We congratulate both on tremendous seasons and not just because of number of wins, size of trophies and degree of celebration, but because both will forever rein as champions in the hearts of fans and followers, as well as our Cleveland and Bradley County community for whom they have served as splendid ambassadors.
We refer to two sports teams from Lee University.
On a cold and windy Saturday evening in Decatur, Ala., the Lee University Lady Flames of soccer claimed their third consecutive NAIA National Championship with a 3-0 win over Hastings College of Nebraska. In earning the right to be called the nation’s best in a three-peat performance, these young Lee starlets won their 15th consecutive national tournament victory.
Earlier in the day several state borders away in Sioux City, Iowa, another group of stellar Lee University athletes, the No. 1-ranked Lady Flames of volleyball, with a perfect 39-0 record, fell just shy of a national championship match-up with Texas-Brownsville — a team they had beaten earlier in the season — when they lost in the semifinals to Columbia College of Missouri 3-0.
This is the same group of civic-minded Lady Flames who only weeks ago captured the heart of a community by leading another “Volley for a Cure” performance in the name of breast cancer awareness. Their heartwarming off-court leadership stands as a beacon of hope for those women, and their families, friends and loved ones, who face this potentially lethal monster.
Our pride in the Lady Flames of soccer and the Lady Flames of volleyball remains as strong today as it was at week’s end as both headed into their final-match countdowns.
Championships are tremendous. National championships are even more invigorating.
For this, we salute those inspiring student athletes of Lady Flames soccer.
Championships also are won in the heart and mind.
For this, we salute the exhilarating student athletes of Lady Flames volleyball.
Less than two days after each Lee University team has ended another record-setting season, we see only one difference. Our community’s Ladies of Lee Soccer carry a slightly larger trophy today than their campus sisters of Lee Ladies Volleyball.
Size of trophy means much.
Size of heart means more.
The Ladies of Lee Soccer and the Ladies of Lee Volleyball possess some of the biggest hearts imaginable on any college or university campus across our nation, whether NAIA or NCAA.
As proud as we are of the Lee University Lady Flames of Soccer, we hold just as big a warm spot in our chests for the young Lee ladies who have graced the volleyball courts.
Two champions of the heart.
One proudly lofts a national championship trophy.
Both are trophies to this community.
Lee University students — academically and athletically — continue to serve as prized ambassadors for Cleveland and Bradley County.
They are champion athletes.
They are leading academicians.
They are award-winning musicians.
Each has brought pride and prominence to Lee University.
Each has carried a torch of recognition onto a national and international stage for our hometown and its residents.
Thank you Lee University.
Thank you Lee students.
And most recently, thank you Lee Lady Flames of soccer and volleyball.
You remain our champions.