Martha’s Vineyard girls play MIAA tourney opener Tuesday

Martha's Vineyard's girls hockey team celebrated after it beat Marshfield 2-1 , to qualify for the MIAA state tournament for the first time in school history. — Photo by Robin Davies

The Martha’s Vineyard girls hockey team plays its first-ever postseason tournament game at 4:15 pm, Tuesday at home in the M.V. Arena against Dennis-Yarmouth.

Hockey mom Susan Mercier said the Vineyard was very fortunate that the tournament schedule announced Saturday called for a home game. Unfortunately, it is school vacation week and fans may be in short supply. Ms. Mercier urged Islanders to pack the stands and support the hometown girls. “We want to get as many people there as possible,” she told The Times Monday.

A 2-1 win over Marshfield last week earned the Vineyarders their first berth in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association postseason tournament in the 14-year history of the girls hockey team.

The win pushed the Vineyarders to 10-7 on the season, ensuring them a .500 record and qualifying them for the MIAA tournament. They improved to 11-7 just two days later, with a huge win over Medway/Ashland, a powerful Division I team.

A win which Coach John Fiorito said was just as impressive – if not more – than the clinching game two days earlier. Medway is a Division I team that came in desperately needing a win to qualify for the MIAA tournament.

The Vineyarders finished out the season with two home games. On Wednesday, February 22, the girls improved their record with a 5-2 victory over Latin Academy. Katy Smith won her second game in her second varsity start and Maggie Johnson and Celia Mercier tallied two goals each to pace the Vineyard to their seventh win in their last nine chances.

On Friday, the Vineyarders played a tough Westwood team. It was also senior night, so it was fitting that senior co-captain Celia Mercier should score the tie-breaking goal that gave the the Vineyard a 3-2 win in the last game of the regular season.

The Vineyard led by 2-0 lead following a first period goal from Aubrey Ashmun and a second period point from Emily Cimeno. But Westwood came back and tied the game.

Celia Mercier broke the tie with her 29th goal of the season. Co-captain Maggie Johnson got the assist. Goaltender Texe Craig scored her 21 save.