NCAA women’s soccer championship score, updates, highlights as FSU clobbers Stanford to win 2023 College Cup final

CARY, NC —  Both teams entered unbeaten, but when the 90 minutes of the 2023 NCAA women’s national championship were up, there was no doubt who the best team in the country was.

Top-ranked Florida State put forth an absolutely electric display, carving the nation’s best defense to shreds as the Seminoles ran away as 5-1 winners over Stanford to claim their third national title in the last six years.

The match was scoreless as the first half-hour neared a close, but FSU had held most of the attacking possession. It felt a matter of time before they found the back of the net, and when they did, the floodgates opened. Jordynn Dudley won a penalty in the 29th minute and buried the spot-kick to break the deadlock, and just 29 seconds later Jody Brown doubled the lead on a vicious transitional play.

With the score 2-0 at halftime and Stanford struggling under Florida State’s overwhelming midfield pressure, it threatened to get away from the Cardinal. After the break, the Pac-12 champions would have their say, with Maya Doms burying a blast in the 52nd minute to bring them back within a goal. Yet that moment of hope wouldn’t last long, as it seemed to re-awaken the Seminoles from their halftime slumber.

Beata Olsson put her stamp on the game soon after to reassert Florida State’s lead in the 59th minute, and just three minutes later she played provider to Brown’s second of the match, putting FSU up 4-1 and eliminating any doubt. With time winding down, the Stanford defenders switched off allowing Onyi Echegini to cap it off with a messy goal and send Florida State into their inevitable celebration.

The Sporting News was live on-site in Cary, NC following the Florida State versus Stanford match live, providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they happened.

2023 NCAA women’s soccer championship final score

  Score Goal scorers
#1 FSU 5 Dudley (29′),
Brown (30′, 62′),
Olsson (59′),
Echegini (85′)
#3 Stanford 1 Doms (52′)

Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT
Location: WakeMed Soccer Park (Cary, NC)
Referee: Meghan Mullen

2023 NCAA women’s soccer championship post-match updates

9:40 p.m. ET: Speaking to The Sporting News after the match, Jordynn Dudley said she had no nerves on her first half penalty, and trusted her gut. “Business as usual, we practice those and I didn’t want to mix it up especially in that moment and get in my own head.”

She was a basketball star in high school and had to pick one to play in college. “It was a struggle to pick one to play for the rest of my life, but I just knew that soccer was what I wanted to do.” Not a bad decision, it would appear.

9:09 p.m. ET: The turning point of this match was the period of time immediately after Stanford’s goal, when it felt like the Pac-12 side was on its way back into the match. FSU started the second half slowly, but the goal seemed to electrocute them, and they jolted to life.

I asked FSU head coach Brian Pensky about that period after Stanford scored. “What makes this game so special is there’s no timeouts. Coachs can’t solve this, I hated it in the moment, but I love it because their response…they scored in the 52nd minute, and then 10 minutes later the game was over. They took responsibility, and I knew they had it. It sounds cheesy, but they wouldn’t be denied.”

8:54 p.m. ET: Florida State head coach Brian Pensky is speaking to the media alongside Beata Olsson and Leilanni Nesbeth. “We have a great team, I’m so happy with how we performed tonight,” Olsson says. “Stanford’s a great team, we just showed we’re a little bit greater. Everyone performed at 100 percent today.”

Nesbeth says: “hopefully little girls see this and say to their mom and day ‘I want to play for that.’ We’re a family here man. Everyone works their butts off for this game.” Asked about Jordynn Dudley, Nesbeth shook her head for a second, before saying, “That girl is incredible, nobody sees how hard she works, she’s a little bit shy but she’s starting to come out of her shell. All season she’s stepped up like nobody I’ve seen before.”

