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Twice Denied

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Published
November 20, 2007
By
Susan Geiss
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Martin Methodist College (Tenn.) captured the program's second national title in 3 seasons with a 2-1 win over Azusa Pacific University, in the championship game of the 24th Annual NAIA Women’s Soccer Championship Tournament, Tuesday night in Daytona Beach.

For the second straight year and the third time in the past 6 years, the Cougars are denied the national crown after first winning it in 1998.

All of the scoring took place within the first 30 minutes of the game. Just over 5 minutes into playe, Amanda Johansson of Martin Methodist sent a pass to Shannon Walter, who gave it a quick hard touch from within the box. It deflected off senior All GSAC goalkeeper Jill Colfer-Martinson’s hand and into the corner of the goal.

Azusa Pacific got the equalizer in the 27th minute on a deep throw-in that bounced around the box before All GSAC forwards sophomore Theresa Broad and junior Sarah Yoro combined for the score. Broad’s touch to Yoro was headed into the upper right corner of the goal.

The final and what proved to be the game-winning goal came in the 35th minute, a rocket shot from Clare Sykes off a pass from Walker that carried beyond the out-stretched Colfer-Martinson.

Near the end of the first half, each team was awarded a free kick from similar locations, with each keeper recording a save

Neither team scored in the second half but there was plenty of dramatics. Just 15 seconds into the period, sophomore defender Katie Rorabaugh, playing up top, launched a shot just wide of the goal. Two minutes later, GSAC Player of the Year midfielder Randie Massro made a determined tackle deep in front of the Cougar goal to prevent a Red Hawk chance. The Cougars continued to press forward, but the Red Hawks committed numbers to defense and avoided danger, although Azusa Pacific outshot them in the half 5-2.

Overall, the teams were evenly matched with Martin Methodist putting up 7 shots to Azusa Pacific's 9. The Cougars took 4 corner kicks and yielded none to the RedHawks, while Martin Methodist held a 4-3 edge in shots on frame.

With the victory, Martin Methodist ends the season at 20-3-1 and claims its second NAIA title. Azusa Pacific repeats its 2006 runner up role and closes the season at 20-2-1.

Four Cougars were named to the All Tournament Team, including Broad who was named the Offensive Player of the Tournament. The others honored were Massro, Yoro, and freshman midfielder Lynsey Domene.