March 4, 2011 11:11:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- Sometimes players have to take it upon themselves to elevate their play and be "the guy."
Mississippi State men''s golf coach Clay Homan is waiting for one of his golfers to grab the torch and to run with it.
The Bulldogs finished ninth out of 15 teams at the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate tournament Feb. 22 and failed to have a player finish under par for the fifth straight tournament (dating back to last fall).
Sophomore Robi Calvesbert posted MSU''s best finish at + 3.
"We were around even par the whole last day but gave a lot of shots away," Homan said. "Instead of finishing fourth, fifth, or six, we finish ninth. We were tied with Kentucky (which finished 14 strokes better in second place) heading into the last day. It was playing about as easy as that course will play. The greens were much firmer last year and we finished sixth last year."
Junior Lee Heaton finished four strokes behind Calvesbert, and only seven strokes separated MSU''s top four scores.
Homan, however, expects more from a lineup he said has underperformed in its two spring tournaments. He said there''s a difference between working hard every day -- which he''s seeing from his players -- and stepping up to carry the team.
"In the years past when we''ve been successful, we''ve had two or three guys who did that," Homan said. "When you have a lot of guys shooting three or four over, it doesn''t take long for it to add up. With Ole Miss, their three-four-five guys aren''t necessarily playing better than ours, but they''ve got an All-American who is carrying the load. Those 67s, 68s, will really propel a team forward. We''re not having anybody shoot under the par."
John Darden''s final-round 70 at the Gator Invitational is MSU''s lone 18-hole score of par or better this spring.
MSU will return to the course March 11 at the Seminole Intercollegiate in Tallahassee, Fla.
Homan said Calvesbert, whom he noted for an improved short game, and freshman Axel Boasson will go to Tallahassee. Boasson played as an individual at Mobile and finished +9. The Bulldogs will decide on the final three spots after their final qualifying session Monday.
----Women''s tennis team limps into SEC play
Bumps, bruises, sprains, and strains have made life tough for MSU''s women''s tennis team this spring.
Olesya Tsigvintseva and Elizabeth Hall had surgery last semester, and coach Daryl Greenan said Hall''s knee is still "nagging" her.
"Then we''ve had shin splints and lower back issues," Greenan said. "I''ve really never seen anything like it. We''ve been really lightening the practice to load to get girls better, but we''ve just been unlucky."
MSU wrapped up a four-match home stand Sunday with a 6-1 loss to Louisiana-Monroe. After beating Southern Miss and Troy the previous weekend, Greenan was disappointed to see his team take a step back against ULM.
The Lady Bulldogs played without Tsigvintseva and Hall against ULM, as Greenan hoped to rest the two for today''s Southeastern Conference opener at Top 10-ranked Vanderbilt.
Greenan was encouraged that three of the five singles matches the Lady Bulldogs lost went to a tiebreaker set.
"If we had gotten rolled by Monroe, I would have been worried," Greenan said. "But they were in the matches and had chances. I hope that makes them hungry to compete.
"Our league is strong, and we know that. We''re gonna be the underdogs, and we know that, too. We''re going to need players to step up."
Playing without a full squad does take a toll on other players'' confidence, Greenan admitted.
"We just try to get them well enough to play," he said. "Expect them to go out and do the best they can. You have to be careful not to push them too hard, but you''re trying to get them ready at the same time. It''s a delicate balance."
Greenan said the lineup will remain mostly unchanged from recent weeks, as freshman Alexandra Perper and Mariia Ryzhova will occupy the top two singles spots. Danielle Terpko, Perper''s No. 1 doubles partner, will play No. 3 singles.