The West Florida Argonauts looked like they were going to an overtime for the second consecutive match, but juniors Sahshana Campbell and Chelsea Palmer ensured that wouldn’t happen.
With 13:28 to play, Campbell put the ball in front from just outside the left-goal post. When University of California San Diego goalkeeper Kelcie Brodsky couldn’t handle the ball cleanly, Palmer was waiting and tapped it in the bottom right corner, giving the Argonauts the 1-0 win and the 2012 NCAA Division II Women’s Soccer title at Blanchard Woods Park on Saturday.
It was the first national championship for the Argonauts (24-1) and the first trip to the finals since 2008 when they lost in double overtime to Seattle Pacific.
“They were four people in front of me,” said Palmer, who won two national titles at Tyler Junior College before joining the Argonauts this season. “That was the only way I could get my foot on the ball. I took my time and put my right foot on it and it went in.”
The win came on the heels of their double-overtime win over defending national champion Saint Rose.
“San Diego was so fierce in that first half,” said Argonauts head coach Joe Bartlinski. “We were just holding on because of how tired we were from the Saint Rose game.”
The Tritons were on the attack from the beginning and outshot the Argonauts 11-4 in the first half. When the defense wasn’t clearing the ball ahead of her, Argonaut junior goalie Sarah Story, the most outstanding defensive player of the tournament, recorded three of her four saves.
Story also stopped a shot that was right on goal.
“We talk about that first half and staying in it, and that’s because Sarah made that tremendous save in that first half to keep us in that,” Bartlinski said. “She knows that’s her job. That’s what goalkeepers do.”