Alex Morgan during her Cal playing days. Photo:

There are countless tales being told about the stirring victory of the U.S. women’s team in yesterday’s World Cup quarterfinal victory over Brazil. But one of the less heralded roles was played by former Cal star forward Alex Morgan, who came off the bench in the 72nd minute — with the Americans a player down — and added fresh legs and vital impetus to the team.

She floored Brazilian defender Daiane with a powerful shot at the end of regulation, and had an appeal for a penalty turned down when she fell under a challenge in the penalty area in the 20th minute of extra time.

Morgan, the youngest player on the U.S. squad, has scored seven times for the national team, including the lone goal in a victory over Italy in a World Cup qualifying playoff. Last January, she was the number one pick in the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) draft. She plays for the Western New York Flash in the nascent WPS. She graduated from Cal with a degree in political economy last December — a full semester early because of her extra work in the soccer offseason and summers.

Morgan finished her Cal career as the third all-time scorer, with 45 goals, despite a greatly reduced senior season because of her commitments to the national team. Even though she only played 12 games her senior season, Morgan was the team’s leading scorer and was a first-team All-American.

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Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...