The two teams didn't expect it. The media certainly didn't, and the fans in the stands of Maryland's Artificial Turf Stadium didn't even know the rules.
But as North Carolina sweeper Abby Martin would fittingly say after the Tar Heels lost 2-1 to ninth-ranked Virginia in the ACC field hockey tournament semifinals, "Anything can happen. And it did."
Anything in this case was a Virginia team that had barely made it to the semifinals, needing overtime to beat fifth-seeded Duke. The Cavaliers hadn't beaten the Tar Heels in five years, and UNC's play this season proved that it earned its No. 2 national ranking.
Behind the gutsy play of senior goalkeeper Becky Worthington, Virginia pushed the Tar Heels hard and forced them into two overtime periods and two rounds of penalty strokes.
UNC and Virginia each converted four of their five opportunities in the first round. Virginia jumped to a 2-1 edge against Tar Heel goalkeeper Amy Tran in the second round before sealing the victory on a Carrie Goodloe shot.
"I didn't think when we went to the new overtime period that we'd ever get to penalty strokes," Shelton said. "I consider it a miscalculation on my part that I didn't prepare my team better for penalty strokes."
Shelton's miscalculation is understandable, considering that the Tar Heels dominated the game. They had 20 shots to Virginia's nine and drew 13 corners to the Cavaliers' six.
But the only numbers that matter are how many goals a team gets.
With the second half less than a minute old, Virginia stole possession from UNC and drove deep into the Tar Heels' territory.