STARKVILLE,Miss. – With three meets under theirbelts, the Mississippi State cross country teams make the short trip east to Tuscaloosa to compete in the Crimson Classic on Saturday.
In their final meet before the SEC Championships, both the men's and women's teams look to build onrecent success and finish the regular season on a high note. Others participating at the meet include SEC foes Ole Miss, Tennessee and host Alabama.
During their most recent performance at the Notre Dame Invite on Sept. 28, the Lady Bulldogs were paced by senior Renee Masterson (33rd, 17:18), who finished in the top fourth of all female runners. Katie Huston (73rd,17:41) and Chloe Phillips (74th, 17:43) followed Masterson to the finish line and aided the women's team in tallying 366 points to earn a 15th-place finish.
"Since the Notre Dame meet, we've really focused on getting our top five really close together and making sure we have quick leg turnovers, so that we can get out fast and stay consistent throughout the race," sophomore Jodie McGuff said.
On the men's side, John Valentine (72nd, 24:42) led the way for MSU in the8K, followed by Philip Johnson (131st, 25:32) and Curtis Kelly (140th,25:37). The men totaled 587 points on the day to finish 20th in South Bend, Ind.
Action begins on Saturday with the Men's 8K race at 8:30 a.m., followed by the Women's 5K at 9:10 a.m.
"I think we're going to have five girls under 18 minutes," said McGuff about her expectations for the meet. "We have to just really keep on closing that gap between our number-one and our number-five girl to make the score as low as possible."
After returning from Tuscaloosa, the Maroon and White squads will turn their focus toward the SEC Championships held in Nashville on Oct. 26.
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State closes the 2012 road slate this weekend as it faces a pair of big Southeastern Conference soccer matches against Alabama and No. 12 Florida.
State opens the weekend Friday in Tuscaloosa with a 7 p.m. opening kick. Then it's off to Gainesville, where the Dawgs meet the Gators in a 1 p.m. CT contest televised by Comcast Sports Southeast.
Neil Macdonald's squad looks to turn out positive results after a pair of tough 2-0 setbacks at Auburn and No. 16 Missouri last weekend moved MSU to 7-7-1 overall and 0-7-1 in the SEC.
Skylar Rosson became the second MSU goalkeeper to eclipse the 300-save mark with Friday night's season-high 12-save effort against Auburn. She followed that performance with 10 stops against Missouri.
The Edmond, Okla., native rates fifth in the SEC with 68 saves and has pitched 5.1 shutouts.
Junior Elisabeth Sullivan leads the Bulldog strike with a personal-best seven goals, three assists and 17 points. The SEC leader in shots with 65, the Memphis native is tied for fourth in the league in both points and goals.
Friday's contest also features two of the SEC's top rookie attackers in State's Honeye Heydari and Alabama's Katie Bourgeois. Heydari, a Jackson, Tenn., native has compiled 14 points behind five goals and four assists.
Bourgeois has found the net seven times this season and assisted two more goals to lead Alabama to a 7-5-2 overall record and 2-4-2 league mark.
The Crimson Tide returns home following a 5-0 setback at Texas A&M and 3-1 loss at Arkansas last weekend.
State will be seeking a second-straight positive result against both Alabama and Florida. The Dawgs tied the Crimson Tide 2-2 in Starkville last season before upsetting the Gators, then ranked No. 11, 1-0 on the home pitch.
The Gators return to Gainesville 10-3-1 overall and 7-1-0 in the SEC following a road swing that saw them defeat LSU 2-0 and No. 5 Texas A&M, 2-1.
Florida is led by Havana Solaun's five goals and four assists this season.
Taylor Burke has started every game in goal, stopping 36 shots while surrendering 15 goals.
Fans can stay updated on Bulldog soccer via the team's official Twitter (www.twitter.com/mstateSOC) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/mstateSOC) pages.
STARKVILLE, Miss. – While the schools' football teams square off on the gridiron, the Mississippi State women's golf team travels to Knoxville to battle the Tennessee Lady Vols as part the talent-packed Mercedes-Benz Women's Collegiate Championship. Play at the par-72, 6,447-yard Holston Hills Country Club begins Friday, Oct. 12.
