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Original Issue

Crowning Achievements The fall's dominant teams held form in the NCAA Division I championships

Men's Water Polo / USC

On Dec. 7 Stanford had one task remaining in its bid to win a
third consecutive national title, but it was a Herculean one. The
No. 2-ranked Cardinal needed to defeat the No. 1 Trojans, who had
dealt Stanford three of its four losses during the season. For a
moment it appeared that the Cardinal, playing in its home
natatorium, might pull off the upset as it came from behind to
take its first lead, 7-6, on a goal by tournament co-MVP Tony
Azevedo with 2:28 to play. But USC tied the match less than a
minute later and then went on to win 9-7 in double overtime. The
Trojans owed their success mostly to two natives of Serbia and
Montenegro: Predrag Damjanov, a 6'5", 265-pound junior who scored
three goals, and senior goalie Bozidar Damjanovic, who made 14
saves and shared MVP honors with Azevedo.

Women's Soccer / NORTH CAROLINA

After enduring an unprecedented two-year championship drought,
the Tar Heels reclaimed the crown by scoring a tournament-record
32 goals, shutting out all six of their opponents and trouncing
Connecticut, 6-0, in the Dec. 7 final in Cary, N.C. Sophomore
forward Lindsay Tarpley, who had two goals and two assists in the
title game, wound up with 19 points in the tournament. Freshman
forward Heather O'Reilly, who had two goals and an assist against
UConn--and eight goals in the tournament--was named offensive
MVP. With the victory, coach Anson Dorrance's squad completed an
undefeated season (27-0-0)--the fifth in the program's history.
More impressive, it was the Tar Heels' 17th NCAA title in the 22
years that a women's soccer championship has been awarded.

Men's Soccer / INDIANA

For Jerry Yeagley, the winningest coach in men's college soccer
history, the final game of his career couldn't have gone better.
Yeagley, 63, who started the Hoosiers program in 1973 and retired
last week, saw his team score twice in the first half and hold on
for a 2-1 victory over St. John's at Crew Stadium in Columbus,
Ohio, on Dec. 14. Junior goalkeeper Jay Nolly, who was named the
tournament's outstanding defensive player, had a season-high 10
saves, including several as heavy snow fell in the second half.
Teammate Jacob Peterson, a forward who scored a goal in the final
and three in the tournament, was the outstanding offensive
player. At Indiana, Yeagley had a 544-101-45 record and won six
national titles.

Cross-Country (Team) / STANFORD

Who needs that California sun? Running in windy, 18° conditions
with gusts up to 25 mph in Waterloo, Iowa, on Nov. 24, the
Cardinal men and women swept the team titles. The men, who were
the defending champions and the No. 1-ranked team all season,
dominated this competition as well. They placed four runners
among the top six--in a field of 254--including junior Ryan Hall,
who finished second. Stanford's margin of victory, 150 points
over runner-up Wisconsin, was the largest in meet history. The
Cardinal women, who were led by junior Sara Bei's third-place
finish, needed four finishers among the top 24 to edge defending
champion BYU by eight points. Only twice before had one school
swept the men's and women's titles: Wisconsin in 1985 and
Stanford in '96.

Cross-Country (Individual) / DATHAN RITZENHEIN (Colorado) and

Colorado redshirt sophomore Dathan Ritzenhein and Stanford junior
Ryan Hall jockeyed for the lead over much of the last 2,000
meters of the 10,000-meter race, until Ritzenhein went ahead to
stay with about 300 meters remaining and won in 29:14.1. His
1.3-second win capped a comeback for Ritzenhein, a two-time
national high school champion who had returned to competition in
October after missing last season with stress fractures in his
right leg. The women's competition wasn't nearly as suspenseful,
as the overwhelming favorite, Tar Heels senior Shalane Flanagan,
breezed to her second straight national championship. The victory
was Flanagan's 10th straight dating to Sept. 27, 2002, and her
time of 19:30.4 beat the second-place finisher, junior Kim Smith
of Providence, by 12.3 seconds.

Field Hockey / WAKE FOREST

Not that she needed it, but Kelly Doton, a Demon Deacons senior
midfielder and the Division I player of the year, had something
extra going for her in the championship game on Nov. 23. With the
final being played in Amherst, Mass., only 18 miles from her
hometown of Greenfield, family and friends packed the stands to
watch her last collegiate game and cheer top-ranked Wake Forest
to a 3-1 win over No. 2 Duke. "People I never thought would come
showed up," says Doton, who had an assist against the Blue
Devils. "It really helped us energywise." Another senior, forward
Katie Ackerman, put the Demon Deacons in command with a goal and
an assist in the first half. The win capped a 22-1 season and
gave Wake Forest back-to-back championships.

Women's Volleyball / USC

All hail the Women of Troy, who came away from Dallas last
weekend with an unbeaten season (35-0), an NCAA-record 47-match
winning streak and their second consecutive national
championship. Third-ranked Florida made USC sweat early in the
finals, winning the first game 30-25. But the Trojans bounced
back to take the next three 30-27, 30-19 and 30-26. USC junior
outside hitter Keao Burdine, who had a team-leading 23 kills in
the finals, was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
For the Gators' Mary Wise, who was trying to become the first
woman coach to win a national championship in her sport, the
outcome was all too familiar: Florida had lost only one other
match this season--its opener, in August, to USC. The Trojans had
also beaten the Gators in last year's semifinals.

COLOR PHOTO: ARIC CRABB/NCAA PHOTOS Coach Jovan Vavic made a splash after his Trojans kept Stanford from a third straight title.

COLOR PHOTO: JAMIE SCHWABEROW/NCAA PHOTOS Anne Felts (right) helped keep the Heels perfect.

COLOR PHOTO: CHRIS PUTMAN/AP It was a snow job for Indiana's Drew Moor (left).

COLOR PHOTO: MATTHEW KNIGHT/WIREIMAGE.COM Runner-up Hall (234) led four Stanford runners into the top six.

COLOR PHOTO: DAVE PETERSON/NCAA PHOTOS Ritzenhein had only a second to spare.

COLOR PHOTO: GAIL OSKIN/WIREIMAGE.COM Lauren Crandall (in white) and the Deacons left Duke in theirwake.

COLOR PHOTO: TONY GUTIERREZ/AP Emily Adams (9) spiked the Gators.