2012 NJCAA Division 1 National Champions
Paradise Valley Community College’s undefeated Women’s Soccer Team shutout the top-seeded Brevard Community College 3-0 last weekend to win the hip in Melbourne, Fla. The Pumas finished the season 22-0-2 with 115 goals scored and only eight goals given up to their opponents.
“These girls came to win and set the tone of the battle in the first few seconds of the game. After scoring the first goal, they didn’t stop,” said Head Coach Kacey Bingham, who was named Coach of the Tournament by the National Junior College Athletic Association.
The Pumas shocked Brevard within the first minute of play when freshman forward Tianna Stewart scored the initial goal off a throw in from Ali Doller. Sophomore midfielder Jessie DeLeon blasted a shot off a corner kick by Halie Claiborne to score the second goal for a 2-0 lead in the first half. About 10 minutes into the second half, DeLeon chipped a ball into the box and Ashley Johnson headed it into the goal.
Goalkeepers Rachel Cardwell and Tessa Hamberlin split time in the net for a total of eight saves. Brevard scored twice in the second half, but both goals were taken back due to offside charges. Hamberlin made crucial saves to keep the shutout.
“This is an incredible moment for our team and coaching staff,” Bingham said. “We saw the potential of this team from the first day of training. Our performance during this tournament has been outstanding. We scored 11 goals and only gave up one in four games. I’m so proud of this group. Every game we stressed three words: Organize, execute and fight. They did everything I asked.”
Several Pumas were recognized by the NJCAA for their championship performances. DeLeon was selected to the All-Tournament Team while Doller, Hamberlin and sophomore defender Makenna George were named Tournament MVPs.
The Pumas are comprised of top athletes from high schools around the Valley. DeLeon and Johnson are graduates of Thunderbird High School. Stewart is a graduate of Arcadia High School and Claiborne graduated from Raymond S. Kellis. Cardwell is an Estrella Foothills High School graduate and Doller graduated from Marcos de Niza High School in Tempe. Hamberlin graduated from Highland High School in Gilbert and George is a graduate of Deer Valley High School in Glendale.