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Penn State captures elusive national title

2015 Division I Women’s Soccer

Raquel Rodriguez (11) of the Penn State Nittany Lions is elated after scoring in the 72nd minute against Duke in the national championship game. It would prove to be the game-winning goal. SANDY HALVERSON / NCAA PHOTOS

The Results

CHAMPIONSHIP

Penn State 1, Duke 0

SEMIFINALS

Penn State 2, Rutgers 0

Duke 2, Florida State 0

ELITE 90 HONOREE

Casey Martinez, Duke

Since the 1992-93 season, the Pennsylvania State University women’s soccer program has ruled the Big Ten, winning 17 conference titles, but the Nittany Lions have met frustration during NCAA tournament play.

That all came to an end Dec. 6, as a goal by senior Raquel Rodriguez in the 72nd minute propelled Penn State to a 1-0 victory over Duke University in Cary, North Carolina, to give the program its first NCAA title. It was only their second appearance in the Women’s College Cup final.

The Nittany Lions’ championship capped an impressive run through the NCAA tournament; they outscored the opposition 20-0 in six matches.

“This is the pinnacle of your career, winning your first national championship,” Penn State coach Erica Walsh said. “One of the things that has been a hallmark of this program is consistency. To win the big one, you have to be consistent all season long.

“Our attention to detail and commitment overall has been on point all year. Their dedication on and off the field has been impressive. They were focused on winning this national championship, and I couldn’t be happier for this group.”