Winston-Salem, N.C. — Winston-Salem, N.C. -- With six seconds left in yesterday's NCAA final, the celebration already had begun. One final clear sent the ball speeding from Maryland's defensive end, and nothing else could hold the Terrapins back.
The players who had been jumping up and down on the sideline for 30 seconds emptied onto the field and began the celebration - tearful hugs, screams of jubilation and an ice-cold shower for coach Missy Meharg.
For although the Terps had already beaten top-seeded Wake Forest at Kentner Stadium this season, yesterday's 1-0 win at the same venue had quite a bit more meaning. Along with championship hats, shirts and the coveted wooden and gold trophy, the Terps won their fifth championship and first back-to-back national titles in program history.
"We just feel so proud," Meharg said. "The concept of defending a national title was never in our definition. We had a plan that couldn't have been more on in terms of our preparation, and the women just executed it to a T."
The teams played the third and deciding game of the Terps' season series with the Demon Deacons in the usual physical fashion. After dropping the Atlantic Coast Conference title game, 1-0, two weeks ago, the Terps came out inspired in the early stages of yesterday's contest.
Maryland held Wake Forest without a first-half shot for the first time this season, and its offensive pressure finally paid off when the ball popped past Demon Deacons sophomore goaltender Crystal Duffield after a prolonged scramble in front of the net. Senior forward Emily Trycinski nudged the ball past the goal line from a foot away to give the Terps a 1-0 lead at the 30:08 mark.
"It's crazy. I definitely didn't expect it at all," Trycinski said, laughing, about her seventh goal of the season turning out to be the deciding tally in the national championship. "I was just lucky to be there. I can't believe it."
The Terps, 18-0 this season when leading after the first half, weathered the storm that Wake Forest created in the final 35 minutes.
Demon Deacons sophomore midfielders Michelle Kasold and Christine Suggs each blasted shots toward the Maryland cage in the second half, but junior goalie Kathryn Masson thwarted both efforts with diving saves.
Both teams have stifling defenses that ranked among the country's best all season. The strength of the back lines was illustrated yesterday by the combined total of 11 shots, the lowest ever in an NCAA final.
"One of the things we recognized from last year, winning the championship by this score, was that it doesn't matter if it's 5-0 or 1-0," Meharg said. "I felt very confident in the way we were playing."
It was only the second 1-0 game ever played in the finals; last year, the Terps defeated Duke by the same count.
After the game, Trycinski addressed the media alongside Meharg and senior captain Paula Infante. Both senior leaders expressed their jubilation and pride in ending their college careers on such a high note.
"It feels awesome to finish your career this way," Infante said. "There are no regrets."
Maryland 1 0 - 1
Wake Forest 0 0 - 0
Goal: M-Trycinski. Shots: M 7, WF 4. Saves: M-Masson 2; WF-Duffield 2.