AZUSA, Calif.-- After winning the program’s second national championship, the Azusa Pacific women’s soccer team had four players named to the All-National Christian College Athletics Association team, the NCCAA office announced Wednesday. The Cougars, who beat Dallas Baptist 2-1 in an overtime thriller to claim the 2013 NCCAA title, had four first-team honorees, including Mayra Almazan, Allyn Brown, Allie Stone, and Danielle Ross.
“A lot of our individual success stems from our team success. The fact that we were able to work as a team and win the national championship helps these individuals get recognized, but without our team accomplishments none of it would be possible,” said head coach Jason Surrell. “With that said, each of the girls were deserving. They worked so hard and were so important for us this season.”
Almazan made a major impact in her first season with program, pacing the team in goals(11), game winners (six) and points (11) while driving in the golden goal on a phenomenal individual effort to clinch Azusa Pacific’s first championship since 1998 to earn National Player of the Year honors. Almazan became the program’s third National Player of the Year, following in the footsteps of Kendra Payne and Andrea Alfiler who were each named NAIA Players of the year in 1998 and 2001 respectively.
The sophomore transfer from UC Santa Barbara scored three times in the national tournament, all of which came in the final two matches, earning the South Hills HS product the NCCAA championship’s Outstanding Offensive Player.
“Mayra is a difference maker in the final third. Players often get recognized for scoring goals and coming up in key moments, and she did all of that this season. She had so many goals in big moments, and none bigger than the national final,” said Surrell.
Ross and Stone continued their impressive careers, leading a stingy backline that tallied 12 shutouts, including nine straight to help the Cougars claim the program’s first Pacific West Conference championship. Each of the senior defenders were named to the all-tournament team, with Ross taking home the championship’s Outstanding Player of the Tournament accolade. The center back duo captained the Cougars all season, helping a group of 16 newcomers and 13 returners mold into a championship team.
“Danielle and Allie have been vital. With other coaches it’s always a topic of which one is better, and you really can’t choose. In reality they bring different strengths and complement each other well,” said Surrell. “I’m happy with how each of their careers turned out. They couldn’t have asked for a better ending. They’re the heart and soul, and they’ve had as much passion as any two I’ve ever had.”
Brown, one of two NCAA Division I transfers to jump in and help Azusa Pacific to a 16-3-1 season, was a crucial cog in the middle, helping Azusa Pacific finish second the conference in scoring offense while boasting the PacWest’s strongest defense. The sophomore out of Lake Arrowhead also came up big in the NCCAA tournament, scoring each of her goals during postseason play to earn all-tournament recognition.
“I think Allyn goes unnoticed because of the stat sheet, but she does so much. She keeps possession well, and wins balls in the middle. She’s so important for what we want to do on the field, and I can’t say enough about what she does for us,” said Surrell.
Azusa Pacific’s four first-team All-Americans were the most of any team, with NCCAA runner-up Dallas Baptist placing three players on the first team. No other school had more than one first-team All-American.
For the complete NCCAA Awards Release Click Here.