BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) 2019 in Catamount Country began with another dominating run through the America East regular season for the UVM men's basketball team. The Cats went 14-2 and won the America East regular season title for the third straight season.
After leading the conference in both scoring and rebounding, junior Anthony Lamb was named the America East player of the year. Head coach John Becker was named America East Coach of the Year for the third year in a row.
After blowout wins in the quarter and semifinals, Vermont faced rival UMBC in the America East championship game at Patrick Gym. The Retreivers beat Vermont twice during the regular season and stunned the Cats on a buzzer beater in the title game the year prior at Patrick, but this time there would be no upset.
Powered by 28 points from Lamb, the Cats downed UMBC 66-49 to win their second America East title in three years and advance to the NCAA Tournament.
In the Big Dance, the Cats were a 13 seed and faced Florida State in Hartford, Connecticut in the first round. Vermont led by one with eleven minutes to go, but Florida State slowly pulled away, holding off a late Vermont charge to win 76-69. A tough ending to a memorable season as UVM went 27-7 overall, and with all but three players set to return, including Lamb, anticipation was high for the new season to come.
The University of Vermont hosted the 2019 NCAA Ski Championships at Stowe. Junior Bill Harmeyer from South Burlington and Ben Odgen of Landgrove, Vermont picked up a first and second team All-American honor respectively over two days of nordic racing.
On the slopes, 2018 Olympian Laurence St. Germain won the giant slalom on day two, then on the final day of racing, won the slalom by over two and a half seconds, becoming just the second Cat ever to win national titles in both events and the first to do it at a single championships. Fellow UVM star Paula Moltzan placed fifth in both races. The pair, who competed both on the World Cup circuit and at home for UVM all winter, helped lead Vermont to a second place finish overall in their final races representing the SkiCats.
Elsewhere last winter, following a season in which the program picked up it's most overall wins and America East wins in seven years, Alisa Kresge had the interim tag removed and was named the new head coach of the UVM women's basketball team.
And it was a tough season at Gutterson for UVM hockey. The Vermont men won just five of 24 league games, missing the Hockey East playoffs. They then opened the new season in October, with coach Kevin Sneddon entering the final year of his contract, with just one win in their first fourteen games.
The Vermont women secured the final spot in the Hockey East playoffs on the last day of the regular season before falling eventual conference champs Northeastern in the first round, then started their new campaign with just two losses in their first twelve games, entering the new year at .500 at 7-7-5.
The biggest news of the spring in Cat Country came off the field. After decades of discussion, ground was finally broken on the new Multi-Purpose Center that will including a new arena for basketball, the Tarrant Center, and major renovations to Gutterson Fieldhouse. Construction is underway on the $95 million dollar project with a hoped-for debut for the new facilities in the 2021-2022 school year.
On the field this spring, both the men's and women's lacrosse teams went 8-7 overall, but the men went 4-2 in league play, finishing second in America East and reaching the conference tournament final for the third time in four years. Unfortunately, also for the third time, the Cats lost that final, falling by one goal, 14-13, to fourth seed UMBC and barely missing out on a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
As the fall season arrived in Cat Country, so did men's soccer standout Rasmus Tobinski. The freshman forward from Germany took America East by storm. He finished second in the conference with ten goals, ranked third in points and was named the league's rookie of the year, the first Cat to earn the honor since former All-American Brian Wright. Tobinski and a Vermont team that featured six all-conference performers went 11-6-1 and earned a share of the America East regular season title. But as the two seed, and after receiving a first round bye, the Cats were upset by Hartford 3-2 in overtime in the conference semifinals at Virtue Field.
Then as new winter sports season began at UVM all eyes were once again on the Hoopcats. After all-time greats Taylor Coppenrath and T-J Sorrentine had their numbers raised to the rafters in the preseason, UVM opened with four straight victories, capped by a historic road win at St. John's. Anthony Lamb hit the game winner in the final seconds of that game, and then Vermont stood tall in a six point loss at reigning NCAA champs Virginia. The Cats are primed to being conference play January 8th, aiming for a second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.