Vt. drops weekend’s title on home turf

Catamount basketball fans were left experiencing deja vu for the second straight season as Vermont was ousted in the America East semifinals by the University of Albany 67-58 March 9.

The No. 4 Great Danes were on the receiving end of two previous losses to the No. 1 Catamounts who were riding an 11 game winning streak earlier this season by a total 40 points.

Albany sophomore guard Peter Hooley Ôstole the showÕ scoring 26 points, 22 of which came in the first half.

Senior forward Gary Johnson followed Hooley with 17 points and finished the game with 13 boards.

The Cats found themselves playing catch-up the entire game and by the end of the first half trailed 35-19.

Senior Brian Voelkel, trying to follow up his triple-double in the quarterfinals against New Hampshire, found himself in foul trouble early on.

Voelkel ended the day with just 5 points and no assists.

UVM outscored the Great Danes 39-32 in the second half but could not find a way to erase their first half deficit.

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Senior forwards Clancy Rugg and Luke Apfeld led the Catamounts with 13 points each.

The upset loss to Albany is not just the end of the season for the Catamounts. They are also now forced to say goodbye to a senior class that has brought coach John Becker and this program great success in recent years.

Many of the seniors were acknowledged for their success over the years.

Voelkel earned America East defensive player of the year, while seniors Sandro Carissimo and Clancy Rugg join Voelkel on the America East all-conference first team.

Coach Becker earned the America East coach of the year award. He has led his squad to an average 20 wins per season in his first three years at UVM, according to UVM athletics.

Rugg, Apfeld and Voelkel along with senior guards Candon Rusin, Josh Elbaum and Carissimo will hang up their numbers after the National Invitational Tournament starting March 18.

After a 20 plus win season and the loss of six seniors, juniors Hector Harold and Ryan Pierson will have to pick up where the outgoing class left off.