UVM men’s soccer earns NCAA bid, will host Rider Thursday

Cats headed to tournament for third straight year
Cats headed to tournament for third straight year
Published: Nov. 13, 2023 at 7:04 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The UVM men’s soccer team will host a first round NCAA Tournament game for the third straight year after the Cats were drawn to play Rider at Virtue Field in Monday’s Selection Show. The Cats and Broncos will kick off at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Vermont had another great regular season with 11 wins including victories over 1-loss Bryant and Western Michigan squads. There was some question of whether UVM would earn an at-large bid after falling in the America East quarterfinals, but in the end, their resume was more than good enough.

Thursdays contest may bring a feeling of deja vu to longtime fans of the Cats: UVM also hosted Rider in the first round of the 2016 tournament, a 4-1 Catamount victory which featured a Brian Wright hat trick. Th 2023 team doesn’t have an individual scorer like Wright, but they do have a ton of experience playing must-win games at home after their magical run a year ago.

“That is so important,” head coach Rob Dow said of that experience. “Our returners come in in their third year in a row being in the NCAA tournament. They feel like every minute goes past so fast in the game that these half chances and big plays, and leadership needs to step up. Guys like Zach (Barrett) and Max (Murray) are really important, for them to get the team ready for Thursday.”

“Anything can happen in the NCAA tournament,” Barrett added. “Rankings go out the door, seeding doesn’t matter, home or away. Literally anything can happen, but the biggest thing from last year and into this year is our togetherness as a team. Just knowing that any time in the game, we’re down 2-0, we’re up 2-0, anything can happen. And being together as a team and trusting our system and principles as a team is just the biggest thing we have to stress.”