UCLA Women’s Soccer Wins NCAA Title on Lavrusky’s Golden Goal
The UCLA women’s soccer team won its first NCAA championship in program history on Sunday afternoon, defeating the Florida State Seminoles, 1-0, in overtime. The title represents UCLA’s 110th NCAA championship in school history, the most in the nation. Sophomore Kodi Lavrusky scored the game-winner for the Bruins in the 97th minute after taking a great through ball in the box from junior Megan Oyster and scoring far post past Florida State keeper Kelsey Wys.
The Bruins finished the season with a 22-1-3 record and defeated three No. 1 seeds en route to the championship. Florida State concludes their season with a 23-2-3 record.
UCLA controlled the majority of possession in the first half, but was unable to generate any chances in the early going. Sophomore Taylor Smith had the first serious chance of the match for either side in the 30th minute, controlling a free kick from junior Sarah Killion in the box before wheeling around and putting a shot on frame. The ball beat Wys, but clanged off the crossbar and out of play, keeping the match scoreless.
Then right before the half, UCLA almost went ahead again when junior Caprice Dydasco took a long shot that forced Wys to make a diving save. Smith gathered the rebound and put a shot towards the far post, but once again the ball bounced off the post and away from danger, sending the teams into the locker room tied at 0-0.
The Bruins continued to keep the ball in their third of the field at the start of the second half, and created another good scoring opportunity in the 59th minute. Freshman Darian Jenkins did well to keep the ball on the left side of the Seminole box and was able to cross the ball back to the top of the box to senior Jenna Richmond. Richmond one-timed a shot on goal but once again Wys was there to make the save. Lavrusky had another shot at putting the Bruins on top in the 66th minute, when a cross from junior Rosie White trickled to the front of the goal to Lavrusky. She could not get a foot on it though and Wys eventually gathered the ball for Florida State.
UCLA continued to push forward, consistently keeping the possession. In the 87th minute however, the Seminoles nearly took the lead when Kristin Grubka headed a long throw-in on net. Oyster came up big for the Bruins though, heading the ball off the line to prevent the goal. From there, neither side could find the back of the net before regulation ended and the match went to overtime.
In the first overtime, Killion had a chance to end the game for the Bruins in the 96th minute when she controlled a corner and took a shot towards an open net after Wys came out. Her shot was cleared off the line by the Seminoles though and the match stayed scoreless. Then in the 97th minute, Lavrusky finally handed the Bruins the title when she took a terrific through ball in the box from Oyster and finished far post for her seventh goal of the year.
UCLA head coach Amanda Cromwell became just the second women's soccer coach ever to win the NCAA title in her first season with a team, as well as only the second female coach to win the title, joining Becky Burleigh, who led Florida to victory in 1998.
Defender Ally Courtnall, who scored the game-tying goal in the semifinal, was named the College Cup's Most Outstanding Defensive Player and selected to the all-tournament team along with Killion, Oyster and goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland.