2017 NCAA Women's Soccer Championship: Stanford victorious over UCLA in high-scoring affair

Look out, world. Stanford women’s soccer will add a star to its kit. In a high-scoring match, Stanford defeated UCLA, 3-2, to take the NCAA championship title.

If you fancy textbook soccer, look to the Pac-12. The all-Pac-12 final squared off as No. 1 seed Stanford and No. 4 seed UCLA went head-to-head for the 2017 NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship at Orlando City Stadium, on the same grass where greats Marta and Pac-12 great Alex Morgan take the pitch for the Orlando Pride. Stanford, on a 21-game winning streak, topped UCLA 3-2 to make it 22 wins in a row and hoist the national championship trophy.

The game was a tale of two halves as Stanford found two first-half goals, but UCLA equalized quickly in the second. Stanford rallied back to regain the lead and eventual win. The high-scoring affair marked the first time in national championship history where both schools netted two or more goals.

The Pac-12 Offensive Player and Freshman of the Year in Catarina Macario put on an assist clinic, as her three assists in the title match and 17 overall this season marked her as the single-season leader in Stanford history. Macario passed Cardinal great Christen Press (16, 2009).

Stanford, the nation’s most prolific offense at 3.67 goals/game started quickly, netting two first-half goals.

Both squads threatened quickly with attempts, but Stanford broke through early in the first half. Stanford’s midfield found set-piece extraordinaire Catarina Macario on the left flank, who sent in a hard service to the box. Macario’s drive bounced off a UCLA defender, and Kyra Carusa patiently waited and found the back of the net on her clean-up attempt in the 15th minute.

Carusa netted her 15th goal of the season and Macario her 15th assist, giving Macario her first assist of the night.

Macario wouldn’t have to wait long to climb atop the record book, as Stanford’s midfield built its attack to find Macario’s foot. Macario found teammate — captain and holding midfielder Andi Sullivan, who knocked in a goal in the 26th minute to increase Stanford’s lead, 2-0.

Sullivan, the 2017 Pac-12 Midfielder of the Year and four time first team All-Pac-12 selection, netted her second goal of the tournament.

The Bruins got on the board in the 55th minute, as Zoey Gorlaski streaked to goal and Stanford keeper Alison Jahansouz mistimed her run and the Bruins were awarded a penalty kick. UCLA’s Jessie Fleming stepped to the penalty spot and nailed the shot to trim the Bruin deficit to 2-1.

Fleming sparked the Bruin momentum shift, as Anika Rodriguez sent in a ball to the near post off a corner kick. The ball deflected to the far post, and Delanie Sheehan found the equalizer in the 59th.

Stanford retook the lead quickly eight minutes later, when Kyra Carusa serviced a ball near the penalty spot. Catarina Macario dumped the ball out past the 18 to find Jaye Boissiere, who netted the winning goal in the 67th.

If excellence is what you're looking for, look no further than the Conference of Champions:

With the victory, Stanford not only captured its second NCAA title in women’s soccer, but the program also passed UCLA for all-time national championships through all sports for 114. Westwood will attempt to equalize later Sunday as UCLA men’s water polo squares battles USC in the national title match.

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