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The womens basketball team was the top choice in the 1998 America
East Preseason Coaches Poll to open the 1998-99 season. The Cats
opened the season with a thrilling 73-71 overtime victory over
Rhode Island in Patrick Gymnasium. Optimism for the season ahead
was tempered with injury concerns for Karalyn Church and Holly
Harris. Church returned to the lineup after missing the opener.
Harris missed all of the first semesters games after arthroscopic
surgery on both knees. In the second semester, the Cats anticipated
not only the return of Harris to the floor, but also sophomore
transfer Kerry Duggan, now eligible to play after transferring
from St. Johns.
The 1998-99 season will conclude with the America East Womens
Basketball Tournament, which will be hosted by Vermont on March
3 through 6 at Patrick Gymnasium.
Although they came up short in their attempt to earn an America
East playoff bid, Coach Roy Pattons mens soccer team finished
at 9-8-1 to post their second straight winning season. It marked
the first time since 1991 that UVM has posted back-to-back winning
records. Among the highlights in 1998 was the teams first-ever
outright Smith Barney Classic title in September. Catamount standouts
included senior Chris Rose, who was named as the All-America East
second team goalkeeper and senior forward Armann Fenger, who was
the teams scoring leader with seven goals and three assists.
The mens basketball team went into the year looking to improve
on one of the most successful seasons in some time. Led by last
years America East Rookie of the Year Tony Orciari, seven of
the top eight players return for 1998-99. Senior captains Jared
Steele and Matt Chotkowski are joined in the frontcourt by the
top newcomer, 6-7 frosh Trevor Gaines. Juniors David Roach, Tobe
Carberry, and Tyler Murphy team with Orciari to form one of the
leagues best backcourts.
The mens hockey team got off to a strong start in the 1998-99
season, posting a 5-3 overall record (3-1-0 in the ECAC) after
eight games. Coach Mike Gilligans team is young but very talented,
and determined to prove the league coaches wrong. In the pre-season
poll, Vermont was picked to finish 10th overall, but clearly this
team will finish much higher than that, if the first eight games
are any indication. Senior captain Jason Reid was leading the
team in scoring with five goals and five assists for ten points,
while sophomore Philippe Choiniere had a team-high six goals in
the early going. In goal, senior Marty Phillips has looked very
strong, posting a shutout against Rensselaer. Sophomore Andrew
Allen has also played well between the pipes, getting a pair of
wins and continuing his fine play from a year ago.
The UVM ski team will be loaded for another NCAA title run in
1999. Coach Chip LaCasse returns a gondola full of top skiers
ready to bring another NCAA Championship trophy back to Vermont.
Top returning nordic skiers include juniors Tessa Benoit, Caroline
Mjoen, and Anette Nilssen on the womens side and Ruben Andersen,
Sindre Brurok, and David Stewart for the men. In alpine, sophomores
Sarah Laidlaw, Erica MacConnell, and Taylor Watts return, as do
NCAA Giant Slalom champion Brandon Dyksterhouse and Christopher
Before she dropped the ceremonial first puck to open UVMs inaugural
womens varsity hockey game, President Judith Ramaley asked the
teams captains for a little instruction on technique. Im new
at this, she said with a wry smile. The players might have reassured
the president that she wasnt alone. Though both the Southern
Maine squad and UVM were seasoned as club teams, this would be
the first varsity game for both reveling in all that means from
travel budgets to new uniforms to more fans in the seats.
About eight hundred were on hand for the historic game lonely
by mens hockey standards, a crowd compared to what the womens
squad was used to as a club sport.
The bleachers were a mix of friends and family, and diehard UVM
hockey fans thrilled to have another excuse to spend a Friday
evening in Gutterson.
When Jen Welch, a sophomore from Roslindale, Mass., slapped one
in at 11:09 in the first period she made history with the Catamounts
first varsity goal. While the refs stopped the game to hand over
the historic puck to the UVM squad, Welchs friends Mark Denzihl
01, Allison Baiter 01, Jesse Foote 01, Marissa Kenler 01,
and Jessica Noble 01 whooped it up in the stands. Awesome!
They speculated that youll see more students at the games in
the future. People are talking about it.
While the Cats built a quick 2-0 lead on the ice, in the bleachers
it wasnt so easy. Bob Ammel of White River Junction, Vt., stood
and worked on the large bag of popcorn as he watched daughter
Betsy and teammates play. A look in his eye said that sitting
during the game wasnt an option for him. A bit more relaxed,
his younger daughter Kylie sat by his side. Like her sister, shes
been playing hockey since age five skating on boys teams when
there were no other options. Asked if shed like to play for UVM
someday, Kylie says, Id like to go anywhere that I could play
A few rows down Bill Gremp and his daughter, Julia, of Greenwich,
Conn. cheered for daughter/sister Jordan, a junior. Bill, sporting
a UVM womens hockey baseball cap, a bow tie, blue blazer with
an ice-white rose on the lapel, and blue jeans was dressed just
right for a Vermont hockey premiere. When she first came here,
Jordan hoped that the program would make the move to varsity.
We all did. This is a lot more exciting to have the band here,
, the proud hockey dad says.
Timothy Hawley (known to Gutterson regulars as The Man with the
Flag) and his wife Suzanne made room in their hearts for womens
hockey as well as mens two years ago when Dennis Miller 89 became
coach. The Hawleys remember Millers days as a Catamount skater
with great fondness; their trademark green and gold flag dates
from the Cats trip to the Boston Garden during those years. We
just love the collegiate game, Timothy Hawley says. We enjoy
good clean hockey mens or womens. Better than the NHL any
Ten rows up at the end of the arena, Chuck Ross 78 watches the
game with his kids, Sam and Halley. A standout defenseman for
Coach Jim Crosss Catamounts during his days in school, Ross is
impressed with the skating and puck handling of both teams. I
think womens hockey has a great future at UVM. I predict youll
see them climbing up the ranks.
By the time the evening is over the Cats will have notched their first varsity victory, 4-2, and delivered a clear message that a new era has dawned at Gutterson Fieldhouse, an era that promises lots more fun for the faithful sitting in those green bleachers.