Sam Wallace scored five goals and added two assists, and the Vineyarder defense held on, to beat a powerhouse Bishop Feehan boys varsity lacrosse squad 9-8 in a season-opening nailbiter at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School’s (MVRHS) Dan McCarthy Field in Oak Bluffs on Tuesday.
Riley Amaral had two goals, Jacob Gundersen and Zach Moreis chipped in one each, and Colby Zarba added an assist in a come-from-behind win in the rain and cold that featured several key saves from Vineyarder goaltender Max Smith in the final two minutes.
The Shamrocks led 6-4 at halftime before the Vineyarders struck early and often in the second half, building an 8-5 lead early in the fourth period. The Shamrocks came back with two goals before Wallace added a crucial insurance goal with 4:01 to play. Feehan struck again with 42 seconds left to make it 9-8, and were on the attack in the Vineyard end when the final whistle blew.
MVRHS boys lacrosse coach Chris Greene was stoked after the win. “The kids were great today. They stayed with their game. This is a huge win for us in the season opener, and against the class of the Eastern Athletic Conference. This win will get us ready for Plymouth North on Saturday,” he said.
It was apparent that the Vineyarders, tentative in the early going, became more confident and aggressive by the second quarter, and began winning faceoffs and groundball competition. Feehan become more chippy, racking up six penalties, while the Vineyarders were not penalized at all.
That stat alone was significant to Coach Greene. “In 20 years of coaching I have never seen a team go unpenalized. The kids stayed disciplined, focused on winning, not retaliating, though they played with physicality that reminds me of our 2003 team that went to state finals,” he said.
Greene is not getting ahead of himself, but noted, “We played way above expectations, and the weather slowed the game down, which benefited us. We played everyone on offense, and kids who maybe thought of themselves as role players stepped up as major contributors.
“Guys like Tristan Scheller and Jason Davey were outstanding on defense. John McCormick had his first game on faceoffs, and created a lot of groundballs. We got deeper as a team on Tuesday,” he said.
Greene lost five seniors last year from a 7-11 squad, and replacing midfielder Jack Garrett was a key need. Greene liked what he saw in the opener in that regard.
His captains are seniors John Morris, Matteus Scheffer, Sam Rollins, and junior Sam Wallace. Other seniors are Jacob Gunderson, Riley Amaral, Zach Moreis, Cooper Bennett, J.J. Mendez, and Evan Sauter.
The junior corps includes goalie Max Smith, Jason Davey, Olin Turnell, Gino Chick, Owen Engler, John McCormick, Ivan Shepherd, Sam Wallace, and Colby Zarba. Sophomores are Hunter Athearn and Brendan Morris, and varsity freshmen are Aiden Marek and Zander Amaral.
The Vineyarders play Plymouth North on Saturday at 1 pm in Oak Bluffs.