The Peach Belt Conference volleyball tournament begins today with second seed USC-Aiken and sixth seed Augusta State playing first-round night games at the Augusta State PE/Athletic Complex on Wrightsboro Road.
USC-Aiken (28-9) plays seventh seed UNC Pembroke at 6 p.m., and Augusta State (12-14) takes on Francis Marion at 8.
If Augusta State and USC-Aiken win tonight, they would face each other in Saturday's 3 p.m., semifinal. The final is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Saturday. North Florida is the top seed.
BASKETBALL: Charlotte Hornets center Vlade Divac will speak at USC-Aiken on Monday at 4:30 p.m. Divac, who played six seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers before traded to the Charlotte Hornets before the 1996-97 season, will speak at the Main House office on Florence Street in Aiken. Admission is free. For more information, call (803) 641-1614.
LACROSSE: The Aiken-Augusta Lacrosse Club will meet Georgia Southern University's team on Sunday at 1 p.m., at Westside High School.
CHARITY: The Salvation Army kicks off its annual Christmas Red Kettle Campaign at tonight's Greenbrier-Laney high school football game. Captain Willis Howell will be officiating for the Salvation Army and area TV sports personalities will kick off the season.
SOCCER: The fifth-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks will hold a free soccer clinic today at Eugene E. Stone Stadium from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., to benefit the Harvest Hope Food Bank. Each person attending is asked to bring a canned good or non-perishable food item. The team finished the regular season 15-2-1 and is awaiting an NCAA tournament at-large bid to be announced next Monday.
So Sampson, whose future appears unsettled, plans to sit out some top players Sunday against El Salvador rather than take a chance that they'll get their second yellow card of the qualifying round that could force them to miss the first game in France next June.
Sampson's decision could hurt the Americans in Sunday's qualifying finale, although they've already clinched a World Cup berth. And it may not help his chances of continuing as coach.
"The big picture is the main thing, even at the expense of my own career," he said Thursday in a conference call. "I hope the officials of the (U.S. Soccer) Federation understand exactly what I'm doing."
Of the 26 players on the roster for the game, 12 have one yellow card. That group includes Roy Wegerle, who had two goals and an assist in a 3-0 win over Canada last Sunday that clinched a berth in the tournament.
FOOTBALL: Georgia's Matt Stinchcomb and Greg Bright, South Carolina's Jamar Nesbit and Arturo Freeman and Auburn's Takeo Spikes (Washington County High) were named to the Football News All-SEC team. Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning was named player of the year.
TRACK: The death of Rodney Milburn, a U.S. gold medal winner in the 110-meter hurdles at the 1972 Olympics, was ruled an accident Thursday in Baton Rouge, La. Milburn, 47, was found dead Tuesday in a rail car full of a hot chemical solution at the paper plant where he worked. It happened at the Georgia Pacific plant near Baton Rouge. The autopsy showed no signs that Milburn had a heart attack or a stroke, which might have caused him to fall into the rail car, Smith said.
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