News from MSU Media Relations--September 26

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Volleyball, Men's Golf, Soccer and Women's Tennis.

Volleyball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Volleyball Bulldogs make their first and only September appearance at the Newell-Grissom Building this weekend when State (5-8, 0-2 SEC) plays host to SEC West rival Auburn (5-8, 0-2 SEC). Sunday's 1:30 p.m. match is the first on the home court for State since opening the 2008 campaign Aug. 29-30 with the MSU Classic.

There is no charge for admission to the match, which is part of the Southeastern Conference's "Together We CAN" canned food drive. Fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to Sunday's match for distribution to regional food banks and shelters.

The competition closes out State's 11-match September slate.

The Bulldogs will be looking to continue recent success on the volleyball court against Auburn. State has claimed wins in three of its last four meetings in the series over the past two seasons and is positioned to register a series-best third consecutive win over the Tigers.

Junior outside hitter Ioana Demian (Baia Mare, Romania) paces the Bulldogs, becoming the first Bulldog player to reach the century mark in both kills (a team-leading 123) and in digs (103). Demian is one of four Bulldogs players to have started all 13 matches and leads the team with 123 kills, 15 aces and ranks second on the club with 103 digs.

Bulldog sophomore middle blocker Ashley Newsome (Florence, Ala.), one of MSU's four 13-match starters, continues to lead the SEC in total solos blocks (15) and total blocks (53). Freshman Mandy Mellencamp (Prescott, Ariz.) sports the team's top attack percentage (.217) while sophomore libero Kayla Woodard (Addison, Ala.) leads Bulldog defenders with 109 digs.

Auburn, coached by first-year skipper Wade Benson, dropped a pair of closely-contested home battles against divisional rivals Arkansas and Ole Miss in their SEC-opening competition last weekend. Senior Jessica Glover piled up 35 kills, 23 digs, six blocks and an impressive .338 hitting percentage. The Tigers are scheduled to meet their in-state SEC rivals, Alabama, in a 7 p.m. match Friday in Tuscaloosa.


Men's Golf
STARKVILLE, Miss. - After nearly a two-week break from competition, the Mississippi State men's golf team returns to action Friday in the Mason Rudolph Invitational at the Legends Club in Nashville, Tenn. The 54-hole event will be played in a three-day format, on the par 71, 7,100 yard South Course, with 18 holes played each day.

State is looking to improve on its15th place finish in the Carpet Capital Classic in Rocky Face, Ga. to open the fall.

Head coach Clay Homan takes a veteran lineup to the Invitational with him that includes four seniors and a freshman. Senior Carlos Sainz, Jr, who is coming off a top-10 finish at the Carpet Capital Classic, looks to continue his strong fall performance. Seniors Matt Fast and Noah Goldman, who have now competed in both of Mississippi State's tournaments this fall, will make the trip to the Music City. Redshirt freshman Lee Heaton is coming off his first career tournament for the Bulldogs and senior Josh Bevell will be making his first appearance of the season.

The field of 17 includes SEC foes Vanderbilt (the host, South Carolina and Kentucky. South Alabama, Eastern Michigan, Middle Tennessee State, Iowa State, Arkansas State, Belmont, Kennesaw State, Memphis, UNC-Greensboro, Purdue, Tennessee State, Western Carolina and Western Kentucky are also in the Invitational. Mississippi State will begin play at 8:45 a.m. CT on Friday, September 26. Live stats will be available through www.mstateathletics.com.


Soccer
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State soccer team opens the Southeastern Conference portion of its 2008 schedule Friday night, hosting ninth-ranked LSU in a 7 p.m. kickoff at the MSU Soccer Field.

Admission to Friday's match, and all MSU home soccer action, is free. Bulldog Club members can bring their Dog Tags to Friday's match and earn points toward their account.

The Bulldogs enter the SEC Western Division match-up with a 5-4 record after posting a 2-1 win over Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg last Sunday. LSU visits Starkville sporting its best start in school history (6-0) and first ever top-10 ranking.

State's standing through the season's first nine games is the best for a Bulldog squad since 2003. Head coach Neil Macdonald's squad has out-scored its opponents 19-10 this season. The team's 19 goals rank as the most since the 2001 edition that went on to win the SEC Western Division.

After falling behind 1-0 early in Sunday's match with USM, State answered with goals from freshman Tarah Henderson and junior Heather Buttrey to take a 2-1 halftime lead that would end up being the final result.

Henderson, a Martinez, Ga., native, tied for the team lead in goals this season with her third. Senior Kevyn Shelledy and freshman Taylor Turnipseed join Henderson atop the team's scoring leaders with a trio of goals each.

Shelledy, a Tomball, Texas, native, has also notched two assists to tie her for tops on the squad with sophomore Leanna Baldner of Meridian and senior Anna Goblirsch of Elizabethtown, Ky.

In Sunday's win over USM, State's defense turned back several Golden Eagle attempts to tie the match. Although Southern Miss. attempted 21 shots, the Bulldog back line allowed only seven attempts on goal and junior goalkeeper Taryn Holland stopped six of those. The Franklin, Tenn., native has seen every minute in goal this season and has responded with a league third-best 44 saves.

LSU sports an outstanding goalie of its own in freshman Mo Isom. Isom, who has stopped 17 shots this season, earned defensive and freshman player of the week honors from the SEC after pitching her fourth shutout of the season against Oklahoma.

Malorie Rutledge tied the program's career assists record last week as she notched her team-leading seventh against OU. Michelle Makasini tops LSU in goals this season with five, while Roslyn Jones and Rachel Yepez have scored four and three, respectively.


Women's Tennis
TUSCALOOSA, AL. - Mississippi State's women's tennis team travels to Tuscaloosa, Ala., this weekend (Sept. 26-28) to begin the fall season at the Roberta Alison Fall Classic.

Head Coach Tracy Lane will have eight Lady Bulldogs competing in singles action, including veterans Martina Banikova, Radka Ferancova, Elna de Villiers, Valeriya Makarycheva, and Elizabeth Hall. Also seeing action will be freshmen newcomers Olesya Tsigvintseva, Natalia Mayuk and Jordan Zachary.

MSU will have four doubles teams in competition, featuring the senior-freshman pair of Banikova and Tsigvintseva, veterans De Villiers and Valeriya Makarycheva, junior Ferancova with Mayuk, and Hall paired with Zachary.

Beginning Friday, the three-day event will feature players from 11 different teams, including Alabama, Auburn-Montgomery, Georgia State, Kentucky, Memphis, Murray State, Samford, Tennessee Tech, Tulane, UNC Charlotte, and Mississippi State.

On both Friday and Saturday, play will begin at 9 a.m. CT with two rounds of doubles and one round of singles action throughout the day on Friday, and one round of each on Saturday. Play is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. CT Sunday with the final round of singles.

Following this weekend's tournament in Tuscaloosa, the Lady Bulldogs will be back in action next weekend (Oct. 3-5) competing in the Hoosier Classic at Bloomington, Indiana.


Gene's Page Top Stories