Colorado Christian University’s (CCU) Women’s Soccer team made CCU history this week, winning their first National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) D1 Women’s National Championship. They claimed the title after defeating Oklahoma Baptist University 1-0 at the national tournament, held in Kissimmee, Florida this past weekend.
The Cougars came into the tournament as the No. 6 seed, winning their first two games in pool play, defeating No. 9 John Wesley University 8-0 and bumping out the No. 1 seed Grace College, with a final score of 1-0. The top four teams were set to compete in the semifinal match. Reseeded as the No. 2 team going into the semifinals, CCU defeated the No. 3 team, Houghton College by 3-0. This cleared the path for the Cougars to play the No. 1 seeded team in the tournament, Oklahoma Baptist University (OKBU).
Prior to this tournament, CCU and OKBU had faced-off in the NCCAA Regional Tournament hosted by Colorado Christian University in Lakewood CO this November. In the 88th minute of that game, the Cougars fouled in the box which awarded a penalty kick to Oklahoma. With that penalty kick goal, the Bisons won the game 2-1.
This loss wouldn’t deter the Cougars, as they received a national bid which brought them to face the Bisons once again; this time, in the national championship game.
Fast-forward to the tournament in Kissimmee, Florida, Oklahoma’s squad came out with high-level energy from the start. Within the first 15 minutes of the game, the Bisons had taken four very aggressive shots against CCU. The Cougars fought back by taking control of the ball and sending #23, freshman Sarah Feller straight down the field toward the goal.
Feller won the ball off of a Bison defender in the middle of the field and drove hard up the 20 yard line, where she drove a big boot to the back of Oklahoma’s net. This was Feller’s sixth goal of the season, five of which had been scored in the NCCAA National Tournament alone.
The Cougars did not have any goals scored against them in the national tournament, with a total record of 13-0 in goals. Senior goalkeeper, #00 Shaya Lawrence, played rock solid defense for the blue and gold. Lawrence had eight saves against OKBU, one being critical in the last minute of the game from a foul right outside the box. Defenders #10 Kennady McCullough, #6 Madison Hogan, and #2 Caitlyn Troupe, provided relentless pressure against the opposing team, making it difficult for the Bison’s shots to find the net.
Midfielder #11 Mariah Fredericks was named the national tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Originally from North Dakota, Fredericks will graduate from CCU with an outstanding athletic career, scoring 10 goals this season and leading her team to a national title. Along with Fredericks, Lawrence, Troupe, and Feller were named All-Tournament Team.
Colorado Christian University’s Cougars will end their 2016 season as the NCCAA DI Women’s Soccer National Champions with a record of 13-8-3 — the most games ever won in CCU Women’s Soccer history.
Learn more about CCU athletics at ccucougars.com.