Penn State College Cup Final Central

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The top-seeded Nittany Lion women's soccer team will play in the College Cup Final for the first time in program history on Sunday at 4 p.m. (ESPNU) against second-seeded North Carolina.

Penn State moved into the national title match with a dramatic 2-1 overtime victory over top-seeded Florida State on Friday in Torero Stadium.  After a Maya Hayes goal made it 1-0 in the 57th minute, Penn State yielded a score to the Seminoles in the final minute, but senior Christine Nairn ended the contest at the 91:12 mark to send the Lions into the championship bout.

The Nittany Lions join Wisconsin (1991) as the only two Big Ten universities that have played in the women's soccer national championship match.

The second-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels advanced to the College Cup Final with a golden goal from leading scorer Kealia Ohai in double overtime of a 1-0 victory over top-seeded Stanford on Friday night.

The Nittany Lions and Tar Heels have played five times before, including once in the College Cup Semifinals (1999).  North Carolina owns a 4-1 edge in the all-time series.  Penn State's win in the series came during the regular season in 1999.

While the Nittany Lion program is new to the national title match, North Carolina has an illustrious history of success in the College Cup Final.  North Carolina has won the College Cup 20 times since the NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament began in 1982.  The Tar Heels will be playing in the College Cup Final for the 23rd time on Sunday afternoon out of a possible 31 women's soccer championship games.

Penn State's 2012 journey has been a tremendous ride for head coach Erica Walsh and the Nittany Lions.  The Lions are thrilled to have the opportunity to compete for a national title for the first time in school history.


VIDEO: College Cup Final Preview Interviews


VIDEO: National Championship Preview Press Conference




By the Numbers:

No. 1 Penn State

 

No. 2 North Carolina

21-3-2

Record

14-5-3

2.80

Scoring Offense

2.22

0.923

Goals-Against

0.70

0.83

Save Percentage

0.754

75/24

Goals Scored/Goals Allowed

51/16

39/34

Goals Scored by Half - 1st/2nd

15/34

8/16

Goals Allowed by Half - 1st/2nd

9/7

Christine Nairn - 1.72

Points Per Game Leader

Ohai and Green - 1.31

Christine Nairn - 0.65

Goals Per Game Leader

Kealia Ohai - 0.50

Raquel Rodriguez - 0.42

Assists Per Game Leader

Ranee Premji - 0.409

Erin McNulty - 0.829

Save Percentage Leader

Adelaide Gay - 0.773

Christine Nairn - 11

Total Assists

Renee Premji - 9

Christine Nairn - 17

Total Goals

Kealia Ohai - 8

Christine Nairn - 45

Total Points

Kealia Ohai - 21

Erin McNulty - 87

Total Saves

Adelaide Gay - 34




College Cup Schedule:
Friday, Nov. 30 - Torero Stadium - San Diego, Calif.
- Semifinal I - No. 1 Penn State 2, No. 1 Florida State 1 (OT)
- Semifinal II - No. 2 North Carolina 1, No. 1 Stanford 0 (2OT)


Sunday, Dec. 2 - Torero Stadium - San Diego, Calif.
- 1 p.m. (PT) - No. 1 Penn State vs. No. 2 North Carolina on ESPNU



Penn State in the College Cup:
1999
- NCAA Semifinals - Dec. 3, 1999 - L, 2-0 to No. 2 North Carolina

2002
- NCAA Semifinals - Dec. 6, 2002 - L, 2-0 to No. 9 Portland

2005

- NCAA Semifinals - Dec. 2, 2005 - T, 0-0 (2 OT) to No. 1 Portland (Advanced 4-3 on penalty kicks)

2012
- NCAA Semifinals - Nov. 30, 2012 - W, 2-1 (OT) vs. No. 1 Florida State


Quoteboard:
Head Coach Erica Walsh
"Two days ago my goal was to be sitting here in front of you and to see some familiar faces. The coverage has been fantastic it's great to see how far women's soccer has come. We think back to 1994 when Penn State started their program. I went to college in 1993 and didn't even have Penn State as an option, so it's exciting to see how our sport has grown over the years and the opportunities that are available to these student athletes to come and play in front of a crowd last night that was excited, they were educated they were into it. Despite the pouring rain the field was fantastic and what a perfect environment for these guys to showcase their skills and all their hard work so I just want to thank the University of San Diego, the NCAA, and everyone else that was involved in the organizing committee for putting on such a wonderful event."


On the possibility of a let down in tomorrow's championship game...
"You just have to spend a little bit of time with these players to answer that question. I laugh, I smile because I don't think they're capable of it, in fact I know they're not capable of it. There were moments in this season when I had that question in my mind, but that question has been answered time and time again- whether it's a Friday Saturday schedule or whether it's an overtime win, whether it's just the moment in the game where they had the ability to crack and they didn't so maybe that question was asked in September or early October, but now in December I can tell you with great certainty that these guys can handle anything you throw out at them."

On North Carolina...
"Saw a lot of talent, a lot of experience, a lot of pace, and I saw a lot of the things that we've seen all season long. I was talking last night about our experiences in the Big 10, mainly Nebraska which is a team that put on a tremendous amount of pressure for 90 minutes and at moments we started to crack in that game, but again that's a month and a half ago now and we have learned a lot about ourselves since that moment so I think through our experiences this season, through the teams we've been able to schedule, we've been awarded the opportunity to travel and play the best teams in the country we're prepared for someone like UNC or anybody we would face at this point in the season."



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