When Tampa charged the field as winners of the 2019 DII baseball championship, it officially closed the books on another successful NCAA Division II season.
This season was almost the exact opposite from the 2017-18 campaign. That was a year of firsts when teams such as Central Missouri and Charleston (WV) — who seemed to be always knocking on the door in soccer — finally broke through and Ferris State’s run to the DII basketball championship was one to remember.
The 2018-19 season will be remembered for the familiar faces who restored the tradition for which their respective programs were known.
Let’s take a look back at some of the more exciting title games from 2018-19.
Valdosta State wins its fourth DII football national championship
The Blazers faced Ferris State in a championship game between two undefeated DII football teams and did they ever deliver. They totaled 945 yards and 96 points in a game that saw records fall seemingly by the minute. Blazers' quarterback Rogan Wells led the way, scoring a record six touchdowns — one a receiving touchdown on a trick play — in the Blazers 49-47 victory that took every last minute on the clock to decide.
Northwest Missouri State becomes fifth undefeated DII men’s basketball champion
It was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Coach Ben McCollum. He lost his top three scorers that were major contributors in the Bearcats 2017 national championship and by the DII men’s Elite Eight, he was starting two freshmen. None of that mattered. The Bearcats were put to the test in Evansville, Indiana, in the DII Elite Eight, but prevailed, finishing the season 38-0 and winners of their second title in three years.
Lubbock Christian establishes itself as a DII women’s basketball national powerhouse
In 2016, Steve Gomez led the Lady Chaps to a 35-0 season and the DII women’s basketball national championship. They became the first program to win the title in its first year of eligibility in its transfer into DII. Three years later, they already have No. 2.
And what a way to do it. Lubbock Christian upset undefeated Drury in the semifinals and then went to not one, but two overtimes in defeating the upstart Southwestern Oklahoma State Bulldogs for the title, firmly establishing themselves amongst the elite of DII women’s basketball.
RELIVE THE 2-OT THRILLER: How Lubbock Christian won its second title in four years
Bridgeport defeats Grand Valley State for its first DII women’s soccer title
In a year of so many past champions returning to power, Bridgeport’s story is one that stands out. Grand Valley State has become the current benchmark in DII women’s soccer with five national titles in 2009. The Lakers entered the championship match undefeated, including an early season 6-0 blowout victory against the very same Bridgeport team. The Purple Knights flipped the switch when it mattered most, becoming the first team to shut down the high-octane Lakers offense and keep them off the board all season in a thrilling 1-0 victory decided in the 78th minute.
BRIDGEPORT REIGNS: Purple Knights outlast Grand Valley State for the title
Tampa wins its eighth DII baseball championship
Head coach Joe Urso’s Spartans continue to cement themselves as the premier DII baseball team of the 2000s. Urso won his fifth title as head coach and sixth overall with his 1992 ring as a player. Tampa swept its way to the championship, bookending two dominant victories with a thrilling come-from-behind eighth-inning rally in Game 1 and then another in the seventh inning of the championship game.
SPARTANS BACK ON TOP: Tampa wins the DII baseball championship
Tampa’s third DII women’s volleyball title highlights the DII Festival
The DII Festival headed to Pittsburgh this year where Tampa closed the week with yet another title. Why is that a big deal? Each of Tampa’s three national championships have come at the DII Fall Festival. The Spartans snapped Western Washington’s DII-best 30-game winning streak in a 3-2 thriller from Pittsburgh.
Merrimack goes back-to-back in DII men’s lacrosse
The Warriors have only two DII men’s lacrosse titles in their program’s history, so the fact that they are both in the past two seasons is impressive. Merrimack’s run began three years ago when it lost 11-9 to Limestone in the 2017 championship game. The Warriors left little doubt this year, avenging that loss and dominating to a 16-8 victory in the title game.
Adelphi back on top of the DII women’s lacrosse world
When it comes to DII women’s lacrosse, the Panthers continue to rewrite the history books every season after winning their ninth title in 2019. After missing out on the championship game last season, the only time in the past six years, Adelphi returned with a vengeance. The Panthers scored more than 10 goals in every game of the tournament and there was never a doubt in their 11-5 victory over West Chester in which two players recorded hat tricks.
Ashland wins indoor and outdoor men’s track and field championship
This was exciting on multiple levels. The Eagles followed their first indoor national championship with their first-ever outdoor title. They did so in a thrilling one-point victory over Angelo State. But the big story was head coach Jud Logan. Logan missed the indoor title in his battle with leukemia. His Eagles made sure he didn’t miss out on another, this time with Logan by their side.
Shippensburg pulls off the three-peat in DII field hockey
The Raiders have long been in the conversation but couldn’t break through until 2013. Now they’ve won four of the last six DII field hockey titles. Head coach Bertie Landes started the dynasty, but Tara Zollinger has continued it, a perfect 2-for-2 in the championship game since becoming head coach. This time it was a 1-0 overtime victory over an East Stroudsburg team that was the last to win a title before the Shippensburg run commenced.
THRICE AS NICE: Shippensburg wins the 2018 title
OTHER MEMORABLE MOMENTS: Augustana (SD) wins its first DII softball title in 28 years; Barry captures its first DII men's soccer title; Queens (NC) five-peats in men’s and women’s swimming and diving; Central Oklahoma repeats in rowing.