Cougars fall in a heartbreaker to Florida State in National Championship game in PKs


SANTA CLARA, Calif. — No. 4 seed BYU women’s soccer fell to No. 1 seed Florida State in PKs in the NCAA National Championship Game to end the Cougars’ season Monday night. 

“First, congratulations to Florida State on winning a National Championship. It was a great game and a great Final Four here this weekend,” said BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood. “We are grateful for the opportunity we had to play here, and I am really proud of our players and our team. We battled hard, and we have had a phenomenal year. Really proud of the way we competed tonight and the way we represented ourselves, our school and our conference. I want to thank our fans for showing up. Cougar Nation always supports us. We loved this season, and I love our girls.”

First Half

Both teams started the game strong with scoring opportunities on both sides of the field. The Cougars had an early scoring opportunity with a ball sent through the Seminoles’ defense to Cameron Tucker by Mikayla Colohan. Tucker found the back of the net with her shot and sent BYU fans into a frenzy, only to have the goal called back because of an offside. 

The Florida State offense was able to get behind the Cougar defense to fire off a few quick shots within the first 10 minutes of regulation. The Seminoles were awarded a corner kick in the 30th minute, which BYU goalkeeper Cassidy Smith was able to punch out. 

The Cougars gained momentum and sent the ball down the field to the feet of forward Rachel McCarthy, whose shot was blocked in the box by the Seminole defense.

Colohan was taken down at midfield in the 31st minute resulting in a yellow card on Florida State’s Jaelin Howell. Colohan was carried off the field and came out of the game for the remainder of the half as Ellie Maughan subbed in. 

Both BYU and Florida State played strong defense in the first half. The Cougars only had three shots and the Seminoles had two.

The Cougars and Seminoles went into the locker room scoreless at the half.

Second Half 

Both teams continued to find scoring opportunities within the first five minutes of the second half.

The Cougars took early control of the half with defender Grace Johnson making strong plays on both sides of the ball with a shot on goal and several defensive stops. The Seminoles did not back down as they worked to get behind the BYU defense forcing a few saves by Smith. 

Both teams continued to play aggressively, in what was a physical matchup, with neither team being able to get any finishes on goal.

In the 80th minute, BYU freshman defender Olivia Smith took the ball down the field and crossed it for a shot by Jamie Shepherd that barely went over the crossbar.

BYU was awarded a free kick in the 84th minute of the game, which gave the Cougars some forward momentum. As the second half came to a close, BYU put on the pressure up top, forcing some hard clears by the Seminole defense. 

In the 88th minute, Florida State was awarded a corner kick where BYU's Johnson made a game-saving save off of her face and the ball was cleared out of the box. 

Regulation time ended with the teams still tied at zero, sending the Cougars into overtime for the second time in the College Cup. This is the third straight year the National Championship final game went into overtime.   

First Overtime Period

BYU started the first overtime period with a corner attempt that went off the head of Colohan into the hands of Seminole  goalkeeper, Cristina Roque. Florida State answered back with a corner of its own, easily cleared by the BYU defense. 

Both teams played aggressive defense the rest of the first 10-minute overtime period, leaving little room for offensive opportunities on goal. Still at zeros, the game went into a second overtime period. 

Second Overtime Period

The Seminoles came into the second overtime period with a hard offensive push. BYU’s defense was able to clear the ball out of the back, but Florida State kept up their pressure.  

Florida State got behind the Cougar defense in the 105th minute and forward Jenna Nighswonger took a shot at the top of the 18, which was saved by Smith. The Seminoles were awarded with a corner kick in the 108th minute of the game, which curved in toward the goal, barely punched out by Smith. 

The Cougars gained the momentum and made an aggressive play across the face of the goal, which was barely out of reach for Colohan. Unable to finish, BYU and Florida State went into penalty kicks after finishing 110 minutes of play still tied at zero. 

Penalty Kicks

Both teams capitalized on their first attempts, but two saves by Roque put the Seminoles up by one. A save by Smith and a goal by Olivia Wade put the Cougars back on the board. 

In the end, it was not enough for the Cougars, as the Seminoles scores on their final attempt and Florida State won the PKs 4-3 and became National Champions for the fourth time in program history. 

Postgame Quotes

Coach Jennifer Rockwood

"These girls had a commitment from the beginning of the season to do something that no other BYU soccer team has done and they lived up to that. Our seniors wanted to take the program where it had never been and they have done that." 

"Representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is something we are all extremely proud of. We are all members of the Church and have a very high standard that we take very seriously. It is certainly an honor and something we take a lot of pride in." 

Mikayla Colohan

"It has been an incredible season. I am so proud of my teammates and I am glad I had the opportunity to play alongside each of them and play for Coach Jen because she is amazing and shapes us all to be not only incredible soccer players, but better people and that is what matters." 

"Tonight was a battle and playing against Florida State is always going to be tough. They have some great players and play really great soccer. I was proud of the way we battled and defended hard tonight."

Cameron Tucker

"I think our team did great tonight. We were hustling and working really well on defense and offense. I am so proud of everyone and how we played this whole year and this tournament."