Lee Women Prepare For NAIA National Soccer Championships

Saturday, November 24, 2012
There has never been a larger target on the back of a team as play begins in the 29th annual NAIA Women's Soccer National Championships on Monday at the Orange Beach Sportsplex in Orange Beach, Ala.

"We have an experienced group of players, and playing in a national tournament is not a new experience for them,” coach Matt Yelton admitted as he spoke about his team's "Drive For Five". “Hopefully with their knowledge of what it is like to play on the road in a tough environment, we will be able to go out and put in a good performance on Monday.
We have been playing well the last few weeks and we have a very committed group of players on our squad, but we know that we will have to give our best effort and if we do that I will be satisfied with our season no matter what the results are."

Yelton’s club is not only the four-time defending nationals champions and top-seeded, his Lady Flames boast a 26-3-2 all-time championship record and are currently riding an unprecedented 21-match championship unbeaten streak following a 5-0 opening round victory against Montreat (N.C.) on Nov. 17. Lee will kick off action in Orange Beach on Monday against No. 16 Northwood (Fla.) at 5 p.m. (EST).

A national title this season would give Lee five-straight, which would be the second-most consecutive national titles for a women's soccer program amongst all divisions. NCAA Division I North Carolina holds the current record of 12-straight titles from 1986-1997.

"Northwood have a very strong group of players and in all of the scouting reports and information we have been able to gather we know we are going to have to be at our very best in order to advance in the tournament,” said the Lee coach. “They are very well coached, have excellent attacking players, and are very strong in goal. That is a recipe for a very good team and their results over the course of the season have shown that they have a lot of quality in their team."

Leaving the NAIA and moving on to NCAA Division II with five consecutive titles will not be easy. No. 2 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) seems to always be standing in the way. The Blue Raiders are the most experience team in the field with 14 all-time appearances. The Kentucky team is 24-12-2 in national championship matches, including a pair of national titles in 2004 and 2006.

Outside of Lindsey Wilson, No. 8 Concordia (Ore.), a team Lee defeated in the championship match last season, is the only other final site club with 10-or-more national championship appearances. The Cavaliers are 22-11-2 in their 12 trips, but join No. 4 Oklahoma City as the only final site qualifiers that have played in the decisive game, but failed to win the banner. Concordia will square off against unseeded Cumberland (Tenn.) at 4 p.m. on Nov. 27.

"We have had a good week of practice and are looking forward to Orange Beach,” said Yelton before his club departed for the national tourney, “but I think all of us know that this is not a vacation. It is a chance to go and work hard in a nice location and hopefully come home with a championship."

NeuLion, the NAIA's official video streaming company of 12 select NAIA national championship events, will be broadcasting all final site games of the 2012 NAIA Women's Soccer National Championships. Single day packages can be purchased for $9.95, while an all-tournament pass is available for$29.95. To order go to http://www.naia.org//ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=27900&ATCLID=205423235.

Randy Smith: SEC Picks Week 13

Where has this college football season gone? It was only yesterday that I was counting the days, hours and minutes down to the first kickoff. Now, after Saturday's games, the regular season ends and we look forward to the league championship games, bowl games and the college football playoff. The regular season will likely go out with a bang, so here goes... Alabama @ Auburn: ... (click for more)

UTC Hosts Fordham Saturday in FCS Football Playoffs

Armed with arguably the best running back in the FCS nation, a talented Fordham football team (9-2)  comes to Chattanooga Saturday to face the UTC Mocs (8-3) at Finley Stadium at 1 p.m. in a first round FCS playoff game.   Chattanooga won the Southern Conference’s automatic bid with a 6-1 league mark and an 8-3 overall record while  Fordham finished ... (click for more)

City Council To Consider Policy That Job Applicants Would Not Have To Reveal Criminal Records

The City Council on Tuesday night will consider a policy that city job applicants would not have to reveal their criminal past. Councilman Yusuf Hakeem cited problems those with felony records have in securing employment. The policy would go into effect by the first of the year. The resolution says: WHEREAS, the City of Chattanooga (the "City") is committed ... (click for more)

City Considering Measure That Would Require City Employees To Be Tennessee Residents

The City Council is considering an ordinance that would require city employees to be residents of the state of Tennessee. The city has employees who live in North Georgia and North Alabama and that is allowed.  If the ordinance is approved by the City Council, it still would need to be okayed by a majority of city voters in an election. The measure will be considered ... (click for more)

An Extra Helping Of Gratitude

After being thankful for the grace of God, my family and good health, this year I have an extra helping of gratitude to live in a special place called Chattanooga.   We endured the trauma of terrorism on July 16 and emerged more united and stronger than ever before.  We claim our heritage and celebrate our diversity like no other city in America.  We honor our ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Can’t ‘Ban The Box’

I know a man who has over 20 former convicts from federal prisons who either work for him or who have retired with their dignity, pride, and self-worth restored. Better yet, I know some of them, men who have done “hard time” in prisons so wretched none of us would dare to go. So on the surface I applaud City Councilman Yusef Hakeem for seeing ways to get formerly incarcerated men ... (click for more)