FINAL: Florida State drops College Cup final in penalty kicks

Florida State celebrates after defeating Virginia in PK's in the 2021 College Cup semifinals.
Florida State celebrates after defeating Virginia in PK's in the 2021 College Cup semifinals.(Larry Novey | FSU Athletics)
Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 2:34 PM EDT
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CARY, N.C. (WCTV) - The Florida State soccer team is in search of the program’s third-ever NCAA championship as they take the pitch Monday afternoon against Santa Clara.

The Seminoles, the top-ranked overall team in this year’s tournament, haven’t dropped a game all year and have been stout defensively, allowing just one goal over four tournament matches (coming in the Sweet Sixteen against Penn State).

FSU has logged consecutive victories via penalty kicks over Duke and Virginia.

As strong as the Seminoles have been defensively, the Broncos, the 11th-overall seed, have been offensively, scoring multiple goals in three of their four tournament games, including a 4-1 win over Ohio State to open their tournament run and a 3-1 win against North Carolina in Thursday’s semifinal.

The Broncos’ scoring prowess puts them at #7 in the nation in scoring, averaging 2.6 goals per game.

The two programs have only ever met once, with Santa Clara notching a 4-1 win in the 2001 Nike Wake Forest Invite. The Broncos went on to win their only national title that year.

An FSU win would make them the fourth program all-time to record at least three national championships in the sport while an SC victory would make them the seventh multi-time champ.

As we’ve done in the past for football, basketball and baseball, tonight we’ll be running a live blog of tonight’s game. We’ll have score updates, analysis, stray observations and thoughts.

For up-to-the-minute updates and analysis, be sure you’re following myself and WCTV Sports on Twitter.

Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. and the game can be seen on ESPN2.


For the second time in the school’s history, Santa Clara are national champions.

SC hit all four of their attempted penalty kicks while the Noles missed their first two - from Clara Robbins and Emily Madril - off the right post. Gabby Carle hit the third PK attempt for the Noles, but it was Izzy D’Aquila who sealed the deal with the fourth PK, giving the Broncos the victory.

A full recap can be found here. A tough way to end what was a tremendous season, but if there’s a silver lining, this will be one of the shortest offseasons ever, so the Noles will be back on the pitch before you know it.

Thanks for joining us tonight.


For a third-straight game, the Seminoles are headed to penalty kicks.

100′ - 1-1

The first overtime has come and gone and the Noles had plenty of chances, including in the final minute, but we will play another 10-minute, sudden-death session.

91′ - 1-1

The first extra session is underway.


For the third-straight game, FSU will need to go past 90 minutes to have a result.

Your numbers after 90:

  • Shots: FSU 5; SC 5
  • Shots on goal: FSU 2; SC 2
  • Saves: FSU 1; SC 1
  • Fouls: FSU 10; SC 13
  • Corners: FSU 1; SC 3

84′ - 1-1

That offside on the Zhao goal is looming very large as the Broncos have just tied the game with under seven minutes to play.

SC’s Kelsey Turnbow took a two-on-one near the top of the 18-yard box, she faked out FSU’s Emily Madril, and put the ball in the back of the net to tie it up.

79′ - 1-0, Florida State

It appeared we had ourselves a second goal when Zhao had put one in the back of the net, but the goal came off after the offsides flag went up.

ESPN had a great angle of the play and it was confirmed.

63′ - 1-0, Florida State

We have our first goal and it’s off the foot of Jenna Nighswonger, who bends the ball into the net off the left foot on a beautiful strike.

Zhao, who has had all the looks in the world tonight, is finally rewarded with a point, as she’s the assist.

I mean...just look at this.

57′ - 0-0

The Seminoles are really starting to push the pressure in the offensive third and just had their arguably best look at goal on a four-touch feed across the midfield to Yujie Zhao, but she took one too many touches and had the ball roll away before she could get a solid shot off.

46′ - 0-0

The second half is underway.


It’s 0-0 on the scoreboard and it’s been played that close, even if the Noles have held a majority of the possession so far.

Some key numbers for you:

  • Shots: FSU 2; SC 2
  • Shots on goal: FSU 1; SC 1
  • Saves: FSU 1; SC 1
  • Fouls: FSU 1; SC 4
  • Corners: FSU 1; SC 2

26′ - 0-0

What a chance for the Noles in the best look at goal for the day.

FSU worked the ball up to the top of the 18-yard box and Kristen McFarland gives chase to it but Nicolos comes out to challenge and the Noles win their first corner of the game.

The corner kick found Zhao’s head but it was headed out and we remain scoreless.

21′ - 0-0

Santa Clara has won the game’s first set-piece, on a corner kick to the right of the FSU goal, but the shot sailed across the box and the play ends on a Broncos offside.

We remain scoreless.

10′ - 0-0

Not a ton of action in the opening 10 minutes of this one - FSU is holding a lot of possession on their defensive side of the field and did have a chance on goal off the head of Yujie Zhao, but could not convert.

The Noles have not seemed eager to push tempo in the early going, making SC be extra attentive on defense.

1′ - 0-0

We, my friends, are underway.


Happy Monday, everyone, and welcome to our first ever FSU soccer live blog, where the Seminoles are in search of a third star atop the crest against Santa Clara.

Starting lineups are out and they are as follows:


GK: Cristina Roque

DEF: Gabby Carle, Emily Madril

MID: Jaelin Howell, Lauren Flynn, Kirsten Pavlisko, Clara Robbins, Yujie Zhao

FWD: Jenna Nighswonger, Leilanni Nesbeth, Kristen McFarland

Santa Clara:

GK: Marlee Nicolos

DEF: Eden White, Marisa Bunnis, Makoto Nezu

MID: Skylar Smith, Karen Goor, Alex Loera

FWD: Izzy D’Aquila, Kelsey Turnbow, Julie Doyle, Sally Menti

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