First Division I Women’s Soccer Title For Bruins

Amanda Cromwell With Bruins Jenna Richmond And Taylor Smithy (L-R)

Before becoming the women’s head coach at UCLA last summer, Amanada Cromwell spent 14 seasons at the University of Central Florida.

There, her UCF teams won five tournaments and eight regular season championships. UCF went to the NCAAs 11 of those 14 seasons.

But those teams never made it to the College Cup semifinals.

As a player, she played for the University of Virginia from 1988-1992. She was captain of the Cavaliers in the 1991 NCAA Final Four.

This year, Cromwell made it to the College Cup semifinals in Cary, NC. The team wearing the familiar name on their jersey in that game was this year’s Virginia Cavaliers.

[show_disconnected][show_to accesslevel=’Subscriber’] Not only did Cromwell’s Bruins beat the #1 ranked and undefeated ‘Hoos, 2-1, they followed that up with a 1-0 victory over Florida State for the national championship.

“I’m just continuing what B.J. (Snow) and Jill (Ellis) built,” said Cromwell, deflecting credit from herself. “They did a great job recruiting, and the scheduling was fantastic and helped us get to be national champions.”

But the reality is, Cromwell did a masterful job of coaching her new team, and the players bought into what the coaching staff asked them to do.

Once postseason play began, the Bruins knocked off San Diego State, Kentucky, Stanford and defending champion UNC in Chapel Hill. No shortcuts in that road to the national semifinals.

Against Virginia when it looked as though the Cavaliers would move on to the title match, the Bruins scored a goal in the closing minutes to even the score at 1-1. They advanced on penalty kicks.

In the quarterfinals they had scored in the second overtime period to edge the Tar Heels 1-0. That prevented an All-ACC sweep of the semifinal round, to which Virginia, Florida State and Virginia Tech advanced.

In fact, six of the last eight teams were from the ACC, with Duke and Boston College losing in the quarterfinals.

In the championship match that went to overtime without a goal, Kody Lavrusky ended it with the game-winner with just over three minutes left in the first overtime period.

The game was played in near freezing conditions. It was not a pleasant environment for a championship soccer game, but the girls from California weathered the weather and the Seminoles.

“The team is phenomenal,” Cromwell said. “The talent we have, and what we brought throughout the run is the mentality and resolve. I think the toughness of those games brought us to this point and I knew these girls were destined to win it.”

For Florida State (23-2-3), the loss was a huge disappointment. The game marked the second time the Seminoles have played in the national championship game. They had advanced with a 3-2 win over Virginia Tech. The ‘Noles were riding a nine-game winning streak which included the ACC tournament championship.

“Often times if you’re not controlling the tempo of the game and having more of the ball, you’re looking for that moment for a big chance,” said FSU coach Mark Krikorian in the postgame media conference.

“We had a couple of half chances or partial chances or whatever that with a little bit more luck, it turns in our direction. But overall, it wasn’t meant to be.”

After the win over UNC, Cromwell decided to remain in the area rather than going back to California for a couple of days. The Bruins trained at UNC.

The Bruins finished the season with a 22-1-3 record, and a big trophy that says National Champions.

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