The MVRHS field hockey team opened the new season against Sturgis Charter School West on a rain-soaked, blustery Monday afternoon in Oak Bluffs, and picked up a 3-1 Cape and Islands League win. Under truly miserable conditions, the teams gamely fought through the elements and produced a well-played, entertaining contest.
Hailey Meader got the Vineyarders off to a hot start by jamming in Allyse Guyther’s feed through a maze of players six minutes into the game. The Vineyarders continued to hover around the Sturgis crease throughout the first half, but Navigators goalie Bella Harrington, a lacrosse standout playing in her first field hockey game, made several big stops to keep the game close.
In the second half, the hosts, and Mother Nature, really poured it on. After seven minutes, the Vineyarders broke through the Navigators backline for a second goal, with Abby Marchand finishing off a perfect Addy Hayman cross at the right post.
The Vineyarders had their passing game clicking, and took a 3-0 lead with 16:34 left to play. Mackenzie Condon smacked a long free hit toward the Sturgis West goal, and Addy Hayman tapped the ball inside the left post. The Vineyarders nearly added a fourth goal in short order, but Bella Harrington made three point-blank saves and kicked the ball away.
Far from being down and out, gritty West saved their best play for the final 10 minutes, forcing two corners and a free hit in the Vineyard end. MV goalie Amelia Simmons made three fine saves during the stretch, but couldn’t stop Maddie Shaw from poking in a rebound with 2:36 left. Sophia Cook picked up the assist.
As the final whistle sounded, players and coaches from both teams, along with waterlogged official timekeeper Nancy Rogers, who fielded at least two dozen questions regarding how many ticks remained on the clock, hustled off the soggy pitch to get dry. Vineyard assistant coach Beth O’Connor graciously stayed for a few extra seconds to give her take on the game. “It was a great day playing in the rain,” she said. “We had some great passes, great pass-backs, did a great job, and it’s a great first win for the season.”
The Vineyarders are back home on Thursday to wage another battle with the Bishop Stang Spartans, their old rivals from the Eastern Athletic Conference. The varsity game begins at 3 pm, followed by the JV game at 4:30.