Dec. 4, 2005
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Portland ended UCLA's near-perfect run in the NCAA tournament by producing a shutout of its own and getting a record-setting performance from its star player.
Christine Sinclair scored two goals, setting an NCAA record in the process, and Portland beat UCLA 4-0 in the national championship game on Sunday.
Angie Woznuk added a goal and two assists for the Pilots (24-0-2), who won their second title in three years. Portland beat Santa Clara 2-1 in the 2002 championship game.
"This team just showed the whole country what it's built out of -- a lot of class, a lot of talent, a lot of hard work and a foundation that will always be with us," Portland coach Garrett Smith said.
Sinclair, a member of the Canadian national team, scored both of her goals in the first half, giving her 39 this year. Entering the game, Sinclair was tied for the NCAA season mark with SMU's Lisa Cole, who had 37 goals in 1987.
Sinclair was already the NCAA tournament's all-time goal scorer and finished her career with 25.
The Bruins (22-2-2), who outscored their first five tournament opponents 25-0, lost in the title game for the second straight year. They lost to Notre Dame on penalty kicks last year after playing to a 1-1 tie.
"My heart and soul is with my team," UCLA coach Jill Ellis said. "I'll try to console them and remind the things they've done this season and the successes they've had."
With UCLA's defense keying on Sinclair from the start, Woznuk moved to an opening, took a feed from Megan Rapinoe and zipped a right-footed shot under UCLA goalkeeper Valerie Henderson just 92 seconds into the game.
"To score a goal that early, I think, makes the other team question a little bit what they're capable of," Woznuk said.
UCLA had shut out 17 of its previous 19 NCAA tournament opponents before Woznuk's goal, the fastest the Pilots had scored in a game this season.
"They did a great job to capitalize on our mistake," Ellis said. "That certainly put us behind the 8-ball."
The Bruins had trailed 1-0 in four games this season and came back to win twice. By halftime Sunday, it was clear they wouldn't rally this time.
UCLA midfielder Danesha Adams got the Bruins' best chance of the opening half, outfighting Portland defender Stephanie Lopez and goalkeeper Cori Alexander for a loose ball. Adams had an open net, but a tough angle and sent a hurried shot into the outside of the goal.
Adams was still shaking her head about the miss later.
"Those are chances I need to capitalize on. You only get a few in the game," Adams said. "That goal could've made a difference right there."
Instead, the Pilots took control, keeping the ball in the Bruins' end for most of the rest of the half.
Not long after Adams' miss, Sinclair ended a three-game scoring drought when she hammered a sharp pass from Woznuk past Henderson from the top of the penalty area with 23:39 left before the break.
Sinclair's next goal was even prettier. With her back to UCLA defender Bristyn Davis, Sinclair spun free and ripped a left-footed shot under Henderson with 3:57 left in the half.
"That's probably the best half I've seen our team play," Sinclair said. "It was just perfect timing."
The only drama in the second half came when Sinclair hurt her left knee in a collision with UCLA midfielder McCall Zerboni. Sinclair stayed down for about a minute, then got up to applause and stayed in the game.
Referee Sandra Hurt asked Sinclair if she was hurt and Sinclair shot her an incredulous look.
"There was no way I was going off in this game," she said.
Rapinoe scored with 13:38 left, giving her a team-best six for the tournament.
Even the weather bounced Portland's way.
The game time temperature was a brisk 50 degrees, much different from the balmy, breezy weather for Friday's semifinals.
The overcast, Oregon-like conditions didn't bother the 500 Portland fans who traveled to Texas this weekend. The Pilots set an NCAA attendance record this season, drawing 40,841 to 12 homes games.
Stephanie Lopez, Portland
Megan Rapinoe, Portland
Angie Woznuk, Portland
Jill Oakes, UCLA
Danesha Adams, UCLA
Lindsey Huie, Portland
Erin McLeod, Penn State
India Trotter, Florida State
Iris Mora, UCLA
OFFENSIVE MVP: Christine Sinclair, Portland
DEFENSIVE MVP: Cori Alexander, Portland