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Cats edge Stony Brook at buzzer to earn share of regular season title

Vermont wins first men’s lacrosse conference championship in program history
Published: May. 1, 2021 at 7:04 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Liam Limoges received the shovel pass from David Closterman and threw it behind his back, barely beating the buzzer and handing Vermont a 14-13 win over Stony Brook Saturday afternoon at Virtue Field. With the win, UVM finished 7-2 in America East play, earning a share of the regular season conference title for the first time in program history.

Closterman was the star for the Cats, racking up six goals and assists on each of UVM’s last two goals. It was the junior attackman who opened the scoring less than a minute in as Vermont opened the game on a 3-0 run.

The Seawolves rallied back to even the game at 3-3 and the teams would go back and forth much of the rest of the game. Stony Brook only took its first lead with 3:15 remaining in the third quarter on a goal from Chris Pickel, but the Seawolves then carried an 11-9 edge into the fourth.

Vermont seemingly turned the game in their direction for good with a 3-0 run over the span of six minutes, evening the game on Closterman’s sixth and final goal with 8:40 to play before Thomas McConvey put them back in front four and a half minutes later.

But with time winding down, Pickel fired a bouncer that found the top corner to knot things at 13-13 with 8.5 seconds to play.

The game seemed destined for overtime, but UVM may have gotten a little home cooking on the ensuing faceoff. The clock appeared to be a bit slow to start, allowing Tommy Burke to win his 22nd draw of the game and Closterman to find Limoges for the stunning winner.

The Vermont men’s lacrosse program finished second in the league standings four times dating back to their first season in the North Atlantic Conference (the previous name of America East) in 1992, but they had never earned a share of the regular season title before Saturday.

“Well it means the world to me because I know it means the world to our guys,” said UVM head coach Chris Feifs. “They’ve worked really hard to get to this point, and it’s been a lot of people that have supported us along the way and believed in us and have stuck with us through tough times. So to achieve that milestone is one that I certainly don’t take for granted, and I know our guys are gonna be really thrilled when they hear that as well and we’re just gonna obviously enjoy today and then turn the page tomorrow and get back to work.”

Unfortunately for the Cats, their 7-2 league record wasn’t good enough to earn homefield for next week’s America East Tournament. That honor instead went to UMBC, who reached the same 7-2 mark by downing NJIT. The Retrievers beat Vermont 10-8 in Catonsville back on April 3rd.

The Cats won’t have much time to rest on their laurels. They’ll have to travel back to the Baltimore suburbs next week ahead of a conference semifinal matchup with the same Stony Brook team on Thursday.

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