AZUSA, Calif.-- After another strong season in which the NAIA’s 5th ranked Azusa Pacific finished as the Golden State Athletic Conference runner-up, three Cougars earned all-GSAC honors when the 2012 conference awards were announced on Monday. Leading the way for Azusa Pacific (17-3; 13-2) was Natalie McNall, who took home her third straight all-conference honor playing at No. 1 for the Cougars. Sophomore Emily Harris was named to the all-GSAC team for the second consecutive year, while senior Leah Hoffee made her first appearance on the list.
Also headlining the 2012 awards was head coach Mark Bohren’s first GSAC Women’s Coach of the Year accolade. The winningest coach in program history nearly led his team to upsets over No. 2 Fresno Pacific twice this year, falling 5-4 in both matches against a Sunbird team that hasn’t dropped a conference match in its history. Bohren, who is currently sitting at 597 career wins as the men’s and women’s coach, led the Cougars to wins over eight NAIA-nationally ranked teams, as his team earned the No. 1 at-large spot in the 2012 NAIA Women’s Tennis Championships.
“It’s really special, I was very excited to win the award. But like everything else, it’s more about the girls having a good season on and off the court,” said Bohren about being named coach of the year. “All three deserved it. They had amazing seasons.”
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Natalie McNall: ITA Ranking-23; No. 1 Singles Record 10-10; Doubles Record 12-6
McNall, who went 9-6 in GSAC play, earned her third straight all-conference honor after putting together another strong year at the top of Cougars’ order. The senior from Pasadena played every one of her matches at No. 1 and recorded three wins over players ranked inside the ITA/NAIA top-50.
“Natalie is a really good athletic player that competes hard every match. She has to play the toughest girls in the conference and she played a really good No. 1 for us,” said Bohren.
Leah Hoffee: ITA Ranking-26; No. 2 Singles Record 15-2; Doubles Record 14-1
Hoffee saved her best season for last, opening up her senior campaign on a 14-0 run playing at No. 2 for Azusa Pacific. She’s registered three wins over top-20 players, and has dominated doubles play with a 14-1 mark. Hoffee’s lone two losses this year were both three-set defeats against opponents rated in the top-20.
“Every year she got better and better, and this was kind of the peak and she’s playing her best tennis,” said Bohren.
Emily Harris: ITA Ranking-49; No. 3 Singles Record 16-1; Doubles Record 13-5
While Hoffee opened the season as Azusa Pacific’s hottest player, almost no one in the GSAC has played better down the stretch than Harris, who has won 12 straight singles matches and eight in a row in doubles play (at No. 1). Harris, whose .944 winning percentage paces the Cougars, posted wins over Fresno Pacific’s 30th ranked Justin Yukimo and suffered her only defeat against Justine Majan in a non-conference match against NCAA Div. II Grand Canyon on February 24.
“She’s played well every match and has competed well. She’s moving right up to hopefully a top position next year,” said Bohren.