December 6, 2015
Penn State Nittany Lion women win College Cup
CARY, N.C.--Costa Rican international Raquel Rodriguez’ 72nd-minute goal gave Penn State a 1-0 win over Duke before 10,676 fans at WakeMed Soccer Park Sunday, the Nittany Lions capturing their first NCAA Women’s Championship.
Rodriguez scored her sixth goal of the season and the Nittany Lions tallied their eighth straight shutout and 15th on the season. PSU (22-3-2) outscored NCAA tournament opponents, 20-0, and had a 733-minute shutout streak since Nov. 1.
"When you get to a national championship game, obviously, you never expect it to be easy, but I thought that Duke gave us absolutely everything we could handle today," PSU coach Erica Walsh said. "They came out in the first 20 minutes with the crowd behind them. They put us on our back foot and we had to struggle through that time and could not quite find our rhythm. Once we got past that time I really felt like we got back on top of the game. That is an extremely good Duke team that we were able to beat today. Congratulations to Robbie Church and his program. He runs a tremendous program."
Penn State posted four shots in the first half, including two from senior Mallory Weber. Weber's first shot in the 13th minute, from the right side of the penalty area, was by saved EJ Proctor. Eleven minutes later, Weber’s shot from six yards was corralled by Proctor.
Senior Britt Eckerstrom made her lone save of the first half on Toni Payne in the 30th minute. A minute later, Imani Dorsey hit the top of the crossbar.
Proctor’s final save of the half was on a Rodriguez header in the 38th minute off a corner kick.
Duke (14-6-5) outshot Penn State, 6-4, and Penn State led, 3-1, in shots on goal in the opening half.
Duke blocked two shots in the 60th minute. Two minutes later, Proctor saved on Nickolette Driesse. The Nittany Lions scored after a turnover, Weber crossing from the right side of the penalty area to Rodriguez on the left. Rodriguez evaded two defenders and fired a left-footer past Proctor into the bottom right corner of the net.
Duke then picked up the pace and, two minutes later, Eckerstrom made her second save on Kayla McCoy.
During the final 10 minutes, Duke tallied three shots, one on goal. Eckerstrom made her final save in the 84th minute on Malinda Allen. Allen posted another shot in the 87th minute, her header going high. With less than a minute left, the Nittany Lions blocked Casey Martinez' attempt. Duke threatened in the final seconds, an offside call halting its final possession.
Rodriguez scored her ninth career game-winning goal.
Shots were tied at 11, with Penn State tallying a margin of 5-3 in shots on goal.
Frannie Crouse, Emily Ogle, Kaleigh Riehl, Rodriguez and Weber were named to the College Cup All-Tournament team. Rodriguez was named the Most Outstanding Player on Offense.