One of Kurt Steidl's pre-season goals was to help\u00a0the\u00a0University of Vermont men's basketball team qualify for the NCAA Division I Tournament. On Saturday, Steidl did just that. Two three-pointers from Steidl, a former Ridgefield High standout, were part of a second-half comeback as top-seed Vermont defeated third-seed Albany, 56-53, in the America East Conference championship game in Burlington, VT. With the victory, the Catamounts improved their record to 29-5 and earned an automatic qualifying berth in the 64-team NCAA tourney field. Vermont trailed 47-38 with under eight minutes to play when Steidl, a 6'6" senior forward, hit his first three-pointer to jump-start Vermont's rally. His second trey was even bigger, as it tied the score at 48-48 with 4:37 remaining. Albany regained a two-point lead, but\u00a0Vermont\u00a0responded with a 4-0 run to go in front, 52-50. After Albany tied the game, the Catamounts went on another 4-0 run to open a 56-52 advantage with 10 seconds left. Albany hit one of two free throws with one second remaining to end the scoring. The two three-pointers were the only baskets for Steidl, who finished with six points on two-of-seven shooting. He added five rebounds for Vermont. Notes: Vermont will enter the NCAA tournament on a nation-best, 21-game winning streak. It was the sixth America East championship in program history for Vermont. The Catamounts' last won the conference \u2014 and qualified for the NCAA tournament \u2014 in the 2011-12 season, when Steidl was a junior\u00a0at Ridgefield High. Steidl was a two-time All-FCIAC and All-State selection while at Ridgefield High. As a senior, he was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Connecticut.