Authors Posts by Ralph Stewart

Ralph Stewart

Ralph Stewart

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Vineyard midfielder Aubrey Ashmun fires a shot at the Bishop Stang goalie. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The Vineyard varsity girls lacrosse team gave everything it had in a 10-8 loss to powerful Bishop Stang Tuesday on senior day at Dan McCarthy Field. The Vineyarders (4-9) are out of playoff contention, but according to Coach Betsy Dripps they saved their best performance of the season for the final home game.

Charlotte McCarron looks up field for a teammate.
Charlotte McCarron looks up field for a teammate.

“They played the best game of the season,” she said. “We were in it from the get-go. I was so proud of them. It was senior day and everybody there played so well. I was hoping that they would pull it out. They didn’t, but they played from the first whistle to the last.”

The Vineyarders suffered a 17-3 defeat to the Spartans earlier this season, but Tuesday’s game was a different story. The teams were tied, 6-6, at halftime. Stang scored early in the second half, but Lee Hayman tied the game with 13:07 remaining and Emily deBettencourt put the Purple in front, 8-,7 with 8:50 left. The visitors countered with two goals of their own and took a 9-8 lead into the final minutes. The Spartans got their insurance goal with only four-tenths of a second left on the clock.

Issy Smith led the Vineyard attack with four goals and one assist. Lee Hayman finished with a brace of both. Emily deBettencourt totaled two goals and an assist and Charlotte McCarron had two assists. Coach Dripps cited the strong play of midfielder Aubrey Ashmun, defenders Alex Clark, Emma Yuen, Olivia Ogden, and K.C. Wallace, along with goalie Sam Hargy who had 10 saves and kept the Vineyarders in the game with several big stops in the first half.

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Yannick Gonsalves (right) put his all into a header late in the second half against Dartmouth. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Archrivals MV United and Dartmouth met on the pitch Sunday at Veterans Park in Vineyard Haven with first place at stake in a boys Under-18 South Coast Soccer League travel soccer clash.

Kane Araujo heads the ball out of trouble as Tim Roberts backs up the play.
Kane Araujo heads the ball out of trouble as Tim Roberts backs up the play.

Though the contest did not always resemble the beautiful game, the match crackled with intensity from start to finish, with the teams playing to a 1-1 draw.

With the result, the Vineyard remained at the top of the table, unbeaten with four wins and a draw. Dartmouth fell to fourth place at 3-1-1.

MV United came into the match with 25 goals scored and just one conceded after a string of lopsided victories over lesser opponents, but Dartmouth provided a rude awakening for coach Esteban Aranzabe’s side.

The visitors struck early, ten minutes into the match, scoring on a rebound into the bottom left corner, putting United in the unfamiliar position of playing from behind. The Vineyard dominated possession for the remainder of the first half but failed to equalize. The favored form of attack in the first half was the long ball sent down the right flank.

MVU had three good chances, two coming from Jason Lages crosses into the box and another following Alex GordonBeck’s pitch-length run. Dartmouth threatened twice more on set pieces but Vineyard keeper Matt Stone was up to the task.

Dartmouth carried a 1-0 lead to the halftime break.

With a strong wind at their backs to start the second half, the Purple and Black stormed out of the gate, putting four shots on target in the opening 15 minutes. The long passes of the first half were limited in favor of more effective short passes. Kane Araujo and Lee Faraca created the first attempt but the Dartmouth keeper tipped the ball over the crossbar. Ten minutes in, the Vineyard drew level. Jason Lages ran down the left flank, put on a burst of speed through two defenders and slid the ball to Yannick Gonsalves, who split two more defenders and slotted the ball through the goalie’s legs from the penalty spot. Minutes later, Gonsalves nearly put United in front with a deft chip shot that looped over the goal.

Dartmouth weathered the storm and stiffened their defense for the remainder of the match. Each side had their share of set pieces down the stretch, but the points would be shared on the day.

Jason Lages hurdles the Dartmouth keeper after attempting a shot.
Jason Lages hurdles the Dartmouth keeper after attempting a shot.

“This is the kind of game that we were looking for all season,” Coach Aranzabe said after the match. “We were looking forward to this game. The goalies work hard, the coaches work hard, and the wind was so strong. [In the first half] We brought our play to their play, which was kick and run. The pressure was a lot, but that happens when you play weaker teams and then you play a good team.”

