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USWNTer Jaelin Howell Shushes Crowd As Florida State Claims National Title

A year after being denied on penalties in the final, Florida State returned to the title game and again went to a shootout. This time, reigning MAC Hermann Trophy winner Jaelin Howell and FSU would not be denied.

Florida State outlasted BYU 4-3 in a shootout after a scoreless draw to claim the NCAA Division I women’s soccer championship on Monday night. The match was originally scheduled for Sunday, but BYU does not play on Sunday for religious reasons. 

Embed from Getty Images

The title is FSU’s third in the last seven years, bringing it into a three-way tie for second-most titles all time, though still well behind North Carolina’s 21. 

In the 2020 tournament (which was played in 2021 because of Covid), Santa Clara beat Florida State 4-1 in a shootout after a 1-1 draw, with two FSU penalty attempts going off the post. 

This time around, Florida State held its nerve, highlighted by Howell, the 22-year-old with two USWNT caps to her name, putting her finger to her mouth to silence the crowd in Santa Clara. 

Embed from Getty Images

BYU, which reached the semifinals for the first time in school history, knocked off defending champion Santa Clara in penalties on Friday to reach the final, but couldn’t find that same magic on Monday. 

Puerto Rican goalkeeper Cristina Roque made two saves for Florida State and Chinese midfielder Yujie Zhao superbly buried the fifth and final attempt of the shootout to send FSU into jubilant celebrations. A year after being upset in the final as the No. 1-ranked team, Florida State could finally celebrate another title.

2021 NCAA Women's Soccer Championship Highlights 

The men’s NCAA final four starts on Friday, with Clemson vs. Notre Dame and Georgetown vs. Washington. The final will be on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

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