ORANGE BEACH, Ala. - (Box Score | Bracket) No. 2 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) claimed its third all-time national crown with a 3-2 victory over No. 12 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) on Saturday in the 2012 NAIA Women's Soccer National Championship final, presented by the Sports Medicine Center at Orthopedic Group, P.C., and Encore Rehabilitation. With the victory, the Blue Raiders become sixth program in NAIA women's soccer history to win three-or-more national titles.
"I was just hoping we'd get to halftime two-to-two," said Lindsey Wilson head coach Drew Burwash. "We battled in the second half. I don't know what it was statistically, but we turned it on and fortunately we got a goal that put us over the top."
"It's just a group of kids that battled their hearts out for us," continued Burwash. "It's a great feeling. We've been talking all year about having a great attitude and giving a great effort. We gave a good effort in the first half, but were disorganized defensively and we let some things happen. We tightened things up and it made the difference. Give credit to that team over there (Olivet Nazarene) - we feel lucky to get out of here with a win."
Olivet Nazarene's Devin Johnston opened the scoring with her first goal of the championship with a header off a corner kick from Kelsey Warp in the fourth minute of action. Emilia Jonsson, who entered the contest with only one goal on the season, tied the game at 1-1 with a top-shelf blast less than two minutes later.
The Tigers took their second lead of the match at the 19:14 mark when Jessica Higer netted her 10th goal of the season. The strike came from the far side of the 18-yard box and looped over the leaping Lindsey Wilson goalkeeper and into the far corner. The lead would hold until the 32nd minute when Elisha Fry posted her first goal of the championship on a low free kick that found its way into the bottom-left corner of the net.
Both defenses held until Elizabet Madjarac, who received Championship Outstanding Offensive Player honors, scored the game-winner in the 60th minute. The goal is Madjarac's second of the championship and ninth of the season.
Lindsey Wilson goalkeeper Josephine Frigge stopped two Olivet Nazarene shots on goal to get credit with the win. Wendy Espejel was given the loss after posting three saves.
The five combined goals are the most in a championship final since 1996 when former NAIA member Simon Fraser (B.C.) defeated Mobile (Ala.), 3-2, in five overtimes.
Lindsey Wilson, who improves to 28-11-2 all-time in championship action, ends its season at 20-4-1.
Olivet Nazarene, playing in its first-ever national championship final, ends its season at 19-4-1. The Tigers had previously never advanced past the second round.
National Championship Post Game Interviews
Lindsey Wilson head coach Drew Burwash
Lindsey Wilson midfielder Mia Persson
National Championship Final Notes
• Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) wins its third all-time women's soccer national championship. The Blue Raiders are the sixth NAIA women's soccer program to win three-or-more national crowns. The others include: Westmont (Calif.), former NAIA member Berry (Ga.), former NAIA member Pacific Lutheran (Wash.), former NAIA member Lynn (Fla.) and Lee (Tenn.).
• Lindsey Wilson's other two national titles came in 2004 and 2006
• The combined five goals is the most in an NAIA Women's Soccer National Championship final match since former NAIA member Simon Fraser (B.C.) defeated Mobile (Ala.), 3-2, in five overtimes.
• In all-time national championship action, Lindsey Wilson improves to 28-11-2 all-time, while Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) is 4-1-2.
• Prior to 2012, Olivet Nazarene had never advanced past the second round.
• Lindsey Wilson is the only team from the Mid-South Conference to win a women's soccer national championship.
• As a team, Lindsey Wilson outscored the opposition 12-3 in five national championship final site matches.
2012 NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship – All-Tournament Team
|Wendy Espejel||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||GK||Sr.||Ontario, Calif.|
|Sarah Yancer||Spring Arbor (Mich.)||GK||Fr.||Freeland, Mich.|
|Renee Hurd||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||D||Jr.||Pensacola, Fla.|
|Devin Johnston||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||D||Sr.||Bloomington, Ill.|
|Jenna Peterson||Concordia (Ore.)||D||Sr.||Federal Way, Wash.|
|Karly Linton||Spring Arbor (Mich.)||MF||Jr.||Midland, Mich.|
|Mia Persson||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||MF||Sr.||Sjobo, Sweden|
|Leah Fortune||Lee (Tenn.)||MF||Jr.||Chicago, Ill.|
|Ashley Aragona||Lee (Tenn.)||F||Jr.||Waxhaw, N.C.|
|Elizabet Madjarac||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||F||Jr.||Bronby Strand, Denmark|
|Jordan Davidson||Vanguard (Calif.)||F||Jr.||Tucson, Ariz.|
|Lindsey Holman-Kelly||Vanguard (Calif.)||F||Sr.||La Mesa, Calif.|
|Jessica Higer||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||F||So.||Kuna, Idaho|
Championship Outstanding Offensive Player
Elizabet Madjarac, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
Championship Outstanding Defensive Player
Renee Hurd, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
Championship Most Valuable Player
Mia Persson, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
Champions of Character Select Sport America-NAIA Scholarship Recipient
Mia Persson, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)