CARY, North Carolina (CBS SF/AP) — The underdog Santa Clara women’s soccer team battled with top-seeded Florida State into overtime at the NCAA College Cup final Monday, winning a penalty kick shootout to capture the team’s first national championship in 20 years.
The game was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation and two “sudden win” 10-minute overtime periods. But Santa Clara made their penalty kicks as FSU faltered for a 4-1 shootout score.READ MORE: Looming La Niña May Push Western Drought From Bad to Worse
Florida State scored first in the 62nd minute on a goal by Jenna Nighswonger, assisted by Yujie Zhao. The Broncos evened it up at the 83rd minute when Kelsey Turnbow jumped on a botched FSU pass in the defending third, beating two defenders to flip it past Seminole goalkeeper Cristina Roque.
— Santa Clara Women's Soccer (@SCUWomensSoccer) May 17, 2021
During the shots from the penalty mark following the overtime periods, the Seminoles hit the right post on their first two shots to put Florida State in a hole from which they would not escape.
Julie Doyle, Sally Menti and Turnbow would make it 3-0 before the Seminoles converted their next shot. But Izzy D’Aquila’s blast into the lower right corner would put the exclamation mark on Santa Clara’s win and the national title.
— NCAA Soccer (@NCAASoccer) May 18, 2021
Santa Clara (10-0-1) was making its first trip to the tournament since 2004. The No. 11 seed Broncos advanced on a 3-1 victory over second-seeded North Carolina.
The Broncos last won the College Cup title in 2001.
Florida State (13-0-2) won national titles in 2014 and 2018. The Seminoles secured a spot in the NCAA Tournament last fall, when they won the ACC Tournament title.READ MORE: Update: Fawn Fire Near Redding Grows To 7,500 Acres Overnight; Firefighters Look To Cooler Weather
Both the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments are being played at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina. The games were delayed from the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic, and held entirely in North Carolina to cut down on travel and avoid the different local restrictions nationwide.
This season was especially challenging for the Broncos because of the coronavirus restrictions in Santa Clara. The team played just seven regular-season games this spring after the Pac-12 postponed the fall season.
Among the legions of SCU fans making the trip for the championship game was former Santa Clara Bronco and U.S. Women’s National Team star Aly Wagner, who scored the game-winning goal in the Broncos last championship 20 years ago.
She was joined by fellow SCU alum, USWNT star and Bay Area Sports Hall of Famer Brandi Chastain.
— NCAA Soccer (@NCAASoccer) May 17, 2021
“To actually be able to come out here and witness that this next generation grabbed a hold of that and did something incredibly remarkable,” said Wagner,
“Just really proud of what these women have accomplished. Especially in our county where there were so many restrictions for so long to see the adversity that they’ve overcome is really special,” said Danielle Slaton, ’01 National Champion and NCAA College Cup Defensive MVP.
It was the second straight NCAA women’s soccer championship to end with a Bay Area team going into overtime to win. Stanford captured the 2019 College Cup, edging North Carolina in a penalty shootout.
Santa Clara students and alumni gathered at a watch party Monday at PayPal Park, home of the San Jose Earthquakes.
“Those girls out there just carried on the Santa Clara legacy. They’ve put in months and months and months of hard work. We’ve been right there beside them,” said Santa Clara student Michael O’Hara.
Andria Borba contributed to this report.MORE NEWS: Air Quality Advisory Extended Through Monday Due To Wildfire Smoke
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