The 2014 NCAA Division I women’s soccer season culminated at the Women’s College Cup in Boca Raton, Fla., where the Florida State Seminoles raised the national championship trophy for the first time in program history. But the new NCAA champions weren’t the only ones who have made headlines this year as there were plenty of record-setting and noteworthy performances this season.
Here’s a look at the best of 2014.
FSU wins first NCAA championship
The Seminoles didn’t settle for NCAA runner-up this year as they edged Virginia, 1-0, to capture the program’s first-ever national championship Dec. 7 at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla. Senior Jamia Fields scored the game’s lone goal with an assist from Most Outstanding Player on offense Cheyna Williams.
FSU outscored opponents 17-0 in six NCAA Tournament games – just the second team to accomplish the feat and first since North Carolina in 2003. With the win, Florida State ended the 2014 season with 10 straight wins and a school-record 21-game (20-0-1) unbeaten streak. The Seminoles also posted the second-lowest goals against average in the nation (.354) this season.
The win was Florida State’s third against Virginia this season – all coming by identical 1-0 scores. The Cavaliers –one of the nation’s top scoring teams – have been shut out only five times in their past 87 games and all five were against the Seminoles.
FSU’s appearance in the NCAA title game was its third overall and second consecutive trip. The Seminoles are the 10th different program to win a women’s soccer NCAA title and third first-time champion in the past four years.
The East Tennessee State women’s soccer team featured two of the most prolific offensive players in the nation as the Buccaneers led the NCAA in scoring with 3.48 goals per game in 2014. Hannah Short paced the nation with 27 goals scored, while Sarah Zadrazil contributed a nation-best 20 assists to lead ETSU to a school-record 15 victories this season.
Scoring machines 2
Virginia’s scoring offense had entered the NCAA championship match as the nation’s best, but the 1-0 loss to FSU dropped them behind ETSU with a 3.38 goals against average. The Cavaliers had scored 23 goals in the five NCAA Tournament games leading up to the match with the Seminoles. Junior Makenzy Doniak finished the year with 20 goals, which was ranked third in the nation while senior Danielle Colaprico tallied 19 assists, which tied for second. Senior Morgan Brian, the 2013 MAC Hermann Trophy winner, contributed 10 goals and 13 assists despite missing eight games while playing for the U.S. National Team.
Aggies make history
Texas A&M made its first-ever Women’s College Cup appearance after compiling a program-best 22 victories this season. The Aggies became the first Southeastern Conference team to advance to the NCAA semifinals since Florida in 2001 and were the first league member to win both the SEC regular season and tournament titles in back-to-back years since 2001.
South Carolina advances to quarterfinals
The Gamecocks advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time in school history with a 1-0 victory over North Carolina in third round action. South Carolina achieved the feat despite scoring just one goal in its first three NCAA contests. They survived two 0-0 penalty kick shootouts over Clemson and Seattle in the first and second rounds.
Shutting it down
While UCLA, the 2013 NCAA champions, came up short of defending that title, the Bruins set a plethora of records before falling to Virginia, 2-1, in the quarterfinal round.Senior goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland set NCAA single-season (19) and career (55) records for shutouts. She also set a new school record for consecutive shutouts (10) and consecutive shutout minutes (969 minutes). UCLA had entered the Virginia contest on a 44-game unbeaten streak, which was a school record and the sixth-best streak in NCAA history. Rowland finished the season with a nation’s lowest goals against average at .245.
Tindell takes her shots
Florida Gulf Coast University’s Tabitha Tindell tallied a nation-leading 11 game-winning goals en route to earning Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year honors, propelling the Eagles to a program-record 11 games. Tindell’s 20 goals and 48 points led the A-Sun and set school single-season records. She concluded the season tied for third in the nation with 20 goals and was ranked fifth with 2.29 goals per game.
Stanford fielded a defense that held opponents scoreless in its first nine matches to start the season and eventually landed at the Women’s College Cup for the sixth time in the last seven years. The Cardinal finished the season ranked eighth in the nation with a .561 goals against average and notched 17 total shutouts.
Six schools made their first appearance in NCAA Tournament play. New Hampshire (8-9-4), which posted a 4-8-6 mark in 2013, improved on last year’s campaign under first-year head coach Steve Welham, won the America East Championship and claimed the Wildcats’ first-ever NCAA bid. Houston Baptist snapped Stephen F. Austin’s 14-game winning streak in the Southland Conference championship to earn the first-ever NCAA berth for an HBU women’s program. Buffalo, Prairie View A&M, Rider and SIU-Edwardsville are also in the NCAA postseason for the first time. SIU-Edwardsville was the closest to advance to the second round after tying Kentucky 0-0, but was ousted in penalty kicks, 4-2.
Amy Farnum Patronis covers Division I Women's College Soccer for College Soccer News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org