Around the SCSL

The big Under-18 match headlined a busy weekend in SCSL play. The boys U-12B Hammers traveled to play Swansea Somerset on a hot and muggy Saturday afternoon. The Hammers were slow to start but benefited from an own goal in the 17th minute. Josh Dix doubled the Vineyard lead six minutes from halftime with a well-struck shot from outside the box.

The hosts pulled one back in the second half but Hammers keeper Adam Knight made several outstanding saves to preserve the win.

The U-14 girls rebounded from their only defeat this season May 3 at Oceana with a 4-1 win Saturday at Norton. Evelyn Medeiros started the scoring and finished the match with two goals. Olivia Pouliot scored the second goal and dished out two assists. Sasha Lakis chalked up a goal and an assist.

The MV United U-14 boys improved to 5-1 on Saturday by blanking Freetown-Lakeville, 6-0. Lukah Vieira scored the hat trick and Nahuel Aranzabe earned the shutout.

The U-16 girls dominated Dartmouth, 4-0. The teams were deadlocked 0-0 at halftime but M.V. dominated the second half. Natalija Lakis notched a hat trick and Madison McBride scored the other Vineyard goal from a stellar Lakis cross. Cana Courtney earned the clean sheet in net.

In other action, the U-15 boys traveled to Norton and won, 4-2; the U-12 MV United Blues lost to visiting Dighton-Rehoboth, 4-0; and the U-11 girls lost to Norton, 4-2, at Veterans Park.

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For the first time in the high school program’s history, the Vineyarders are in the elite field of eight schools sailing for a New England championship.

A recent photo of the Vineyard sailing team returning home on the ferry following a big win over St. George's. The team will proceed for the first time to the New England championships. — Courtesy Andrew Burr

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School sailing team has been selected to compete with seven other schools for the prestigious Mark Trophy New England Team Racing Championships for the first time in the program’s history, the New England Scholastic Sailing Association (NESSA) announced Tuesday evening.

The top eight team racing squads in New England are selected to compete in the event, scheduled for Saturday, May 17 at Wianno Yacht Club in Osterville. The Vineyarders are currently ranked sixth in New England with a 19-3 record.

“It’s a huge, huge deal for the guys to qualify for this,” Vineyard coach Andrew Burr said. “It’s absolutely unbelieveable to make it into Mark. They’re pretty damn good. It’s quite an accomplishment.”

The Vineyarders will join the St. George’s School (Newport, Rhode Island); Portsmouth Abbey (Portsmouth, R.I.); Cape Cod Academy (Osterville), Manchester-Essex; Milton Academy; Hotchkiss (Lakeville, Connecticut); and the Brunswick School (Greenwich, Conn.). The Vineyarders handed St. George’s and Brunswick their only defeats this season and lost to Cape Cod Academy and Manchester-Essex.

At stake in the Mark is qualification for the Baker Trophy, the high school nationals, which will be in contested May 24-25 at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, Texas, near Houston.

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The River Cats led the way as the annual Little League parade got underway on Saturday. — Ralph Stewart

The Martha’s Vineyard Little League officially celebrated opening day on a sun-splashed Saturday morning with the annual parade in Oak Bluffs.

The teams lined up around the diamond at Veira Park, making for a colorful opening ceremony.
The teams lined up around the diamond at Veira Park, making for a colorful opening ceremony.

Players, coaches, and parents from every team in Majors, Minors, Farm League, and T-ball made their way in a colorful procession from the Oak Bluffs police station down Circuit Avenue, arriving at Veira Park for the opening ceremonies. Head umpire Larry Johnson threw out the first pitch. Following the parade, nearly every team in the four leagues took to diamonds around the Island to play ball.

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Jake Howell (fourth from left) is mobbed by his Red Sox teammates after crushing a home run in the third inning against the Tigers. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The official opening day for Martha’s Vineyard Little League baseball is Saturday, May 3, but the 2014 schedule got underway Monday at Veira Park with a rematch between last year’s finalists, the Red Sox and Tigers.

The Tigers roared first, but the defending champion Sox got the win by a 13-3 count.

Finn-Lewis_Richard-Barlett.JPGRichie Barlett swatted a two-run homer in the first inning to give the Tigers an early lead. The Red Sox answered with four in the bottom half, thanks to Finn Lewis, who stroked a bases-loaded, two-out single.

Barlett doubled in the third to score another Tigers run, but the Sox had taken control of the game with nine in the second. Joe Serpa doubled, Jacob Maccaferri tripled, and Jake Howell crushed a monster home run.

Nick Cranston of the Sox pitched a scoreless fourth inning in his Major League debut. Kenny Hatt also made his pitching debut for the Tigers and helped his cause with a double to left.

