After a 2-1 win Friday, the Lee University men's soccer team plays today for the National Christian College Athletic Association Division I national championship in Kissimme, Fla. After playing Fresno Pacific to a 2-2 tie in pool play Wednesday, the Flames and FPU were locked at 1 in their semifinal match until Gabe Franco scored on a rebound of a Jonathan Perelman shot with 10 minutes left in regulation. Franco and Jonathan Finlay double-assisted Quade Marinell's score just 9:09 into the match, and Gustavo Silva netted a penalty kick to get the Sunbirds even at 31:18. The 16-5-2 California team outshot Lee 18-9, but Tom Halsall made six saves to help the Flames (13-4-6) hold on. They will face Southern Wesleyan at 3:45 p.m. today. "Any time that you are playing for a national championship, your team has accomplished something special," Lee coach Paul Furey said in a school release. "This team has really had that special kind of season. We have good players, but it is more about character and mentality.
• Jalen Goddard from East Hamilton is a freshman reserve defender on the Carson-Newman University men's soccer team that plays Southern New Hampshire today for the NCAA Division II championship. The game is at 3 p.m. in Evans, Ga. The Eagles edged Simon Fraser 3-2 on Thursday with three second-half goals.
• The Lee volleyball team had to work extra to reach today's semifinals in the NCCAA national tournament in Kissimmee. The Lady Flames went 2-2 in pool play Thursday and Friday and then prevailed in two single-set playoffs for the fourth semifinal spot, 25-19 over defending champion McMurry from Texas and 26-24 over the Bethel (Ind.) squad that beat them 3-1 Thursday. Lee faces top seed Point Loma at 10 a.m., followed by Shorter against Azusa Pacific. Thursday, the Lady Flames lost 28-26, 17-25, 28-26, 25-21 to Bethel after beating Roberts Wesleyan 3-0 (25-14, 25-11, 28-26). Lee's Paula Martins had 14 kills with a .722 attack percentage against the New York school and had 15 kills and 14 digs against Bethel, when Erin Hill also had 15 kills, Latrice Johnson made 12 kills and 12 digs, Lauren Williams had 10 kills and Camil Martinez had 45 assists with 13 digs. Libby Peigen had 10 digs despite playing on a bad knee, and Deborah Magalhaes had 10 as well. Blaire Beamer served nine aces and Williams had eight kills and four aces against Roberts Wesleyan, when Martinez had 29 assists, Johnson had 11 digs and Sarah Smith had 10 digs. Friday, Lee beat McMurry 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 20-25, 25-16) with 26 kills and 10 digs by Martins, 16 kills by Williams and 50 assists and 12 digs by Martinez and lost 3-1 to Azusa. In that 22-25, 28-26, 25-22, 25-21 defeat, Martins had 20 kills and 16 digs, Williams had 12 kills, Johnson had 11 kills and 11 digs, Martinez had 45 assists and Peigen and Magalhaes each made 15 digs. Martins had seven kills and Martinez had 14 assists in each of the playoff sets.
• University of Tennessee at Chattanooga junior Corey Mock was the Southern Conference wrestling athlete of the month for November, when the 165-pound North Carolina transfer went 10-0 and twice was the league's wrestler of the week. Three of his wins were over ranked opponents, and he now is ranked fourth and seventh in his weight class in two national polls.
• Senior Kayla Kelly from Arts & Sciences is one of three Milligan College women's players with an Intercollegiate Tennis Association national NAIA ranking after the fall season. Kelly, who won two TSSAA high school doubles championships with her sister Ahmee, is ranked 22nd in doubles with Milligan sophomore Rachel Hodas from Knoxville. Another Lady Buff, junior Sarah Rainwater from Knoxville, is ranked 33rd in singles. Rainwater was 20-3 in singles last year, when Kelly was 14-2 in singles and 20-2 in doubles and Hodas was 21-0 in singls and 25-3 in doubles.
• Three members of the Ringgold High School softball team were honored by the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association this week by being selected first-team all-state in Class AAA. Pitcher-outfielder Abby McKinney, shortstop Devan Brown and outfielder Karoline Sholl were chosen off the 32-8 Lady Tigers team that made the Elite Eight in Columbus.