before facing UC Santa Barbara in the College Cup at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., on Dec. 12, the Hoosiers listened intently as coach Mike Freitag read aloud The Indiana University Soccer Player, the speech given by his predecessor and the winningest men's college soccer coach, Jerry Yeagley, upon his retirement last season. "It's about doing everything the right way, expecting to win when you take the field," says Freitag. The Hoosiers took the message to heart, defeating the Gauchos 3--2 in a penalty-kick shootout after the game had ended 1--1 in regulation plus two overtime periods. It was Indiana's seventh national title and the third time the school has won back-to-back championships. Senior goalkeeper Jay Nolly, defensive MVP of the tournament, fought off six corner kicks in the second half and saved two PKs in the shootout.
CROSS-COUNTRY Colorado (Team)/Simon Bairu, Wisconsin (Individual)
in wet and soggy conditions in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 22, the Buffaloes upset No. 1--ranked and previously undefeated Wisconsin. The four-point win was the closest margin in the NCAA men's cross-country championships since 2001. The Badgers' Simon Bairu, a two-time Big Ten cross-country runner of the year, won the race to claim the individual crown, but Colorado got top five finishes from sophomore Brent Vaughn and junior Bret Schoolmeester. A junior from Regina, Saskatchewan, Bairu sprinted away from Arkansas's Josphat Boit on the last 800-meter straightaway and finished with a time of 30:38. It was the third individual cross-country championship for Wisconsin.
FIELD HOCKEY Wake Forest
the weather was unseasonably warm and the crowd of 2,170 boisterous at Wake Forest's Kentner Stadium for the women's field hockey final on Nov. 21. But the Demon Deacons hardly needed the help of the elements or the home fans in their 3--0 win over Duke. "The way this team played," said Wake Forest coach Jennifer Averill, "we could've been at the North Pole and won." Dutch freshman Tamar Meijer scored two goals and junior Kelly Wood added another to lead third-ranked Wake Forest to a third consecutive national championship, the first threepeat for any of the school's teams. The Deacons outshot the Blue Devils 16--8 and had seven penalty corners to Duke's three. The game was also the swan song for senior forward Kelly Dostal, who assisted on the game's final goal. The national player of the year, Dostal led the country in scoring (79 points) and set school records for career goals (84) and points (204).
CROSS-COUNTRY Colorado (Team)/Kimberly Smith, Providence College (Individual)
the colorado women's team started the school's sweep of the men's and women's team titles on Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Ind., by placing four runners among the top 10 and its fifth in the top 30. Senior Renee Metivier, who entered the competition unbeaten, led the Buffaloes with a runner-up finish to Providence College's Kimberly Smith. It marked the fourth time that a school has swept the team titles. Smith started out fast--she led by 10 seconds after the first mile--and never let up. A native of Auckland, New Zealand, the senior added to a list of achievements that include NCAA indoor championships in the 3,000 and 5,000 meters and a trip to the Athens Olympics (she finished 11th in a first heat in the 10,000) last summer.
SOCCER Notre Dame
for the Fighting Irish it helped to have strong ties to our neighbor to the north. In the championship game against UCLA in Cary, N.C., on Dec. 5, junior forward Katie Thorlakson of Langley, B.C., one of three Canadian starters for Notre Dame, scored on a penalty kick in the 74th minute to tie the game 1--1. After two scoreless overtimes, the Irish won the PK shootout 4--3. The NCAA scoring leader (70 points on 23 goals and 24 assists) for 2004, Thorlakson added four goals and six assists in six tournament games to earn the Final Four's outstanding offensive player award. However, late heroics were provided by goalkeeper Erika Bohn, a junior who hadn't faced a penalty kick all season. She made three saves in the shootout to give Notre Dame the title. Irish coach Randy Waldrum couldn't bear to look. "We all have our quirks," Waldrum said after the game. "I turn my back to the goal, look at the crowd and never watch our kids take a penalty kick."