Vineyard field hockey team loses to Cohasset, 1-0

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The Martha's Vineyard lineup is introduced before Wednesday's semifinal at Cohasset. — Photo Courtesy of Bob Hayman

The Vineyard girls field hockey team (14-3-1) lost 1-0 to top-ranked Cohasset (16-0-3) in the sectional semifinals at Cohasset late Wednesday. Their defeat followed two outstanding tournament wins against Mashpee in the first round on Thursday and Monomoy in the quarterfinal on Sunday.

Quarterfinal: 2-1

The advance to the semifinal followed an exciting overtime victory Sunday when Belle Dinning scored on a breakaway at 4:07 of overtime to lift Martha’s Vineyard to a 2-1 win over the Monomoy Sharks at home in Oak Bluffs.

The Vineyard senior co-captain won the game after breaking loose from Monomoy’s Marina Small near midfield, charging toward the Sharks goal and slapping the ball past goalie Emily Grecco from 10 yards out to the right.

The teams battled to a 1-1 tie after 60 minutes of regulation play. At 11:23 into the second half, after the first half finished 0-0, the Vineyarders broke the deadlock. In an inspired surge through the Monomoy defense, sophomore Genny Kent scored on a tap-in, assisted by Belle Dinning.

The Vineyard had a golden opportunity to increase the lead midway through the period when officials awarded a penalty shot. Monomoy goalie Emily Grecco came up huge, however, turning aside Emma Caron’s shot with her right foot. Then, with 8:30 remaining, Brooke Wrightington smacked the ball into the Vineyard cage at close range, leveling the score at 1-1.

In the overtime period, with the teams pared down to seven players a side, the play was wide-open. The Vineyarders charged out of the gate from the opening whistle, and did not have long to wait for Belle Dinning’s heroic goal. 

“It’s an awesome feeling,” Coach Knight said after the big win Sunday. “It was a total team effort … They just refuse to lose. We got in that circle [prior to the start of overtime] and said, ‘We’re not going to lose this game.’”

First round

The team earned their ticket to the quarterfinals of the MIAA State Tournament on Thursday by shutting out 14th-seed Mashpee High School 2-0 at home.

The Vineyard team got off to a shaky start. But only eight minutes into the first half, senior captain Belle Dinning charged Mashpee’s shooting circle and slapped the ball to sophomore forward Juniper Ezanno, who stuffed the orange rock into the back of the net. With that, Mashpee and any remaining nerves were left squarely in the Vineyard’s purple dust.

Ten minutes later, on a Vineyard free hit, senior captain Lee Hayman burned one into the circle to a waiting Belle Dinning. With three defenders converging on her stick, Dinning squeezed the ball to sophomore forward Genny Kent, who rushed the net just as the Mashpee keeper popped out to meet her. With a forceful touch, Kent knocked the ball under the diving goalie for the Vineyard’s second and final goal of the day. Dinning had both assists.

During halftime, Coach Knight and the squad continued to make adjustments. They specifically targeted Mashpee forward Chyla Hendricks, who had a handful of fast breaks in the first half. It seemed she might score at any moment, but the Vineyard defense held.

After shutting down Mashpee’s offense, the second half became all about time management. With 10 minutes left, the Vineyard slowed things down. “We don’t want to rush the game. We want to slow the game down. Let Mashpee rush. Rushing creates mistakes. They were making mistakes,” Coach Knight told her players.

Ralph Stewart and Jackson Waite contributed to this story.