Torbelly Assis got his revenge for this push by scoring the winning goal against Somerset minutes later. Photos by Ralph Stewart
MV edged by top seed, after beating defending champs
The bus ride along Route 3 following the MVRHS boys soccer team's 2-1 loss Tuesday to top-ranked Hingham (18-0-1) in the quarter-finals of the MIAA Division 2 South tournament was enveloped in an eerie silence. This was not the usual moral victory reserved for the valiant underdog. It was a painful defeat for a side that knew it could compete against a great team and had a legitimate chance to win.
The 9th ranked Vineyarders (11-5-4), decimated by injuries to several starters, had already knocked out last year's state champions from Somerset on Sunday, a team who themselves took out #1 Hingham last year as a 16th seed.
Antulio Neto was a consistent threat to Somerset's backline.
When David Campbell calmly slotted home a well-earned penalty kick to tie the game with 12 minutes left in the second half, the Islanders had every reason to believe that they could take the game — and Hingham knew it. You could see the worry in their urgent faces.
Like great teams usually do, however, the Harbormen jumped on the one brief moment that the Purple let down their guard as Colin Lincoln blasted a header into the right corner five minutes later to win it.
The first half was all about survival for the Vineyarders. They played cautiously on the difficult Cohasset High School pitch, sizing up the significant speed and skill of their opponents, who repeatedly played balls into the corners or chipped lobs over the middle trying to time their runs behind the MV defense. The visitors and undisputed man of the match, keeper Nick Cuba, were burned only once on a dazzling goal from the aforementioned Lincoln.
In the second half, the real Vineyarders — physical, skillful, and dangerous — emerged, having made several adjustments. They kept the ball on the ground, established a short passing game to keep a modicum of possession, kept the Hingham goalie honest by shooting whenever possible from any distance, and had Duncan Pickard and Zach Sylvia double-team Hingham's fleet-footed Gaston Kelly in the right corner.
"I merely suggested that they start using more east-west passing," Head Coach Bob Hammond said, "the players did the rest on their own."
Colin Lincoln (right) scored both Hingham goals, but this time, MV's Joshua Jackson clears the ball out of trouble.
Ironically, the tying goal came when the Vineyarders gave Hingham a dose of their own medicine.
David Campbell launched a high ball toward the box. Ben Post timed his run perfectly and burst through the Hingham defense, leaping to head the ball. Keeper Jack Harlow knew he was beaten and crashed into Post to draw the successful penalty kick from Campbell.
Thereafter, Hingham poured on the pressure and Nick Cuba responded with one spectacular save after another, punching one shot off the crossbar and diving to stop three more.
The winner came from a corner and though the Vineyarders might have been ball watching just a bit, it was a perfect strike from Colin Lincoln.
At the final whistle, the exhausted visitors dropped to the ground, and the relieved hosts showed their class by going over to them to shake hands and embrace. Several Hingham players walked over to keeper Cuba, to honor one of the great performances in Vineyard history.
MV keeper Nick Cuba makes the first of several spectacular saves against Hingham.
MV versus Somerset
Starting the playoffs on the road against the defending state champs is a great way to see what your team is made of.
Judging from their 10-4-4 record and Sunday's nerve-wracking 1-0 win over Somerset, Head Coach Bob Hammond's Vineyarders seemed to be made of the right stuff for a good run.
The Division 2 South opener for both sides was an intensely physical, dead-even contest, played at an exhausting pace all the way through.
This was the kind of game that had 1-0 written all over it. One break, one great play, or one mistake was likely going to be the difference.
In reality, the decisive moment was set up by keen awareness and accurate passing, enabled by a slip in the mud, and executed with a deft touch and good judgment.
Zach Sylvia and Duncan Pickard (right) did a superb job marking Hingham's speedy Gaston Kelly in the second half.
Seven minutes from time, the Vineyarders cut off a Somerset rush down the flank and turned on the counter-attack. As the Blue Raider defenders scrambled back, David Campbell slotted a perfect ball to Torbelly Assis in midfield, who rushed between two players. The Raider at left lost his footing and Assis was in alone on keeper Jordan Motta, who charged out to close down the angle. Assis calmly chipped a 20-foot lob into the empty net, sending his fellow players and the Vineyard bench into a frenzy.
"Torbelly showed great poise and maturity in that situation," Coach Hammond said, "A lot of players would have just stepped up and fired it hard over the goal."
Somerset poured forward and got off two dangerous shots, one parried away by MV keeper Nick Cuba and the other cleared by the Vineyard backline.
David Campbell drills the penalty to tie the game.
