News from MSU Media Relations--October 4

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

Cross Country
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Mississippi State's cross country teams departed the 53rd Annual Notre Dame Invitational on Friday with the Bulldogs placing 20th and the Lady Bulldogs finishing 23rd.

Both squads entered the nationally-renowned event having won their previous two meets and were hoping to better their respective scores. However, the day didn't go as planned for the MSU coaching staff.

"We set out to be 13th or better," men's coach Steve Dudley said. "As an overall team, we didn't do as well as we wanted. Our top three - (Robert) Scribner, (Jonathon) Rono, and (Adam) Lenz - did well, but the rest of our guys need to step up and decide that they are good caliber SEC runners."

Robert Scribner was again the Bulldogs top finisher with a time of 24 minutes, 34 seconds in the men's race, won by Florida State. On the women's side, also won by FSU to give the Seminoles the sweep, freshmen Renee Masterson recorded the top time for the Lady Bulldogs at 17:53.

"We just had a bad day," said Coach Al Schmidt. "It's not as bad as it looks. Renee and Dominique ran well, but Simone [Domingue] didn't race as she normally does. She is normally our No. 1. Their training is too good. Our goal is still the top half of the conference."

Both teams return to action on Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haunt, Ind.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - An own goal in the 43rd minute proved to be the only goal of the match as the Mississippi State soccer team dropped its third straight match, a 1-0 decision to Alabama at the UA Soccer Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

State falls to 5-7 on the year and 0-3 in SEC play, while Alabama improves to 7-3-1 and 2-1 in league action.

The only goal of the match came with just over three minutes remaining in the first half. UA sent a corner kick into the box, and as a pair of Bulldogs collided on the clearing attempt and deflected the ball into the net for the game-winner.

"Give a lot of credit to Alabama for the way they came out tonight," Bulldog head coach Neil Macdonald said. "It took us 45 minutes to get going tonight, and we were second getting to a lot of balls. An own goal, our own mental mistake, cost us the match. We did a much better job in the second half, and we created some opportunities to tie the game that we just couldn't get in the net."

UA out-shot the Bulldogs 22-10, with 14 of those attempts coming on goal. MSU managed just one attempt on the net in the match. Junior goalkeeper Taryn Holland turned back a career-best 13 shots, pushing her past Jennifer Croisant into third on the school's career saves list.

Alabama dictated the pace of play in the opening half, out-shooting the Bulldogs 14-5. MState limited the opportunities in the final stanza, holding the Crimson Tide to just eight shots, with four coming on net.

The Bulldogs' lone attempt on goal came with 25:55 remaining in the first half as Danielle Kite worked the left side and delivered a pass to Heather Buttrey whose shot was stopped by Kara Gudmens.

State's next action comes on Sunday when the Bulldogs travel to Auburn to meet the Tigers in a match set for a 2 p.m. kickoff.

Women's Tennis
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Mississippi State women's tennis team concluded the first day of action at the Hoosier Classic Friday, with one doubles team advancing to the semifinals of their draw. MSU also picked up three singles victories.

Looking to build off last weekend's solid performance at the Roberta Alison, Mississippi State's tandem of Martina Banikova and Valeriya Makarycheva picked up an impressive 8-1 victory over the pair of Hannah Blatt and Keilly Ulery from SEC rival Vanderbilt to advance to the semifinals of the Cream Bracket. Meanwhile, looking to make an MSU sweep in that draw, the team of Elna de Villiers and Natalya Mayuk fell to Kansas State's duo of Vanessa Cottin and Mariya Sulpska 8-5.

In round-robin singles play, two MSU freshmen newcomers continued to impress, as freshman Olesya Tsigvintseva defeated home-standing Alba Berdala of Indiana in two sets, 6-4, 6-4, and State rookie Natalya Mayuk notched a victory over another Hoosier, Stephanie Heller, 2-6, 6-3, 1-0(2), in a tough three-set affair.

Also in singles action, junior Radka Ferancova defeated Angela Dipastina of Ohio State 4-6, 6-4, 1-0(6) to pick up the Lady Bulldogs' final singles victory of the day.

Lady Bulldogs Banikova, de Villiers, Makarycheva, Elizabeth Hall and Jordan Zachary all dropped straight-set decisions in their singles action Friday.

MSU will be back in action tomorrow at the Hoosier Classic with more singles and doubles action on the slate.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State faces its first ranked opponent of the 2008 campaign Sunday when the Bulldogs (6-9, 1-3 SEC) take on the 10th-ranked Florida Gators (11-1, 5-0 SEC) in a 1:30 p.m. match at the Newell-Grissom Building.

State dropped a 3-0 decision to the South Carolina gamecocks Friday night, bowing 25-19, 25-13 and 25-23. Junior outside hitter Ioana Demian paced State with 10 kills while freshman Mandy Mellencamp backed a seven-kill effort with a season-best .545 hitting percentage. Junior setter Dorey Gray tallied 22 assists and completed her fourth double-double of the campaign with 15 digs.

The defending SEC champion Gators remained unbeaten on the year in league play Friday night, registering a 3-1 decision (25-23, 18-25, 25-19, 25-21) at Alabama. Freshman Kelly Murphy, the reigning national player of the week, notched her second triple-double of the year with 14 kills and career-high performances with 35 assists and 15 digs.

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