The NC State women’s soccer team traveled to California Friday night, where it defeated three-seed Santa Clara 5-4 on penalties after tying 1-1 through 110 minutes of play.
The Wolfpack (12-6-3) had never beaten the Broncos (17-4-1) until this game, losing the two meetings previous to this one, with the last meeting being in the 2016 NCAA Tournament third round, where the Wolfpack fell 3-0 to the Bay Area university.
The two teams traded chances in the opening minutes but as the game progressed the Broncos established themselves and held a majority of the possession in the first 20 minutes. They nearly opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, where a shot from their low cross was turned just wide.
The Broncos continued to put in dangerous crosses for the remainder of the first half, but the Wolfpack defense was poised to deal with the onslaught of balls coming into the box.
The Wolfpack created a few chances of its own but was unable to get a shot away when it got into the dangerous areas. The team also struggled to hold possession of the ball and was consistently turning it over to Santa Clara in the middle third.
The Wolfpack’s only shot of the first half came in the final five minutes with junior midfielder Tziarra King slipping junior forward Kia Rankin in on net. Rankin’s shot was saved by the Santa Clara keeper.
The teams went into the half locked at 0-0, but it easily could have been a much different scoreline if not for senior goalkeeper Sydney Wootten’s three saves. Despite Wootten’s impressive play, the Wolfpack’s stand out player in the first half was senior defender Ella Bonner whose hard-nosed defending saved the Wolfpack on multiple occasions in the first half.
The Broncos were finally able to find the back of the net on their 12th shot of the game with Maria Sanchez breaking away and letting a dipping shot go from just inside the box. The ball bounced just before it reached Wootten and beat the keeper on her near post.
Santa Clara changed its method of attack to start off the second half and it paid off for the goal. During the first half, the Broncos held a lot of possession and got the ball into wide areas for crosses. However, early in the second half the Broncos began to play faster and look for counterattacks, one of which led to Sanchez’s goal.
The Wolfpack equalized in the 78th minute with King finding herself wide open in the box after sophomore forward Courtney Walker played an inch-perfect pass into King’s feet. King then slid the ball coolly into the bottom-right corner.
With the score locked at 1-1 the teams headed into overtime. In the first 90 minutes the Wolfpack was outshot 18-3, but thanks to Wootten’s five saves and the stout defense of the backline the Wolfpack was able to stay within striking distance for King to be able to tie up the game.
The Broncos nearly score in the first half of overtime but had a goal waved off as the ball had gone out of bounds just before the cross was put into the box. Thanks to another four saves by Wootten in the first half of overtime, the score remained at 1-1.
Despite being outshot 25-3 the Wolfpack took the game all the way to penalties thanks to 11 saves from Wootten.
The Wolfpack shot first in the shootout as senior midfielder Taylor Porter converted the first penalty. The Broncos and Wolfpack then traded successful attempts until Santa Clara’s Courtney Ogren launched her penalty wide right to see the Wolfpack win the penalty shootout 5-4.
NC State will now move onto the Sweet 16, where it will face the winner of UCLA and Minnesota Sunday night.