Pensky is over the moon with his squad. I asked him if this team, with contributors from all corners of the roster, is kind of a coach’s dream. With a chuckle, he replied, “You said ‘kind of’? Before a game you have nerves, anticipation, all that…but I came into today with none of that. That’s down to talent, leadership, belief and determination. It left me incredibly relaxed in a way I’ve never felt before as a coach. We’re playing in a national championship against a team that hadn’t lost 10 games into last year.”

8:40 p.m. ET: The Seminoles are the first team to win the NCAA women’s national championship with an undefeated season since Stanford in 2011. They are just the fourth team to do so, behind Stanford, Portland, and UNC. North Carolina did it 11 times, including an unfathomable eight straight years from 1986-1993, while the other three teams have one each.

8:31 p.m. ET: Stanford head coach Paul Ratcliffe, speaking to the media, says that he’s proud of his team for going for it down 2-1 when the floodgates opened. “If you’re going to lose, you’ll lose, it doesn’t matter by how much. Obviously we went for it, and it didn’t work out, but I’m so proud of this team, they exceeded my expectations this year.”

He calls their undefeated season “extraordinary,” but says “the loss is the hardest to take when you get all the way to the end and then lose. If I try to put some perspective on it, what a great year.”

8:14 p.m. ET: They’ve announced the all-tournament team. Stanford see Maya Doms and Shae Harvey named to the XI, while Florida State have goalkeeper Cristina Roque on the squad, as well as outfield players Leilanni Nesbeth, Jody Brown, and Taylor Huff who all make the group.

FSU also have the tournament’s most outstanding defender in Lauren Flynn, and the most outstanding offensive player in Jordynn Dudley.

2023 NCAA women’s soccer championship lupdates, highlights, commentary: As it happened

FULLTIME: FSU 5-1 Stanford

In one of the all-time performances in championship history, Florida State take the nation’s top defense and put it in a blender, running away as 5-1 winners to secure their third national championship in the last six years!

FSU vs Stanford: Second Half

88th min: The game’s first yellow card is shown to Julia Leontini as she takes down Jordynn Dudley about three yards atop the penalty area. It gives FSU a dangerous free-kick but Leilanna Nesbeth blasts the set-piece miles over the bar. With Florida State leading 5-1, she’s able to have some fun with her error, humorously holding her arms up in the “field goal” motion before giving a sarcastic fist pump.

85th min: GOAL! FLORIDA STATE! A messy goal from Onyi Echegini caps off a resounding performance as FSU go up 5-1 and eliminate any lingering doubts! A bouncing ball in the penalty area isn’t dealt with properly, and Echegini catches the Stanford defense napping to loop it over the goalkeeper and into the net!

84th min: Stanford are pressuring for a consolation goal as the game winds down, but Florida State are just too stout at the back to allow them any sustained possession.

73rd min: Chance, Stanford! Finally, the Cardinal get forward on the ball, and a cross from the left finds Maryn Wolf from about 16 yards out with her back to goal. She turns onto her right foot and fizzes a shot that blazes just inches over the crossbar. A good look on net that comes very close!

When Stanford have ventured forward, they’ve been dangerous nearly every time, but the volume of moves up front have been low as FSU control the majority of possession.

71st min: The game has slowed a bit. Stanford are trying desperately to create chances and see them have a prayer at a legendary comeback, but Florida State have entered into prevention mode, as they knock the ball around between their defense and midfield in a game of keep-away. Stanford are simply chasing ghosts trying to get it back.

65th min: Florida State are absolutely off to the races now. Onyi Echegini rips a shot from 23 yards out at the top of the penalty area that’s blocked, but it’s clear that the Seminoles are just letting it fly at this point. Stanford simply cannot keep up, and they can feel a national championship on the horizon.

62nd min: GOAL! FLORIDA STATE! THE SEMINOLES ARE RUNNING RIOT! They slice Stanford to pieces right down the middle, and it’s Jody Brown to find FSU’s fourth!

Only moments ago this was a 2-1 game and felt like Stanford were right back in it, but they’ve woken a (briefly) sleeping giant. Beata Olsson, having scored moments ago, is the one to run this counter-attack, and she touches to Brown free on her right for the calm finish. FSU can’t miss at the moment!

