Lee Lady Flames back in NAIA final

Lee Lady Flames back in NAIA final

December 3rd, 2011 by Staff Reports in Sportlocal

DECATUR, Ala. -- Three-time defending champion Lee University defeated second-seeded Azusa Pacific 2-0 in the NAIA women's soccer national semifinals Friday and faces No. 8 Concordia of Oregon for the 2011 championship today at 6 p.m. EST. Lee's third-seeded Lady Flames (22-2) began their season with a 1-0 win at Concordia and a 2-1 loss to Azusa on Concordia's field, and now they're ending the year with the same two teams in reverse order. Concordia (19-4-1) beat Point Loma Nazarene 4-0 with eight players providing the first-half goals and assists. Ashley Aragona in the first half and Jordan Woody in the second had the goals in Lee's 19th consecutive win, from assists by Ode Futuludilu and Leah Fortune. Leah Wilson made four saves in the Lady Flames' 17th shutout and ninth in a row, giving them 14 shutouts in a 16-match stretch that also included 8-1 and 10-1 wins. Lee has outscored its opponents 119-10 this season -- 107-4 since its last loss. "I have to give a ton of credit to our backs and Leah Wilson, as they were absolutely fantastic tonight and continued their strong play that they have exhibited all tournament long," coach Matt Yelton said after his 201st win in 10 Lee seasons. "I can't say enough about how well Ode and Ashley played. I think Azusa was really focused on containing Jamie [Achten] up front, and Ashley and Ode took that opportunity to produce some really good scoring opportunities. ... Tomorrow night's game will be a battle of endurance and commitment. We know we will be playing a much different team than the one we faced in August."

Volleyball

• SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- Third-seeded Lee University beat No. 6 Biola 26-24, 25-23, 25-16 in the NAIA volleyball national tournament quarterfinals Friday night and will face No. 2 Texas-Brownsville in a 1:30 p.m. EST semifinal today. Top-seeded Concordia (Calif.) faces No. 4 Columbia (Mo.) in the 11 a.m. match, and the winners will meet for the title at 9 p.m. EST. Arlene Ferreira had 12 kills and 13 digs, Stephanie Todd downed 10 kills and Kelsey Leffew and Gretchen Higdon had 16 and 15 assists in the 28th consecutive win for Lee (34-2), and Sarah Smith and Leffew made 11 and 10 digs. Lee lost 25-23, 25-23, 25-22 on Sept. 9 to Brownsville, which beat Embry-Riddle in the quarterfinals Friday night.

• Silverdale Baptist Academy setter Reagan Robertson signed volleyball scholarship papers Friday morning with Bryan College. Coach David Shumaker liked what he saw when she attended Bryan's summer camp. "Not only is she a good athlete, she's extremely responsive to coaching," Shumaker said. "She has a great attitude, a great work ethic and is just a great kid." Two months ago she took her visit to the campus in Dayton, Tenn. "I just liked the small-school atmosphere," Robertson said. "The coach and the girls were all so welcoming. I just felt like it was where I needed to go and where I needed to be." Robertson, a member of the first high school graduating class to begin in kindergarten at Silverdale and the nine-year program's first volleyball signee, said this has been a goal since she started playing in sixth grade. To go with her 293 assists as a senior, she also contributed 58 kills, 105 digs, 34 aces and 18 blocks. "She's such a hard worker and has wanted to better her game along the way," Silverdale coach Rhonda Hawkins said. "After every practice she wanted to stay and work on her game, at least some kind of skill. She led the team in assists and has a killer serve. On top of that she's just a great kid."

Softball

• Fourteen northwest Georgia softball players were honored by the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association with first-team all-state berths. Class A champion Gordon Lee and Region 7-AAAA champion Northwest Whitfield each had four first-team members, while Class AAA's Heritage had three on the first team. Representing 37-1 Gordon Lee were pitcher of the year Brenna Nation, who recently committed to Carson-Newman after going undefeated for her second consecutive season, infielders Sam Taylor and Kendall Johnson and catcher Kelsie Bickett. Coach Dana Mull was named the Class A coach of the year. Representing Northwest Whitfield were pitcher Emily Boyd, catcher Bayli Cruse, infielder Mykeah Johnson and outfielder Colbie Thomas. Heritage's Kristin West earned her second all-state honor, named as an outfielder this year after earning it as a catcher last year, and was joined by catcher Savannah Goldsmith and infielder Jesslyn Stockard. Other first-team selections from the area were Ringgold's Erika Bynum and Ericka Burkhart in Class AAA and Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe's Maryann Morgan, the Region 7 player of the year, in AA.