The Kennesaw-based team won 2-1, in overtime, over the Southern California Blues-Dido, who had defeated NASA on July 26 in the final round-robin match of the competition.
It was the last chance at a national title for both teams, whose players will go their separate ways for the college seasons. “We knew that this was the last time we will ever step onto the field together,” NASA’s Bria Washington said.
Even NASA’s Caroline Waters, a U-18 player filling in for the U-19 tournament, knew what was on the line. When the game was scoreless at the end of regulation play, Waters had one thing on her mind: “We have 30 minutes left as a team. Better make the most of it.”
Waters found herself in a good position and took a shot, like her teammates told her. Waters hit it as hard as she could and waited. When the ball found the back of the net, she couldn’t believe it.
“I was freaking out,” she said afterward, still ecstatic. “I was kind of in shock.”
Kelsey Nix added another goal about six minutes later, giving NASA a 2-0 lead going into the second 15-minute overtime period. Jocelyn Blankenship put So Cal on the board in the second minute of the second overtime, but it wasn’t enough.
“It couldn’t have happened a better way for them,” said NASA head coach Dave Smith. “It’s well-deserved, they’re great kids.”
NASA had very little training before the nationals, due to college schedules. The team played in the Georgia State Cup and the Region III Championships before coming to the National Championship Series.
Emily Sonnett is currently a sophomore at the University of Georgia while her twin sister Emma plays at the University of Virginia where she was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference All-Freshman team last season. Johnson will play soccer at Kennesaw State after spending last season at UGA.