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Small Wonder
Edited by Mark Bechtel and Stephen Cannella
December 12, 2005
Tiny--and undefeated--Portland whipped UCLA and took the NCAA soccer title
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December 12, 2005

Small Wonder

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Tiny--and undefeated-- Portland whipped UCLA and took the NCAA soccer title

IT DIDN'T take long for UCLA to lose the aura of invincibility it brought into the NCAA women's soccer championship game on Sunday. The Bruins had outscored opponents 25-0 in their five playoff games and hadn't allowed a goal in 452 minutes. But 92 seconds in, Portland's Angie Woznuk slipped a shot past UCLA goalkeeper Valerie Henderson. Said Woznuk, who also had two assists in a 4-0 win, "To score a goal that early, I think, makes the other team question a little bit what they're capable of."

It was also a reminder that tiny Portland (enrollment: 3,400) is a powerhouse. The Pilots (23-0-2) have won two of the last four NCAA titles, and they're the first team other than North Carolina to cap an undefeated season with a national championship. (The Tar Heels have done it 10 times.)

Portland's rise has been led by senior Christine Sinclair, 22, a Canadian national team member recruited when she was a 16-year-old in Burnaby, B.C. With two goals in the final, she set an NCAA single-season record (39) and became the NCAA tournament's alltime leading scorer (25). She's a near lock to win her sport's Heisman, the Hermann Trophy, for a second straight year. "This team just showed the whole country what it's built out of," said coach Garrett Smith. "[This is] a foundation that will always be with us."

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