Last week we told about how both the UVM basketball teams had won conference championships, and each had a ticket to the big dance. Well a week later the men, despite a valiant effort, lost their opener 79-56 to a Syracuse team that has a legitimate shot at a national championship. The women however upset the seventh seeded Wisconsin Badgers 64-55 in the opening round, and had a second round date with regional host Notre Dame this past Tuesday.
The men played Syracuse tough, never going away. The Orange held a commanding 34-10 lead with 6:29 left in the opening half, and looked like they would blow UVM out of the gym. But the Cats turned it around and outscored Syracuse 15-3 to cut the lead to 37-25 at the break. But Syracuse took note and made sure they took control. UVM wouldn't get any close then 13 the rest of the way, and Syracuse slowly pulled away in the second half.
Syracuse had five players reach double digits, led by junior forward Wesley Johnson, who hade a game high 18 points. Sophomore guard Scoop Jardine came off the bench to score 14 more. Rickey Jackson contributed another dozen while Andy Rautins and Brandon Triche added 11 and10 more respectively to the 23 point win. The Orangemen went on to defeat Gonzaga 87-65 last Sunday and were scheduled to play Butler in the Western Regional semifinals this past Thursday night.
Senior forward Marqus Blakely paced the Cats with 17 points. UVM got an additional 13 points from junior forward Evan Fjeld. The Catanounts end a successful 2009 / 2010 campaign with a 25-10 Record and an America East Conference Championship.
In a much tighter contest the UVM Catamounts women's team built up a 33-25 halftime lead over Wisconsin. The Badgers would battle the entire second half, and would cut the lead to two points, 46-44 lead with 6:38 left. UVM responded with a huge 6-0 run to go back up by eight 52-44 with 4:11. From there they wouldn't allow the Badgers to get any closer than four points as the Cats hung on to claim the 64-55 win.
Guard Alyssa Kerel led Wisconsin with 13 points. Forward Lin Zastrow added another 11 for the Badgers who end their season at 21-11. UVM was paced by senior guard Courtney Pilypaitis, who had a fantastic offensive night, pumping in 25 points. Fellow senior guard May Kotsopoulos contributed another 14 to the huge win. The Catamounts were scheduled to play the second seeded Fighting Irish of Norte Dame, who defeated Cleveland State 86-58 in the opening round.
Panthers Capture Two of First Three
The Middlebury Panthers opened their 2010 baseball season with a 10-6 win over Southern Maine last Saturday in Arizona. They followed by splitting a double header against Carleton on Sunday.
In Saturdays opener the Panthers put together a 13 hit attack, 9 of them for extra bases, and plated 10 runs in a 10-6 win over Southern Maine. Designated hitter Joseph Conway, right fielder Thomas Driscoll and second baseman Matt Wassel led the Panthers offensive surge. Conway had a double, two singles and drove home a run in four trips to the plate. Wassel had a pair of hits, including a triple, scored once and had three RBIs. Driscoll too had a single and a triple and two walks in five plate appearances. He drove in two runs and scored once.
Nick Armstrong started and picked up the win by pitching five innings. In those five innings of work Armstrong gave up 3 runs on 8 hits with 2 strikeouts and a pair of walks. John Popkowski and Michael Joseph combined to finish the game for Armstrong.
Then in Saturday's first game against Carelton the Panthers plated 5 runs in the top of the fifth to tie the game at 8-8. Conway (2 for 4 with 2 RBIs and a run scored) and catcher Zach Roeder belted huge doubles in the frame. The score would remain tied until the bottom of the eighth (scheduled for 7 innings.) After Carelton loaded the bases with no outs Middlebury hurler Andy Dittrich got Dan Lojovich to hit a grounder to second, which was turned into a force out at home. But then, trying to keep the ball low to induce a double play Dittrich walked sophomore center fielder Erik Fabry, which forced home the winning run, giving Carelton the 8-7 extra innings win.
Dittrich, who pitched the final 4 1/3 innings, giving up just the one run on 3 hits with a pair of strikeouts, took the loss. Dittrich's demon was his control, issuing 5 walks, including the critical one to Fabry in his 4 1/3 innings of work. Junior pitcher Jacob Anderson pitched 3 no hit innings in relief to pick up the win. In his 3 innings he allowed just one base runner when he hit Joey Liberator in the top half of the eighth inning.
In Sunday's second game the Panthers took advantage of two Carelton errors, banged out 5 hits and scored eight runs in the bottom of the sixth to pull out an 11-7 win in the seven inning game. The biggest hit in the 8 run inning was a 2-out, 2-run single by second baseman Tyler Wark. Centerfielder Erich Enns turned in a solid performance at the plate for the victorious Panthers, going 3 for 3 with walk and scoring twice.
Middlebury starter Matt Lowes, despite a rocky outing, picked up the win. In six innings of work Lowes gave up 7 runs (only 4 were earned) and 5 hits. He, like Dittrich in the days opening game, struggled with his control. Lowes walked 5 and struck out just one in his opening outing. Scooter Scott pitched the seventh for Middlebury, securing he win by giving up just one hit and striking out two.
The 2-1 Panthers were scheduled to play 3 more games this past week, before playing Williams three games in two days this Friday and Saturday..