The Wingate athletics programs welcomed a move to NCAA Division II in 1989, but in the ensuing 27 years, the championship trophy collection remained purely illusory.
The men's soccer program was tapped to change that this season, with a stalwart defensive scheme that surged Wingate up the national rankings.
On Saturday, the Bulldogs used a familiar formula for national championship No. 1.
They put up another zero.
Wingate shut out Charleston (W.Va.) 2-0 to win the NCAA Division II men's soccer national championship Saturday at Swope Soccer Village.
Jon Ander supplied the game-winner in the 37th minute. He added a second goal in the 78th minute.
More than enough.
Wingate, 20-1, concluded its championship season with only eight goals allowed all season. It did not allow a goal in the NCAA tournament.
The opponent Saturday made the latest shutout all the more impressive. Charleston, 19-3-2, which was making its third consecutive trip to the Final Four, entered the afternoon second in the nation with 3.39 goals per game. It found little in the way of offense Saturday, recording only two shots on goal. Wingate goalkeeper Pablo Jara made two saves.
Ander allowed Wingate to further play to its strength in the second half. In the 37th minute, he unleashed a shot from 20 yards out, and the ball deflected off Charleston defender Danilo Dias and into the upper left corner. Ander was credited with the goal, and Oscar Perez was given the assist. Neither was in the starting lineup Saturday.
Ander doubled the margin in the 78th minute with a left-footed strike from 20 yards out.
He also delivered the game-winner against Tampa to send Wingate to its first Final Four in program history.
Before this year, Wingate had never advanced passed the Elite Eight.