AZUSA, Calif. -- After making its fourth NAIA semifinals appearance in the past 5 years, Azusa Pacific had 5 players named to the NAIA All-American teams. Junior Brittany Flanagan was the only upperclassman among the five, and she was joined on the first team by sophomores Natalie Sun and Rachael Harding, while sophomore Markie Gleason and freshman Laura Feehs were second team selections.
Flanagan, a midfielder from El Dorado Hills, Calif., was selected to the first team, her first NAIA All-American honors. As a captain and third-year starter, Flanagan led the Cougars to another deep national tournament run, scoring 7 goals with 7 assists on the year. She scored and assisted goals in Azusa Pacific’s 3-0 victory over Golden State Athletic Conference rival California Baptist in the NAIA quarterfinals.
Joining Flanagan as NAIA All-American first team picks were Sun and Harding, who were also first-time honorees. Sun, a forward from Encinitas, Calif., posted 8 goals on the year and recorded a GSAC-best 12 assists. Twice this year, she scored 2 goals and assisted another in a game, doing so in a 3-2 GSAC win over Point Loma Nazarene and again against California Baptist in the GSAC Tournament championship.
Harding, a defender from Upland, Calif., helped anchor a Cougar defense that posted 11 shutouts. Harding scored her first career goal in a 4-1 victory over Kansas Wesleyan, and she assisted one of Sun’s goals in the 3-2 win over Point Loma Nazarene.
Gleason and Feehs earned NAIA All-American second team honors in their debut seasons with the Cougars. Gleason, a sophomore transfer from NCAA Div. I Long Beach State, started all 23 games in the Azusa Pacific midfield. Her technical ability with the ball at her feet helped produce 3 assists, and she scored 2 goals of her own, including the Cougars’ lone score in a 1-1 draw with Vanguard.
Feehs, a freshman forward, scored a team-high 13 goals in 20 games in her debut collegiate season, tallying 6 game-winning goals. In Azusa Pacific’s first game at the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship final site in Decatur, Ala., Feehs scored 2 goals that tied the game and helped lead to a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Oklahoma City. Feehs notched her first collegiate hat-trick in a 4-1 non-conference win over NAIA Tournament participant Kansas Wesleyan.
All 5 of the Cougars’ All-Americans were also named to the All-GSAC team, along with senior midfielder Kelsey Walker. Walker scored 6 goals, 4 of them game-winners, including 2 in back-to-back NAIA tournament wins over Oklahoma City (3-2) and California Baptist (3-0). She also had 4 assists on the season.
Senior defender Delina Papa and Feehs were named to the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship All-Tournament team. Papa started all 23 games for Azusa Pacific at the right back position. She took 3 shots as a defender and helped lead a Cougar defense that surrendered just 3 goals in its 7-game post-season run.
Senior midfielder Jennie Cress was named a 2010 Daktronics-NAIA Women’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete, qualifying for the honor for the second consecutive year by maintaining a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale after achieving junior academic status. She was also honored as a GSAC Scholar-Athlete.
Azusa Pacific posted a 19-2-2 record with the program’s ninth semifinals appearance in the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship. The Cougars were eliminated with a 1-0 loss to Lee (Tenn.) University, which went on to win its third consecutive NAIA title.