The Purple did a superb job all day thwarting the tall and speedy Raider midfield. Somerset fielded a 4-5-1 formation on paper only. Their true intent was to play long ball over the Vineyard defense to the waiting heads and feet of rushing midfielders Matt Ferreira and Ben Berube.
The best chance in the first half belonged to Somerset when Berube clanged a shot off the crossbar following a corner kick.
"They were big and fast," MV Captain Duncan Pickard said, "but we were able to keep up with them. They were trying to chip balls over the defense. Later in the match, we pushed the offsides line up to give the keeper more room to come out."
The Vineyarders also made an adjustment on offense late in the first half. "We wanted to keep the ball on the ground and play the flanks a little more to give our attack guys more of a chance to get up front," Coach Hammond said at halftime
Both forwards, Torbelly Assis and Antulio Neto, were consistently dangerous. Neto would leave the game with a painful hip pointer, following a jarring collision late in the second half.
Head Coach Lisa Knight, Allison Carr, and Jackie Panek, react to the Vineyarders' last attempt on goal against Bishop Stang.
Field hockey stung by Stang
The opening game of the MIAA Division 2 Field Hockey Tournament between 18th ranked Bishop Stang and 15th ranked Martha's Vineyard had an edge unlike any other in recent memory.
Sure, the Vineyarders played with characteristic intensity and Head Coach Lisa Knight was the galvanic presence that she always is — pleading, coaxing, cajoling, demanding, encouraging, and reassuring her players.
Her passion for the game, for her team, and for coaching charges through players and fans alike.
After 18 seasons, this was her last playoffs and the electricity on and around the field was palpable.
The game itself was a classic test of wills between two very even opponents. The Vineyarders were down early, fought back to tie, but fell on a late goal 3-2.
Bishop Stang had the territorial advantage for the first 10 minutes and eventually that pressure paid off. Carly Lynch tipped in the rebound from a corner to make it 1-0.
Seven minutes later, Bishop Stang doubled their pleasure with a Jen Lee tap-in.
The Vineyarders fought back and cut the lead in half with 4 minutes left to
the break. Brielle Leonard started the play from a corner. Kathryn Debettencourt took the feed, played give and go with Ashley Rebello, and fired in a rocket from 20 feet.
Phebe Bates leveled the score midway through the second half, tucking in a perfect free hit form Brielle Leonard.
From there, BS poured on the pressure. After several corners, Kayla Correiro struck the final blow with 2:26 left.
The Vineyarders forced one more corner in the final seconds. The ball bounced around for several agonizing seconds, but would not go in.
As the whistle sounded, an emotional Coach Knight tried to collect herself. "I started to cry, but not because of the loss. I was crying because it was going to be the last time I walked out to my team.
"After 18 years, it's not any one moment or game that stands out. It's about seeing so many special young women growing up to become such great people… When they come back and look at you and say that field hockey was the best experience of their lives in high school, you realize that it wasn't just an athletic experience, but also a personal experience and a life-shaping experience."
The Vineyard Voyagers head for a second place finish. Clockwise from bottom left: Stroke David Murphy, Sterling Wall, Peter Rodegast, Annie Parsons, Jason Dawley, and Matt Kramer. Coxswain Tracey Jones took the photo.
Vineyard rowers second to one in Head of Weir
One hundred and fifty of New England's finest rowers gathered last Saturday afternoon on the upper reaches of the Weir River for one of the sport's premier regional events, the 18th annual Head of the Weir race.
Thirty-nine boats lined up for position, with eight coxed youth and adult rowers in 32-foot long pilot gigs, six coxed fours (26 feet), single and double livery and workboats, currachs, and ocean shells.
The competitors started at 30-second intervals during peak flood tide at 1:30 pm, racing out the narrow estuary and onto open water.
The Vineyard's 32-foot long pilot gig "Grace" swept to an Island best-ever second place finish in the Adult Gig Class.
The Vineyard Voyagers crew of Tracy Jones as coxswain, David Murphy as stroke, Matt Cramer, Sterling Wall, Peter Rodegast, Jason Dawley, and Annie Parsons, rowed their hearts out, completing the 4.2-mile course in 37 minutes and 2 seconds.
The crew encountered a variety of weather conditions on their journey, from warm sunshine at the start to the soupy fog enveloping Bumpkin Island, Hingham and Hull Bay, and the initial finish line at the Livesaving Museum's Windmill Point Boathouse at Hull Gut.
The museum's racing coordinators and the Hull harbormaster altered the course to round the buoy at Sunset Point and finish at Nantasket Pier. Thus, the last 1.4 miles were rowed against an outgoing tide.