Women’s college soccer: Florida State beats Virginia Tech, UCLA tops Virginia to advance to NCAA final

Ellen Ozier/AP - A dejected Jordan Coburn, front, lowers her head after Virginia Tech lost, 3-2, to Florida State in their NCAA soccer semifinal on Friday.

CARY N.C. — Virginia’s stylish attack had not encountered resistance like it did Friday night against UCLA in the College Cup women’s semifinals. Even so, with time melting away before 10,168 at WakeMed Soccer Park, the Cavaliers were ahead by a goal and on the brink of playing for their first national championship.

Despite the difficulties, Coach Steve Swanson said afterward, “We were in a position right where we wanted to be.”

But with 51 / 2 minutes left, the Cavaliers conceded an equalizer, and after surviving a harrowing overtime, their best season in 22 years ended in a penalty kick tiebreaker, 4-2, following the 1-1 draw.

In Sunday’s final, the Bruins (21-1-3) will face Florida State (23-1-3), which scored a peculiar goal in the 83rd minute of the opener to bounce Virginia Tech from its first College Cup, 3-2.

The Cavaliers (24-1-1) went ahead in the 73rd when Makenzy Doniak pounced on a soft back pass, skipped past charging goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland and fired into an open net for her 20th goal.

But UCLA’s Ally Courtnall gathered Sarah Killion’s through ball in the box and slotted a low shot past Morgan Stearns to force extra time.

“She came out of a blind spot,” Stearns said. “All of a sudden, she was right there.”

Until the late strikes, the nation’s highest-scoring team (Virginia) labored to solve the nation’s stingiest defense (UCLA). Neither side placed a shot on goal in the first half. After the break, Doniak’s blistering shot streaked over the crossbar and Stearns made a sensational leaping save on Killion’s free kick.

Averaging more than three goals per game, the Cavaliers managed two shots on target over 110 minutes against a team that had conceded just seven goals entering the weekend. Far from one dimensional, the Bruins generated more overall shots (16-9) and corner kicks (8-4).

In the second 10-minute extra period, Courtnall and teammate Taylor Smith hit the frame three minutes apart. Rowland stopped two of Virginia’s four attempts in the tiebreaker.

Late in the first match, FSU’s Jamia Fields floated a long ball toward the back post. Dayle Colpitts was unable to punch it away, the ball struck the post and then caromed off the goalkeeper before bounding across the line.

The Hokies (19-5-3) went ahead early and tied it late before Fields’s goal improved Florida State’s record in the all-time series to 14-0-1. With 11 players from the Washington area, Tech set a program record for victories.

Fields’s second goal of the fierce match was not by design. It wasn’t an accident either. She was looking to cause problems by serving a dangerous ball. After dodging a defender, she lofted it from beyond the top corner of the penalty area.

“It was a tricky ball,” Colpitts said. “Off hand, off post, off me, back in – off everything.”

Said Fields: “We knew we had to get one. I am always going for the goal.”

Hokies forward Jazmine Reeves hit the crossbar with one minute left – the second time she struck the frame in the second half.

Tech had taken a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute when Ashley Manning (Loudoun County High) scored seconds after entering. The Seminoles answered 10 minutes later when Kristin Grubka headed in a free kick.

After Kelsey Wys made a tremendous save on Manning’s header, the Seminoles took the lead in the 57th minute when Megan Campbell’s long throw-in linked with Dagny Brynjarsdottir in stride on the left side. Fields met the end-line cross for a crisp one-timer.

Tech tied it in 79th. Manning’s pass led Ashley Meier into the left side of the box for an angled, one-timer to the near corner. Four minutes passed before the unusual game-winner.

Fields seemed stunned. So did the Hokies faithful. Nonetheless, Tech will relish its first College Cup appearance.

“The program has just been building and building,” Reeves said. “We have a great foundation. I am excited to see what is going to happen next. It’s going to be great.”

College Cup notes: Doniak, Reeves, Virginia midfielder Morgan Brian and Georgetown defender Emily Menges were named first-team all-Americans by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

“The program has just been building and building,” Reeves said. “We have a great foundation. I am excited to see what is going to happen next. It’s going to be great.”

Virginia men advance

Jordan Allen scored a goal in the 63rd minute to snap a 1-1 tie and the Cavaliers held on to defeat Connecticut, 2-1, to earn a berth in the College Cup. In the national semifinal, Virginia will face the winner of Saturday’s meeting between Maryland and California.

Ryan Zinkhan opened the scoring in the 12th minute to stake the Cavaliers (12-5-5) to a 1-0 advantage. The Huskies (12-2-8) would tie the game in the 39th minutes on a score by Kareem Morad.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

 
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