59th min: GOAL! FLORIDA STATE! A blistering counter-attack from Florida State is finished off by Beata Olsson, who gets free on goal by racing past her defender to put Seminoles back up by two!

It comes from a truly spectacular long-ball from Jordynn Dudley from deep, and then it’s all about the pace of Olsson to get past the trailing defender on the break, before the finish to cut a shot by Ryan Campbell across the face of goal! FSU have restored their two-goal advantage!

57th min: Chance, Florida State! WHAT A SENSATIONAL SAVE BY RYAN CAMPBELL! A cutback across the penalty area falls right in the lap of Amelia Van Zanten, who has the entire goal gaping at the far post, but somehow Campbell comes completely across her goal to cover with a stunning reflex save! That’s top class!

55th min: FSU have been sleepy to start the second half and it cost them, but the goal seems to have jolted the Seminoles back to life, and they begin to pour forward once again as they did in the first half. Onyi Echegini loops a difficult and awkward shot over the crossbar off a corner as the ‘Noles look to reassert their first-half dominance.

52nd min: GOAL! STANFORD! MAYA DOMS BURIES A GLORIOUS CHANCE FROM THE PENALTY SPOT, AND IT’S GAME ON! It all started on a wonderful run by Jasmine Aikey right down FSU’s throat, forcing goalkeeper Cristina Roque to come off her line and stretch to stop the ball before Aikey can get a shot off. Andrea Kitihata raced to the free ball, and with the goal now empty, Doms took charge and blasted the chance inside the far post!

That’s a huge goal, and the Cardinal are right back in it!

50th min: Stanford have their best spell of attacking possession since early in the first half, but as they work the ball around the top of the FSU penalty area, they can’t get a shot off, and then commit a foul in midfield won by Jordynn Dudley to relieve the pressure entirely.

47th min: The referee stops play and ushers Onyi Echegini off the pitch. It’s unclear why, but the most likely reason is that she spotted blood on the FSU midfielder and needed her to come off and address it. She runs the length of the pitch to receive treatment and reenters play shortly after.

Kickoff: The second half is under way, and the next goal will be extremely important. If FSU get another, this one’s almost surely over, as a three-goal lead would be an insurmountable lead for a team that hasn’t conceded a goal in their entire NCAA Tournament, nearly 500 minutes of play.

If Stanford can manage to get a foothold in midfield, however, and snatch one back, this one will be nervy down the stretch and the entire narrative changes. 45 minutes to decide the 2023 national champion! The temperature has dropped a good amount since the pre-match warmups, but adrenaline will keep these players warm.

HALFTIME: FSU 2-0 Stanford

At the break, the difference in this match simply comes down to volume. Stanford largely defended well throughout the 45 minutes, but with FSU creating the amount of attacking moves forward, they were bound to find something. They did, as Jordynn Dudley’s penalty in the 29th minute broke the scoreless deadlock, while Jody Brown doubled the lead just a minute later.

Stanford have to find ways to get the ball through midfield, where they are being completely overrun. When they do manage to get forward, the Cardinal look dangerous, but their attackers are feeding on scraps at the moment. Unless something changes, this is heading towards a third FSU national title in the last six years.

FSU vs Stanford: First Half

44th min: FSU have a dangerous free-kick from about 25 yards out as Taylor Huff is hacked after a wonderful ball from Leillana Nesbeth played her in, but the delivery is smacked into the wall. Stanford haven’t had a sniff of the attacking half in the last 10 minutes, and will be desperate for halftime.

41st min: Ryan Campbell is called upon again as Kaitlyn Zipay is played in on goal for FSU, but her tight-angle shot is smothered by the Stanford goalkeeper out for a corner. The set-piece is cleared by Stanford, albeit awkwardly as the ball pinged around the penalty area for some time before eventually being lumped away.

