published Saturday, November 30th, 2013

Three Lee teams headed to nationals and other sports news

Three Lee University sports teams will be in Kissimmee, Fla., next week for National Christian College Athletic Association Division I national tournaments. Coach Matt Yelton's top-ranked Lee women's soccer team (14-3-1) will play pool matches at 2 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, and Paul Furey's men's soccer team (11-4-5) will play Tuesday and Wednesday. The semifinals for both nine-team soccer tournaments will be held Friday. Andrea Hudson's second-seeded Lee volleyball team (19-8) will play two pool matches each day Thursday and Friday. Lee won the first-ever NCCAA national title -- men's basketball in 1968 -- and was a longtime pillar in the association but in recent years had been exclusively in the NAIA, where the soccer Lady Flames won national titles from 2008 through 2011. But with the Cleveland school's move this year to NCAA Division II and the accompanying two-year wait for postseason eligibility, it rejoined the NCCAA.

Football

• The Carson-Newman University football team gets a chance today to prove its Nov. 2 visit to Hickory, N.C., was a case of identity theft. The Eagles lost 37-3 that day to host Lenoir-Rhyne with their first two-digit total of rushing yards (92) this century. Today, though, the Eagles are 10-2 and ranked 18th in NCAA Division II, and they're playing the 10-1 and 14th-ranked Bears in the second round of the playoffs. "It's a blessing to be in the playoffs, first of all," longtime Carson-Newman coach Ken Sparks said in a school release. "And it's even more of a blessing to get to try to do something a whole lot better than we did the first time. That's called grace." Kickoff in Moretz Stadium is at noon. "They do a lot of things that are exceptional," Sparks said. "We have a great challenge on our hands because they beat us in all three phases of the game the first time we played. We don't talk much about the past, but I think all of us, when that first game was over, sure did want to play it again."

Basketball

• The Chattanooga State women's basketball team lost 100-79 Friday to undefeated Gulf Coast State College of Panama City, Fla., in the Georgia Perimeter Classic in Decatur, Ga. The 21-point margin is the average for the season for Gulf Coast (9-0). The Lady Tigers (7-3) play today against the host Jaguars, who fell to 1-4 with a 65-58 loss Friday to Roane State.

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