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First For A First

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December 4, 2007
Joe Reinsch

AZUSA, Calif. -- Senior forward Steven Lenhart was named to the NAIA All-American first team, becoming the fifth Azusa Pacific player to earn national first team recognition in program history after leading the Cougars to their first-ever national title.

Lenhart, who was also named the 2007 GSAC and NAIA Region II Player of the Year, twice scored 4 goals in a game this season, first in a 4-2 non-conference win over Cal State San Marcos and then again when the Cougars took down then-top ranked Concordia by a 4-0 margin Oct. 17 in Azusa. Lenhart finished the season with 16 goals, including 9 game-winners, along with 4 assists, scoring or assisting a goal in each Azusa Pacific’s NAIA Tournament games.

The 6-foot-1 forward finished with career totals of 38 goals and 12 assists, placing him ninth in career goals and tied for 10th in career points (88) in Azusa Pacific men’s soccer history. Lenhart, a Yorba Linda native, was joined by Southern Nazarene goalkeeper David Eguren as the only United States natives on the 11-player NAIA All-American first team.

Three other players represented the NAIA champion Cougars with NAIA All-American honorable mention recognition, with senior forward Sven Simon picking up his second All-American selection along with first-time honorees Brandon Stirm and sophomore Eric Winblad.

Simon was Azusa Pacific’s only repeat selection after earning third team honors a year ago, earning selection despite missing nearly 4 weeks of game action battling injuries towards the end of the season. He returned for the Cougars’ national tournament run, and in his first game back scored 2 goals to lift Azusa Pacific to a 3-1 win in its tournament-opening win over MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.). Simon scored the game-winner in the national title game victory over GSAC rival Concordia and assisted the insurance goal in the 2-0 win.

With 12 goals and 7 assists this season, Simon pushed his career totals to 36 goals and 27 assists, tying him for third all-time in assists, tied for 10th in goals and sixth all-time in points (99) in Azusa Pacific history.

Stirm, a 3-time All-GSAC senior midfielder, tied a career single-season high with 8 goals, scoring all of them in an 11-game stretch that included a pair of 2-goal efforts in wins over Biola and Hope International. Four of his 8 goals were game-winners, including the “golden goal” in a 3-2 overtime win over Westmont in which Stirm played for the first time with a black armband on the sleeve of his No. 11 jersey as a tribute to Cougar men’s soccer alum Sean O’Connor, who passed away in September after a battle with cancer.

Stirm finished with the second-highest career assist total in program history (34), and with 26 goals, moved into 12th in career points (86) in Cougar history. Eleven of his 26 goals were game-winners, including the decisive score in Azusa Pacific’s NAIA Tournament-opening 3-1 win over MidAmerica Nazarene.

Winblad, a sophomore defender from Mission Viejo, was the centerpiece of a young but seasoned Cougar defense that turned in a program-record 14 shutouts and surrendered just 11 goals in 22 games to set another program mark for fewest goals allowed in a season.

Senior midfielders Kolt Callaway and Danny Sundberg were named 2007 Men’s Soccer Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes for their efforts both on the field and in the classroom.

Click here to view the complete list of 2007 NAIA Men’s Soccer All-Americans.

Click here for the 2007 Men’s Soccer Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes.