Cochise College’s Azarias repeats as Player of the Year

Cochise College's Maria Ararias, shown above in action earlier this season, was named the ACCAC's Soccer Player of the Year Tuesday for the third straight year.

DOUGLAS — For the third consecutive year, Cochise College’s Maria Azarias has been honored as the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference women’s soccer player of the year.

Last year, which was considered a COVID year allowing athletes to keep that year of eligibility, Azarias, better known around the Douglas campus as Majhu, shared the honor with Kiana Miyazato of Phoenix College. In 2019 she was the ACCAC Player of the Year as a freshman and helped lead the women’s soccer program to its first conference title in school history.

Azarias, a midfielder for the Apaches from Santa Catarina, Brazil, started 15 of Cochise’s 16 games this year. She scored 13 goals, had eight assists and accounted for 34 points. Her shot on goal percentage was .762, which was up from last year’s .581.

Azarias also landed All-ACCAC first team honors and was the only Apache to receive that recognition. No one from Cochise was awarded second team honors. Daniela Gomez was the lone Apache to receive an honorable mention honor.

“This is very exciting for all of us,” Bobby Peters, her coach at Cochise said. “I could not be happier for her. This is something that is incredibly hard to do once, let alone twice and its almost impossible to do it three times.

“I’m so happy for her and all the work she put in with injuries and everything else she put in while here at Cochise. She has put in a lot of hard work and has helped us raise the level of this program.”

The coach said for the past three seasons Azarias has shown that she is the top player in the conference.

“She is super happy with her time at Cochise,” Peters said. “We’re looking for her next step and to see where she goes but to leave us as a three time conference player of the year is extremely hard to do. But she was able to do it and as her coach, I couldn’t be happier. I expect off that three-peat she will also be a three time All-American.”

Cochise ended its season Saturday, beating Paradise Valley and just missing out on qualifying for the Region 1 playoffs.


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