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Top 25 Moments of the Year

Posted: Friday May 12, 2006 12:58PM; Updated: Monday May 15, 2006 12:09PM
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By Andy Gray

Coming up with a Top 25 list of anything is a daunting challenge. Last week we asked our readers to weigh in with their best moments of the college sports year. The responses were solid, and we did our best to cover the entire spectrum here, but spring sports may be lacking because the season is still in progress. Here is our unofficial list of the moments we remember most from 2005-06.

Christine Sinclair of Portland established herself as the best women's soccer player in the nation with an NCAA-record 39 goals.
Christine Sinclair of Portland established herself as the best women's soccer player in the nation with an NCAA-record 39 goals.

Honorable Mention: Jason McElwain makes six three pointers in three minutes, Feb. 23, 2006: We know, it was high school, but we're making an exception for this one. McElwain, who is autistic student and worked as the manager of the varsity basketball team of Greece Athena High in Rochester, N.Y., was added to the roster by coach Jim Johnson so that McElwain could be given a jersey and be a part of the team's last game of the year. After entering the game with four minutes to go, McElwain missed his first two shots, then sank six three-pointers and another shot for a total of 20 points in three minutes. It was the feel-good sports story of the year.

25. Maryland women's hoops team win national championship, April 4, 2006: The No. 3 seed Terrapins had to beat two No. 1's, North Carolina and Duke, in the Final Four to claim the NCAA Title. No problem, as in the championship game, freshman Kristi Tolliver hit a three-pointer at the end of regulation to cap off a 13-point comeback, then hit two more free throws with 35 seconds left in overtime to secure the championship.

24. Steve Spurrier coaches against Florida, Nov. 12, 2005: After leading the Gators to six SEC titles and one national championship, Spurrier welcomed his old team to Columbia, S.C., to face off against his Gamecocks. Despite its No. 12 ranking, Florida fell to  Spurrier's South Carolina squad, 30-22.

23. Maryland wins the national field hockey championship, Nov. 20, 2005: The Terps needed only one goal, from Jackie Ciconte, to defeat ACC rival Duke in the NCAA finals to claim the school's fourth national title.  

22. Maryland's wins the men's national soccer championship, Dec. 11, 2005: After three straight exits in the semifinals, the Terps broke through and defeated New Mexico, 1-0, to claim their first national championship since 1968.

21. Portland wins the women's national  soccer championship, Dec. 4, 2005: Christine Sinclair scored an NCAA-record 39 goals, but none were  bigger than her two in the finals while leading Portland to its second national championship in three years.

20. Record crowd attends women's volleyball match, Dec. 10, 2005: Nebraska's volleyball program is one of the best in the nation, but who expected an NCAA-record crowd of 15,182 to invade the Qwest Center in Omaha to see the Huskers take out No. 4 Florida in the national semifinals?

19. Michigan stuns Penn State, Oct. 15, 2005: Late in the fourth quarter, Michigan was down, 25-21, and in danger of getting off to its worst start since 1967. But Chad Henne found Mario Manningham from 10 yards out with no time left to hand Penn State its first loss of the season. The win was a controversial one, as head coach Lloyd Carr petitioned the referees -- and was granted -- two seconds that had run off the clock after he called a timeout with 10 seconds left. Those two seconds were the key as the final play occurred with just one tick left.

18. J.J. Redick and Adam Morrison cry, March 23, 2006: The two biggest names in college basketball saw their seasons end the same way ... in tears. In Sweet 16 action, Redick's Blue Devils bowed out to LSU while Morrison's Zags lost a heartbreaker to UCLA, 73-71.

Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno share a moment after Penn State's thrilling triple-overtime win over Florida State in the Orange Bowl.
Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno share a moment after Penn State's thrilling triple-overtime win over Florida State in the Orange Bowl.
Al Bello/SI

17. Legends Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden face off in the Orange Bowl, Jan. 3, 2006: The two winningest coaches in college football, Paterno, 78, and Bowden, 76, met in one of the best games of the season. Paterno's Nittany Lions defeated Bowden's Seminoles, 26-23, in triple overtime.

16. Minnesota's Cole Konrad defeats Oklahoma State's Steve Mocco in the NCAA heavyweight wrestling title match,  March 18, 2006: Fourteen months after Konrad broke Mocco's 85-match winning streak, the two met again for the national championship. Unfortunately for Mocco, the result was the same as Konrad took the victory and the title of best heavyweight collegiate wrestler.  

15. Kevin Kulbacki of James Madison bids for the Triple Crown, March 2006-present. It hasn't been done since 1992, but as of May 12, Kulbacki was leading the nation in home runs (21) and ranked second in RBI (67) and batting (.491).  

14. Courtney Paris records 28 straight double-doubles, Dec. 3-March 25, 2006: Talk about an impact, Paris took an Oklahoma squad, which finished 19-13 (8-8 in Big 12) in 2004-05, and led it to a 16-0 record in the Big 12. She averaged an 32 points and 15 rebounds per game for the resurgent Sooners, who eventually lost in the Elite Eight to Stanford. Did we mention that Paris is only a freshman?

13. LSU men and women make the Final Four, April 2006: One team getting there is impressive. Both is downright dominant. Unfortunately, the national semifinals was as far as both teams went. The men, led by Tyrus Thomas and Big Baby Davis, lost to UCLA. Seimone Augustus's women's squad fell to Duke.

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