38th min: As both teams make wholesale substitutions with halftime approaching, FSU have Stanford completely pinned back. They’re pouring on the pressure, and while it hasn’t resulted in many good chances since the pair of quickfire goals, it’s keeping the Cardinal absolutely hemmed in.

There’s a real problem for Lumi Kostmayer, who has just entered for Stanford off the bench, as she limps off the field with a left foot issue. Maryn Wolf comes in to replace her, as the sophomore from Connecticut heads straight down the tunnel hopping on one leg.

34th min: FSU makes a triple substitution up front, as Jordynn Dudley, Jody Brown, and Beata Olsson are all brought off. Maria Alagoa, Kaitlyn Zipay, and Leah Pais enter, probably to finish out the half at the very least.

30th min: GOAL! FLORIDA STATE! IT’S TWO IN TWO MINUTES FOR THE SEMINOLES! Onyi Echegini pings an utterly brilliant ball over the defensive line and right into Jody Brown’s lap, seeing her free on goal! The Jamaican international takes a wonderful first touch to settle the delivery and blasts the chance in off the top of the crossbar! The Seminoles are suddenly flying!

28th min: PENALTY, FLORIDA STATE! The referee points to the spot for a foul on Mia Bhuta who catches the foot of FSU forward Jordynn Dudley late inside the top of the box! It comes on a wonderful cross from Beata Olsson, who worked herself free down the right flank, and sent a low fizzed ball to the far side of the area where Dudley was waiting with her back to goal. The freshman star turned inside and cut laterally, and Bhuta was late to react!

Dudley steps up to take the penalty after being the one to win it, and…GOAL! FLORIDA STATE! She buries the spot-kick into the top-right corner, and the goalkeeper has no chance! Ryan Campbell is fooled, and rooted to the spot, forced to watch helplessly as the Seminoles take the lead!

25th min: Now it’s Jordynn Dudley who gets a talking to from the official. Florida State attackers are getting a little over-aggressive as they press Stanford on the ball, and it’s caused the foul count to rack up. They’ve been whistled for five fouls to Stanford’s one, including three in the last four minutes.

22nd min: FSU fans are up in arms after a foul called on Jody Brown in midfield, but it’s the correct decision as she cuts down a Stanford midfielder trying to progress the ball laterally. The official has to stop proceedings to have a discussion with Brown, who’s also upset with the call.

Jasmine Aikey then has a go from the top of the penalty area, but facing the sideline, her turn and fire is extremely difficult, and she can’t stay on top of the ball as she contorts her body, blasting it high over the crossbar.

20th min: Chance, Floriad State! BEATA OLSSON HITS THE POST! She’s unmarked at the far post and gets a cross from Onyi Echegini, but her highly difficult volley attempt pings the woodwork! That’s a massive chance, but Stanford survive!

18th min: Stanford are once again struggling to get out of their own half. They make one foray into the attacking half, but a cross from the right is cut out and starts an FSU break the other way, which is only stopped by Ryan Campbell coming off her line to collect a ball from deep. Florida State remain the more dangerous side up front thus far.

13th min: FSU is turning the pressure back on. A big switch to Ran Iwai wins FSU’s third corner of the match, but Taylor Huff’s delivery is into the waiting arms of Ryan Campbell. This is a very high-quality match so far in all phases. Quality met by quality, very few mistakes on either end.

11th min: Jody Brown wins a foul in a very dangerous position just outside the top-right corner of the penalty area. It’ll be Ran Iwai to take the outswinger, but Stanford goalkeeper Ryan Campbell comes out strong to punch, and is fouled by an FSU attacker in the process.

9th min: FSU have their first corner, won by Onyi Echegini who absolutely shreds her defender on the FSU left wing. It’s cleared at the near post, out for another go. It’s a much better delivery the second time around, but Stanford still get the ball clear at the top of the six-yard box to protect the far post.

