The Martha’s Vineyard field hockey team clinched a berth in the MIAA state tournament Thursday afternoon with a 2-1 victory over West Bridgewater in Oak Bluffs.
With the win, the Vineyarders also took over first place in the Eastern Athletic Conference, with one league match remaining. The Purple are 8-2-2 overall and 4-2-1 in the EAC. West Bridgewater also has two league losses but the the Vineyarders swept the season series to claim a potential tie-breaker.
Westport also has two EAC losses at present but the Vineyard can win the league title outright with a win Saturday at Somerset Berkley.
Coming into Thursday’s match with W. Bridgewater, the Vineyarders needed only one win to clinch a spot in the state tourney. The Wildcats were 7-1-1 overall and 3-1-1 in the league.
The Vineyarders went on the attack from the outset and had the Wildcats on their heels. In the thirteenth minute, M.V. stormed the Cats’ crease and took numerous pokes at the ball. Kat Dorr finally whacked the ball in to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Against the run of play, W. Bridgewater scored the equalizer ten minutes later. Vineyard goalie Kathryn Antonsson had moved just off the right post and the Cats managed to dribble a shot into the left corner.
W. Bridgewater rode the momentum and carried the play in the second half but it was the Vineyarders who scored the only goal.
The game-winner was carbon copy of the first Vineyard goal. This time, Aubrey Ashmun got in the last of several pokes to put M.V. up 2-1 with twenty minutes to play.
The Wildcats responded by applying intense pressure, especially in the final ten minutes. The Vineyard defense bent but didn’t allow the tying score.
Coach Lisa Knight got a superb effort from all. Tayla Kuehne and Mary Ollen were particularly stellar on defense. Kendall Robinson was another standout.
The Vineyarders are away for the next three matches, against Somerset Berkley, Barnstable, and Nantucket. The team returns home to play Falmouth on October, 26.