News from MSU Media Relations--November 1

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

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team will conclude their fall season this weekend (Nov. 1-3) in Tallahassee, Fla., at the Florida State Invitational.

"We are going to the Florida State Invitational for the first time," said Head Coach Per Nilsson. "It is a strong tournament so we have a good chance to play some good matches."

MSU is coming off a strong showing at the Crimson Tide Fall Invitational in which four Bulldogs won their first round matches and sophomore Antonio Lastre went on to win his draw in singles action. In doubles action, junior Chris Doerr and sophomore Tanner Stump reached the semifinals of their draw.

"The goal of the fall was to find out where we stand and what we need to practice on to get ready for the spring season," said Nilsson. "I feel like we are doing that and now we need to get healthy and keep improving."

Following the FSU Invite, State will take a break from competition until Jan. 16, when the Bulldogs will compete in the SEC Indoor Championships in Lexington, Ky.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State senior defender Mary Kate Ayers has been named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VI Third Team presented by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

The Dallas, Texas, native earned the honor after posting a 3.72 grade-point average in architecture. Ayers becomes the third Bulldog to receive an all-district award for academics. Annemarie Pimentel was named GTE and Verizon academic all-district in 1999, while Elke D'Hollander received the Verizon honor in 2003.

"Mary Kate is a great role model for young student-athletes aspiring to play at the highest level," MState head coach Neil Macdonald said. "She is the definition of an outstanding student-athlete."

Having played on the back line in 17 matches this season, Ayers has scored a goal, the first of her career, and added an assist.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Sophomore Danielle Kite connected on her third goal of the season in the 43rd minute Friday night, but two second half scores by Ole Miss proved to be too much as the Rebels retained possession of the Magnolia Cup with a 3-1 victory over the Mississippi State soccer team Friday night at the MSU Soccer Field.

State put forth a valiant effort on senior night but came up short as it finished the campaign 5-15-0 and 0-11-0 in SEC play. Ole Miss improved to 7-9-3 overall as it broke even in conference action at 5-5-1.

The Bulldogs had two shots on goal in the match, one in each half. MState had worked the ball into UM territory several times in the opening frame, but was unable to muster a shot until two minutes before halftime.

With Ole Miss leading 1-0 on a Jennifer Hance score at the 22:00 mark, the Bulldogs fired three consecutive shots that were stopped by Rebel keeper Alley Ronaldi. Kite made the final chance count at 42:02, lining a Mary Kate Ayers deflection into the back of the net to knot the match at a goal each.

MState junior goalkeeper Taryn Holland gave the Bulldogs chances as she made six outstanding saves. Friday night's effort caps the Franklin, Tenn., native's year with a career and SEC-best 124 stops.

The tying score swung the momentum toward the Dogs going to the half, but the Rebels' came out and tacked on goals by Taylor Cunningham (53:31) and Kelsey Breathitt (59:49) to clinch the win.

"Ole Miss has great technical ability, and over the course of 90 minutes it caught up with us," MState head coach Neil Macdonald said. "We had our chances, and the story of our season has not been taking them when we have them. You have to take your chances when you play in this league."

The final on-goal opportunity for Macdonald's Bulldog squad came at 68:06 as senior Meredith Jacobson directed a perfectly-played header toward the net that Ronaldi managed to stop.

Ayers, Jacobson, Mariclaire Fancher, Bethany Frazier, Anna Goblirsch and Kevyn Shelledy each capped their Bulldog careers Friday night. Frazier and Jacobson finish their playing careers second and third, respectively, on the team's career minutes chart while Shelledy topped the team this season with 10 points on a squad-best four goals and two assists.

Cross Country
STARKVILLE, Miss. - For the first time since 1995, Mississippi State will serve as host of the Cross Country SEC Championships. On Monday, November 3, the Mississippi State men's and women's cross country teams will square off against the best in the SEC at the 2008 Cross Country Championship meet. The women will run a 5K beginning at 10 a.m. and the men will run an 8K at 11 a.m., both races being run on the MSU cross country course located at the MSU Horse Park.

"The season is a prelude to this meet," MSU women's coach Al Schmidt said. "On the women's side we are 3-3 against SEC opponents and our goal is to finish in the top half of the conference. In the SEC it's all about who runs best that day."

"I haven't set any individual goals for our men this meet," said men's coach Steve Dudley. "Our goal is for, as a team, to finish in the top half of the conference. We are trying to continue to get better as a program, so finishing in the Top 6 would satisfy that goal."

The men will run 10 runners and the women will run seven, with the first five finishers for each team scored.

Having home course advantage and previous success should help the MSU teams run well on the course. In September at the MSU Pre-SEC Invitational, both teams won their race on this course, with senior Robert Scribner setting a new course record.

"This is a very challenging course," Schmidt said. "Our athletes having the notion of knowing how they should feel at different points of the course, and knowing how they should feel at these points are an advantage, but if you're fast you're fast, and if you're the best you will win."

"I believe in preparation," added Dudley. "If our athletes have trained well and are prepared to race, they should be ready to race no matter where they race. But of course being able to run on your own course is always good."

Both teams are going into this meet overly prepared. They have been through countless hours of training since their last race, and as long as they run like they have trained they should finish well.

"I want them to run as hard as they have trained," added Schmidt. "If they run what they are capable of then they can easily finish in the top half of the conference, and some individuals are capable of finishing in the Top 15 overall meet finishers. They can't let their expectations get the best of them and must race in the moment."

Men's Basketball
Princeton, NJ - The Gazelle Group and HDNet are pleased to announce an exclusive television partnership to broadcast the Championship Round games of the Legends Classic.

HDNet will televise both games in the Semifinal Round on November 28th, as well as the Consolation and Championship Games on November 29th. Games will be played at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

"HDNet is excited to be a part of this great event," said Mark Cuban, President and Co-Founder of HDNet. "This is an exciting showcase for college basketball and we're proud to bring it to our viewers."

"We are thrilled to be working with HDNet on the broadcasts of the Legends Classic," added The Gazelle Group President Rick Giles. "They are a great partner for us and will allow college basketball fans across the country to see some great games... in high definition. HDNet has distinguished itself as one of the most successful and innovative networks. We look forward to a long partnership which will, in turn, fuel the growth of the Legends Classic."

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