6th min: Chance, Stanford! The first corner of the match comes to Stanford, and the referee plays advantage on a foul out wide which allows them to find Jasmine Aikey for a tight-angle shot. She rips it just inches over the crossbar, what a hit! That’s not far off at all! That’s much from Stanford, who are now building themselves into this game after weathering the early storm.

5th min: Stanford break for the first time, but it’s cut down by an exceptional tackle from their No. 6 Ran Iwai, who steps in and picks the pocket of Jasmine Aikey in transition. A wonderful one-on-one challenge.

3rd min: Florida State is controlling the early attacking possession, with the opening stages of this match being played almost entirely in the Stanford half. The Pac-12 side will have to keep FSU from building significant pressure if they are to keep the Seminoles from turning this into a track meet.

Kickoff: We’re under way in Cary, NC! In the next three hours, a national champion will be crowned! Stanford are wearing black with red accent, while Florida State are in their white kits with their red numerals and gold trim. A high-quality color matchup.

Today’s referee, Meghan Mullen, was an assistant referee who officiated MLS games in 2021 and 2022 before deciding to make the switch to a head official, which means you have to work your way back up the ladder. This is a big moment for her as she makes her way towards her officiating goals!

FSU vs Stanford: Pre-match commentary, analysis, stats, and more

15 mins to kickoff: Today’s venue, WakeMed Soccer Park, is one of the hidden gems of soccer in the United States. It’s hosted five of the last six women’s soccer NCAA tournaments, and was the site of multiple recent men’s championships as well, including last year when Syracuse beat Indiana on a penalty shootout.

It has hosted USMNT matches in the past, and while those days are long gone, it’s still the consistent site of big events, including The Soccer Tournament which debuted last year and received massive national and international attention.

It’s a slightly chilly night, as the low is expected to get down under 40 degrees, but we were up near 70 as today’s high, so kickoff will be somewhere between those two marks. It’s quite a nice night for a champion to be crowned!

30 mins to kickoff: Lineups are in, and there are no changes for either side from their respective semifinal victories.

One thing to watch is the Florida State defensive unit. While Stanford’s back line gets the most attention as they lead the nation in goals against average, FSU has not conceded a single goal across the entirety of the NCAA tournament, a full five matches without allowing a score.

The last time the FSU defense conceded was in the 29th minute of the ACC final victory over Clemson, 511 minutes ago. That’s the only goal they’ve conceded since the 3-2 win over Pitt in mid-October, meaning they’ve conceded a single goal across nine matches — that game was also the last time they trailed at any point. What a record!

45 mins to kickoff: One of the biggest reasons the USWNT has seen the rest of the world catch up to the elites in terms of talent is the exporting of fringe talent from the U.S. to other nations. This past 2023 Women’s World Cup featured the largest number of U.S.-based players serving international duty for other nations in history — the talent pool is getting better from the bottom up, and it’s showing.

That’s on full display here — Florida State’s leading scorer, Onyi Echegini, and fellow forward Jody Brown, both played for national teams at the World Cup this past summer. Echegini, born in London, was part of the Nigeria national team which surprised many by reaching the Round of 16, playing in all four matches including one start. Brown, meanwhile, has 18 caps and 12 goals for Jamaica, and started all four games as they too reached the knockout stage. Brown is just 21 years old, and is five — yes FIVE — years removed from winning Best Young Player in the 2019 CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, eventually becoming the youngest player to see the field at the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

Those two players got back from international duty three days before Florida State’s season began. Talk about hitting the ground running!

1 hour to kickoff: This game, incredibly, is the first time in the history of the NCAA women’s soccer tournament in which two undefeated teams reached the final. They are unquestionably the two best teams in the country this season, full stop. Defending champions UCLA, who were a one-seed in their own right, were bounced in the first round in a shocking upset to UC Irvine.