Often heralded as one of the premier golf events in the southeast each year, the Mercedes-Benz Women's Collegiate Championship pits some of the top teams and individuals against each other. The Lady Bulldogs will be appearing in the Tennessee-hosted event for the second-straight year. Last year's edition played host to the SEC/Pac-12 Challenge.
"This is going to be a big test for us, not only physically, but also mentally," third-year MSU coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. "Holston Hills is one of the longest setups we will see all season. We must focus on putting ourselves in good position around the green and execute our short game to be successful. We will also be facing some of the top programs in the nation, which will really test our young team. If we focus on our game and being one shot warriors, we can see some low numbers this weekend."
Eleven of the 16 teams in the field advanced or had an individual advance to the NCAA postseason a year ago. No. 27 Tennessee and No. 23 Texas A&M will be the only in-conference foes the Lady Bulldogs will see. Other teams include Chattanooga, No. 48 East Carolina, Eastern Kentucky, Florida State, Furman, No. 14 Iowa State, James Madison, Memphis, Miami, No. 10 Northwestern, No. 31 Penn State, Purdue and UTSA.
The Lady Bulldogs will travel with the same lineup from the Johnie Imes Invitational a week ago. Co-captains Mary Langdon Gallagher and Ally McDonald will lead the way for MSU. Also making the trip will be Rica Tse, Logan Chaney and Gabi Oubre'.
McDonald is off to a strong start early in her sophomore campaign. After finishing fourth at "The Waverly," the Fulton native posted another Top 10 tally in Columbia, Mo. Her 72.00 scoring clip ranks her fourth in the SEC and 31st nationally.
"Ally is off to a hot start, as expected," Brown-Lemm said. "She has the chance this weekend to go head-to-head with some of the top players in the nation and show that she belongs near the top of that group."
The freshmen duo has provided flashes of greatness in each of MSU's first two events. Oubre's 76.67 and Chaney's 78.17 average scoring clip ranks third and fourth on the team, respectively.
"I've been proud of the way our freshmen have played so far this season," Brown-Lemm said. "Gabi and Logan have turned in some great rounds, but this weekend will be the biggest test for them mentally and physically so far this season. I know they are both up to the challenge, and I'm ready to see them take another step with this program."
Live stats will be available through HailState.com. Fans can also follow the women's golf program on Twitter @mstateWG and on Facebook at facebook.com/mstateWG.
LEXINGTON, Ky. - A year ago Mississippi State set a school and state of Mississippi volleyball attendance record when more than 4,500 Maroon Madness fans watched the Bulldogs upset the No. 25 Kentucky Wildcats in Humphrey Coliseum.
MSU will likely be a part of another state's attendance record Friday afternoon when the Bulldogs (4-12, 0-7 SEC) tangle with the Kentucky Wildcats (10-7, 4-3 SEC) at 4 p.m. (CT) as the run-up event for UK's Big Blue Madness. The match was moved off-campus from Memorial Coliseum to Rupp Arena to accommodate an audience that is expected to reach five-digit levels. The match will be UK's first at 23,000-seat Rupp.
Fans can access a free live video streaming of the match by logging on to: http://www.ukathletics.com/allaccess/?media=327374.
Freshman libero Roxanne McVey, who leads the SEC with 362 digs and stands third in the NCAA with a 6.14 digs/set average, is nearing single-season top 10 status in digs at State. The two-time SEC Freshman of the Week is 49 digs away from breaking into MSU's top 10 listing and is on track to break the school single-season digs mark of 511 set by Megan Lukasek in 2007. She set an SEC record with 50 digs in a September 28 match against LSU, the 20th 50-dig performance in NCAA history.
State closes out its four-match, four-state road run Sunday in Columbia, Mo., with a nationally-televised (ESPNU) 12 p.m. match against the Missouri Tigers (13-5, 5-3 SEC).