USC defeats West Virginia to win NCAA Women’s College Cup title
SAN JOSE, Calif. (Via USC) – The No. 7 USC Trojans defeated No. 1 West Virginia 3-1 in the NCAA Women’s College Cup Final, propelling the team to its second NCAA title in women’s soccer on Sunday at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California.
With the victory the Trojans (19-4-2) become the first and only Pac-12 school to have two NCAA women’s soccer titles (2016, 2007). They also join rare company, as only four women’s soccer programs nationally have multiple national titles. It I s also USC’s 126th national championship.
The stars of the day were seniors, as senior forward Katie Johnson came up with the game-winning goal and the insurance goal in the match, winning NCAA Women’s College Cup Most Valuable Offensive Player honors. Senior midfielder Morgan Andrews was also outstanding, getting the Trojans on the board in the second minute. Goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme was unreal on the day, tallying eight saves, to stave off the potent Mountaineer offense, making eight saves, along with senior center back Mandy Freeman and senior holding midfielder Kayla Mills.
The Trojans wasted no time getting on the board, as Savannah Levin headed a ball back into the box off a corner kick and Andrews flicked it home in the second minute of play, putting the Trojans up 1-0. The finish was the fastest goal of the year for the Trojans.
The team continued to battle, staving off West Virginia (20-2-3) attack after attack. Goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme came up with incredible saves, tallying four in the first half on 10 Mountaineer shots. She also organized the Trojan defense through five corner kicks in the half.
The Trojans tallied three shots in the first half, along with drawing one corner kick.
In the second half, the Trojans came out and dictated the tempo more so than they did in the first half, connecting passes and settling to play our game. The Mountaineers continued to get good looks at the goal, but the Trojan defense continued to hold strong through most of the second half.
However, the Mountaineers broke through in the 66th minute, as West Virginia star Ashley Lawrence delivered an outstanding strike from the left side of the top of the box that hit the post and went in.
With the game tied 1-1, the Trojans never put their head down, as they continued to fight. Less than 10 minutes later in the 75th minute, the Trojan offense capitalized on a counter attack, as Leah Pruitt fed a ball across the box to a waiting K. Johnson who was all alone, and came through with a composed finish to the right corner of the goal, putting the Trojans up 2-1. The goal was her second of the NCAA College Cup.
The Mountaineers, an outstanding side, continued to push for their next equalizer, forcing Prudhomme to continue to shine, as she finished with eight saves in the match, four more in the second half.
The Trojans added one more in the 87th minute, as K. Johnson took a chance on a turnover by the Mountaineers around midfield, finishing an opportunistic goal as she realized the keeper was way off her line for her second goal of the game. The important insurance goal was her second of the match, third of the NCAA Women’s College Cup. She finished the season tied for the team lead with 10 goals. Prudhomme, K. Johnson, Andrews, Mills, Freeman, and Leah Pruitt were all named to the NCAA W. College Cup All-Tournament Team.
The title is the first of third-year head coach Keidane McAlpine, and he becomes the second African American head coach to win an NCAA Division I women’s college soccer title. The only other coach to complete the feat was Clive Charles in 2002 at the University of Portland, and technically he was of English decent.
The 19 wins for the Trojans were the second-most in program history, just behind the 20-win season in 2007 during the program’s first NCAA Tournament run.