Sports year in review 2012

Joe Turney runs to the end zone for the first Vineyard touchdown against Nantucket. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

The year 2012 was filled with success by Island teams young and old. The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys tennis team won the state championship for the first time in the program’s history. Two weeks later, the Under-15 boys travel soccer team won the state title at the Mass. Tournament of Champions.

Vineyard FC, known as the Over the Hill Gang, the over 40 entry in the New England Over The Hill Soccer League, played a perfect 10-0 season, hosted and won its first home playoff match, and gained promotion to Division 5, after missing out on the league title by a single penalty kick.

The MVRHS winter sports teams enjoyed unparalleled success as all four teams clinched berths in the state tournament.

The 34th Island Cup will go down as one of the greatest in the series to date, as the Vineyarders rallied to stun Nantucket with two late TDs.

Finally, the team affectionately known as The Splash, the Vineyard coed varsity swimmers, took their first plunge at the varsity level.

As a busy sports year of 2013 begins, the Times takes a look back at some of the highlights from 2012.

Winter sports success

All four Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School varsity winter sports teams qualified for the MIAA tournament in 2011-12.

The boys basketball team finished 21-3, won the Eastern Athletic Conference title for the third consecutive year, and reached the south sectional final before losing to Wareham.

The girls hoopsters clinched a tourney berth for the first time since 2003 on the final day of the regular season against Nantucket. They went on to win two playoff games.

The girls hockey team made the playoffs for the first time and shut out Dennis-Yarmouth 5-0 in front of a packed house at the M.V. Arena. The girls bowed out after a hard-fought 4-3 loss to Norwood.

After missing the playoffs for two seasons, the traditionally powerful boys hockey team posted a 12-6-2 record and lost in the south sectional quarterfinals to Oliver Ames.

Interscholastic hoops champs

The Oak Bluffs boys and Edgartown girls won the interscholastic basketball titles in front of a large, passionate crowd at the MVRHS gym. The Blazer boys rallied from a 14-7 halftime deficit and beat the previously unbeaten West Tisbury Hawks, 31-26. Sam Hargy and Erin Hill powered the Eagle girls to a 41-18 win over the Lady Hawks.

Special Olympics in Mashpee

Five athletes from Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School joined students from 27 schools on May 25th in the sixth annual Cape Cod School Day Games at Mashpee High School.

The Special Olympics event is the largest in the Southeastern Massachusetts.

The Vineyarders have competed in Mashpee for three consecutive years. Celeste Ewing, Elke Klein, Austin Simonin, Paige Taylor, and Igor Avansini represented the school in this year’s competition.

The Vineyard team is coached by MVRHS varsity field hockey coach and physical education teacher Lisa Knight and by life skills teacher Laura DeBettencourt.

Spring success

The MVRHS girls lacrosse team won a second consecutive Eastern Athletic Conference championship. The baseball team clinched a state tourney berth for the first time in 10 years. The softball and boys lacrosse teams also qualified for postseason play. The Vineyard sailors competed in Durham, N.H., for the fleet-racing Herreshoff Trophy for the first time in coach Andrew Burr’s seven-year tenure. The Vineyarders raced well and placed sixth overall.

Boys tennis team wins state championship

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys tennis team clinched their first state championship in the program’s history with a 4-1 win on June 14 against the Nashoba Regional Chieftains of Bolton in the MIAA Division 3 state final played at St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury. The Vineyarders finished the season with a perfect 23-0 record. Longtime coach Ned Fennessy captured his first title in 22 years as Vineyard coach.

The team arrived in Vineyard Haven to a heroes’ welcome. A lineup of Tisbury fire trucks with sirens blaring and dozens of fans and friends were on hand to meet the ferry and greet the team members as they came down the ramp with the state championship trophy.

Girls tennis team repeats as EAC champs

The Vineyard girls tennis team won a second consecutive league championship and progressed to the regional semifinals of the MIAA tournament.

Foul weather wreaked havoc with the south sectional semi-final against Cohasset. The Vineyarders lost out to the Skippers in a grueling match played out in four venues over two days.

Maggie Riseborough competes at All NE

MVRHS junior Maggie Riseborough, the first MVRHS girl to win the state division meet in two events, competed with 36 elite athletes on June 9 at the All New England High School Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Thornton Academy in Saco, Maine. The event is the most prestigious in the region. Six athletes from each New England state took part. Maggie entered the All N.E. ranked 17th and put the shot 35′ 4.75″ to finish 15th overall.

Riseborough qualified for the All New England by throwing the shotput 36′ 7.25″ to place fifth at the Massachusetts All State meet on June 2. Maggie placed 10th in the discus with a throw of 103′ 7″. She is also the first MVRHS girl to win the state division meet in two events (shotput and discus).

The 4 x 400 relay team of Rafael Maciel, Peter Keaney, Je’ Vaughn Crooks, and Jeremy Alley-Tarter also competed at the All State and turned in its best time of the spring at 3:34.14, to place 21st overall. Alley-Tarter, ranked 15th in New England, also ran in the 800 meters, finishing 9th in 2:02.54.

Sharks back in the water for second season

The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks of the Collegiate Futures Baseball League were back on the diamond at the Field of Dreams, aka Vineyard Baseball Park, for a second season.

