Two of Florida State’s penalty attempts hit the post, opening the door for 11th seed Santa Clara, who last won a women’s national football title in 2001.
Seeded Florida State Jenna Nighswonger in the 63rd minute, but Kelsey Turnbow equalized for Santa Clara in the 84th minute. The Broncos won 4-1 on penalties.
“This is the moment we’ve been waiting for. It’s so surreal, ”said Turnbow. “We’ve been through so many challenges, with this COVID bubble, this past year. And so the hard work, sweat, tears and determination that our team put in pays off, and it’s so great to be a champion. . “
It was the third game in a row to go to a shootout for the seeded Seminoles, who won national titles in 2014 and 2018. They beat Virginia on penalties after a goalless draw in the semifinals.
Santa Clara advanced to the title game with a 3-1 semi-final victory over second-seeded North Carolina.
The Broncos were making their first trip to the College Cup since 2004. The Broncos won the NCAA title in 2001 with a 1-0 victory over North Carolina.
Turnbow’s 30th-minute shot for the Broncos was deflected by first-year goaltender Cristina Roque as light rain fell.
Nighswonger finally broke through in the 63rd minute with an explosion from outside the box that hit the far post and peeked into the goal. It was his fifth goal of the season.
Turnbow scored the equalizer in the 84th minute when a defender slipped and gave him an opening for the goal, his 10th of the season.
“Honestly, it came from our team press, it was very impressive, and you could tell they were feeling the heat in those final moments of the game,” said Turnbow.
It was the sixth time the national championship game was in overtime. Only twice has the title game gone to penalties.
“It was a year like no other, and we stuck together as a team. To go that far, in the NCAA Finals, it’s just crazy. I’m so proud of them, ”said Seminoles midfielder Jaelin Howell. “Obviously having possession like we did and going for a goal and then having to go to KPs is a little heartbreaking. “
This season has been particularly difficult for the Broncos due to coronavirus restrictions in Santa Clara County, California. The team only played seven regular season games this spring, after the West Coast Conference postponed the fall season.
The Seminoles secured a berth in the NCAA tournament last fall when they won the CCA tournament title.
Former US national team players Aly Wagner and Brandi Chastain, who both played for Santa Clara, were among the fans in the crowd in Cary. Chastain’s husband is Jerry Smith, coach of the Broncos.
Smith was also a coach when Santa Clara won their previous title.
“I’m not really an emotional guy; I am a little balanced. You know, we won the national championship in 2001, and probably around 8:30 am I was in bed; and the next day I started the match. – planning for next year, ”Smith said. “But I’m really proud of my team. ”