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Portland, Santa Clara win in soccer semis

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AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Veronica Zepeda scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal in the 64th minute Friday night, giving defending champion Santa Clara a 2-1 victory over North Carolina in the semifinals of the NCAA women's soccer tournament.

Santa Clara will go after its second straight title Sunday when it takes on Portland, a 2-0 winner earlier Friday over Penn State.

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North Carolina has won 16 national championships and has appeared in the tournament's Final Four every year since 1982, but Santa Clara halted that domination last year by downing the Tar Heels in the championship game.

Wanda Rozwadowska and Christine Sinclair scored goals and Lauren Arase needed to make just one save as Portland fought its way into the title contest.

Sinclair scored less than three minutes before halftime, her 24th goal of the season, and Rozwadowska added insurance in the 78th minute off an assist by Emily Patterson.

It will be the second appearance in the national championship game for Portland, which lost in the title contest to Notre Dame seven years ago in triple overtime.

The Pilots have not surrendered a goal in this year's tournament.

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