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.