Virginia Beach, VA – The Cleary University Cougars have claimed their first ever women’s soccer National Championship, after defeating the University of Maine Fort Kent 2-0 on Sunday afternoon at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex. Cleary finishes the National Championship run undefeated, having defeated the three-time defending National Champions on two occasions this tournament.
Cleary entered the championship tournament as the second seed after posting a 7-9-1 record against a daunting NAIA schedule. They opened pool play by stunning the Bengals of Maine Fort Kent 3-0 with goals by Kendra Pennington, Melanie Davies, and Harley Gorzelski. They were tested by the Bobcats of Bryant & Stratton on day two, allowing their first and only goals of the tournament, but emerging 3-2 victors. Maine Fort Kent defeated Bryant & Stratton 1-0 to down the Bobcats and move to the title game.
In the championship game, the Bengals defense returned to its former glory, holding Cleary scoreless in the first half despite 10 shots. The first goal of the contest came at the 64 minute mark, which came from an unexpected source. Freshman Sydney Huston tipped the ball in the back of the net after a loose ball on a corner kick. What would eventually be the game winning goal lifted the freshman as an All-tournament selection. Cleary had twelve corner kicks in the contest. Elizabeth Perry put the nail in the coffin with an unassisted goal in the 82nd minute of the game.
Cleary University’s defense was outstanding the entire tournament, having three of their backline and their goalkeeper named to the All-Tournament team. Eight of the Cougars’ sixteen shots were on goal in the contest.
- All-Tournament Team
- Veronica Paz | Fr. Forward | University of Maine Fort Kent
- Portia Davis | Sr. Forward | Bryant & Stratton College
- Harley Gorzelski | Jr. Forward | Cleary University
- Dakota Martin | So. Midfielder | University of Maine Fort Kent
- Sydney Houston | Fr. Midfielder | Cleary University
- Bonnie Emmerling | Sr. Defender | Cleary University
- Njemile Charles | Sr. Defender | Bryant & Stratton Syracuse
- Katelynn Ruman | Sr. Defender | Cleary University
- Emma Henig | Sr. Defender | Cleary University
- Brooke Thomas | So. Goalkeeper | Cleary University
- Valentina Green | Jr. Goalkeeper | University of Maine Fort Kent
- MVP: Kendra Pennington | Jr. Forward | Cleary University