Costa Rica women’s football star Raquel Rodríguez, who plays collegiately for Penn State, helped the Nittany Lions win their first ever national championship on Sunday with a beautiful goal in the 1-0 win over Duke. In the 72nd minute of the women’s College Cup final, Rodríguez spun the ball around a Duke defender and made a falling shot past the goalkeeper to give Penn State a 1-0 lead that it would not relinquish.
The 22-year-old senior who plays for the women’s “La Sele” made history for the national team this past June when she scored Costa Rica’s first ever World Cup goal in a 1-1 tie against Spain in the group stages.
“I think every goal’s special,” Rodríguez told NCAA.com after the game. “I can tell you right now, I was dreaming to score in the final. It’s the most important thing right now. The World Cup was great, but right now, this was all I was thinking of. I couldn’t be more grateful and happier. It’s another dream come true.”
In a testament to her versatility, Rodríguez plays defense for the Nittany Lions but forward for Costa Rica. That experience on offense showed on Sunday’s final with her winning goal that capped off Penn State’s brilliant 22-3-2 campaign that included a Big Ten conference championship.
The Tica star is one of 15 semifinalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy, which is awarded each year to the top collegiate players in women’s and men’s football. The top three finalists will be announced on Friday during the men’s College Cup semifinals. As of this writing, Rodríguez is in third place in the fan vote.