Tuesday afternoon at a frigid Veira, the Cubs beat the Pirates, 7-4. Summer Cardoza was the hero for the Cubbies, blasting a grand slam in the top of the fifth, after pitching the first three innings, allowing one base runner and striking out six. Andrew Marchand and Pete Gillis added two hits apiece.

For the Bucs, starting pitcher Harold Lawry threw three scoreless innings with seven K’s. He also carried a big stick, ripping three hits.

Both sets of teams will meet again on Saturday.

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Vineyarders Eli Hanschka and Lucas Dutton (right) in action against Barnstable Tuesday. — Andrew Burr

The Vineyard varsity sailors saw their ten-match winning streak snapped but finished the week with three wins in five tries.

Saturday, the Vineyarders traveled to Tabor Academy in Marion to race against three tough schools. Each best of five series went the distance. The Purple lost the opener, 3-2, to Manchester-Essex, defeated Duxbury, 3-2, and lost to Tabor, 3-2, in a series that came down to the final race.

“It’s a mental grind,” Vineyard coach Andrew Burr said of the long day. “They held it together pretty well right up through the Tabor race. We didn’t sail well and we didn’t sail poorly.”

The winds were northerly at 5 knots in the morning, with gusts up to 15 knots. By afternoon, the winds were more stable, coming from the southwest.

The Vineyarders employed the usual combinations of Raz Sayre (skipper) paired with Adam Bilodeau (crew); Charlie Morano with Anna Flaherty; and Eli Hanschka with Zana van Rooyen. Morano also paired with Maddy Moore.

With the two defeats, Vineyard hopes for a first-ever appearance in the Mark Trophy races (top eight in New England) took a slight hit, but the close margins lessened the damage.

The Purple rebounded Tuesday with a pair of solid wins at the Hyannis Yacht Club, where they defeated Barnstable, 3-1, and swept Sharon, 3-0. Winds were southerly at 12 knots. The Vineyard lineup remained largely unchanged from Saturday, save for the addition of jayvee skipper Lucas Dutton, who shifted to crew for the varsity match.

Next up for the varsity is a return visit to Tabor Academy Saturday for the fleet racing O’Day qualifiers. The Vineyarders (13-3) will try to reach the finals for the first time in six years. The finals will be held Sunday at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut.

The jayvee sailors will host Tabor Academy Saturday in Oak Bluffs.

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Forms grand champ Aileen Mahoney executes a jab. — Photo by Kristofer Rabasca

The fifth annual Blitz Fitness Island karate tournament was held Saturday in front of a large crowd at the Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club in Edgartown. Thirty-seven competitors showcased their skills in three disciplines: Weapons, Forms, and Sparring.

Orange belt Aileen Mahoney finished as the grand champion in forms and won a free month membership. White belts Brayden BenDavid and Isaac Pereira took first and second at the five-year-old and under level in both Forms and Sparring.

At attention.
The Boys and Girls Club in Edgartown was the scene of Blitz Fitness Island Tournament on Saturday morning.

The morning began with a demonstration by Team Blitz, a highlight of which was a group of five young students taking down Oak Bluffs Police Chief Erik Blake. The Weapons competition followed with Ben Nadelstein taking top honors, Braedyn Clark placing second, and Cord Bailey finishing third.

In Forms (Kata), at the advanced level, blue belt Klara Reimann placed first. Red belts Gabe and Ben Nadelstein were second and third. Zach Smith was first among the green belts (intermediate). Braedyn Clark was second and Amelia Simmons placed third. At the beginner level, Matthew Coggins was runner-up to grand champ Aileen Mahoney among yellow/orange belts. Thomas Correno was third. Jocelyn Baliunas topped the white belts aged six and up, with Carly and Grace Coggins finishing second and third respectively.

The Sparring competition closed out the event. Black belt Cord Bailey was the champion of the advanced students. As they were in Forms, Gabe and Ben Nadelstein were second and third. Julia Crocker earned the win for the blue/green belts. Klara Reimann placed second and Jackson Crocker was third. Izzy Blake topped the yellow/orange belts, with Matteus Prata in second and Aileen Mahoney in third. M.J. Magaraci was champion of the six year old and up white belts. Jocelyn Baliunas finished in second place and Tatum Thomas placed third.

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The Vineyard boats finished 1-2 in the decisive fifth race.

A recent photo of the Vineyard sailing team returning home on the ferry following a big win over St. George's. The team will proceed for the first time to the New England championships. — Courtesy Andrew Burr

The Vineyard sailors achieved an historic victory Saturday in Newport, Rhode Island, by defeating the host St. George’s School for the first time ever.

