Goals were hard to come by at this year's Women's College Cup.
BYU came into the final four as the highest-scoring team in the country, but both its two matches in Santa Clara ended in scoreless ties.
The Cougars survived missing their first two shots in the shootout against the host Broncos in the semifinals to advance, 3-2. But in the final, their two misses were the difference as Florida State won, 4-3, to capture its third national championship in eight years.
The Seminoles scored the only goal in three games when they beat Rutgers, 1-0, in the semifinals.
U.S. international Jaelin Howell, who was the goalscorer against Rutgers, was the protagonist of the final. She was issued a yellow card in the 31st minute for a foul on Mikayla Colohan that forced the BYU All-American to the sidelines for the rest of the first half. Howell was lucky to stay on the field in the 83rd minute when she took down Rachel McCarthy in the open field.
Howell was one of the four Seminoles to convert their penalty kicks in the shootout along with Clara Robbins, Heather Payne and fellow All-American Yujie Zhao.
They are no strangers to shootouts. In the spring, FSU lost to Santa Clara in the final, its third straight match in the pandemic-delayed tournament that was decided from the penalty spot.
The goalkeeper in the three matches was Cristina Roque, who stopped Jamie Shepherd and Bella Folino, on BYU's second and fourth shots.
“I feel like I had a lot of trust in my teammates, everyone who was stepping up to kick the ball, especially [Zhao] finishing it off” said Roque. “I feel like everyone is behind me, no matter which way it goes, just how last year it didn’t just go our way and everyone was behind me then. I knew whatever happened this year they were going to be behind me. I’m not gonna lie it does feel better here.”
Dec. 6 in Santa Clara, Calif.
Florida State 0 BYU 0.
Florida State -- Roque; Pavlisko, Carle, Madril, Howell, Flynn, Nighswonger, Robbins, Payne, Brown, Olsson. Subs: Bissell, Lynch, Alagoa, Zhao.
BYU -- C.Smith, G.Johnson, L.Vaka, O.Smith, Colohan, Wade, Shepherd, Petersen, Moore, Mozingo, Tucker. Subs: Maughan, Gardner, Folino, McCarthy.
(FSU wins 4-3 on penalties.)