University of Wisconsin freshman Victoria Pickett made the winning shot from the spot Friday night as Canada earned a berth in next year's FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup, outlasting Mexico 5-4 on penalties following a 0-0 draw in the CONCACAF Under-20 Women's Championship in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (Watch highlights below)
"It's such a surreal feeling, I am ecstatic," said Pickett, who was the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year this fall for the Badgers.
Canada faces the U.S. in the regional final Sunday, with kickoff set for 8 p.m. on Fox Sports 2. Both finalists clinched spots in the Under-20 Women's World Cup, which starts Nov. 13 in Papua New Guinea, while the winner of the third-place match between Mexico and Honduras will claim the 16th and final spot in the event.
Pickett started Canada's tournament opener against Trinidad and Tobago on Dec. 3, but was subbed out after 66 minutes and didn't appear in the team's final two group matches. She came on at the start of extra time Friday for Canada (3-0-1), which has outscored opponents 11-0 in its four games. The U.S., which routed Honduras 7-0 in the other semifinal, also is 3-0-1 at the tournament and has a 21-3 goal differential.
Goalkeeper Rylee Foster gave Canada the early advantage in the shootout, stopping Mexico's Rebecca Bernal on the first shot. Bianca St. Georges, Vital Kats, Taylor Pryce and Mika Richards all converted before Pickett beat Mexican keeper Emily Alvarado with a shot to the left side to seal Canada's seventh Under-20 Women's World Cup berth.