Paradise Valley Community College goalkeeper Arielle Perez made sure that the Pumas made the NJCAA Division I National Championship final on Friday night.
Perez stopped 12 shots during the first 110 minutes and then made three straight saves in the penalty kicks as Paradise Valley won the match 1-1 (1-0 in penalty kicks).
“Arielle is incredible,” Paradise Valley Community College women’s soccer coach Jon Ruzan said. “It was an incredible game, I am sure it was fun to watch but it was horrible to coach, my heart is hurting.”
After a scoreless first half, Paradise Valley opened the scoring just a minute into the second half when Jacey Duncan scored on a nice pass from Shelby Stewart.
But a minute later Monroe Community College tied things up off a corner kick as Elin Eklund tapped in a pass from Tenysha Taylor.
From there it was all Perez.
“She has been fantastic for us all season, she has become a complete goalkeeper. She’s humble and honest,” Ruzan said. “We have the two best goalkeepers in our conference and I have to credit both of them, Arielle and Madison (Lucas) have both raised their games.
“I have no words right now.”
Paradise Valley Community College will play in the championship game at Titan Soccer Complex on the Melbourne campus of Eastern Florida State College at 7 p.m. Saturday.