Highlighted by GSAC Player of the Year Jennifer Sousa, 6 members from the 3-time defending GSAC champion Azusa Pacific Cougars were named to the 2002 All-GSAC team.
Sousa, fellow senior Rachel Evans, sophomoreStephanie Bays and junior Heather Hannemann were all repeat selections from last year’s squad. Sophomore Erin Arbizu and freshman Jolie Nitta are first time honorees. Also, head coach Jason Surrell was named GSAC Coach of the Year for the third consecutive year.
A 2-time All-American Sousa was the anchor of the Cougar defense, one of the top defensive units in the NAIA, again this year. She has been a part of the Cougar defense that has allowed just 53 goals in 79 games, including 44 shutouts throughout the past 4 seasons. Sousa was a landslide selection for player of the year, receiving all but 5 of a possible 220 votes. She becomes the sixth consecutive Cougar to be named player of the year, joining the likes of Andrea Alfiler (2001), Kendra Payne (1997, 1999 and 2000) and Jen Babel (1998). Sousa was also named to the 2002 All-GSAC Scholar Athlete team.
Evans received her third All-GSAC selection, including her second in a row (she was named to the 1999 team as a freshman at Point Loma). This season, Evans scored 4 goals and assisted on 2 others from her central midfield position.
Splitting time in both the Cougar offense and defense, Bays was second on the team with 18 points (8 goals, 2 assists). This is her second selection to the all-conference team.
Also splitting time between the offense and defense, Hannemann was named to her second consecutive All-GSAC team. As a part of the Cougar offense, Hannemann was third on the team with 14 points (3 goals and a team-high 8 assists). She was moved to the defense, her natural position, midway through the season where she teamed with Sousa to form the most dominating back line in the GSAC.
Arbizu received her first selection after leading the team in scoring with 37 points (15 goals, 7 assists). That total currently places her third in the GSAC, just 1 point behind Westmont’s Kristi Sullivan and Biola’s Rianne Schorel. Arbizu scored in 10 of the Cougars’ 15 games, and she scored 2 goals on 5 occasions. She had 9 goals and 5 assists in GSAC action.
Just a freshman, Nitta receives her first selection to the All-GSAC team. As the Cougars second central midfielder, Nitta worked with Evans to orchestrate the Cougar attack. She finished with 5 goals and 3 assists (13 points), including her first career hat-trick against Fresno Pacific and the game-winner in overtime against Biola.
Surrell becomes the first coach to win 3 straight GSAC Coach of the Year honors since Westmont’s Mike Giuliano won 3 straight from 1993-95. In 3 seasons at the helm, Surrell has posted a 49-6-4 mark overall, 25-1-1 in GSAC action.
To view the entire All-GSAC and All-GSAC Scholar Athlete teams, click here