Martha’s Vineyard soccer teams win on senior day

Vineyard senior co-captain Marc Natichioni gains a step on a Sturgis West defender. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Three Vineyard teams wrapped up their respective regular season schedules on senior appreciation day Saturday at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. The Vineyarders ended the day with two wins and a tie.

The field hockey team drew 1-1 with division one Needham in the morning. Next, the girls soccer team played one of its best matches of the season in a 4-0 win over Sturgis West Charter School of Hyannis. The boys soccer team closed out a successful day for the locals with a 2-0 win over Sturgis West.

Field hockey

Lisa Knight’s team ended the regular season with three games against division one competition. Although, the Vineyarders ended the stretch with two close losses and a tie, the coach is pleased as the team prepares for state tournament play next week.

“Ending the season against three D1 teams will prepare us well for the tournament,” coach Knight said. “1-1 against Needham, we’ll take that. Kendall [Robinson] scored a beautiful goal. Our defense crumbled a bit in the second half and we couldn’t get it out of our end.”

Against Needham, Robinson gave the Vineyarders a 1-0 lead with three minutes left in the first half. Alex Clark assisted on the play.

The Rockets cranked up the pressure in the second half and finally broke through with 11 minutes left. Needham had a goal disallowed a minute earlier but scored off of the ensuing corner.

The Purple were on their heels for the next five minutes but regrouped nicely to close out the match. Coach Knight made sure that each senior played for at least 10 minutes.

The previous afternoon, M.V. hosted Falmouth and lost, 1-0. The Clippers scored in the first half and weathered some intense Vineyard pressure in the second half to hang on for the win.

The Vineyarders open the playoffs at home Thursday at 3 pm against Plymouth South.

Girls soccer

The Vineyard girls ended the season on a high note with an inspired 4-0 win over Sturgis West.

The hosts led 3-0 at halftime. Jenny Lindland opened the scoring. Haven Huck scored the second. Lindland added one more late in the first half on a chip over the goalie’s shoulder and Annie Ollen capped off a strong performance with a second half goal. Emily Turney was solid in net, as usual. She also did well up front as an attacker late in the match.

The Vineyarders finished the season at 4-12-1, with two more wins than last year. The team’s goals against dropped from 58 to 38.

Coach Richard Bennett praised his team following the win. “It was a great way to finish the season,” he said. “We played a great team game on senior day and the seniors all contributed.”

The win over Sturgis West was a welcome tonic for a 1-0 loss at Mashpee two days earlier. The Falcons scored the match winner on a penalty kick. “We played really, really well, coach Bennett said. “We lost on a tough call.”

Boys soccer

The boys followed up a disappointing 2-1 defeat Thursday in Nantucket with a win over Sturgis West.

Senior co-captain Marc Natichioni put the Vineyarders on top 30 minutes into the match by pouncing on a rebound in front of the net.

Despite having the lead at the break, the Vineyarders didn’t hit their stride until the second half. The Purple had numerous opportunities to increase the margin. Martin Aranzabe drilled an insurance goal into the lower right corner with 19 minutes left to settle matters.

M.V. closed out the regular season at 7-4-5 and will now wait for state tournament seedings to be worked out.

After suffering through a first round defeat last year, coach Damon Burke is hoping for better things this time around.

“Our record doesn’t reflect how good our team is,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to make a good run. It’s been good to see how far they’ve come [this season] and to see how far they can go.”

In the final away match of the regular season, on October 25, the Vineyarders lost a heartbreaker to arch rival Nantucket.

Martin Aranzabe had put the Purple on top with a first half goal. With 13 minutes left to play, Caleb Gomes tied the match for the Whalers. Ten minutes later, Chris Sylvia scored the match winner and the Cape and Island League champs left the pitch as 2-1 winners.