News from MSU Media Relations--September 28

The lastest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Soccer, Volleyball, Women's Tennis, Cross Country, Softball and Women's Basketball.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - After splitting its non-conference schedule, Mississippi State (4-4-0) will open its conference slate on the road this weekend. MSU will travel to LSU on Friday, September 28 at 7 p.m. (CT). The Bulldogs will then head to Fayetteville, Ark. for a match with Arkansas, Sunday, September 30 at 1 p.m. (CT).

"I think the conference will be very difficult from top-to-bottom," said MSU head coach Neil MacDonald. "Anybody can beat anybody on any given day. I think our non-conference schedule has prepared us for the competitive nature of the league."

Treena Ferguson leads the Bulldogs in almost every offensive category. She is currently second in the conference in goals (5), and third in points (13). She is also first in the conference in shots (37) and shots on goal (17). Bethany Frazier is also 15th in the nation in assists (6), and Katelyn Graben is tied for eighth in the SEC in assists (3). Defensively, Taryn Holland is second in the SEC with 46 saves.

LSU is coming off its first loss of the season, a 3-0 decision to Davidson. On the season, the Tigers are 6-1-2. The Tigers have three players in the top ten in scoring in the SEC. Sophomore forward Rachel Yepez leads the conference with nine goals and 19 points. Mallory Rutledge is second with 14 points (3 G, 8 A), and Roslyn Jones is tied for third with 13 points (5 G, 3 A). The Tigers are led defensively by goalkeeper Valerie Vogler. The senior is 6-1-2 with a 0.86 GAA and four shutouts. LSU leads the series with a 9-2-1 record all-time, and have won the last two meetings.

Arkansas enters this weekend's play on a four game winning streak, and is 7-2-0 overall. The Lady'Backs are led by midfielder Kelly O'Connor. The freshman is currently tied for ninth in the SEC with ten points, having scored four goals and assisted on two others. Junior forward Lindsay Patterson has added four goals for UA. Defensively, Arkansas is led by netminder Britni Williams. The freshman has played in every game, earning a 7-2-0 record with a 0.34 goals against average. Arkansas leads the series with a 10-2-0 record all-time, including four consecutive wins.

Mississippi State opens its home conference schedule next week. The Bulldogs host Alabama on Friday, October 5, at 7 p.m. (CT), before facing Auburn on Sunday, October 7, at 1 p.m. (CT).

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State faces its most daunting challenge of the 2007 volleyball campaign Friday when the Bulldogs (6-7, 1-3 SEC) play host to the sixth-ranked Florida Gators (11-0, 4-0 SEC) in a 7 p.m. match at the Newell-Grissom Building. It's the first of two weekend home matches for Mississippi State, which closes out its September schedule and a four-match homestand Sunday with a 1:30 p.m. meeting with South Carolina (7-6, 0-4 SEC).

The Bulldogs enter the weekend well-rested, having not played since knocking off SEC West rival Arkansas in straight sets for their first SEC win of the campaign. In that match junior outside hitter Cristina Jucan capped the week and matched a season-best with a match-high 16 kills and a career-best 19 digs against the Lady'backs. Senior setter Eva Kriegel also starred for State, tallying 10 kills, 40 assists and 11 digs for her third "triple-double" of the year and the 11th of her collegiate career.

The win over Arkansas extended MSU's victory streak against the Lady'backs to two matches, State's only wins in the 29-match MSU-UA series. It also enabled fourth-year MSU head coach Tina Seals to tie the school career coaching record for SEC wins, now with 20.

Florida, ranked sixth nationally and one of only six unbeaten teams in NCAA Division I volleyball, went on the road last weekend to record a straight-sets win at Ole Miss and a 3-1 decision at No. 22 Louisiana State. Marcie Hampton averages 4.24 kills per game and Kisya Killingsworth sports a team-nest .409 hitting percentage to pace Florida. The Gators return all four of their All-SEC performers from last year's 30-3 team.

Florida has claimed all 30 previous MSU-UF volleyball matches, 27 of them in straight sets. The Bulldogs claimed a first-set win in its 2005 SEC season-opener against Florida at the Newell-Grissom Building, marking just the third game won by the Bulldogs since the teams first met in 1984. Florida reeled off wins in the next three games to win that match in Starkville.

MSU has enjoyed a bit more success against its Sunday opponent, South Carolina. State is 7-17 against USC but knocked off the Gamecocks twice last year to register its second series sweep of South Carolina.

