CARY, N.C. (WNCN) — The North Carolina Courage took down the Washington Spirit, 2-1, to win the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup Championship Saturday at WakeMed Soccer Park.

It didn’t take long for the Courage to get on the board. Ten minutes into the match Courage striker and Challenge Cup Championship MVP, Kerolin Nicoli, registered her first professional goal after a great driving run in by Debinha through the midfield.

Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury had no chance really at the offering which gave the Courage a 1-0 lead.

“She’s different,” Courage Head Coach Sean Nahas said of Kerolin. “She’s going to be one of the best players in the league, she’s a quality player. Her skill is not just on the attacking side, but she defends so well, she works so hard, and she’s bought in. She loves this team and we love her, and she’s only going to get better as she gets more comfortable. She’s going to have to adjust once teams figure her out, but I’m sure she will.”

With 10 minutes remaining in the half, Spirit striker Ashley Hatch responded for Washington to tie the game at 1 headed to the break.

The deciding goal came in the 70th minute off a corner kick from Courage defender Carson Pickett.

She lofted the ball to the far post. It was deflected off Spirit defender Taylor Aylmer and into the back of the net going down as an own goal by the Spirit.

“I’ve been a part of championship teams before and we missed out on that the past couple of years,” said Courage captain Abby Erceg following the match. “Winning a championship again, it’s really addictive. I said to the team at the start of the year, ‘I really want this team to experience that feeling.”

The Courage continue their regular season schedule next Saturday against Gotham FS at home.