Saturday, March 5, 2011
Vermont Gets It Done, Moves on to Semis
The Vermont Catamounts will head to the America East Conference Semifinals for the eighth time in the last nine years after beating Binghamton 57-46. Binghamton, the ninth and final seed, did not make things easy for Vermont. With just over 7 minutes remaining in the second half, Vermont led 44-41. Vermont then used a 7-0, driven by seniors Evan Fjeld and Joey Accaoui, to make the game more comfortable for Vermont down the stretch.
Fjeld was able to bounce back from the ankle injury he suffered in the game against Boston University six days before. He was a game-time decision for the Cats, but was able to play and play like his usual self: he finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds in 33 minutes of play. Sophomore Brendan Bald was expected to play, but he was also bouncing back from an ankle injury of his own. He chipped in 9 points and 5 boards despite a poor shooting night, going 4-13 from the field. Bald can definitely be a streaky shooter, so we probably shouldn't read into that too much. He was able to play 30 minutes, and that is what counts. Both of those guys playing at all is a good sign for Vermont heading into tomorrow's semifinal game. Brian Voelkel added 10 points 9 rebounds and 3 asssits, which really shouldn't surprise anyone at this point. Or maybe we should be surprised: he didn't get 10 boards and only had 3 assists.
Vermont will play Stony Brook tomorrow in a game that tips at 5:04 ET. Stony Brook won the morning game against Albany, 67-61, using a season-high 18 points from senior Chris Martin, who averages less than six points a game. Stony Brook must be hungry, having been the top seed in last year's tournament, only to be upset by BU in the semis. It is safe to say they would love to be on the other side of that type of upset this season.
Personally, I love Vermont's chances to host the championship game next Saturday. But you can't look past the Seawolves, and Vermont surely is not.