[WOMEN'S COLLEGE CUP: Final]
There's no doubting who's the best team in women's soccer. In its ninth trip to the Women's College Cup, UCLA finally won the
national championship. It took a golden goal from sophomore Kodi Lavrusky
to beat top-ranked Florida State, 1-0, and complete a run that included a 1-0 overtime
win on the road over defending champion North Carolina in the quarterfinals and a shootout win over Virginia -- the ACC regular-season champion dubbed the FC Barcelona of women's soccer -- in the
UCLA dominated the final with an 18-5 edge in shots, but it looked like luck would elude the Bruins as Taylor Smith
hit the woodwork
twice in the first half and they had a shot cleared off the line in overtime.
But in the 97th minute UCLA finally broke through right down the middle of the excellent Seminole defense
that featured All-American Kassey Kallman
and Irish international Megan Campbell
. Defender Megan Oyster
moved into the attack and fed Lavrusky, who broke clear and fired a shot from her left side past FSU keeper Kelsey Wys
The Bruins felt snubbed after all four No. 1 regional seeds went to ACC teams. But they finished with wins over three of them in the NCAA Tournament to capture the title.
UCLA came into
the College Cup with the nation's best defense, anchored by
goalie Katelyn Rowland
and defender Abby Dahlkemper
, both All-Americans, but it was the Bruin attack that separated the ladies from Westwood from the the rest of the field.
The speed of
Ally Courtnall -- daughter of former NHL star Russ Courtnall
and actress Paris Vaughan
-- and Smith was too much for
UCLA's vaulted ACC rivals to handle. And in midfield, UCLA got great work from Sam Mewis
and Sarah Killion
, both 2012
U.S. Under-20 World Cup champions. Up front, the Bruins featured Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Darian Jenkins
and Lavrusky, which finished with seven goals after
winning a starting job late in the season.
UCLA was so deep it had two 2012 Olympians -- Chelsea Stewart
(Canada) and Rosie White
(New Zealand) -- come off the bench.
The win gave UCLA the title in the first year under new coach Amanda Cromwell
arrived in the offseason after B.J. Snow
left to coach the U.S. under-17 national team.
Cromwell, who came from UCF, had little time to acquaint
herself with her new players, but that will be different next season.
With 10 of 11 starters -- everyone but Jenna Richmond
-- and Lauren Kaskie
and White off the bench all returning, there should be no doubt about who will be No. 1 when the 2014 season starts.Note:
The title was the 110th NCAA crown in UCLA sports history -- the most of any school. Women's soccer was the 20th sport to win a national championship. Four of those titles are
owned by men's soccer (1985, 1990, 1997 and 2002). Dec. 8 in Cary, N.C. UCLA 1 Florida State 0 (OT).
Goal: Lavrusky (Oyster) 97. UCLA
Rowland, Dydasco, Dahlkemper, Oyster, Courtnall, Richmond, Lavrusky, Smith, Killion, Mewis, Jenkins. Subs: Kaskie, White, Stewart Florida State --
Wys, Campbell, Kallman, Grubka, Schmid, Driesse, Fields, Brynjarsdottir, Hahn, Pickett, Thorvaldsdottir. Subs: Bakowska-Mathews, Crowley.