Eight from Pac-12 hoist 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup for Team USA

Ronald Martinez/Getty

United States beats Japan, 5-2 (BC Place Stadium // Vancouver, British Columbia)

Payback on your nation's birthday weekend can't get much better. In a rematch of the 2011 title game, seven former Pac-12 players (and former UCLA head coach Jill Ellis) are among those who hoisted the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup trophy for Team USA after a resounding 5-2 win over Japan on Sunday in Vancouver. Former Pac-12 student-athletes earning caps for the U.S. women were forward Alex Morgan (California), winger Kelley O'Hara (Stanford), midfielder Lauren Holiday (UCLA) and goalkeeper Hope Solo (Washington).

Make no mistake, the star of the night—if not the entire tournament—was U.S. captain Carli Lloyd, who had a hat-trick by the 16th minute and went on to win the Golden Ball award. But adding to the United States' tally in the 14th minute was former Bruin Lauren Holiday, who struck a volley on frame from roughly 10 yards out after a disastrous clearance attempt from Japan. With four goals in the bank by the 16th minute, the rout was on early in beautiful British Columbia.

The Japanese never stood a fighting chance after the furious U.S. start. They did, however, end former Husky Hope Solo's scoreless streak at 539 minutes with a goal in the 27th minute. USA defender Julie Johnston deflected a header into her own goal in the 52nd minute which brought the score to 4-2, and caused the only tense moment in the match for America. That moment was short-lived, though, as Tobin Heath finished a lazer of a cross from Morgan Brian in the 54th minute and found the back of the net.

Pac-12 alumnae who scored goals in the Women's World Cup were Alex Morgan, Christen Press (Stanford), Kelley O'Hara (Stanford) and Lauren Holiday for the United States, while England forward Jodie Taylor (Oregon State) scored her first World Cup goal for England in its quarterfinal win over Canada. All eight former Pac-12 student-athletes on World Cup rosters, including U.S. forward Amy Rodriguez (USC), earned caps in this year's competition. 

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