Vineyard girls soccer harpoons Whalers for first win

MV rallies from a goal down to beat Nantucket and hosts a Tuesday thriller, too.

The team rushes to congratulate Alexis Condon after she scored against Nantucket, bringing the score to 1-1. — Stacey Rupolo

The Vineyard varsity girls soccer team won for the first time this season, rallying from a goal down to beat the Nantucket Whalers, 2-1, on Sunday afternoon at Dan McCarthy Field in Oak Bluffs.

The Whalers scored first but the Vineyarders equalized before halftime as Alexis Condon nailed a free kick from 20 yards out, bending the ball around the Nantucket wall and into the top right corner of the net.

Hannah Best netted the match winner with 15 minutes left in the second half, skillfully finishing off a feed from Madia Bellebuono.

Taking the lead against their island rivals was only part of the challenge for the Vineyarders, who struggled to protect the lead and close out the win during a frantic, nerve-wracking finale.

“It was a good game, I thought the girls played really well, strong, confident, but then, the last ten minutes got pretty nervy,” Vineyard coach Rocco Bellebuono said prior to Tuesday’s home match against Coyle and Cassidy. “We’re not used to winning and we were in control, I think. We had good control of the game and something shifted psychologically and they all dropped in and it became panic and chaos. So, managing the game at that level, when we’re preserving a win, you stay focused and you stay true to yourself and you don’t let the emotions get in your head. It just comes from being ahead and getting used to it. We worked on things yesterday that I’d like to see some improvement on. I think their confidence is pretty high and today should be a good game.”

As things turned out, Tuesday’s Vineyard vs. Coyle and Cassidy match was a thriller.

Kaylee Haynes scored nine minutes into the match to give the Warriors an early lead but Alexis Condon and Klara Reimann tallied three minutes apart, late in the first half, to put the host Vineyarders up, 2-1, at the break.

The Warriors fought back in the second half and grabbed the win. Krystal Slivka leveled the score 11 minutes in and Sophia Silva scored the winning goal with eight minutes to play. The Vineyarders earned a corner with three minutes left but couldn’t convert.