FSU entered the season with their sights set on winning the national championship. Anything less would have been a disappointment for a Seminole team that lost to Santa Clara in the 2020 national championship game in a match that was determined by a penalty kick shootout.
Mission accomplished FSU!
If you were looking for a game with a lot of goals you may have been disappointed, but as is often the case in the one and done environment of the NCAA Tournament, defense ruled the day in a matchup between two teams that have high powered attacks. Neither team was able to come up with the big play they needed to secure the game-winning goal but nonetheless it was an attack oriented, high intensity contest in which both teams gave it their all. Both sought to apply pressure but they also were careful to not place themselves in a position that left them vulnerable on the defensive side of the ball.
It was a total team effort on the part of both teams. The battle in the middle third was fierce between BYU All-American midfielder Mikayla Colohan and FSU All-American midfielder Jaelin Howell. BYU All-American forward Cameron Tucker added punch to the Cougar’s attack throughout the contest as she sought space behind FSU’s defense that she could run onto. In the ninth minute of the match she placed a shot into the back of the frame that was called back due to offsides. Had the goal counted it would have forced FSU to chase the game which would likely have changed the pace of the match.
FSU All-American back Emily Madril had an outstanding game displaying the versatility and grit she brings to the pitch as a key ingredient in a stout Seminole backline while also confidently pushing forward into space out off the back on several occasions to add to the Seminoles attack. Both keepers, BYU’s Cassidy Smith and FSU’s Cristina Roque, who had two key saves in the penalty kick shootout, were solid in goal making the stops that their teams needed them to make.
FSU midfielder Yujie Zhao who converted the game winning penalty kick and forwards Jenna Nighswonger and Jody Brown added additional punch to the Noles offense while BYU midfielder Jamie Shepherd and back Laveni Vaka played a key role on both sides of the ball for the Cougars.
BYU out of the West Coast Conference concludes an historical season in which they advanced to the College Cup for the first time in program history with an 17-4-3 overall record. FSU out of the Atlantic Coast Conference secures its third national championship and second in the past four years and closes out the 2021 season with a 22-1-3 overall record.
This one between two very deserving teams could have easily gone either way but at the end of the evening FSU did what they needed to do to grind out the win.
Florida State head coach Mark Krikorian stated, “Everyone that was here was treated to a heckuva soccer game with two good teams. I thought that BYU gave us everything that we could handle. He added, “I thought we played well, played smart, played hard. But BYU matched us all along the way.”
BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood stated, “We had a phenomenal year. You hate to be on the losing side, especially in PKs. But you win some, and you lose some, when it goes to PKs.” She added, “We have been on both sides of that. But just really proud of the way we competed tonight, the way we represented ourselves and our school and our conference.”