News from MSU Media Relations--October 3

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Cross Country, Soccer and Women's Tennis.

Cross Country
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's and women's cross country teams travel to South Bend, Ind., on Friday to compete in the Notre Dame Invitational Meet.

The women run at 3:15 p.m. at the nine-hole Notre Dame Golf Course, followed by the men at 5 p.m.

This prestigious meet features 11 nationally ranked women's teams, including SEC foe and No. 14 Florida, as well as seven men's teams that currently stand in the Top 30.

"The women are running very well as a team and individually," MSU coach Al Schmidt said. "This meet will be a good situation to judge where we are competitively, especially since Kentucky and Florida will be there. We are really looking to see how we do against Kentucky."

On the men's side, 25 teams will be competing, including Michigan, which owns a national ranking of No. 8, along with No. 9 Georgetown and the No. 27 Fighting Irish.

"The men have been running well, and they know this is a much higher quality meet," coach Steve Dudley said. "If we finish in the top half, then it will be a good meet for us. We need our top three or four guys close together and teamwork to finish in the top half."

Mississippi State travels north after winning its first two meets of the season in commanding fashion - the Sewanee Invitational and the MSU Invitational. Senior Robert Scribner was the medalist both times, while freshman Renee Masterson took top honors at the MSU Invitational after she placed third at Sewanee.

Following this weekend, the two Bulldog squads return to action on Oct. 18 at the Pre-National Invitational at Terre Haute, Ind.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State soccer team opens the road portion of its Southeastern Conference schedule this weekend, venturing across the state line to face Alabama and Auburn in a pair of Western Division match-ups. State will meet the Crimson Tide at 7 p.m. Friday before venturing to Auburn to face the Tigers at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The Bulldogs enter the weekend sporting a 5-6 overall mark and an 0-2 league record. Head coach Neil Macdonald's squad dropped a 4-1 decision to ninth-ranked LSU in a match in which the Bulldogs led until just before the end of the opening half. MState closed out the opening weekend of league play with a tough 1-0 decision to Arkansas.

Senior Mariclaire Fancher netted the first goal of her career against LSU, putting State up 1-0 in the 20th minute. The Greenwood, Miss., native's score was the team's 20th of the season. Fellow senior Kevyn Shelledy remains tied with freshmen Taylor Turnipseed and Tarah Henderson for the team lead with a trio of scores each.

The Bulldogs also have three players tied for the top spot on the squad in assists. Shelledy, sophomore Leanna Baldner and Anna Goblirsch have each assisted on two goals this season, while 12 others have also added one on the year.

Junior goalkeeper Taryn Holland has played every minute in goal for the Bulldogs this season. The Franklin, Tenn., native has stopped 60 shots this season, pushing her career total to 210. Her career mark sits just nine behind the third-place total established by Jennifer Croisant from 1995-96.

The Bulldogs enter Friday's match with Alabama looking to better a 7-4-2 series lead that the Crimson Tide holds. Despite trailing in the overall series, State has held the advantage under Macdonald, winning three of the four meetings since he was named head coach for the 2004 season. MSU won last season's meeting in Starkville 3-1.

The Crimson Tide boasts a 6-3-1 record and a 1-1 mark in league play. UA knocked off Vanderbilt 2-0 last Friday despite being out-shot 37-9 in the match. The Tide was unable to keep the mark perfect as it fell 2-0 to Kentucky on Sunday.

Kailey Corken tops Alabama with five goals on the year. Jessica Deegan and Victoria Frederick have both shown their scoring ability as well, netting three goals each. Deegan and Frederick have also demonstrated their ability to distribute the ball, topping the squad with three assists along with Kelsey King and Brooke Rogers.

Kara Gudmens has seen most of the action in goal this season, stopping 61 shots while allowing eight goals this year.

While the Bulldogs are looking to continue a recent trend of success against Alabama, State is looking to reverse a six-match losing skid to Auburn. MState dropped a tough 1-0 decision to the Tigers last season, surrendering the tie on a Caitlin King goal in the 86th minute.

Rebecca Howell has been the top performer for AU this season, tying for the team goal lead with three while pacing the squad with six assists. Gabi Rivera and Chelsea Yauch have each scored three times this season as well for a Tiger squad which has out-netted opponents 19-12.

Allison Whitworth has played every match in goal this season for the Tigers, surrendering the 12 goals while stopping 68 more shots.

Women's Tennis
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Following last weekend's showing at the Roberta Alison Fall Classic, the Mississippi State women's tennis team heads north to compete in the 2008 Hoosier Classic this weekend (Oct. 3-5) in Bloomington, Ind.

Beginning Friday, the three-day event features seven teams from across the country. Play starts Friday with two rounds of singles matches, which will be played in a round-robin format. On Saturday, the day will begin with one round of doubles play followed by one more round of singles and another round of doubles to follow. Rounding out the event, there will be two more rounds of doubles to conclude the event on Sunday.

Competing in singles action for MSU will be veterans Martina Banikova, Elna de Villiers, Radka Ferancova, and Valeriya Makarycheva, along with Elizabeth Hall and freshmen Olesya Tsigvintseva, Natalya Mayuk, and Jordan Zachary.

In doubles play, State will have Ferancova and Tsigvintseva paired in the Crimson Draw and the tandem of Banikova and Makarycheva competing in the Cream Draw.

Following this weekend's Hoosier Classic, the Lady Bulldogs return to the courts to compete in the Ole Miss Fall Classic in Oxford next weekend (Oct. 10-12).

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