Women's College Cup: Twenty years later, Santa Clara wins second title

Twenty years ago, Santa Clara won its first NCAA Division I women's championship. The stars were Aly Wagner, Leslie Osborne and Danielle Slaton, all future U.S. national team standouts with 235 caps among them.

On Monday, the Broncos won a second national championship, rallying from a goal down with seven minutes to play to tie Florida State, 1-1, and win in a shootout, 4-1.

This time, the heroes included Kelsey Turnbow, the Women's College Cup's Offensive Most Outstanding Player with the tying goal in the final, and Alex Loera, the Defensive Most Outstanding Player.



Florida State had won its previous two games in a shootout, converting all eight attempts, but its luck ran out in the final. Clara Robbins and Emily Madril both hit the same post and missed on the Seminoles' first two attempts. Canadian international Gabby Carle converted in the third round, but it just forestalled the inevitable.

All four Santa Clara shooters scored on FSU freshman Cristina Roque, the star of the semifinal shootout against Virginia: Julie Doyle, Sally Menti, Turnbow and Izzy D'Aquila.

"The game was a tough game," said Broncos coach Jerry Smith, the coach when they won the 2001 title. "[Florida State] plays like a pro team. We conceded possession in their half of the field and limited their chances. That was certainly part of our game plan."

Florida State took a deserved lead in the 63rd minute when Chinese star Yujie Zhao set up Jenna Nighswonger for the final's opening goal and put the Broncos behind for the first time all tournament.

"When you have lethal attacking players like we have," added Smith, "we don't need a lot of chances to score goals. Thankfully, Kelsey put one in for us."

May 17 in Cary, N.C.
Santa Clara 1 Florida State 1 (Santa Clara wins 4-1 on penalties). Goals: Turnbow 84; Nighswonger 63.
Santa Clara -- Nicolos, White, Bubnis, Nezu, Goor, Loera, Smith, D'Aquila, Turnbow, Doyle, Menti. Substitutes: Halvorsen, Reeves.
Florida State -- Roque, Carle, Madril, Howell, Flynn, Pavlisko, Nighswonger, Zhao, Nesbeth, Robbins, McFarland. Substitutes: Lynch, Iwai, Brown, Mitchell, Payne.
Att.: 5,000.
5 comments about "Women's College Cup: Twenty years later, Santa Clara wins second title".
  1. frank schoon, May 18, 2021 at 10:42 a.m.

    I was bored the 1st half with the play of Santa Clara. Florida was the moral winner of this game. I can't believe the ref, in the beginning, didn't call such an obvious penalty for Florida. Florida played their usual game of soccer, nothing surprising there, at least it was soccer.

    Formations employed by Santa Clara 3-6-1 , later changed to a 3-5-2. My wife laughing hearing these formations almost fell off the couch. I mean , REALLY?????  Where do these coaches come up with this garbage! Thinking these formations like this will do the job.  You can apply all the formations you want but what it comes down to is winning the 1v1 duels and all of a sudden, then other things begin to happen that works to the benefit of the flow of play.  For example, a throw-in could change the whole flow of the game, or after being pressured  an argument with the ref could influence the flow of play.

    Simplistic assumptions of these formations are mindboggling to me. First of all these players have NO CLUE as far as moment to moment positions as related to where the ball is , the opponent, their teammates, and the next play. Cruyff once stated that 4v2 teaches you the secrets of the game. Try playing 4v2 the most important keep away game to practice ,as  you will see right away what players will miss or don't think of ,technically/ tactically speaking; ofcourse that also depends also upon the level of understanding of the coach. Someone asked once asked what is the difference in training between a normal coach and what Cruyff does as coach. The answer was, no difference at all, but the only difference is that Cruyff was able see to the mistakes made by players that other coaches don't see......
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  2. frank schoon, May 18, 2021 at 11:06 a.m.

    Of all the players I was impressed with as far as individuality, one of them was Zhao and the others were from Santa Clara. Turnbow to me is the only American player who can Create something out of nothing. She has specialty that is missing in Lloyd, and the other attackers we have on the WNT. In other words Lloyd, Morgan,etc, for example need help for them to score. Turnbow doesn't need help, she creates her situation and go for goal. She independent of the others ,so to speak, she has a drive, a fight in her to reach her goal. I see so much in #13, Doyle as well, both could be sisters . I also like #8 for Santa Clara, as well as #11 who later played on the left side.  

    Realize the difference between Zhao and Turnbow is that the former is not looking to beat an opponent where as Turnbow does, and that sense the defensive strategy to contain these two types are different.

    The problem I see in Turnbow, Doyle's development is that they are a little too one-dimensional making them too predictable in their movements. Doyle needs to keep the ball closer to her body  on the dribble which allows her to not only change directions quicker but also shield it better. Both tend to cut to the right at a defender then head straight down to the endline for a pass or cross, which is fine is some instances but in others their angles are reduced. 

    I would highly recommend for Turnbow, Doyle to work with someone who has great indidualistic winger skills, for it is from those moves, Doyle and Turnbow can really drive a defense nuts and improve as players/attackers. That would probably mean someone from Europe or South America who had great individualistic skills.  They both need an arsenal of movements with the ball for both are not afraid to take on opponents. They are the type of players that have the ability to create a 2v1 situation out of nothing ,as well as able to shift the opponent's defense...The girls are breakers, you allow them the freedom to take on players......


  3. R2 Dad, May 18, 2021 at 12:28 p.m.

    Dumb things I noticed:
    1) Why are only goals considered Highlights? The NFL at the same time created and ruined the concept of highlights in this country.
    2) NCAA countdown clock and other dumb HS/college rules. Because FIFA is just too furrin fer 'Murica. When can college soccer report to USSoccer? I know USSF is a cluster but why should USSF just monopolize most of the sport when we can have 2 equally lame organizations. There are too many cooks in the kitchen in this sport, so there is no accountability.
    3) Three at the back means college coaches can continue to choose big galoots for their back line who can head and kick and execute professional fouls as needed. Gotta have them! Passing and dribbling is for little girls further up the pitch.

  4. James Madison, May 18, 2021 at 1:59 p.m.

    Dear R2:  Stanford was hampered  by injuries and, as a result, didn't have one of its usual seasons.  However, if you watched any of its games, you saw the best defender in college soccer, and she's only 5' 2" tall.

  5. R2 Dad replied, May 18, 2021 at 8:59 p.m.

    JM, can't say I did watch Stanford play this season. So I don't know who that players is. One of my complaints about highlights is that I cannot see how any of these players do without getting the entire stream, as the highlights are basically a player shooting and ball in the back of the net, from 3 different angles.  I am stirring the pot a bit, of course, but it's also safe to say most teams playing with 3 at the back go with centerbacks instead of outside backs, just like Vlatko does. And women's college soccer outside of the top 10 teams can be quite agricultural. I believe you when you say the best defender is 5 feet tall--I assume this is Kiki Pickett, after a little searching. I'll assume she is good with the ball at her feet, though the youtube clips only show her in open field running so I can't really confirm. She is listed as midfield/defender, so it seems she'd be more likely as an outside back or 6. I would contrast her with a previous Stanford product, Tierna Davidson, who is the proto USWNT centerback who can only play as centerback despite Vlatko's attempts to get her minutes elsewhere on the pitch. 

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