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Third Time's No Charm

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Published
November 26, 2002
By
Micah McDaniel
Westmont 2, Azusa Pacific 1
2002 NAIA National Tournament
Championship Game

(ST. CHARLES, Mo.) – Westmont’s Kristi Sullivan scored a pair of goals midway through the second half to lift Westmont to a 2-1 win over Azusa Pacific in the championship game of the 19th Annual NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship.

The win gives Westmont its second consecutive national championship and third in the past 4 years. It was the Cougars’ second trip to the finals in the past 5 seasons (Azusa Pacific won the 1998 NAIA title) and fifth consecutive final four appearance.

In the third meeting of the season between the NAIA women’s soccer powerhouses, Sullivan, the tournament’s MVP scored the first of her 2 goals in the 64th minute off an assist from Kristi Peich. Sullivan’s second goal came just 10 minutes later off a cross from Katie Cates.

The Cougars made a furious charge in the final 15 minutes but could only one of the 2 goals back. Sophomore Erin Arbizu scored her fourth goal of the tournament with 3 minutes to go, but the Cougars were unable to find the equalizer.

Westmont completes the perfect sweep of Azusa Pacific, defeating the Cougars on 3 separate occasions. The Warriors beat the Cougars, 1-0, less than 2 weeks ago in the NAIA Region II Finals in Azusa to earn the region’s automatic bid to the tournament.

Arbizu was named to the All-Tournament team along with seniors Jen Sousa and Rachel Evans. Sousa, who is the only player in the NAIA to play in each of the past 4 semifinals, was named the tournament’s Outstanding Defensive Player and receives her second straight all-tournament honor.

The Cougars conclude their season at 16-4-0.