Florida State and USC reach College Cup final
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Amanda DaCosta scored the winning goal in the 72nd minute to help Florida State advance to its first NCAA Women's College Cup final with a 3-2 win over Notre Dame on Friday night.
The Seminoles will play Southern California in Sunday's championship. The Trojans defeated top-ranked UCLA 2-1.
DaCosta also assisted on Mami Yamaguchi's goal 15 seconds into the game, helping the Seminoles (18-5-3) avenge a loss to the Irish in last year's semifinal. Yamaguchi also had an assist and Sanna Talonen had a goal and an assist for Florida State, making its third consecutive appearance in the event, the Final Four of women's soccer.
Carrie Dew and Elise Weber scored for Notre Dame (19-5-2), which had a 17-game unbeaten streak snapped. The Irish were playing in the College Cup for the ninth time in 14 seasons, but lost in the semifinals for the third time.
UCLA (20-1-2) faced Southern California (18-3-2) in Friday's second semifinal.
Yamaguchi, the nation's second-leading goal scorer, touched the ball to start the game, then ran straight up the field. DaCosta fed her a perfect pass between defenders and Yamaguchi beat Irish goalkeeper Lauren Karas with a low shot for a 1-0 lead.
Yamaguchi's 24th goal of the season was the fastest in school history.
The Irish got their first corner kick in the 15th minute, and Kerri Hanks sent a high pass to Dew at the far side of the goal. Dew hit a shot that ricocheted off a Florida State defender to tie the game. Hanks finished the season with 21 assists.
The Seminoles regained the lead in the 33rd minute, with Yamaguchi providing the pinpoint pass this time. Talonen, a freshman forward, got the ball without breaking stride and sent a low shot under Karas. Her 18th goal of the season made it 2-1.
Florida State goalkeeper Erin McNulty saved a hard shot from Hanks three minutes into the second half as Notre Dame generated early pressure.
In the 56th minute, Weber sidestepped a Florida State defender and launched a high, hooking shot into the left corner to tie the game again.
The Irish kept the ball at the Florida State end most of the second half, but the Seminoles used another quick strike to score again.
Talonen split two defenders and found DaCosta cutting toward the net. DaCosta slid a shot under Karas to put Florida State ahead for good.
Florida State has outscored its opponents 17-4 in the NCAA Tournament.
In the second game, Amy Rodriguez scored her second goal with 16 minutes left as the Trojans upset the Bruins.
The Trojans are playing in their first College Cup and reached the final by snapping a nine-game losing streak to their cross-city rival. UCLA was making its fifth consecutive appearance but has never won the championship.
UCLA led 1-0 at halftime and seemed to have control until Rodriguez took a pass from Ashli Sandoval in the 68th minute, shed a defender and slid a low shot past Bruins goalie Valerie Henderson.
Six minutes later, Sandoval lofted a corner kick toward the far post. Kasey Johnson headed it toward Rodriguez, who spun and booted a left-footed shot into the net.
Lauren Cheney set a UCLA record with her 23rd goal of the season. But the Bruins, the nation's sixth highest scoring team, couldn't rally late and had a 17-game winning streak snapped.
Cheney got a direct kick with two minutes left in the game, but she blasted it over the net.
Southern Cal didn't allow a goal in its first four NCAA tournament games and shut out 15 opponents this season.
With seven minutes left in the first half, Cheney used a nifty move to weave through three defenders, then ripped a shot past USC goalie Kristin Olson. It was the first goal allowed by USC in 447 minutes.
The Bruins outshot Southern Cal 20-8 in the game.