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Florida State suffers first loss of season, falls to Santa Clara in College Cup finals on penalty kicks

Florida State saw their perfect season fall in the 2020 College Cup title game, losing to Santa...
Florida State saw their perfect season fall in the 2020 College Cup title game, losing to Santa Clara.(LARRY NOVEY 2021 | Larry Novey | FSU Athletics)
Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 8:36 PM EDT
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CARY, N.C. (WCTV) - The Florida State Seminoles suffered their first loss of the 2020 season in the College Cup national title game, falling to the Santa Clara Broncos in penalty kicks, 4-1, to break a 1-1 tie after 110 minutes Monday night.

It’s the second-ever title for the Broncos, who become just the seventh-ever women’s soccer team to win multiple championships.

The Seminoles, who were victorious in penalty kicks in each of their last two games entering Monday against Duke and Virginia, missed their first two shots off the right post from the boot of Clara Robbins and Emily Madril, respectively.

Santa Clara, who took the first shot, made each of their first three PK opportunities before the Noles converted their first, a strike from Gabby Carle.

SC’s Izzy D’Aquila sealed the deal on the fourth PK, giving the Broncos the win.

FSU’s Jenna Nighswonger drew first blood in the 63rd minute, giving the Seminoles a 1-0 lead on a beautiful left-foot strike that bent towards, and eventually off, the goal post for the game’s first strike.

It was the first goal for Florida State in 304 minutes.

Yujie Zhao, who had no shortage of chances throughout the evening, was credited with the assist after feeding it to Nighswonger at the top of the 18-yard box.

The Seminoles attempted to dig their heels in and play out the final half-hour with their one-goal lead intact, but the Broncos had just enough in the tank to create counterattacks and keep the pressure on.

Zhao appeared to have given the Seminoles a 2-0 lead in the 79th minute, but the goal was called back to an offside call.

That call would eventually loom large.

In the 84th minute, SC’s Kelsey Turnbow found herself in a two-on-one at the top of the box, and was able to put a juke move on Seminole defender Emily Madril and beat Cristina Roque for the first time since FSU’s Round of 32 game against Penn State to tie the game at 1-1.

The two squads were about as even as you could be after 45 minutes. At the half, the two sides matched each other with shots (two), shots on goal (one) and saves (one) all while the Seminoles held 72% of possession.

That possession advantage played well for the Seminoles, who were able to draw four fouls against at the break, having committed just one in the opening 45.

The loss is the first for the Seminoles since falling to UCLA, 4-0, in last year’s NCAA tournament quarterfinals. Florida State ends the season having allowed multiple goals just twice.

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