Vineyard booters blank Barnstable

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Update Nov. 2 at 12:30 pm

The Vineyarders notched an impressive 3-0 non-league win over Division 1 Barnstable, Saturday under the lights on Senior Night at Dan McCarthy Field in Oak Bluffs, bolstering the team’s chances to claim a higher seed and host a home playoff match in the Division 3 state tournament.

Prior to the start of the match, the Vineyarders saluted seniors Miles Albert, Gabe Bellebuono, Sam Bresnick, Spencer Dario, Joao Goncalves, Miles Jordi, Gabe Nascimento, and Shammai Thompson.

The teams played to a 0-0 stalemate for much of the first half, until Miles Jordi was pulled down in the penalty area in the final minute. Gabe Bellebuono stepped up to take the ensuing spot kick, and coolly slotted the ball into the back of the net to send the hosts into the halftime break with a 1-0 lead.

The Vineyarders kicked into a higher gear in the second half, relentless on defense and dangerous on several counterattacks. Standing in their way was Barnstable goalkeeper Evan Nikas, who made two stellar saves in the first half and three more in the second. The acrobatic keeper was at his best early in the second half as he leaped to punch Miles Jordi’s arching, dipping 20-yard shot inches over the crossbar.

With 10 minutes left on the clock, Sam Bresnick gave the Vineyarders some breathing room by scoring one of the best goals of the season. The play started at midfield with Emmanuel Da Silva placing a perfect short pass through a Barnstable midfielder onto the feet of Bresnick, who sprinted down the right sideline, charged between Red Raiders Charlie Clark and Raphael DeSouza, and drilled the ball inside the right post over the fallen bodies of defender Ian Ramsay and keeper Nikas.

Urged on by a large, vocal crowd, the Vineyarders piled on the pressure and sealed the win 90 seconds later with Miles Albert smashing in a rebound at the left post after Gabe Nascimento’s initial shot was blocked.

“A great game,” said Vineyard Coach Esteban Aranzabe following the match. “We did everything right. We defended like lions and did what we wanted to win. We got three points and we’re going to the [state] tournament. They [Barnstable] have a good team, Division 1, a bigger school, and when they play on the rock, we need to make them feel like they’re playing on the rock.”

Following the win over Barnstable, the Vineyarders were to have hosted Coyle and Cassidy on Tuesday afternoon in a match postponed from Oct. 20, but the Warriors forfeited. As a result, the Vineyarders closed out the regular season with a 1-0 win and clinched the Eastern Athletic Conference championship.

The Vineyarders (11-5-2, 3-1-1 EAC) are seeded No. 7 in the Division 3 South Sectional. They will play the eighth-seeded Scituate at MVRHS on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 6 pm.

Updated to reflect change in opponent for the opening round.