This is also the last year Stanford will be in the Pac-12, as they will move to the ACC next season, meaning these two sides will be seeing a lot more of each other in the future. The ACC in both men’s and women’s soccer is an utter gauntlet, and only proves to be even more brutal in the coming years as they add Cal, SMU, and Stanford, three quality soccer programs.

1 hour 15 mins to kick: One of the best stories of this 2023 NCAA women’s national championship game is the presence of young talent. As mentioned before, the match pits the best attack in the nation (FSU) against the country’s most stout defense (Stanford).

Notably, both squads are led by young stars. The Seminole attacking line is fronted by freshman Jordynn Dudley, who was named first-team All American thanks to her explosion onto the scene with FSU. She earned a place on the USWNT U20 side at this past summer’s CONCACAF U-20 championship and scored in literally the first minute of the team’s opening match.

On the other end, Stanford defender Elise Evans is in her sophomore season, coming off her first collegiate campaign when she won national Freshman of the Year, quite an accomplishment for a defender. She also has USWNT youth experience, and was teammates with Dudley at the U-20 tournament over the summer, serving as co-captain. Two future youth national team stars in the making.

1 hour 30 mins to kickoff: Welcome to The Sporting News’s coverage of the 2023 NCAA women’s soccer championship, live on-site in Cary, NC where Florida State and Stanford present a simply fabulous matchup to contest for the national title.

This game pits the nation’s best offense in Florida State (3.18 goals per game, No. 1 in NCAA DI) against the toughest defense in the country in Stanford (0.413 goals against average, No. 1 in NCAA DI).

What a show this should be.

2023 NCAA women’s soccer championship lineups, team news

Florida State feature two first-team All Americans in their starting lineup, including freshman sensation Jordynn Dudley up front. The young striker from Milton, Georgia scored 13 goals and assisted eight more this season, including three goals in her past four games through the NCAA Tournament.

The other is winger Onyi Echegini, a senior from London who leads the team with 15 goals, which puts her at eighth in the nation in that category. Combined, the two lead the most prolific offense in the country, as FSU is one of just three teams in NCAA DI scoring over three goals a game.

Florida St. starting lineup (4-3-3): 1. Roque (GK) — 7. Iwai, 20. Gilchrist, 8. Flynn, 17. Van Zanten — 10. Brown, 13. Nesbeth, 3. Huff — 9. Olsson, 11. Dudley, 6. Echegini.

Florida St. subs: 18. Maria Alagoa, 15. Kaitlyn Zipay, 30. Leah Pais, 0. Olivia Garcia, 16. Sophia Nguyen.

The most notable figure in the Stanford lineup is forward Jasmine Aikey who was named a first-team All American this season after bagging 22 goal contributions this season, evenly split at 11 goals and 11 assists. The sophomore from Palo Alto has been relatively quiet since her hat-trick against Cal to close out the regular season, and will need a big game here to spring a title-winning upset.

Defender Elise Evans was also a standout performer, leading the nation’s best defense as Stanford conceded a measly 0.413 goals per game, tops in the nation. Also just a sophomore, Evans was named a third-team All American off the back of a campaign where she was named Freshman of the Year by TopDrawerSoccer last season.

Stanford starting lineup (4-3-3): 1. Campbell (GK) — 8. Bhuta, 15. Wesley, 2. Evans, 18. Brandt — 21. Jung, 5. Harvey, 10. Doms — 3. Montoya, 12. Aikey, 20. Kitahata.

Stanford subs: 17. Erica Grilione, 33. Lumi Kostmayer, 11. Catherine Paulson, 24. Maryn Wolf, 14. Julia Leontini.

How to watch 2023 NCAA women’s soccer championship

  • TV channel: ESPNU
  • Streaming: Fubo, ESPN+, WatchESPN

The entirety of the 2023 NCAA men’s and women’s College Cup has been televised on ESPNU, with both the semifinals and finals broadcast live on the channel. This match will also be shown on ESPN3.

The games can be streamed on ESPN+ or WatchESPN for those with valid login credentials, while ESPNU can also be found on Fubo.

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