As all good things must come to an end, so did the participation of the University of Vermont men’s lacrosse team in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament.
Last Sunday, Kahnawa’kehró:non Stone Jacobs played his final game of the season with the Catamounts, which ended with the University of Maryland Terrapins winning 17-10.
“The result wasn’t what we wanted, but at the same time, it was really more about the big picture of just making the tournament for the first time,” said Jacobs. “We also got to play one of the top teams in the country and we showed that we can play hard right up until the end.”
Finishing in the 14th overall seed of the national tournament is an accomplishment Jacobs and head coach Chris Feifs agreed is something worth celebrating in itself.
“At the end of the season, we showed that we are incredibly tough, resilient and that we have a lot of confidence,” said Feifs. “When you play a really elite team like Maryland, which is just another level, you can’t beat yourself up.”
Of the 26 faceoffs between the Catamounts and the Terrapins, Maryland took 15. While Vermont went in strong, with an organized, aggressive and opportunistic energy, the Terrapins seized the opportunity to trap offence and midfielders on defence.
By halftime, it became clear that the Catamounts struggled to maintain possession, as they racked up 15 turnovers.
In the beginning of the second half, the Catamounts were able to cut their deficit to 8-5. However, already at a deficit, Vermont saw their opponents quickly respond with the strength to gain them three consecutive goals.
Despite the turn out of this final game, Feifs expressed how impressive the team’s performance was overall.
“After four years of fighting, scraping and clawing – finishing with a COVID-19 year has really brought the team together,” said the head coach. “While lacrosse has been the vehicle that has brought us together, it’s the relationships built that are really going to last forever.”
Along with the inseparable bond the Catamounts family has created, he expressed how historic the season was for the program. They took home their first-ever conference championship on May 8, defeating the University of Albany 15-10.
“They want to represent that Vermont jersey with pride and that means giving everything you can every single chance they have to compete,” said the Catamounts coach.
With the NCAA season is over, Stone explained he is looking forward to completing a business internship, playing golf and – it goes without saying – preparing for the next season.
“Our performance during the game just speaks to how hard we played throughout those 60 minutes,” said Jacobs. “We are all already excited to come back in the fall and have what should be another great season.”
Laurence Brisson Dubreuil, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door