The No. 1-ranked women’s college soccer team in the nation, Florida State, will be looking to crown a magical season with a national title in Monday’s 2021 College Cup final. But to accomplish the feat, FSU will need to overcome the NCAA’s highest-scoring team as BYU makes its first-ever appearance in the title game.
A finalist in three of the last four seasons, Florida State comes into the match looking to avenge a heartbreaking end to its 2020 tournament run (held in May 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic). The Seminoles were foiled by a penalty-kick shootout in that edition’s final against Santa Clara. FSU has been a team on a mission in 2021, losing only once all year (1-0 to Duke) and finishing atop the final coach’s poll entering the NCAA tournament.
Meanwhile, BYU (17W-4L-2D) emerged as a scoring force in the 2021 Division I ranks with 77 goals scored in its 23 matches. It has only been shut out four times and two of those came against conference rival Santa Clara which also happened to be its foe in the NCAA semifinals. The scoreless match needed a penalty-kick shootout and BYU somehow came back from failing to convert its first two attempts to survive and advance to the final (video below).
A penalty-kick shootout could be required again on Monday. If the match is tied after 90 minutes, two 10-minute periods of sudden-death overtime will be played. If it’s still deadlocked, a penalty-kick shootout will decide the winner.
How to watch Florida State vs. BYU
- Date: Monday, Dec. 6
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: ESPNU
- Streaming: fuboTV
The NCAA women’s soccer championship match will be televised on ESPNU and streamed on fuboTV.
The match will be played at Stevens Stadium on the campus of Santa Clara University, which was selected to host the final four, also known as the “College Cup”.
How they got here
As a No. 1 seed, Florida State had the opportunity to host all but one of its five tournament matches in Tallahassee. That’s where it took care of South Alabama (3-0) and SMU (5-1) before rattling off three straight 1-0 shutouts en route to the final.
Its last two opponents were tough outs from the Big Ten: It needed sudden-death overtime to oust Big Ten conference champs Michigan and then got a goal with 20 minutes remaining against Big Ten regular season champs Rutgers:
BYU has shown its goal-scoring might against weaker opposition by brushing off New Mexico (6-0), Alabama (4-1) and South Carolina (4-1).
But BYU also showed that it can play tight against the heavyweights like No. 2-ranked Virginia (1-0 win in Elite Eight) and defending national champion Santa Clara in the Final Four.
Florida State vs. BYU: Head to head
The NCAA women’s soccer final will represent the first time that these two programs have faced off in their history.
Florida State plays in the ACC, where it won the conference championship in November by downing No. 2-ranked Virginia in the final.
BYU shared the 2021 WCC conference championship with 2020 national champs Santa Clara, and it needed an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament after Santa Clara claimed the conference’s automatic berth based on head-to-head record.
Despite entering as an at-large, BYU was still handed a No. 4 seeding in its quadrant of the bracket, which helped it secure home games in the first round and quartefinals of the NCAA tournament.
Florida State vs. BYU: Star players
The Seminoles have two first-team All-Americans in midfield: Emily Madril and semifinal scoring hero Jaelin Howell, who has also earned time in senior U.S. national team camp.
Other international talents on the Seminoles roster include Canada national teamer Gabrielle Carle, Chinese midfielder Yujie Zhao and Jamaica forward Jody Brown.
BYU’s first-team All-American Mikayla Colohan has 18 goals, good for second in the nation. Teammate Cameron Tucker is right behind her with 16 tallies.
Colohan has already been drafted by the NWSL’s Orlando Pride and will report to camp after the tournament in advance of the 2022 NWSL season.
BYU goalkeeper Cassidy Smith came up with a key save in the penalty-kick shootout against Santa Clara and should have ample time in the spotlight against the No. 1-ranked team in the nation. She’s in her seventh year at the school with medical redshirts and an extra year of eligibility helping to extend her stay.
Florida State vs. BYU: Coaches
Since taking over the program in 2005, Mark Krikorian has transformed Florida State into a national powerhouse, leading the women’s team to titles in 2014 and 2018 and falling just short in the 2020 tournament. The Seminoles also made the final in 2007 and 2013.
In the 27-year existence of the women’s soccer program at FSU, the team has made 12 final fours: 11 of them came in Krikorian’s tenure, during which it produced a host of pros and national teamers, including Canada’s Gabrielle Carle.
BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood has been at the helm for 27 seasons, leading BYU to 21 NCAA tournament appearances in that span, advancing to the Sweet 16 on seven occasions and pushing into the Elite Eight on four occasions.