Men’s soccer finds wrong net

The No. 3 seed Catamounts scored two goals in the last three minutes to finish off a gamelong comeback in their quarterfinal dual with No. 6 seed Albany on Nov. 5. Unfortunately for UVM, they were two own goals, giving Albany the comeback and an advance to the America East semifinal matchup versus Stony Brook.

UVM looked weak from the start, as passing lacked completion and chance after chance went unfinished. It was 15 minutes in when junior Zach Paul tapped the ball within a cluster of players to net the Cats’ first goal of the game. What followed was only a showing of shabby passes and shots that skyrocketed over the goal. Coach Jessie Cormier was never really sure whether the Catamounts were in it to win it.

“I felt like when we took the lead we weren’t quite sure whether we were going to come out on top,” Cormier said.

“We didn’t have that confidence, that competitive edge that we needed and that’s how you close out a game and we were never able to really do that.”

After Albany junior Pomare Te Anau schooled the UVM defense to set up a tap-in within the five for first-year teammate Brandon Wilson, UVM responded minutes later.

Senior Juan Peralta, on top of the energy of the crowd, placed a beautiful cross to the head of junior D.J. Edler to give Vermont their second lead of the game.

It was after this, in the final three minutes of play, that Vermont lost all composure on the defensive end. After a free kick from just outside the 18 — in an attempt to clear the ball — Vermont senior Yannick Lewis headed the ball into his own net, evening the score at 2. Just over a minute later, in the final two minutes of play, first-year Taylor Stapf was in the wrong place at the wrong time when Albany’s game-winning goal bounced off of him and past junior goaltender Dave Ramada.

“A goal’s a goal. [Albany] put the pressure on us to make those mistakes and that’s why you have to give them credit, and that’s how the game works,” Cormier said. He gave all credit to Albany in a devastating game that Vermont could easily claim responsibility for.

“You want to have the best energy at the end of season and you want to be able to play deep into November and into December even, and we just didn’t quite have it,” Cormier said, “We just weren’t firing today and Albany was. Credit to them,” Cormier said.

Albany coach Johan Aarnio seemed not to be taken aback by his team’s upset of the Cats.

“We always plan to win the games we play, so this wasn’t really a surprise to us, but it’s a great feeling and we’re happy to be advancing to play again,” Aarnio said. “It was a fantastic game. It must’ve been great for any neutral spectators, if there were any,” he chuckled, just having experienced the brutal enthusiasm of UVM fans.

At the end of the day, UVM was left only to reflect on a season that saw both ups and downs. Last year they finished the season in sixth place in America East and this year they tied for second. It is a program that, in this one season, saw major improvement, only to be capped off by major disappointment. Cormier remained optimistic however, despite the upset.

“We’ve made progress. I give the seniors a lot of credit. They were able to leave their mark and really help their program.

When you’re coming off a season where you finish sixth, and then you come back the next tied for second and get a home game [in the playoffs], that’s progression. And that’s what we’re after, these guys growing — growing as players, but also as people.”