AZUSA, Calif. -– Senior defender Jen Sousa and sophomore forward Erin Arbizu were named to the NAIA All-American first team earlier this week for NAIA runner-up Azusa Pacific.
Junior defender Heather Hannemann was named to the third team.
Sousa, the GSAC Player of the Year, was one of the top defenders in the NAIA this past season. Led by her play, the Cougars advanced all the way to the NAIA championship game without allowing a single goal in the tournament until the final. In 4 games at the NAIA Tournament, the Cougars allowed just 2 goals, both in the final, and just 7 shots on goal.
This year Sousa became the only player in the NAIA to advance to the past 4 semifinals as the Cougars made their fifth straight Final Four appearance. It is also her second straight first team selection, and she was named to the Daktronics-NAIA All-America Scholar Athlete and the NAIA All-Tournament teams.
In just her second season, Arbizu took it upon herself to shoulder the Cougars’ scoring load after All-American Chrissy Sanford departed after last season. She led the team with 45 points (second in GSAC), scoring 19 goals and assisting on 7 others. At the NAIA Tournament, Arbizu scored 4 goals, including a pair in the Cougars’ opening round 3-0 win over Embry-Riddle (Fla.), and the Cougars’ lone goal in the championship match. She had 6 multi-goal games, and on 7 occasions, she tallied at least 4 points in a contest.
Hannemann enjoyed another fine season, splitting time in the Cougar attack and defense. She began the season as a forward, scoring all of her career-high 14 points in 6 of the first 9 games. She had 3 assists in the Cougars’ 3-1 win over Alliant International, then followed that with 2 goals and 2 assists in their 6-0 GSAC-opening win vs. NAIA Region II semifinalist California Baptist. Then midway through the season, Hannemann returned to her natural defending position and teamed with Sousa to spark a defense that allowed just 7 goals in the final 11 games, posting 6 shutouts.
The Cougars finished the season 16-4 overall, winning their third straight GSAC championship and advancing to their fifth straight NAIA semifinal and second title game in the past 5 years.
To view the entire NAIA All-American team, click here.