The Cougars historic 2021 season came to a close in Santa Clara on Monday evening as the Cougars fell to the Florida State Seminoles in penalties by a score of 4-3 (0-0).
The Cougars started hot in what would be a very open first half. Makayla Colohan found Cam Tucker on a through ball and Tucker slotted the ball past the FSU goalkeeper, but was called for straying into an offside position just before Colohan made the pass. Replay showed that the correct call was likely made, as Tucker’s shoulder was just ahead of the FSU back line.
The Cougars had several chances throughout the half, but FSU’s back line was solid throughout and prevented the Cougars from any clear goal scoring chances.
Part way through the half, Colohan got caught on a challenge and was forced off the for the remainder of the half. FSU became more dangerous as the half wore on, and the Cougars held on to remain even at the half.
To the surprise of many, Colohan started the second half. The Seminoles possessed the ball, knocking it around the Cougars who hadn’t faced a team that can possess like FSU. The Cougars were out of shape as a few players tried to press but weren’t pressing as a unit.
The Cougars eventually found their shape again, but not without some huge plays from Grace Johnson, who was the best player for the Cougars. Johnson made several interceptions and slowed the FSU attack enough to allow BYU defenders to get back into shape.
From there, Jamie Shepherd moved the ball into the attack and had the best opportunities, but the Cougars lacked creativity in the final third against the strong FSU defense.
After the full-time whistle, the match still wasn’t decided and the teams went into overtime, the third straight NCAA Final to need extra time to decide a winner. The previous two required penalties, with Santa Clara beating Florida State this past spring and Stanford beating UNC in 2019, and the 2021 match was the third straight to go into penalties. Shockingly, there have only been four penalty shootouts in final history.
In the final two minutes of the first over time period, the Cougars were lucky to avoid conceding a penalty as Freshman fullback Olivia Smith appeared to take down a FSU player in the box. Fortunately for the Cougars no penalty was given.
The official managed the match well, with perhaps the two biggest calls going each direction. As mentioned, Olivia Smith appeared to take down a FSU player in the box, but late in the second half Florida State’s star midfielder Jaelin Howell made a late challenge while sitting on a yellow card, a decision that should have resulted in a second yellow card. The Seminoles were lucky to get away with it and have her for the full 110 minutes.
After 110 minutes and no goals, penalties remained to decide the National Champion.
The Cougars had been in this position in the semi-final in the previous game, and the Seminoles lost to Santa Clara in last year’s final in penalties.
The Cougars stepped up first:
BYU: Make, 1-0 (Colohan)
FSU: Make, 1-1
BYU: Miss, 1-1 (Shepherd
FSU: Make, 1-2
BYU: Make, 2-2 (Mozingo)
FSU: Miss, 2-2
BYU: Miss, 2-2 (Folino)
FSU: Make, 3-2
BYU: Make, 3-3 (Wade)
FSU: Make, 4-3