Wake Forest finally winning their first championship by a score of 2-1. Last year, after setting a school-record for wins, the Demon Deacons lost in penalty kicks to a rough-and-tumble Santa Barbara team in ice-covered, wind-biting St. Louis. Wake's then freshman
UMass. After some budget woes hit the athletic department, the Minutemen brought in
New plan. Koch resurrected the program into a national-championship caliber team. After knocking off top-ranked Boston College in the second round, UMass went on to lose a tough 1-0 match to Ohio State in the semis.
Wake Forest fans alternating "Wake. Forest." Seriously? That's it?
There's something about national championships that bring out the rough-and-tumble and make stretches look like run-ups to huge brawls. Last season's championship saw five cards, this season's saw six. In 2005, the matchup between Maryland and New Mexico was a little cleaner: there were only four cards. An average game? One to three.
Valentin taking a cleat to the face not only fired up his team, but destroyed the momentum of the game. He's been touted as his team's emotional leader, and this time he took it to a whole other level -- he left the field with only 10 players until it was clear he wouldn't be able to play, but with him on the sidelines his team was out for blood. It showed as they controlled the game for the last 10 minutes and emotionally unraveled the Buckeyes.