to face Georgia in the semifinals.

Following Friday's match, State will continue their homestand by hosting Vanderbilt on Sunday. That match is set for 1 p.m. at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.

Women's Golf
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State women's golf team will close out its regular season slate this weekend (Mar. 23-25), traveling to Athens, Ga., to compete in the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic. The three-round event will be held at the par-71, 6,260-yard UGA Golf Course.

State will compete this weekend with the same linuep as the past three tournaments. Leading the charge is senior Amanda Mathis, who is coming off a career best 54-hole score of 215 this past weekend and finished tied for second at the LSU/Cleveland Golf Classic. The Picayune, Miss., native currently leads the team with a 76.45 stroke average in seven tournaments this year. Junior Julia Huh will also be playing in her seventh tournament this season. Huh matched her low round of the season this past weekend, shooting a 75 in the final round. Sophomore Leigh Phillips is coming off a career best score of 239 this past weekend, as she lowered her stroke average to 81.29 for the season. Rounding out the lineup for MSU will be freshmen Gina Sharp and Suzanne Stanley. Stanley has seen action in six tournaments this season while Sharp has played in four.

"This is our final event of the regular season in which we will compete against some of the strongest teams in the nation," said MSU head coach Christi Sanders. "It will be a tough test for this young team as we continue to gain valuable experience before the SEC Championship."

For the second straight weekend, the Lady Bulldogs will compete with some of the nation's top teams as 14 of the 18 teams in the field are ranked in the top-30 nationally by Golfweek.

Last season at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic, the Lady Bulldogs shot a 957 en route to a 13th place finish. Mathis led the team, finishing in a tie for 12th.

Following this weekend's action, The Lady Bulldogs and Mississippi State will begin preparation to host the SEC Championship April 20-22 at the Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss.

Women's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's Lady Bulldog tennis team hits the road this weekend, visiting No. 22 Kentucky on Friday, March 23, and No. 18 Vanderbilt Sunday, March 25. The match against the Wildcats is set for 2 p.m. CT and the Lady Commodores at noon CT.

No. 65 Mississippi State (5-6, 1-3 Southeastern Conference) comes into this weekend's action after a two-week break from action. In the Lady Bulldogs last competition, they took one of two matches at home, falling 6-1 to Auburn and closing the weekend with their first SEC win, 5-2 over Alabama . Entering individual ranks for the first time this year, the State duo of Renee Joseph and Daniela Juskova hold a flawless 6-0 dual match mark to earn them a share of No. 55 nationally in doubles.

The Wildcats (13-1, 4-0 SEC) enter the weekend coming off a 6-0 downing of Hawaii in Honolulu. UK's Joelle Schwenk moved to 13-1 on the season (2-0 at the top position), placing her as the 122nd-ranked singles player in the country. Pairing up with Wildcat Kim Coventry, she is ranked No. 5 nationally in doubles.

After a 6-0 upset of the 17th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies, the Lady Commodores enter the weekend at No. 18 in the country. VU has four players ranked in singles with Amanda Fish (No. 32), Amanda Taylor (No. 33), Catherine Newman (No. 34) and Taka Bertrand (No. 102). In doubles, the tandem of Fish and Taylor compose the country's 26 th-ranked doubles team.

"This is a big weekend playing against two highly ranked opponents," said MSU Head Coach Tracy Lane. "We are looking forward to some extremely competitive matches."

After this weekend's play, the Lady Bulldogs will be back in competition next week, hosting Arkansas [March 30 at 2 p.m. CT ] and traveling to LSU [April 1 at 1 p.m. CT ]. The home match against the Razorbacks is part of Super Bulldog Weekend festivities.

Track & Field
STARKVILLE, Miss. - After an impressive showing at the Georgia Relays last weekend, Mississippi State's track and field team will travel to Tuscaloosa this weekend for the 2007 Alabama Relays at the Sam Bailey Track & Field Stadium on the Alabama campus.

The Lady Bulldogs will begin competition on Friday with the running of the 10,000-meter run at 4 p.m. CST. The Bulldogs will start field competition on Saturday, March 23, at 8 a.m. with the men's hammer. MSU's first running event on the men's side is slated for 11:10 a.m. Events will continue through Sunday, March 25.

The Maroon and White returned from the Georgia Relays with three regional qualifying marks and capturing nine events over the weekend. Current Southeastern Conference Runner of the Week, Travis McKay earned a regional qualifying mark in the 3000-meter steeplechase by posting a time of 8:54.95. His time currently is tops in the nation in that event. On the women's side, senior Nicola Wilson garnered a regional qualifying mark in the shot put with a throw of 49 feet, two and three quarter inches. The men's 4x400-meter relay team has registered regional qualifying marks in the first two meets of the season.

"We are using these relays for our early season development," said MSU head coach Al Schmidt. "Hopefully, we can dominate the relays this weekend like we did at Georgia."

Joining State this weekend at the UA event will be 36 schools including SEC foes Auburn (women), Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee (men) and Vanderbilt (women). Live results of the event will be available at

Following this weekend's activity, the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs will host the Bulldog Invitational on Saturday, March 31, as part of Super Bulldog Weekend activities. Prior to Saturday's collegiate meet, MSU will host a high school meet on Friday, March 30. All events will take place at the W.O. Spencer Stadium/Carl Maddox Track on the MSU campus. Admission to the meet is free on both days.

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