Vineyard coach Andrew Burr has high expectations for his team this season, with a goal of competing for the Mark Trophy as one of New England’s top eight teams. After a rough start against Cape Cod Academy in the season opener, the Vineyarders have reeled off five consecutive victories, punctuated with the 3-2 win in Newport.

The Vineyard sailors raced against Pope John Paul II on Lagoon Pond Wednesday afternoon.
The Vineyard sailors beat Pope John Paul II 3-0 on Lagoon Pond Wednesday afternoon.

The Vineyarders took the best of five series with some superb seamanship in the decisive fifth race. With a St. George’s boat out front, skipper Eli Hanschka and crew Zana van Rooyen out-jibed the leaders, taking out the St. George’s boat and allowing teammates Raz Sayre and Adam Bilodeau to move into first place. The Vineyarders claimed the top two spots.

“The final race was competitive down to the wire,” Coach Burr said. “Eli Hanschka and Zana van Rooyen were the standouts. They sailed their butts off.”

Skipper Charlie Morano and crew Ellie Reagan were the third Island combo to race in Newport. Team veterans Anna Flaherty and Russell Shapiro also made the trip.

Coach Andrew Burr was justifiably proud of his team after the big win. “It wasn’t just the win, it was what they accomplished — to beat this team for the first time.”

The Vineyarders also defeated Dartmouth, 3-0, on April 3.

On Wednesday afternoon, The Purple continued their winning streak by triumphing 3-0  over Pope John Paul II of Hyannis.

The sailors travel to Greenwich, Connecticut, Saturday for an 8X (eight schools) race.


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Sam Burke fires a shot on goal against Coyle Cassidy Tuesday at MVRHS. — Louis Jacobs-Walsh

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys lacrosse team improved to 2-1 with a 17-2 win over Coyle Cassidy of Taunton in an Eastern Athletic Conference game played Tuesday afternoon on a misty, foggy Dan McCarthy Field in Oak Bluffs.

Both Vineyard wins have come in the EAC.

Sam Burke and Mike Morris scored four goals apiece to pace the Vineyard attack. Taymon Brown had three goals and three assists, while Tony Canha notched a brace of each. Austin Chandler and Mike Mazza tallied twice. Spencer Schofield had a goal and one assist. Andrew Fournier and Mike Morris assisted once. Fournier (four saves, six shots) and Cooper Wilson (two saves, five shots) shared the goaltending duties.

The Vineyarders recovered well from a tough 12-6 loss at archrival Nantucket on Saturday. The Vineyarders attacked the Whaler goal plenty, but Nantucket goalie Taylor Gulley made 21 saves. Mike Morris scored three goals to lead the Purple. Sam Burke, Tony Canha, and Mike Mazza scored the other Vineyard goals. Taymon Brown earned four assists and Matt Davies added one.

The Vineyarders host Bishop Stang in an EAC contest Thursday, April 10, at 3 pm.

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Freshman Max Hammond hits a forehand during the third singles match vs. Fairhaven — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The MVRHS boys tennis team is three for three after a 4-1 win Monday at Sandwich. The Blue Knights are the first team in the young season to register a point against the Purple. They did it in the first singles match as Matt Martin topped Patrick McCarthy 6-3, 6-0. The Vineyarders turned the tables by winning both doubles matches, 6-1, 6-2. Zak Danz and Dunovan Belisle defeated James O’Brien and Justin Leach at first doubles, while James Kelliher and David Webster beat Jack Caseli and Jack Condin.

The final two singles matches were tough, but the Vineyarders prevailed. Connor Downing won, 6-3, 6-4, over Christian Rossomando at second singles, and Max Hammond outlasted Vincent Tanguilig, 4-6, 6-1 and 10-8, at third singles in a third set tie-breaker.

“We have some tough competition coming up,” Coach Josh Schaan said. “Sandwich was a good test because they’re a bigger school.”

The Vineyarders have had a good opening week to the season, Josh Schaan’s first as head coach.

“It was a really good first week,” Coach Schaan said. “Fifteen matches played with only one loss: it’s definitely a good sign. This young group that we have is exciting for the future. Patrick [senior captain Patrick McCarthy] is doing a good job encouraging the younger players. He has the good qualities that you like to see in a captain.”

The boys played Bishop Stang in an Eastern Athletic Conference match Wednesday in Oak Bluffs and travel to Attleboro on Friday for a big EAC match at Bishop Feehan.