By Official Florida FC

Four posts.

Florida State’s quest to win a third NCAA women’s soccer title was decided by the four posts the Seminoles hit in the national final against Santa Clara. The Seminoles’ quest to cap off an unbeaten season –  amid a pandemic — ended in a penalty kicks.

Santa Clara won 4-1 on penalty kicks after the team teams were tied at 1-all after 110 minutes.

The Seminoles (13-1-2) were seeking to become the first women’s soccer team in a decade to finish unbeaten and appeared on their way to doing so when Jenna Nighswonger’s 63rd minute shot kissed the far post and went into the net.

Only twice in Florida State’s 15 previous matches did the Seminoles concede the equalizer. Florida State maintained 71 percent of possession in the first half and penetrated Santa Clara’s defensive third throughout the second half. But, one loose pass, was all the Broncos needed.

Santa Clara’s Kelsey Turnbow scored her team-leading 10th goal of the season in the 83rd minute.

Florida State’s best chance of regulation was blocked. The Seminoles’ best opportunity of overtime came in the 99th when Yujie Zhao’s shot hit the crossbar, but did not go in.

When 110 minutes of soccer could not separate the Seminoles from their opponents, the two former national champions went to penalty kicks. Florida State seniors Clara Robbins and Emily Madril watched in disbelief as their penalty kicks clang off the right post and bounce away. Meanwhile, Santa Clara coolly dispatched their efforts past Florida State goalkeeper Cristina Roque.

The Seminoles quest for a third national title ended agonizingly short. However, the program can take solace in its first undefeated regular season in program history.

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