USC got two late goals from Mexican international Katie Johnson to beat top-ranked West Virginia, 3-1, and win its second NCAA Division I women's championship Sunday afternoon at San Jose's
The Mountaineers came into the game with 18 shutouts
in 26 games but fell behind after only 82 seconds. Morgan Andrews, a transfer from Notre Dame, headed a ball Savannah Levin played back into the area after USC's first and only corner
kick of the game for her 10th goal of the season.
USC coach Keidane McAlpine said Andrews' goal was the key to the game.
“They don’t give up goals,”
he said. “To find a place to score, it was important to give us confidence this West Virginia defense can be beaten.”
The Mountaineers piled on the pressure, finishing the
game with a 21-8 edge in shots and 9-1 on corner kicks, and were finally rewarded with Canadian international Ashley Lawrence's goal that beat keeper Sammy Prudhomme to the near post in
the 66th minute.
But the Trojans exposed the West Virginia defense that had allowed only nine goals in its first 26 games for two more goals.
In the 75th minute, Leah
Pruitt beat Easther Mayi Kith down the left wing and fed Johnson, who was all alone in the middle and put the Trojans up 2-1 with her second of the NCAA College Cup.
who had the winning goal in the semifinals against Georgetown, iced the win in the 87th minute when she broke free and caught keeper Rylee Foster off her line for USC's third goal.
"It was an incredible game, and their team obviously battled,” Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “I’m so proud of the way my team put together a great performance after
going down a goal early. I thought we did a great job battling back and creating opportunities. This sport is cruel, and I thought we created some great opportunities. At the end of the day, we
didn’t finish, and USC did."
Center back Mandy Freeman, holding midfielder Kayla Mills, Johnson, the Most Valuable Offensive Player, Prudhomme, who made eight
saves, Andrews and Pruitt were named to the all-tournament team from USC.
Sh’Nia Gordon, whom Prudhomme twice robbed in the first half, Lawrence and Foster were named to the
all-tournament team for West Virginia, while Canadian Kadeisha Buchanan, named the top young player at the 2015 Women's World Cup, was named the tournament’s the Most Valuable
Dec. 4 in San Jose USC 3 West Virginia 1. Goals: Andrews (Levin) 2, K.Johnson (Pruitt) 75, K.Johnson
(Molen) 87; Lawrence (Mayi Kith) 66. USC -- Prudhomme, Bingham, Freeman, Prisock, Levin, Rooney, Andrews, Molen, Mills, Anthony, McMorrow. Subs: Sladek, S.Johnson, Plumptre, K.Johnson,
Pruitt. West Virginia -- Foster, Pierre-Louis, St. Georges, Mayi Kith, Buchanan, Magaletta, Lawrence, Portillo, Kaleiohi, Abam, Gordon. Subs: Cutler, Abraham Flores. Att.: