December 8, 2002

Santa Clara Falls Just Short To Portland In NCAA Women's College Cup

Dec. 8, 2002

Final Stats

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Christine Sinclair scored her second goal in the second overtime period Sunday, sending Portland to a 2-1 victory over Santa Clara in the NCAA Women's College Cup final and giving the Pilots their first national championship.

Sinclair, a Canadian national team player who tied the game at 1-1 with a goal in the 61st minute, put back a rebound of her own shot for the win in sudden-death overtime.

It was Sinclair's 26th goal of the season and her 10th of the NCAA tournament.

Devvyn Hawkins scored for Santa Clara, which won the 2001 national title.

It was just the third Women's College Cup final to go to overtime. Portland lost to Notre Dame 1-0 in triple overtime in 1995.

Santa Clara applied most of the pressure in the first extra period, forcing Pilots goalkeeper Lauren Arase to make three tough saves. Arase left the game after getting kneed in the head in a collision in the penalty box.

Portland (20-4-2) went on the offensive in the second overtime and Sinclair didn't waste her chance to put it away.

Sinclair dashed into the penalty area toward a low cross and was able to flick it on goal. Santa Clara goalkeeper Alyssa Sobolik made the block but the ball bounced off her chest, hit the right post and bounced back to Sinclair, who calmly put it into the net.

Santa Clara (20-5-1) and Portland are West Coast Conference rivals. The Broncos beat Portland 1-0 in their only other meeting this season. Sinclair missed that game because she was playing with the Canadian national team.

Sunday's first half was scoreless as both teams worked to find their touch on a field that was made soggy by a steady drizzle.

Portland's defense, which hadn't given up a goal in six games, finally cracked in the 53rd minute when Hawkins finished a corner kick with a volley past Arase.

Portland tied the game eight minutes later when Sinclair scored on an unlikely shot aided by the slick conditions.

Sinclair broke free down the left side and reversed field before sending a low cross into the box. The ball skipped on the wet grass and curled around Sobolik, sliding just inside the right post.

Sinclair's set an NCAA tournament record with 21 points on 10 goals and one assist. North Carolina's Mia Hamm set the previous mark of 16 in 1993.