Costa Rican World Cup player Raquel Rodriguez
scored the lone goal in the 72nd minute to give Penn State a 1-0 win over Duke for its first NCAA Division I women's championship on Sunday.
who led Penn State with 11 assists,
set up Rodriguez for her sixth goal of the season. The seniors were the only players who started for the Nittany Lion when they
lost to North Carolina, 4-1, in the 2012 final. It was the second trip to the final for both teams. Duke had fallen a year earlier to Stanford, 1-0, in 2011.
Rodriguez had played
for Costa Rica at the 2015 Women's World Cup but skipped the Ticos' series against the USA in August so she could concentrate on her senior senior at Penn State.
Duke's best chance came
in the first half when sub Imani Dorsey
hit a shot that bounced off the crossbar. Toni Payne
had almost single-handedly beaten defending champion Florida State in the semifinals with her
devastating pace, but she was held in check by the Nittany Lions defense.
Penn State matched Florida's feat of winning all six NCAA Tournament games by shutouts. The Lions finished with a
20-0 scoring margin in the six games and eight straight shutout wins in all competitions.
The Lions should be a contender in 2015 as they only lose keeper Britt Eckerstrom, Rodriguez and
Weber. The nucleus of the team is the sophomore class with six starters. Dec. 6 in Cary, North Carolina Penn State 1 Duke 0.
Goals: Rodriguez (Weber) 72. Penn State --
Eckerstrom, Basinger, Riehl, Elliston, Ball, Ogle, Rodriguez, Driesse, Schafer, Crouse, Weber. Subs: Williams, Jean, Echard,
Ortega-Jurado. Duke --
Proctor, Quinn, Raben, Reid, Gibbons, Miller, Racioppi, Wilson, Martinez, Payne, McCoy. Subs: Burns, Dorsey, Pecht, Allen.