After a promising, but at times frustrating start, the boys’ soccer team had perhaps its finest game of the season at home Tuesday with a comfortable 5-0 win over the Somerset Berkley Raiders.
The Vineyarders exploded for three goals in four minutes in the second half to put the game away. Two came on corner kicks and one on a penalty kick.
Jack Roberts had two goals in the win, while his brother, Tim, had one goal. Kip Cooperrider also had a goal and Jacob Lawrence finished the scoring with an exciting score when he beat the Raiders goalie in the open field.
With the win, the Vineyarders climbed to the unusual record of 3-1-4. Coach Damon Burke said his team has dominated many close games only to finish with a tie.
“It’s been one of these things where we do really well, but they’ve still been one-goal games,” he said. “The record is not indicative of this team’s talent, but I think it is indicative of this team’s performance. We can do better.”
On the road Saturday, for example, the team tied against Bishop Feehan, despite the fact that they dominated the possession game and held a 1-0 lead after the first half.
Jack Roberts scored the only goal for the Vineyarders, but Bishop Feehan came back to tie the game late on an indirect free kick to end the game with a 1-1 tie.
“The kids were down after that game, because Bishop Feehan is the team that knocked us out of the state tournament last year. I think we outplayed them this time, but we could never put another goal on the board to put it away,” the coach said.
On Tuesday at home against the Raiders, the Vineyarders found themselves in a similar situation when they led, 1-0, after the first half but still were struggling to score goals.
So coach Burke switched from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 offense; moving a midfielder to forward. The adjustment paid off, as the Vineyarders exploded for four goals in the second half.
“This was a big step for us, because we needed a win to tie in our league. And it will help us to defend our league [Eastern Athletic Conference] title, which I know is important to our players,” he said.
Coach Burke said he might stick with the 4-3-3 formation moving forward.
“I’m not married to any one particular formation,” he said. “Really that depends on the personnel and the matchups. But I think its fair to say this worked for us.”
The Vineyarders next play Dennis Yarmouth on Friday.
The field hockey team earned a 1-1 tie on the road against division rival Bishop Stang on Tuesday, improving its record to 6-1-1 on the season and already putting them within striking distance of a spot in the state tournament.
Coach Lisa Knight said the tie was almost as good as a win since her team has recently struggled at Bishop Stang. “It’s hard to play there,” she said. “They are so tough on their field, and it’s like we are cursed whenever we play there.
“So I will definitely take a tie. It’s a point towards getting to the tournament and nice win for our team.”
The Vineyarders scored first on a goal by Taylor Poggi, with an assist from Catherine Dorr. The lead held for a while, thanks to goaltender Kathryn Antonsson, but the Spartans were able to get the equalizer to secure the tie.
Antonsson has allowed only six goals all season, and statistically she is the best goalie in the Eastern Athletic Conference (EAC). “Kathryn has been stellar,” coach Knight said. “I can’t say enough good things about her — just amazing.”
Earlier in the week the Vineyarders experienced their first and only loss of the season with a 2-1 defeat to Westport on the road.
The Vineyarders took an early 1-0 lead, but the Wildcats unexpectedly popped in two goals in the final minutes to earn the comeback win. “It was humbling, I’ll say,” the coach said. “But I think it taught us a lesson.”
The Vineyarders’ strong start is more impressive considering they have only played two home games all season. The last five games have been on the road, and a home game Saturday against Pembroke was rained out.
The Vineyarders now play back-to-back home games, starting with a division tilt against Somerset Berkley on Thursday, followed by the makeup game against Pembroke on Friday.
“For us to put together this record when we only had two home games is something,” the coach said. “So to have some games at home now is pretty exciting: we can come out before our crowd in our white jerseys and hopefully get a boost.”
Coach Knight said this is not a team anchored by one super-star, although she does have the top goalie in the division and the top scorer in Kendall Robinson. “It’s been a total team effort and that’s what makes you successful,” she said.
If the Vineyarders win both of the next two home games, they can essentially clinch a berth in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) tournament.
The Vineyarders were a young team last year and missed the state tournament for the first time in coach Knight’s tenure, and getting back to the postseason was one of the team’s goals, the coach said.
She also praised the junior varsity team, who battled to a 0-0 tie Tuesday against Bishop Stang. She noted the impressive play of forward Gabriella Hoxsie, defensemen Erin Hickey and Shannon O’Connnor, and goalie Taylor Maciel – among others. Nina Butler and Kaylee Moore coach the JV team.
Martha’s Vineyard picked up two important Eastern Athletic Conference victories in two days.
Tuesday, the Vineyarders downed hosts Somerset Berkley, 242-282. Mike deBettencourt was the low scorer with a 36. Kat deBettencourt and Brendan Maseda both carded a 40.
The previous day, at the Country Club of New Bedford in North Dartmouth, the Vineyard chalked up its first-ever road win against Bishop Stang. The visitors trailed by five points heading into the final match, but Andrew Hakala stepped up and shot a 42 to lift the Vineyarders to 270-273 win.
“We needed that one,” coach Doug Debettencourt said. “We’ve never beaten them there.”
The lone Vineyard setback of the past week was a 258-269 loss at Dartmouth on September 28.
The Vineyarders (7-6 overall and 4-3 in the EAC) have a busy week ahead with a trip to Taunton on Thursday afternoon to face Coyle Cassidy, followed by home matches on Friday and Monday against Nauset and Whitman-Hanson, respectively.
The girls had a tough week on the pitch. Tuesday, the Vineyarders lost at Somerset Berkley, 6-0. Playing condtions could accurately be described as a rain bath.
Saturday evening, under the lights at Dan McCarthy Field, Bishop Feehan utilized a crisp short passing game to dominate possession and beat M.V., 5-0.
Despite the losses, the Vineyarders performed markedly better than they did last year against the powerful Raiders and Shamrocks.
The Purple played Mashpee at home on September 27 and lost, 2-1. Jenny Lindland scored the Vineyard goal.
The girls host Mashpee on Friday at 3 pm.