KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – An impressive 9-over-par 297 in The Opening round of the Mercedes-Benz Women’s Golf Collegiate earned the Mississippi State women’s golf team an eighth-place spot on the leaderboard at the par-72, 6,447-yard Holston Hills Country Club.
Tying for the fifth-lowest opening round in program history, the 297 puts MSU just six shots back of leaders No. 31 Penn State and No. 23 Texas A&M. The Lady Bulldogs own a one-shot lead over 14th-ranked Iowa State.
"We did an excellent job of executing today," third-year MSU coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. "Coming into this week, we focused so much on our short game and staying focused mentally on the course. I thought our girls did an excellent job of applying what we have practiced to the round and being 'one shot warriors.' We faced adversity at times with a bad shot or a mistake but were able to block it out and bounce back."
Leading the way for the Maroon and White, sophomore standout Ally McDonald fired a 72. After bogeying the second hole of the day, the Fulton native settled down and notched 12 consecutive pars before going birdie-birdie-bogey-par to conclude the round. She is currently tied for 8th individually, just three strokes back of tournament-leader No. 22 Hana Lee of Northwestern.
Also posting a solid outing for MSU, Mary Langdon Gallagher carded a season-best 1-over-par 73. After turning in par through the first nine holes, the junior fell to 2-over through 12 holes. Gallagher rebounded with two birdies over the next two holes. The Greenwood native is currently tied for 12th and looking for her first Top 25 card since the Price’s “Give ‘Em” Five Invitational a year ago.
Freshman Gabi Oubre’s 3-over-par 75 landed her just outside the Top 25. She is coming off back-to-back strong performances to open the season. Rounding out the Lady Bulldog leaderboard, sophomore Rica Tse and freshman Logan Chaney posted a 77 and 86, respectively.
Second-round action will begin at 9:00 a.m. CST Saturday, with the Lady Bulldogs slated to tee off alongside No. 10 Northwestern and No. 14 Iowa State on hole No. 1.
“As a coach, I’m excited to play with these top-level programs, sticking to our game plan and proving that we belong here,” Brown-Lemm said. “Playing alongside two Top 15 teams will push our team and help us grow on a very challenging course.”
Live stats will be available through HailState.com. Fans can also keep up with the women’s golf program through the women’s golf twitter account, @mstateWG, or Facebook account, facebook.com/mstateWG.
LEXINGTON, Ky. --- More than 5,000 fans gathered Friday evening for the first volleyball match held at Lexington’s Rupp Arena. And the Wildcats didn’t disappoint their blue-clad home crowd as Kentucky (11-7, 5-3 SEC) pulled away from some close battles to register a straight-sets win over Mississippi State (4-13, 0-8 SEC).
In the run-up event to Kentucky’s “Big Blue Madness” basketball celebration, UK turned back State 25-18, 25-18, 25-18. The Bulldogs wrap up their four-match, four-state road run Sunday at 12 p.m. with a nationally-televised (ESPNU) match at Missouri.
“Kentucky is so strong offensively, and they really give teams a lot of trouble,” said head coach Jenny Hazelwood. “But I thought we did a nice job of staying with them at times tonight.”
MSU got improved offensive production Friday after a lineup change that moved freshman libero and SEC digs leader Roxanne McVey to the setter position and sophomore defensive specialist Alex Scott to libero.
“The players responded well to the adjustments in the lineup,” said Hazelwood. “Alex was really steady in her play as the libero and did a good job in serve-receive. And Roxanne stepped in and did a great job in her first match as a setter. She came to me this week and said she was willing to do anything to help make the team better, including playing a position she’d never played before. She’s a natural leader and will get better with every match.”
UK hit .360 in the opening set in their 25-18 opening-set win. State trailed 14-5 before Lainey Wyman delivered MSU’s first kill of the night. Katie Enright served up a pair of aces that helped State close to within three at 20-17 before UK finished out the set with a 5-1 run.
MSU trailed 8-1 and 23-10 in the second set. But State finished solidly with a late 8-1 run, powered in part by middle blocker Lainey Wyman’s four-block effort at the net.
Kentucky delivered another quick punch in the third set, racing to an 8-1 advantage. But the Bulldogs used a 5-0 run midway in the stanza to get back into contention and, with back-to-back kills by Chanelle Baker, trimmed the Wildcat lead to a single point at 17-16. Kentucky then out-pointed State 8-2 down the stretch to complete the sweep.
In a statistical oddity, MSU players had match-high totals in kills, digs and blocks. Freshman Taylor Scott finished with nine kills, Alex Scott had 11 digs and Lainey Wyman registered four blocks, including two solo knock-downs.
Kentucky led State 35-22 in kills, with Alexandra Morgan and Ashley Frazier leading the UKats with eight each.