Fjeld finds his rhythm

Basketball is a game of rhythm and, until recently, sophomore Evan Fjeld had yet to find his.The main thing keeping the talented 6’8″ forward from finding it had been the dreaded injury bug, which kept him a step off at both the beginning of this season and last.First, a hand injury at the beginning of his freshman year held him out of 13 games. He was back by mid-season, but found himself searching for the rhythm that he needed to be able to contribute. It took him until the 2008 postseason to find his groove, but once he did, his presence was felt.”Come tournament time I felt pretty comfortable and I played pretty well over the tournament,” Fjeld said.High hopes were held for UVM’s frontcourt for the following season. Fjeld was set to be backing up Vermont’s star junior Marqus Blakely and senior Colin McIntosh, but in the off season Fjeld was battling the injury bug again. “I had a nagging foot injury that was diagnosed before the season,” Fjeld said. “I had surgery so I missed pretty much all of the preseason.”Missing the preseason, the time when the team learns to step to the same rythym, kept Fjeld offbeat once again even when he reached full strength.”I’ve been at full strength since the season started but it’s a comfort thing,” Fjeld said. “Playing in the offseason makes you feel comfortable.” But now as the season winds down, Fjeld has found his groove and said he’s filling the same role that he established last season. “I think I bring energy off the bench, defense mainly,” Fjeld said. The forward is also an asset on the offensive end as his scrappy work on the offensive glass often leads to easy putbacks. This was evident his 18-point outburst aginst rival New Hampshire last month. “If my offense is there, that’s great for the team but we have so many offensive weapons on our team that if I can just bring defense and energy off the bench, that’s what we need,” Fjeld said. It is critical for Vermont to have more depth from the bench and a strong defensive presence down low as they approach the conference tournament tied for second place in the America East.After a tough loss to Binghamton last Wednesday, in which the team blew a 23-point halftime lead, Fjeld said he thinks the team will respond strongly. “Usually in the past we respond well from losses, hopefully we can rebound and play well,” Fjeld said.Even with the loss, the team is stepping to the same rhythm. Fjeld says the momentum the team picked up during their seven-game win streak is still intact. “[The loss] doesn’t stop the momentum we’ve built, the season is full of ups and downs and it’s about how you respond to those.”