LOS ANGELES — Utah freshman defender Haylee Cacciacarne scored on a long-distance header in the 88th minute to upset No. 10 Florida State 2-1 and send the Utes to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA women’s soccer tournament for the first time in the program’s history.
“I saw the ball came off Katie’s (Rogers) head and I just wanted to get it back in the box,” Cacciacarne said. “I really didn’t think it was going to go in but I just wanted to keep it alive and get in back in for us to have a chance.”
It was the former Davis High standout’s first goal of her college career and helped to end Florida State’s streak of reaching five straight College Cups. The victory was so stunning, even the NCAA website couldn’t believe it:
Junior forward Natalie Vukic opened the scoring in the 14th minute for the No. 23 Utes on assists from Natalee Wells and Katie Rogers. Florida State equalized just four minutes later on a goal by Macayla Edwards.
“I can’t believe it, I’m speechless,” Vukic said. “To make history. No Utah team had ever made it this far. We have the jitters now because we are so excited to win and keep playing.”
Next up for the Utes is No. 7 USC on its home field at 1 p.m. MT on Sunday. The teams tied 1-1 earlier this season in Salt Lake City.
“We are just elated,” head coach Rich Manning said “Credit to FSU because they are a great program that played a great game. I have a lot of respect for what they represent. I am just really happy that our team gets to keep playing. We have rallied around Hailey’s (Skolmoski) message that we are the underdogs and we have to prove ourselves every time out.”