SAN DIEGO (AP) — Christine Nairn scored in the second minute of overtime to help Penn State beat Florida State 2-1 on Friday night in the NCAA Division I women’s College Cup semifinals Friday night.
The Nittany Lions (21-3-2) advanced to the championship game Sunday against North Carolina, which beat Stanford 1-0 in two overtimes later Friday.
Penn State reached the final after losing in three previous semifinal games.
In overtime, Nairn took a long pass from Maddy Evans and beat goalkeeper Kelsey Wys from 6 yards.
Maya Hayes was instrumental in getting the ball to Evans, who rifled a shot from the left wing that Wys stopped. However, the ball bounced away and Nairn was there to tap it home.
“I guess I was in the right place at the right time,” Nairn said about her 17th goal of the season. “Maddy and Maya did all the hard work. I just tapped it in.”
Florida State (20-4) forced overtime when Tiffany McCarty headed a fed from Kristin Grubka past goalkeeper Erin McNulty with 42 seconds left in regulation. McCarty also has 17 goals.
“Over the last 25 games we have faced all sorts of adversity and it has left them with this belief that it doesn’t matter what bad befalls them,” Penn State coach Erica Walsh said. “You just see their shoulders go back, they take a second and pause and reflect and then Christine Nairn stepped up and led the charge.
“When the overtime started I looked over and I saw Christine looking at her teammates’ eyes giving them poise, composure and all the confidence in the world to go out and win the game.”
Penn State opened the scoring in the 57th minute on Hayes’ 16th goal of the season.
“They did a better job than we did in the middle of the field,” Florida State coach Mark Krikorian said. “They won more first ball and won more second balls. But we did pick up the pace in the second half and put a lot of pressure on them, but didn’t finish enough of our plays.”
Nairn helped set up the goal, leading a rush up the middle and feeding a pass to Mallory Weber on the left wing. Weber came in and fired a left-foot shot at Wys, who made the initial save, but dropped the ball. Hayes was right there to knock it into the far right corner with her left foot.
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