LEXINGTON, Ky. - Mississippi State's 11th-seeded women's tennis squad fell in the opening round of the 2007 Southeastern Conference Championship Thursday, dropping a 4-0 decision to sixth seeded and 31st-ranked Kentucky.
The setback ended MSU's 2007 campaign. The Lady Bulldogs finished the season 5-14 overall and 1-10 in the SEC. Kentucky (18-6, 6-5 SEC) advanced to the quarterfinals to play third-seeded Vanderbilt on Friday at 10 a.m. ET.
Kentucky took the early lead Thursday against State by claiming the doubles point. At the top position, Lady Bulldogs Martina Banikova and Valeriya Makarycheva fell 8-0 to the nation's ninth ranked doubles tandem of Kim Coventry and Joelle Schwenk. On court #2, State's Renee Joseph and Daniela Juskova dropped their match 8-4 to Lady Wildcats Sarah Woestmann and Carolina Escamilla. Court #3 was suspended with UK 's tandem of Caroline Winebrenner and Whitney Spencer up 6-3 late over State's duo of Elna de Villiers and DeAndra Saddler.
UK then captured the first three singles matches complete to secure the team win. First off the court was the No. 2 position where UK's Schwenk took a 6-0, 6-0 match from State's de Villiers. The Lady Wildcats went up 3-0 when Woestmann posted a 6-3, 6-2 triumph over MSU's Juskova at No. 3. Kentucky then clinched the contest on court #5 where Spencer downed Saddler 6-2, 7-5.
All other matches were suspended once Kentucky had clinched. At the top position, Banikova was down a set and in a tiebreaker with UK 's Coventry at the time of suspension. In the same fashion, Makarycheva was tied in her second set 4-4 against Lady Wildcat Jessica Giuggioli after falling 6-4 in the first. And on court #4, Joseph was down 5-4 in the second against UK 's Escamilla after having taken the first set 7-5 early on.
BATON ROUGE, La. - The ninth-seeded Mississippi State men's tennis team reserved their spot in Friday's Southeastern Conference Championship quarterfinals with a 4-0 first-round upset victory over eighth-seeded Vanderbilt on Thursday. State, now 7-13 overall, will meet the tournament's top seed and nation's top-ranked team in Georgia in Friday's quarters at 2 p.m. CT.
State jumped on the scoreboard early against Vanderbilt Thursday, taking the doubles point after winning two of three matches. After MSU's freshman duo of Artem Kuznetsov and Pjotrs Necajevs lost an 8-1 decision to VU's Nik Cromydas and Evan Dufaux at No. 2, the Bulldogs responded by winning the final two contests. On court #3, Bulldogs Chris Doerr and Ryan Farlow outlasted Commodores Andy Mack and Jordan Magarik 8-5. With the decisive match coming down to court #1, the 36th-ranked duo of MSU veterans Ivan Bjelica and Philippe Frayssinoux topped Vanderbilt's pair of Ryan Preston and Vijay Paul 8-3, clinching the opening point for the Bulldogs.
State opened up their lead when singles began, winning the first set on four courts. The first match complete saw the MSU rookie Kuznetsov ease by VU's Dufaux 6-1, 6-2 on court #3, which gave State a 2-0 advantage. State then went up 3-0 when the freshman Doerr downed Vanderbilt's Mack 6-2, 6-2 on court #5.
While MSU seemed to be in grasp of clinching the win at that point, Vanderbilt began to fight back and close the gap. Things tightended considerably as the match progressed, as the last four matches on court all went to third sets.
But State would get the win it needed on court #6. There, VU's Nathan Sachs had won the first set 6-4 over MSU's Necajevs. The second set saw Necajevs battle back to force a third set with a 6-3 victory in the second. In the third, Sachs looked to be in control with a 4-1 lead, but the State rookie stormed back to win the final five games for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory and clinch the team win for State.
After the Bulldogs had clinched, the three remaining matches were suspended. On court #1, MSU's 39th-ranked Bjelica led VU's 60th-ranked Preston 7-5, 2-6, 2-1. On court #2, MSU's 55th-ranked Frayssinoux trailed Vandy's Cromydas early in the third set 6-7, 6-0, 1-0 while on court #4, State's Ryan Farlow was down 6-2, 4-6, 4-2 to VU's Paul.
With Thursday's win, State improved to 20-16 overall at the SEC Tournament. It also marked the 15th time in the event's 18 years of existence that the Bulldogs have made the quarterfinals or better. MSU moved to 4-0 all time against Vanderbilt in SEC Championship play.
On Friday, State will matchup with a Georgia team that has posted a 23-0 record this season, including an 11-0 mark in SEC play. Georgia adds to its strong tennis history this year with a second-straight SEC crown after finishing last season as the NCAA runner-up. In the team's meeting earlier this season, Georgia topped MSU 7-0 in Athens, Ga. The teams also met in last year's SEC Championship, in the semis, with UGA downing State 4-0. With a memorable run, MSU had become the first #12 seed in tournament history to reach the SEC semis to set that matchup.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's men's golf team travels to St. Simons Island, Ga. for the 2007 Southeastern Conference Men's Golf Championships this weekend, beginning on Friday, April 20. All 12 conference schools will converge at the par-70 Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club.
This year's league championship is the seventh time that all 12 conference schools will converge at the par-70 Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club. The seven-year span in which the club has hosted the event is the longest since Athens, Ga. welcomed the SEC Golf Championships from 1946-1965 (20 years).
MState's line up will include Noah Goldman, Matt Fast, Brian Mason, Carlos Sainz, Jr. and Logan Young. Goldman continues to lead the squad in scoring with a 73.72 clip. Mason, a sophomore from Dallas, Texas, is coming off a career-best performance in State's last outing at the Palisades Collegiate Classic in Charlotte, N.C. He posted three-straight rounds of par or better to finish fifth in the individual standings.
MSU looks to continue the success it had in the final round of last year's event. The squad posted the second-best round with a 1-over par round of 281. The round was paced by Fast and Sainz, Jr., each recorded 2-under par rounds 68.
In this week's Golfweek.com rankings, eight teams from the SEC are ranked in the top-50. The Bulldogs will be paired with defending SEC Champion and the nation's top-ranked team Georgia along with in-state rival Mississippi in the opening round on Friday.
Tee times for the Maroon and White will get underway at 9:30 a.m. CST on Friday. Live scoring of the 54-hole event will be available at www.SECSports.com.