March 13, 2011; Indianapolis, IN, USA; A Penn State Nittany Lions cheerleader seen at the pep rally before the final round of the 2011 Big Ten Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse. Mandatory credit: Michael Hickey-US PRESSWIRE

Golden Goal Sends PSU To Final

Penn State was 42 seconds away from their first ever appearance in the NCAA championship match when Florida State found an improbable equalizer to send the match into overtime.  Instead of crumbling, the Lions rallied and senior Christine Nairn knocked home the winner just 62 ticks into the golden goal overtime to send the Lions to Sunday’s final.

The match was played under a steady rain, and went to halftime scoreless, with both teams narrowly missing on chances.  Penn State broke the deadlock 11 minutes into the second half, when All American Maya Hayes poked in a rebound off a cross.  From there, it was all senior goalkeeper, and former Seminole Erin McNulty.  Florida State didn’t put a shot on target until 28 minutes remained on the clock, but McNulty was equal to every attempt until Tiffany McCarty headed home the tying goal in the final minute.

The winning goal came on a sound counter attack, culminating in a Maddy Evans shot from 20 yards out, which the senior All American midfielder Nairn deflected past FSU keeper Kelsey Wys.

Penn State has reached the College Cup semifinals on 3 prior occasions (1999, 2002, 2005), but lost all three times.  The Lions will face North Carolina on Sunday at 4:00.  The Tar Heels beat Stanford 1-0 on a 2nd overtime golden goal.  The match will air on ESPNU.

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