UCLA Drops Virginia in Penalty Shootout, Advances to NCAA Title Game

Rosie! - UCLA Athletics / uclabruins.com (photo by Jeff Sipsey)

Recapping the emotional roller-coaster that was the NCAA women's soccer semi-final match between UCLA and Virginia, with the Lady Bruins coming from behind to force the game to OT in the dying minutes of the match, and winning it in the always-stressful penalty kick shootout to advance to the NCAA final against Florida State on Sunday.

Wow.

And the quest for UCLA's 110th national championship is still alive.  After looking to have given the game away on an extremely poor attempted pass from the usually-reliable Abby Dahlkemper to 'keeper Katelyn Rowland, which Makenzy "My Parents Can't Spell" Doniak capitalized in the 73rd minute to give Virginia a 1-0 lead with time quickly running out.  The game, and season, looked to be lost as Virginia withheld the Bruins' desperate offensive push in search of an equalizer.

Yet, one moment of brilliance was all it took, as Sarah Killion threaded a beautiful ball to an open Ally Courtnall, who after taking a few touches too many, got lucky to slot it under Virginia shot-stopper Morgan Stearns to notch things up at 1-1 in the 85th minute.  Stearns, who really should have came up with the routine save, returned the favor that Dahlkemper provided only 12 minutes earlier, and it would prove costly as Virginia was unable to unlock UCLA's defense in both overtime periods, with the Bruins coming on strong and almost stealing the game in open play.  But alas, the winner couldn't be found and off to penalty kicks the ladies went.

Fortunately, the English penalty kick curse didn't seem to make it's way to Westwood. Sam Mewis, who has been instrumental to UCLA's run, stepped up and buried the first PK, followed by Virginia's Danielle Colaprico notching her first PK.  Killion, fresh from unlocking Virginia's defense, did not disappoint and converted the second, but her numerical counterpart in orange, Emily Sonnett, converted Virginia's second as well.  Tied at 2, Lauren Kaskie stepped up and gave the Bruins the edge.

And then it happened.  Virginia's Alexis Shaffer came to the spot needing to score to keep the Cavaliers even with UCLA, but Bruin shot-stopper Rowland, who has been massive all year long, came up with a save to give the Bruins what looked a critical edge.  But, not to be out-done, PK specialist Jessie Ferrari came up with a huge save on Kodi Lavrusky's PK to keep Virginia alive at 3-2.  But Rowland wasn't finished as she came up another save, denying Virginia's Morgan Brian and giving the Bruins the edge.  All Rosie White needed to do was convert and the improbable Bruin comeback would be complete, and she did not disappoint, sending Ferrari the wrong way to win it for the Bruins and send them on to the national championship match against Florida State.

Exciting finish to an outstanding match.  The UCLA athletics official site has a review of the game here, and the NCAA also has a recap of the match available.  Finally, the NCAA has video highlights available here, in case you missed the match.

Boom.  The Bruins survive and advance.  We'll have further coverage as the Lady Bruins gear up in their quest to bring UCLA its 110th NCAA national title.  For now, fire away in the post-game massive come-from-behind victory thread.

GO BRUINS

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