Eighteen ECNL alumni capture NCAA College Cup title with Santa Clara
Eighteen ECNL alumni and 26 athletes saw their NCAA college soccer dreams come true as Santa Clara won the 2020 NCAA Women’s College Cup, defeating Florida State in penalty kicks after the game ended 1-1 in regulation Monday evening. Santa Clara’s victory makes it the ninth consecutive season ECNL alumni were on the trophy-raising team.
Both goals in the contest were scored by ECNL alumni, with Jenna Nighswonger recording Florida State’s goal and Kelsey Turnbow scoring for Santa Clara.
After a scoreless first half that saw both sides trading opportunities, it was Nighswonger that finally broke the deadlock. Inside the box, Nighswonger ripped a bending shot toward the left post, hitting the woodwork and deflecting into the net for one of the best goals of the tournament. Her goal gave Florida State a 1-0 lead in the 63rd minute.
Trailing by one, Santa Clara raised their pressure and as the match wound down, and the Broncos’ chances increased. In the 83rd minute, Turnbow cut back on a Florida State defender after a turnover, and finished with style to knot the game at 1-1 in the 83rd minute.
After two overtime periods with neither side getting the game-winner, the match went into penalties. Santa Clara scored on each of its first three attempts, while Florida State made just one, putting the game at the feet of Izzy D’Aquila. D’Aquila stepped up and buried her shot, giving Santa Clara its second NCAA women’s soccer championship.
— ECNL Girls (@theECNL) May 18, 2021
D’Aquila had a tournament to remember, recording three goals, two assists and the title-clinching penalty kick in the five games en route to a championship. Goalkeeper Marlee Nicolos also had an impressive postseason run, logging a 0.57 goals against average and a .857 save percentage with two shutouts. And Turnbow was named the Offensive Most Outstanding Player with her three goals throughout the tournament.
In addition to Turnbow’s recognition, six ECNL alumni were named to the All-Tournament Best XI – Brianna Pinto, Rebecca Jarrett, Nighswonger, Emily Madril, Sally Menti and Julie Doyle.
With the title, multiple Santa Clara players earned the distinction of winning both an ECNL club title and NCAA championship. D’Aquila, Rachel Baston, Marisa Bubnis and Skylar Smith all played for So Cal Blues, winning several trophies for their club prior to their collegiate career. Santa Clara’s roster is filled with teammates, with multiple alumni coming from clubs such as MVLA, Crossfire Premier, and San Diego Surf in addition to So Cal Blues. Below is the full list of ECNL alumni:
|Rachel Baston (So Cal Blues)||Sally Menti (Crossfire Premier)|
|Marisa Bubnis (So Cal Blues)||Lucy Mitchell (Concorde Fire)|
|Izzy D’Aquila (So Cal Blues)||Diana Morales (De Anza Force)|
|Julie Doyle (San Diego Surf)||Marlee Nicolos (San Juan SC)|
|Kylie Foutch (Crossfire Premier)||Emma Reeves (San Diego Surf)|
|Ellie Glenn (Tophat SC)||Skylar Smith (So Cal Blues)|
|Sofia Jones (MVLA)||Nicole Sweeney (MVLA)|
|Alex Loera (Colorado Storm)||Kelsey Turnbow (SC Del Sol)|
|Vanessa Mejia (Pleasanton Rage)||Eden White (FC Portland)|
Throughout the Women’s soccer championship, ECNL alumni made incredible plays, scoring timely goals and making game-saving stops. In total, ECNL alumni accounted for more than 75 percent of all goals and nearly two out of three assists.
To view some of the highlights from the month-long tournament, Click Here.