PC Leaders Join the Celebration
After Phoenix College (PC) Women's Soccer claimed the NJCAA Division II national title at the championship series in November 2022, a ring ceremony was held in Phoenix College's Hacienda Room on Saturday, August 5, 2023, followed by a Women's Soccer Alumni Exhibition game in Hoy stadium.
Head Coach Chris Sagar, who guided the Bears to two national title victories in three years and earned the Coach of the Tournament award, handed out the championship rings to the players and assistant coaches Lydia Padilla and Jason Rowe with their families looking on. PC President Dr. Kimberly Britt, Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Heather Kruse, and PC Athletic Director Kristine Kincaid (aka KK) were also there to celebrate.
The Road to Victory
Phoenix was the No. 2 seed coming into the 2022 national tournament. In the championship match against Holmes, Ariana Leamons netted two goals for the Bears in a 4-0 win over No. 1 Holmes. Leamons also assisted on both goals in the second half to Zalma Torres and Anacel Valenzuela-Acosta. Goalkeeper Jennifer Alvillar had a clean sheet with five saves playing all 90 minutes of the match.
During the national tournament, Zalma Torres scored eight goals in four games to receive Most Valuable Player and Most Valuable Offensive Player awards. Krystal Sanchez's great defensive efforts led her to win the Most Valuable Defensive Player award. Ariana Leamons and Jennifer Alvillar made the All-Tournament Team after their superb performances.
Watch two of the goals and the victory celebration at the championship game:
Most Valuable Players Contribute to the Foundation and Legacy of PC Women's Soccer
In a story on December 21, 2022, by Ciaran J Doyle from Cronkite News, Torres noted the team's win-at-all-costs mindset as the reason they brought home the title. "We were telling each other, play like it's your last game ever," Torres said. Krystal Sanchez, originally an attacking player who converted to a defensive midfielder, said the team locked in for the four-game tournament in hopes of bringing home the ultimate prize – a national title. "Everyone was there on time, we were all doing everything correctly, the practices were good, and we bonded really well as a team when we were there."
Doyle's story also pointed out that Torres and Sanchez won't return this season, but the legacy they leave behind serves as a strong foundation for the returning and new Bears players. Division II players are granted two years of eligibility at a community college, where athletes hope to play well enough to earn a transfer to a four-year program. Torres contemplated playing professionally in Mexico, but transferred to William Carey University, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business. Sanchez transferred to Ottawa University. Ariana Leamons is attending New Mexico State University. Jennifer Alvillar is a transfer student at Multnomah University in Oregon. All four will play soccer at their respective universities.
Head coach Chris Sagar, who has been with the team for sixteen seasons is proud of the team's accomplishments: "Winning our first National Championship was amazing and history making, especially coming out of the COVID pandemic. This second one had a different feel and boy was it fun! This team scored a record breaking 18 goals in 4 games at the national tournament. Our players were the talk of the tournament for the style and class they showed throughout. PC Athletics has a rich tradition of excellence-–just look at Softball with back-to-back national titles–and Women's Soccer is humbled and excited to join and continue in this legacy!"
We look forward to this season of Women's Soccer. Follow the Bears for this season's games and player news!