BYU women’s football defeats Santa Clara to reach final – .

BYU women’s football defeats Santa Clara to reach final – .

With her heart pounding and her voice long gone, Cassidy Smith wasn’t about to leave her place in goal until she was 100% sure she could.

That’s how focused the senior BYU goalie was in Friday night’s College Cup shootout in front of a mad and frantic crowd in Santa Clara, Calif.

But once Smith saw her teammates running towards her, she realized what just happened, that Ellie Green’s well-slapped shot echoed off the right goal post and bounced harmlessly meant BYU was on its way to the Championship. NCAA Women’s National Football Championship for the first time. times in the 27-year history of the program.

And then Smith cried.

“I really didn’t know we won. I’ll be honest, ”said the Lone Peak High product. “I think I was locked up, in another area, another universe.

“But there were instant tears when I saw the team running towards me, so that makes the celebration even more exciting, when it’s a surprise. “

After edging out the Broncos 3-2 on penalties after neither team scored in regulation or two overtime, BYU will meet the No. 1 seed Florida State, who beat Rutgers in the first half. final Friday at 6 p.m. MST Monday night for the national championship. .

“What a very exciting and huge victory for us,” said BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood. “It was an electric atmosphere and a great college football game for the fans. “

For the reigning Broncos national champion (15-6-2), who won the COVID-19 delayed national championship game last spring against Florida State in a shootout, it was an excruciating way losing to their home crowd, especially after BYU the first two attempts were off target or stopped by goalie Kylie Foutch.

“We congratulate BYU on the victory,” said SCU coach Jerry Smith. “It was a heckuva game there. They played very hard. … We wish it had been us, but it’s great to have a West Coast Conference team back in the Championship game.

Indeed, the shootout didn’t start well for the No. 4 Cougars (18-4-1), as Mikayla Colohan’s shot hit the crossbar and fell outside the line.

Then Jamie Shepherd’s shot was saved and the Cougars were in big trouble.

“Definitely not ideal,” said Rockwood. “I stood in my strong position. That’s all I could do.

That, and I think Smith would make a few stops.

“It usually comes to the heart,” said Smith, who lost his voice but spoke courageously to the media after the celebration ended. “… These are the moments that you dream of. We couldn’t have asked for a cooler environment to play.

After Sally Menti’s successful kick and Nicole Sweeney’s miss, Smith made a huge save on one of the best players in the country, All-American Kelsey Turnbow.

Brecken Mozingo, Bella Folino and Olivia Wade kicked off for the Cougars, and Izzy D’Aquila tied 2-2 for Santa Clara.

Watching nervously, Colohan prayed that his teammates could save her on the first miss, just as the three-time All-American has saved them on so many occasions throughout his distinguished career.

” Yes of course. PKs are tough, especially after fighting for so many minutes, from start to finish, and it’s just a mind game, ”said Colohan. “So it’s really scary and difficult when your season is on the line, but it was super exciting when we won and we knew we were going to the national championship. “

Santa Clara’s nine-game winning streak in the NCAA tournament was interrupted, and BYU avenged a 1-0 loss to the Broncos in October that kept them from winning the conference title.

“BYU is just an incredible offensive powerhouse,” said Smith of Santa Clara, who marveled that his team had kept a team averaging almost four goals per game to no goals in two full games. “They are by far the No. 1 offensive team in the country. “

The Cougars controlled most of the regulation and overtime, getting 26 shots on goal against Santa Clara’s 13 and six corner kicks against SCU’s three. Both teams got eight shots on goal.

BYU hit the crossbar once and the right post once on shots, Makaylie Moore hit the right post minutes into the game and Foutch hit on a Kendell Peterson shot that took off the bar. transverse.

“It was a tough game, for sure, back and forth,” said Rockwood. “Santa Clara won what we love to do. We never had a clean look at the goal.

The Cougars got stronger as the game progressed, while the Broncos seemed content to just let it go to the PKs. BYU was clearly the more aggressive team.

“I thought we were going to score (a goal) at the end there, but it comes down to the PKs and the girls did their job,” said Rockwood.

Smith finished with seven saves, while Mozingo and Cameron Tucker managed five shots apiece. Petersen attempted four shots, while Colohan had three, but only one on goal.

If Santa Clara had won, the championship game would have been played on Sunday, but will now take place on Monday as the NCAA adapts to BYU’s religious principle of not playing on Sunday.

“We are grateful to the NCAA for this,” said Rockwood. “It’s a big request and they accommodate us. “

As for Florida State, the Seminoles are 21-1-2 and ranked No. 1 nationally and will play their third domestic championship game in the past four years.

“They are phenomenal,” said Rockwood. “It will be a great opportunity for us to play them and to play against a team that doesn’t know us as well. “

And this time around, the Cougars should have the public advantage.


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