Wednesday, February 16, 2011
10th Straight Win Clinches Title Outright
My favorite part of this photo: "Maine Pride" in the top right hand corner.
The Catamounts did it. They did it on the road. They did it in style. They wrapped up their first outright regular season conference title since the 2006-2007 season.
Vermont got their revenge on the Black Bears, the only team to beat them at home this year, by taking control in the second half and winning, 73-57. The Black Bears, of course, had beaten Vermont in Burlington, 72-58. So the Cats turned the tables, and then some. Top performers were Evan Fjeld (19 points on 9-13 shooting), Brendan Bald (17 points on 6-8 shooting), and Brian Voelkel added a signature Voelkel night, with 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Matt Glass scored 11 and did a great job watching Troy Barnies for most of the night. Sandro Carissimo added 5 assists to Vermont's 22 total assists, the team's season-high. The Cats managed to shoot 59.6% from the field, also a season-high.
It's been a truly amazing season for the Catamounts. It's hard to say enough about how unselfish, hard-working, and exciting this team really is. They have now won 10 straight games and have a chance to be even better than last year's team. Really, this team has a chance to be as good as the 2004-2005 team. I know that last sentence sounds crazy, but it is true. The work is certainly not over, not in the least. They need to take care of business in their last two regular season games, and then in the conference tournament. That is no small task. But there is something very special about the way this team clicks. No player is bigger than the team, and that has turned Vermont into one of the three hottest teams in Division I right now.
According to my humble calculations, Vermont now owns the third longest win streak in the country at 10 straight wins. George Mason has 12 straight, Texas has 11, and Vermont has 10. Not bad company. The win against Maine also tied Vermont with Belmont for the second most road wins this year (also standing at 10 in a row).
So enjoy this one tonight Catamounts and Catamount fans. Tomorrow, we all go back to work.