Area sports notes: Lee men's soccer team celebrates Gulf South championship for first time

The Lee University men's soccer team won its first Gulf South Conference title by beating West Florida 1-0 Sunday in Pensacola, with Yotam Balbul's header into the net set up by Jared McWhorter's corner kick in the 81st minute of the league tournament final. Daniel Hrenko made three saves in his ninth shutout of the season as the Flames (12-4) secured their first berth in the NCAA Division II tournament, which starts Friday. Balbul was named MVP of the tournament and joined on the all-tourney team by Lee's Jonah Bryan, Samaan Williams and Samir Williams. The West Florida men, who dropped to 13-2-3, are coached by Chattanooga Football Club coach Bill Elliott, who grew up in Hixson. Lee lost in the women's final, 2-1 to Montevallo, which rallied for two goals in the final 12 minutes after Kelsey Yoder's 36th-minute score - she cleaned a free kick's rebound - for the Lady Flames (16-5). Montevallo (15-5-3) outshot Lee 15-13 overall, although the Lady Flames had a 7-6 advantage on goal.


* The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga lost 39-0 at No. 2-ranked Iowa in front of 10,466 fans, with UTC reporting that as one of the largest crowds the Mocs have ever wrestled in front of for a dual meet. Five UTC wrestlers managed to avoid giving up a bonus point by limiting their opponents to decisions: Wade Cummings at 133 pounds, Tanner Smith at 149, Andrew Nicholson at 165, Matthew Waddell at 184 and Rodney Jones at 197. The Mocs are 1-3. It was the Hawkeyes' opener.


* UTC is seeded ninth in the Southern Conference volleyball tournament and opens it at 6 p.m. Tuesday at eighth seed The Citadel. The winner will join the league's other seven teams for the quarterfinals Friday at Spartanburg, South Carolina. UTC finished 2-14 in regular-season SoCon matches with both wins this past weekend, 3-2 over The Citadel (4-12) and 3-0 over Wofford (8-8), the tournament's fourth seed. Samford (15-1) is seeded No. 1, East Tennessee State (14-2) No. 2, Western Carolina (11-5) No. 3, Furman (7-9) No. 5, Mercer (6-10) No. 6 and UNC Greensboro (5-11) No. 7.


* The Sewanee men's basketball team erased a 19-point deficit in beating LaGrange 87-80 Saturday in Birmingham-Southern's Black-Tie Classic, then rallied again Sunday against Huntingdon to win 73-71. Saturday, Sewanee's Ryan Starr was 9-of-10 from the field in scoring 26 points, 22 in the second half, while Jordan Warlick had 16 points and seven rebounds and Sean McDonough added 15 points on five 3-point baskets. Sunday, the Tigers (3-1) finished the game on a 6-1 run and Huntingdon missed a free throw and two shots late. Joey Knox led Sewanee with 16 points, Adrian Thomas had 13 and McDonough 11.

* The Bryan College women won 75-74 but the Bryan men lost 86-76 in Appalachian Athletic Conference basketball Saturday at Allen University. The Lady Lions (7-0, 4-0) built a 66-56 lead and held on, and Karli Combs' game-high 23 points included two win-clinching free throws with three seconds left. Destiny Kassner scored 21 points, Shayla Ludy had 13 and Deandra Luna and Kaitlynn Hennessee contributed seven and five assists. For the Lions (3-3, 2-2), Brandon Thomas had 24 points and nine rebounds, Austin Douglas 15 points, Isaiah McClain 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists, Jermaine Thompson 12 points with four 3s and KJ Hawkins six assists.

* Tennessee Wesleyan also split an AAC doubleheader Saturday, the Lady Bulldogs winning 66-57 and the Bulldogs falling 77-65 against visiting Milligan. The TWU women (3-2, 3-1) prevailed with a 22-11 fourth quarter. Jordan Wright led them with 14 points for the game, Hannah Cherry had seven rebounds and three steals and Kenzie Conn blocked four shots. For the TWU men (2-3, 1-3), Ty Patterson had 14 points and seven rebounds, Jamesio Rhine also scored 14 and Bryant Bernard scored 12.

Compiled by Ron Bush and Marty Kirkland. Contact Bush at or 423-757-6291 and Kirkland at or 423-757-6478.