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Florida State beats BYU on penalty kicks for women’s national soccer championship

The Cougars were playing in their first NCAA soccer title game

BYU's Olivia Smith (2) battles for the ball against Florida State's Kristina Lynch (4) during the second half of the NCAA College Cup women's soccer final, Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Santa Clara, Calif. • After advancing to the program’s first national championship game in penalty kicks, BYU was on the other side of a shootout in the title game.

Top-seeded Florida State beat the Cougars 4-3 in penalty kicks Monday night at Santa Clara University after a scoreless regulation and overtime.

BYU (17-4-3) didn’t allow a goal in its first College Cup appearance, but that wasn’t enough to win the trophy. The Cougars beat host Santa Clara 3-2 in penalty kicks after a scoreless tie on Friday night in the semifinal round.

“I hate to be on the losing side, especially in PKs, but you win some you lose some when it goes to PKs,” coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “But I’m really proud of the way we competed tonight, the way we represented ourselves and our school and our conference.”

The Seminoles (21-1-3) were playing in their third national championship game in four years. FSU won national titles in 2014 and 2018, but lost in penalty kicks to Santa Clara in last season’s title game.

BYU came in with a NCAA-best 77 goals, but Florida State entered with as many shutouts as goals allowed (13).

The Cougars appeared to take an early lead, but a goal by third-team All-America Cameron Tucker was disallowed for offsides in the eighth minute. Scoring opportunities were hard to come by after that. A volley by BYU’s Jamie Shepherd from in close went over the crossbar with 10 minutes left in regulation.

“We were hustling, we were grinding, working really well on defense and offense,” Tucker said. “Just sometimes it doesn’t go your way on offense.”

BYU outshot Florida State 10-8 over 110 minutes of regulation and overtime.

The Cougars went with the same five players for penalty kicks, in the same order, as they did in the semifinals. Mikalya Colohan, Brecken Mozingo and Olivia Wade all scored, and Cassidy Smith made one save. But while Santa Clara only made two of five kicks on Friday, FSU went 4-for-5 Monday to stay in control.

The shootout was tied 2-2 after three rounds. Bella Folino’s shot was saved and reigning Hermann Award winner Jaelin Howell scored to put FSU up 3-2 entering the final round. Wade scored to keep the Cougars alive, but Yujie Zhao scored for the Seminoles to clinch the title.

“It happens sometimes, you fall a little short,” said Rockwood, who has coached the team ever since it started in 1994. “But it doesn’t change the love that we have for each other, the pride that we have in each other. A lot of times at the NCAA Tournament we end on a losing note and I get really mad, but I’m not even mad. I just have a lot of pride and a lot of love for this team.”

Colohan needed to be carried off the field with 13:45 left in the first half after being tackled by Howell, who received a yellow card.

“It was a 50-50 ball and I beat her to it, next thing I know I felt her cleats up to my shin and I couldn’t feel my leg,” Colohan. “I didn’t know if I could return, but I didn’t want to go out that way and luckily my leg felt okay and I was able to finish off the game.”

Colohan, who has the second-most points in program history, iced her shin on the sideline and returned to the game after halftime.

Colohan’s return was a fitting moment for the Cougars, who persevered all season and went further than any team in program history.

“These girls had a commitment to do something no other BYU soccer team has done,” Rockwood said. “And they lived up to that.”

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