It had to end this way. The top two teams in the nation, squaring off in the 2014 NCATA National Championship. On one side, you had the favorites, the No. 1 Oregon Ducks, winners of three straight national titles. On the other side, you had the underdogs ready to play spoiler again, the No. 2 Azusa Pacific Cougars. Back on April 7, the Cougars defeated Oregon to hand the Ducks their first loss since 2011. Now, the two teams found themselves across the mat from each other with a national championship on the line.
Oregon's acrobatics and tumbling team continued their dynasty, winning their fourth consecutive national championship on Saturday night with a 290.825-282.600 win over Azusa Pacific. Making the win even more impressive was the fact that Oregon had to do it at Azusa Pacific's gym, with the stands filled to capacity. It was the second straight year the Ducks knocked off the host team in the national championship meet. Last season, Oregon defeated Quinnipiac in Hamden, Connecticut for their third straight title. Also noteworthy was the fact that Oregon's score of 290.825 was the second-best overall score in NCATA history. Three of Oregon's four highest team scores came at this weekend's national championship meet.
The Ducks got off on the right foot with a pair of perfect scores in the compulsory round, taking a 39.250-38.90 lead after the first event. The Cougars managed to hang with the Ducks in all three acro heats as both teams earned a total score of 29.45. Oregon would win the pyramid event to lead 98.65-96.90 going into the half.
Azusa Pacific would narrowly win its first event to open the second half, taking the toss event by a score of 29.55-29.40. A perfect 10 from Nicole Erlichmann in the tumbling event lifted the Ducks to a 59.325-58.50 win in the event. Erlichmann has achieved a perfect score in each national championship meet she has competed in. Earlier in the week, Erlichmann was named the NCATA Most Outstanding Player of the Year.
Leading by 2.425 points heading into the final event, the Ducks wrapped up the win in the team performance to clinch their fourth consecutive national championship, finishing the year with a 12-1 record. With the NCATA having been in existence for four seasons, the Ducks remain the only school in the nation to ever win the national title.