Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
BURLINGTON – Vermont senior Brian Wright set the program record for most points in a single season (39) with a hat trick and also recorded an assist in Thursday night’s 4-1 victory over Rider in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. UVM won its fourth NCAA Tournament game all-time and advances to the second round for the third time overall, its first since 2007.
Vermont advances to face 2014 national champion and No. 12 overall seed Virginia on Sunday (Nov. 20) at 1 p.m. in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Klöckner Stadium in Charlottesville, Virginia.
In front of a record crowd of 2,058 fans at Virtue Field, the Catamounts improved to 14-6-1 overall and became only the second team in program history with 14 or more victories in a season. Rider closes the books on a 13-4-3 season after suffering its first loss in the last 10 games (7-1-2), which included a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championship.
With the win, head coach Jesse Cormier tied Ron McEachen’s record of 114 program wins. Vermont is playing in its third NCAA Tournament under Cormier since 2007.
Wright becomes only the second Catamount to score at least 14 goals in a season behind John Koerner’s single-season record of 15 goals in 1975. The senior joined Koerner in another exclusive club as the only members to chart at least 100 career points.
Wright only needed 84 seconds to get a shot on goal to start the game but UVM’s defense had to step up and hold off Rider’s offensive attack in the first 15 minutes. The Broncs attempted four shots in a 12-minute span.
In the 24th minute, Wright broke through for the first goal of the evening. Jon Arnar Barðdaldribbled into the box and sent a low cross to Wright on the far side. Wright made two moves to his left and sent a laser into the left side of the net past diving Rider keeper Ryan Baird (12 saves).
Roughly 20 minutes later, the senior tallied his second goal of the game just before halftime.Charlie DeFeo booted a through ball past midfield to Wright, who sprinted past the Broncs’ defense and made a move to get around Baird. He marched forward to the goal line and tapped in his 13th goal of the season.
The second half belonged to the Catamounts as the team ripped 14 of their 22 shots in the final period.
In the 71st minute, Wright led a 2-on-1 fast break scoring opportunity for the Cats. Wright approached the box and sent a cross to Stefan Lamanna on the far side. Lamanna timed his shot perfectly and lined the one-timer into the back of the net.
As the clock ticked down into the final minutes, Rider blemished the shutout when Arthur Herpreck added his third goal of the season in the 89th minute.
With only 14 seconds left in the game, Wright found himself in the box once again. The senior dribbled in from the left and bent a low line drive by Baird to complete the hat trick.
Vermont travels to No. 12 seed Virginia on Sunday (Nov. 20) for the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The second round matchup will get underway at 1 p.m. Visit UVMathletics.com for up-to-date news, schedule and ticket information, and webcast links on the Catamounts’ run for an NCAA Championship.