The contrast in postseason experience could not have been greater. Utah had never advanced to the third round of the NCAA Division I Women's Tournament. Florida State had played in the Women's College
Cup in each of the last five seasons. But the Utes stunned the Seminoles, 2-1, to set up a match with Pac-12 rival USC on Sunday. Natalie Vukic
and Haylee Cacciacarne
both scored their first goals of the season to eliminate FSU, the 2014 national champion.
"I really didn't think it was going to go in," said Cacciacarne of her winner in the 87th
minute, "but I just wanted to keep it alive and get in back in for us to have a chance."
Utah, which has won 13 wins, its most since 2006, played USC to a tie earlier this season in Salt
"We are just elated," Utah coach Rich Manning
said. "Credit to FSU because they are a great program that played a great game. I have a lot of respect for what they
represent. I am just really happy that our team gets to keep playing." Macayla Edwards
equalized four minutes after Vukic put Utah ahead, and FSU almost scored to match
Cacciacarne's goal, but Megan Connolly
was judged to be offside on her goal, allowing Utah to tick off the final 10 seconds of the match and secure the victory.
It is just
the second time in 16 games that Florida State lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament
“Obviously, we are disappointed,” said FSU coach Mark Krikorian
“We came out here with the hope and the intent of winning, but credit to Utah. They battled hard and took advantage of mistakes that we made and scored a couple of goals. We weren’t good
enough today and will have to go back and reevaluate and see what we can do to be better in the future."