First serve for Friday's MSU-UF match is set for 7 p.m., and there is no charge for admission.

Women's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Head coach Tracy Lane and seven Lady Bulldogs travel to the 21st annual Roberta Alison Fall Tournament in Tuscaloosa this weekend, Sept. 28-30. The tournament will be held on the campus of the University of Alabama.

State's doubles teams will include Martina Banikova and Radka Ferancova, Renée Joseph and Daniela Juskova, as well as Elna de Villiers and Valeriya Makarycheva.

"This is a tournament we always look forward to," said Lane. "It is well organized and we have plenty of matches. Our goal for the fall is to play as many matches as possible and to gain confidence for this spring."

Hoping to capitalize on last year's success Tatiana Feit returns to the tournament where, in 2006, she claimed victory in the orange draw. Also in that tournament, Banikova teamed with de Villiers to win the crimson consolation draw.

A tribute to the legendary Roberta Alison, the first female athlete to participate on a men's varsity team for the Crimson Tide, the flighted event includes Iowa, Florida State, Auburn-Montgomery, UNC Greensboro, UNC Charlotte, Samford, Belmont and Troy University, as well as other Southeastern Conference opponents Auburn and host school Alabama.

To track the Lady Bulldogs on the courts, visit the Roberta Alison Tournament page at

Cross Country
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State cross country teams travel to the Notre Dame Invitational on Friday, Sept. 28 at the Notre Dame Golf Course in South Bend, Ind. The women's blue division race will start at 4:15 p.m. (EDT) with the men's blue division race following at 5 p.m. (EDT).

Both squads dominated the MSU Invitational last weekend, taking home both team titles and individual crowns. On the men's side, MState captured 15 of the top 20 spots, collegiately, en route to their team title.

Junior Jonathan Rono won his second collegiate meet with a time of 18 minutes, 54.93 seconds in the 6K race.

Freshman Ben Blakenship finished in second place with a time of 19:10.54, while junior Robert Scribner came in third with a time of 19:15.39.

"This is a big weekend for our cross country team," said Men's Head Coach Steve Dudley. "We will begin to see if our yearly goals will be met after this weekend."

State's women faired equally well with freshman Simone Domingue capturing her first collegiate individual crown with a time of 15:12.65. Freshman Sarah Hammes came in second with a time of 15:30.92 while senior Annie Falor came in third place with a time of 15:40.03 to give the Lady Bulldogs a sweep of the top three spots.

"This is our first national class meet that will feature several top 25 teams," said Women's Head Coach Al Schmidt. "I am looking forward to seeing how our top three, especially, perform. This is a good beginning to prep for SEC's."

In addition to MSU, there will be a total of 53 other teams competing in the Notre Dame Invitational, including 15 of which are currently ranked in the top 30 of the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) men's or women's polls. Top teams in the men's races includes: No. 10 ranked North Carolina State, No. 11 ranked Providence and No. 13 ranked Notre Dame. On the women's side No. 2 ranked Michigan, No. 6 ranked Illinois and No. 9 ranked Providence will come into the competition as the top-ranked teams.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State continues its fall schedule this weekend when it hosts its final fall softball tournament.

The Bulldogs will play two games on Saturday and will follow it up with two games on Sunday.

State will play host to Hinds Community College, Holmes Community College, the University of West Alabama and Delta State University. Holmes CC and Hinds CC will get the action started on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. followed by Mississippi State-Hinds CC at 3:00 p.m. Mississippi State and Holmes CC will close out the action at 5:00 p.m.

On Sunday, West Alabama and Delta State start the day at 11:00 a.m. followed by Mississippi State-Delta State at 1:00 p.m. Mississippi State and West Alabama will close out the weekend at 3:00 p.m.

All games will be played at the MSU Softball Field and admission is free.

Women's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State women's basketball will play Iowa and Oklahoma in the 2007 Cancun Caribbean Challenge, Nov. 22-23, as announced today by tournament officials.

State's women take on the Hawkeyes on Thanksgiving Day at the Moon Palace Resort in a 12:30 p.m. CT tipoff, while the Lady Bulldogs and Sooners face each other the following day at 1 p.m. CT.

Head Coach Sharon Fanning and the Lady Bulldogs open the season, Friday, Nov. 9, hosting Southeastern Louisiana in a 7 p.m. contest from Humphrey Coliseum.

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