COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The No. 1 Portland Pilots are the 2005 NCAA National Champions after a dominating 4-0 win against the No. 4 UCLA Bruins in the College Cup Final at Aggie Soccer Stadium on Sunday. Senior striker Christine Sinclair scored twice giving her 39 goals this season for a new NCAA single-season record. Sophomore midfielder Angie Woznuk added a goal and two assists, while freshman forward Megan Rapinoe also scored and recorded an assist to give UP its second national title in the past four years. The Pilots (23-0-2) are only the second national champion (North Carolina, 10 times) to finish a season unbeaten. The Bruins finish the season at 22-2-2. It's the second-straight loss in the College Cup Final for UCLA as Notre Dame defeated the Bruins in 2004 on penalty kicks.
It's the second national title in any sport for the University of Portland. UP won the 2002 NCAA Women's Soccer National Championship, meaning the four current Pilot seniors, Sinclair, midfielder Lindsey Huie, defender Kelsy Hollenbeck and forward Colleen Salisbury, finish their careers on The Bluff with two national titles. Portland also becomes just the third school in NCAA history with multiple titles, joining North Carolina's 17 championships and Notre Dame's two.
"What do you say after a game like that?" asked Portland coach Garrett Smith. "The first thought through my head was, 'Clive (Charles), there's number two for you.' This program was built on a great foundation and this team just showed the whole country what it's built out of. It's built out of a lot of class, a lot of talent, and a lot of hard work, and a foundation that will always be with us."
The Pilots wasted little time getting on the board as Woznuk scored Portland's fastest goal this season in the second minute. Huie started the play when she stole a UCLA pass about 30 yards out from the Bruins' goal. Huie then found Rapinoe who advanced it toward the 18-yard box. The Bruin defense collapsed on Rapinoe who sent a pass to an unmarked Woznuk in the middle of the box. Woznuk punched it inside the right post giving Portland the early 1-0 advantage. The score was the first allowed by the Bruins this postseason. "I think as far as the goal goes, that's exactly what we needed," said Woznuk. "To score a goal that early makes the other team question a little bit what they are capable of."
UCLA had its first good look in the 15th minute when sophomore midfielder Danesha Adams made a run down the middle of the field. UP junior goalie Cori Alexander and junior defender Kari Evans momentarily slowed down Adams, but the ball deflected to the left inside the penalty box. Adams had an open net, but from a difficult angle from the extreme left of the goal, her shot from 10 yards out hit the side netting of the Pilot goal.
UP responded with another goal six minutes later from Sinclair, the reigning national player of the year. Sinclair ended a career-long three-game scoreless streak off a perfect ball from Woznuk. Woznuk made a run down the middle of the field but reversed direction about six yards from the goal. Woznuk passed it back to streaking Sinclair who fired a rocket into the top right corner of the net from the top of the box to make it 2-0. Sinclair added her second goal of the game with about 4:00 left in the half. Sophomore forward Natalie Budge's cross from the right made it through a handful of defenders and found Sinclair inside the box to the left of the goal. Sinclair made a turn, beating the UCLA defender, and went low just inside the far post for a 3-0 Pilot lead. It's the 110th career goal for Sinclair, second most in NCAA Division I history, and gives her 25 career post-season goals, an NCAA record. Her 56 career post-season points are also tops in NCAA history and her 252 overall career points are fourth best all-time.
Portland suffered a scare in the second half when Sinclair hit the turf after bumping knees with UCLA's McCall Zerboni. Sinclair was on the field clutching her right knee for about a minute before climbing to her feet. She stayed in the game and appeared to be all right. UCLA tried to apply more pressure in the second half, but it was the Pilots who dominated the time of possession. The Bruins recorded eight shots in the second half, but never seriously challenged the Pilot frame.
Portland was able to find the net one more time to take a 4-0 lead. Woznuk fed Rapinoe just outside the box to the right of the arch. Rapinoe cut back towards the middle of the field to lose her defender and finished inside the near post with her left foot just out of the reach of Bruin goalie Valerie Henderson. It's the 15th goal this season for Rapinoe and her sixth of the post season. Woznuk picked up her ninth assist.
This marks Portland's first win ever against UCLA as the Bruins won the previous three meetings. Portland finished the match with a slight 13-12 advantage in shots and had five shots on goal to the Bruins' four. Alexander made three saves for her 11th shutout this season. Henderson made one save for UCLA. "I felt like we were completely focused," Huie said. "Nothing could pull us away from what we planned to do because we had absolutely nothing to lose today."
The Bruins had five corner kicks, while Portland had only three. The Bruins also picked up three yellow cards in the contest.
Sinclair was named the tournament's offensive MVP, while Alexander was named the defensive MVP. Huie, Woznuk, Rapinoe and sophomore defender Stephanie Lopez were named to the all-tournament team.
Approximately 1,200 Pilot fans packed into the Chiles Center to watch Portland's victory shown on a large projection screen.
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