Rodriguez Powers Penn State Past Duke for First NCAA Title

penn state team photo as ncaa champs
Photo courtesy of Shane Lardinois

Penn State won its first NCAA Division I women’s soccer championship by defeating Duke, 1-0, at WakeMed Soccer Park, in Cary, North Carolina. Senior midfielder Raquel Rodriguez scored the game-winner for the Nittany Lions in the 72 minute. Penn State did not concede a goal throughout the NCAA Tournament.

Duke had the first good look in the first half but Ashton Miller’s volley went just wide in the 9th minute. From there on out, it was a back-and-forth and entertaining match.

But it was Penn State which struck first and it was all that was needed. Fellow senior Mallory Weber sent in a low cross to Rodriguez from the right side. With her back to the goal, Rodriguez collected the ball, turned, and fired a left-footed shot that beat Duke goalkeeper EJ Proctor.

Rodriguez is a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top college player. The Costa Rican international featured for Las Ticas in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, scoring the country’s very first Women’s World Cup goal against Spain in the group stage.