It was yet another tremendous year of success for the UVM men's basketball team. Led by Trae Bell-Haynes and a tremendous group of seniors, the Catamounts would end up winning 27 games over the course of the 2017-18 campaign, compiling a 15-game win streak from just before Christmas to mid-February and stretching a home win streak to 22 games and a conference regular season streak to 33 games en route to a second straight America East regular season title.
In all, seven Catamounts earned postseason honors with TBH and John Becker repeating as America East player and coach of the year respectively. But the season didn't end the way the Cats would have liked...with the America East title game tied late, Jairus Lyles hit a three pointer with zero-point-six seconds remaining to leave UVM stunned and send UMBC to the NCAA tournament. The Cats would fall in their first game of the NIT.
"Tough, tough defeat today, but congratulations UMBC," Becker said after the game. "They were the better team today and made the plays down the stretch. Obviously did not end the way we want, but does not diminish all the incredible things this team did this year and this group of seniors have done in their career."
The men's hockey team couldn't build on their success from the previous season as they sputtered to a 4-15-4 record by mid-January, but the Cats showed signs of life after that. Vermont posted five wins over a seven-game point streak, though they eventually fell a hard-fought three game series at UMass in the Hockey East first round.
This season, the Cats started with a massive upset win over 4th ranked Michigan, but have skidded to a 5-8-1 record entering the holiday break.
The women's team experienced similar struggles as they finished with just ten wins and Hockey East quarterfinal loss last Winter. This season has been tough so far as well with scoring a major concern, though they seem to have turned around a bit, scoring at least three goals in each of their past three games.
The Vermont ski team picked up one Carnival win last Winter, but finished second in the East for the second year in a row. At the NCAA championships in Colorado, UVM finished 5th as a team with seven SkiCats claiming All-American honors, all on the alpine side. Paula Moltzan was a first teamer in both slalom and GS. Teammate Laurence St Germain skipped last season to compete in the Olympics instead, finishing 15th in the slalom, and both finished in the top 20 in slalom at the Killington World Cup event last month.
"I haven't been at school much during the fall because I've been traveling a lot," St. Germain said at Killington. "But she came here on Tuesday and basically we ate all our lunches together, dinner, everything and just catching up and kinda getting excited for the race and the college season coming up too in January."
In April, Chris Day resigned as head coach of the women's basketball team after two seasons. He had been under investigation for accusations of verbal abuse, but the results were never released as he left to take an assistant job at LaSalle. Day was replaced by former assistant Alisa Kresge, who has posted a 4-6 record to start this season.
The UVM men's lacrosse team had the most successful season in school history this Spring, winning a program record 12 games under second year head coach Chris Feifs. The Catamounts climbed as high as #12 in the national rankings and claimed their second ever America East tournament win over Stony Brook in the semifinals. The Cats were no match for Albany in the title game, UVM again coming up just short of their first ever NCAA tournament appearance, though Senior midfielder Ian MacKay and sophomore goalie Nick Washuta were both named USILA All-Americans.
After the Summer break, the field hockey team had a successful fall, posting eight wins for the first time in ten years and qualifying for the America East tournament for the first time since 2015.
The women's soccer team once again earned a spot in the America East tournament, but they could not repeat their run to the 2017 conference title game. The Cats finished their regular season with a 2-1 loss to UMass-Lowell and fell to the Riverhawks again on penalties a week later in the quarterfinals.
The men climbed into the national rankings early in the year and posted a fourth straight season with double digit wins, as Geo Alves, Justin Freitas, and Jon Arnar Barddal all finished with double digit points. But the Cats struggled in conference play, missing out on a second straight America East regular season title. The Cats were then shocked by...you guessed it...UMBC on penalties in the conference quarterfinals.
Probably the biggest story around the UVM athletic department this year came in late October, as the board of trustees unanimously approved the multi-purpose facility project that will see dramatic changes to the athletic campus by the 2020-21 school year. Gutterson Fieldhouse will be completely renovated with modern amenities inside the existing historic structure, Patrick Gym will be transformed into a health and wellness facility for students, and the basketball teams will relocate to a brand new building on what is currently a parking lot, to be named the Tarrant event center after longtime boosters Rich and Deb Tarrant made a $15 million dollar donation to the project, announced ahead of Tuesday's men's hoops game against St. Bonaventure.
Which brings us back to where we started. The Hoop Cats emerged from one of the most dramatic games ever played at Patrick with a double-overtime win over the Bonnies on Tuesday thanks to an other-worldly 42-point performance from junior forward Anthony Lamb. The Cats are 9-3 to start this season, and they have their sights firmly set on a return trip to the NCAA tournament to get 2019 off to a great start at the University of Vermont.