Stanford women win NCAA soccer title, beating NC on PKs

RICK EYMER (Associated Press)

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Kiara Pickett drilled home a penalty kick after freshman goalkeeper Katie Meyer saved the previous shot to lift Stanford past North Carolina 5-4 on penalty kicks after a scoreless draw Sunday night in the NCAA championship game.

The Cardinal (24-1) won their third overall title and first since 2017. North Carolina (24-2-1) lost for the fifth time in 26 national appearances.

''We had to be the team who wanted it more,'' said Pickett, from San Jose. ''Knowing Katie did her job, I had to do mine.''

Meyer blocked two shots during the penalty phase, while North Carolina's Claudia Dickey blocked a shot and had a goal.

The Tar Heels had a couple of early scoring chances in the first overtime period and nearly ended it in the 98th minute when Alessia Russo dribbled deep and then overshot the goal to the far side.

Stanford had a pair of solid attempts in the second overtime, with Carly Malatskey forcing Dickey to make a good save and Sophia Smith hitting the cross bar.

''In terms of domination and chances you have to lean toward Stanford,'' North Carolina coach Anson Dorrance said. ''But I couldn't ask for anything more. PK's are always a crapshoot.''

The Cardinal outshot the Tar Heels 21-12, including a 6-4 margin on goal. Stanford also took 14 corner kicks to North Carolina's three.

Stanford junior Catarina Macario, the nation's leading scorer, became more involved on the attack in the second half, creating several nice shots. Russo had a sliding shot go off the wrong side of her right foot in front of an open net as the Tar Heels caught Stanford off-guard with a counterattack in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.

Maycee Bell had a nice chance to put North Carolina ahead about seven minutes, heading a free kick from Lotte Wubben-Moy over the net as Meyer came out of the goal.

Smith made a couple of nice runs to create chances for Stanford and had the only two shots on goal in the first half.

Dickey saved Smith's shot with about six minutes to go in the first half, the best opportunity of the first half.

Bridgette Andrzejewski recorded a shot on goal for the Tar Heels.