The Sharks were in playoff contention until the final week of the season but ended up at 22-23. The team is set to compete for a third season next June with new stadium style seats in place behind home plate, courtesy of Camden Yards in Baltimore.

Cubs and Marlins, Little League champs

The Cubs repeated as Martha’s Vineyard Little League majors champions and the Marlins claimed the minor league title a year after losing in the finals on a hot, humid, dusty June 23 at Veira Park in Oak Bluffs.

The Cubbies went wire to wire to win their second crown. They won nine consecutive games to open the season, won the regular season title with a 14-3 record, and won both playoff games.

Aidan Aliberti of the Cubs and the Pirates’ Jack Sierputoski engaged in a classic pitcher’s duel as the Cubs beat the Pirates, 2-1, in the title game.

In the minor league final, the Marlins beat the Reds 3-1. Finn Lewis was the winning pitcher for the Fish, who avenged last year’s 8-1 loss to the Twins.

Vineyard U-15 boys state soccer champs

The MV United Under-15 boys travel soccer team brought home a state championship, following a 2-1 victory over the Dorchester Lions on June 24 in the final match at the Massachusetts Tournament of Champions (MTOC) in Lancaster.

The U-15s triumphed after playing five matches (three on scorching hot artificial turf) in 48 hours, while enduring 90-plus degree heat and volatile weather.

Perhaps most impressive was that the Purple and Black won the state title while playing up in age in the 16 and under division.

Head coach Esteban Aranzabe and assistant coach Matt Poole guided the team to a 17-2-1 overall record and a 4-1 mark in the MTOC.

Hurricanes and Honeys, softball champs

The Hurricanes swept through the men’s summer Island Softball League yet again to win back to back titles. In the playoffs, the ‘Canes topped the Wildcats in two straight games, winning the clincher 22-10.

In the Women’s slow-pitch league, the Honeys won their fourth title in the league’s eight years. The champs defeated the fun-loving Rug Sox, 10-4, in the championship game.

Monto’s get their kicks

Regular season champions Monto Orthopedics took home the Gilbert-Hammond Cup and the Vineyard Football Association championship with a 6-1 thrashing of Coop de Ville on Thursday, August 30, at Veterans Park. The cup win was payback for the Montos. Coop stunned the Sky Blues on August 29 with two late goals in a 2-1 victory in the league playoff final.

Vineyard harriers win Vineyard Invite

The Martha’s Vineyard boys varsity cross-country team raced to a 21-point win over 11 other schools on September 8, in the 6th annual Vineyard Invitational. The Vineyard varsity, led by Mike Schroeder (7th), put four runners in the top 15. The boys junior varsity team was no less impressive. The Purple and White captured places two through four and took seven of the top 20 spots. Julian Kelly led the jayvees and came in second overall.

Jeremy Alley-Tarter qualifies for state meet

MVRHS junior Jeremy Alley-Tarter competed as the lone Vineyard representative in the Mass. All State cross-country meet, held November 17, in Northfield. He placed 27th of 177 runners with a time of 17:09.15. Of the 15 Eastern Athletic Conference athletes competing (seven from Bishop Feehan and seven from Coyle Cassidy), Alley-Tarter placed fourth.

Fall feats

The high school golf team, boys soccer, and field hockey teams all qualified for the state tournament.

The boys of winter return

RCBL winter basketball returned to the Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club in Edgartown after a one-year hiatus. The league began its 25th season on November 5, with a new commissioner, Abby Leighton, and four teams set to compete for the championship in March.

Coaching milestones

Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys tennis coach Ned Fennessy notched the 250th win of his 22-year career on Friday, April 13, with a victory over Coyle Cassidy.

Donald Herman, in his 25th season as MVRHS football coach, got his 200th Vineyard win with a 22-18 victory over Bishop Stang on November 2.

Island Cup Thriller

The 34th Island Cup, played on November 17, will go down as one of the most exciting contests in the history of the series. That’s saying something in a rivalry that includes 65 games dating back to 1953.

For the second time in 20 years, the Vineyarders overturned a 12-point Nantucket lead in the final five minutes.

With 4:41 left to play and down 26-14, quarterback Alec Tattersall led the Vineyarders back, first on a 50-yard strike to Brandon Watkins and finally on a 7-yard pass to Joe Turney with 20 ticks left on the clock.

The win brought a strong sense of deja vu. In 1992, on Nantucket, M.V. trailed 12-0 in the final 4:46 and won 14-12 behind QB Jason Dyer.

For Nantucket, who have come so close to winning in the past three games (three losses by a combined 12 points), the wait for the coveted Cup continues at 10 years and counting.

Alec Tattersall overcame a rough first half and won the U.S. Marine Corps Great American Rivalry Series MVP trophy.

The Vineyarders tied up the Island Cup Series at 17-17 but still trail the Whalers overall, 35-27-3.

Over The Hill Gang achieves perfection…almost

Vineyard FC, the Island entry in the New England Over The Hill Soccer League finished with a perfect 10-0 regular season, which earned the side a first-ever home playoff match.

The Over The Hill Gang defeated CD Faialense of Cambridge on November 11 on the big stage at Dan McCarthy Field and advanced to meet the Albania United Veterans in Lexington. By the slimmest of margins, VFC bowed to the Vets in a penalty kick shootout, but they still gained promotion from the Masters Division 6 South to Division 5.

Vineyard swimmers take first varsity plunge

The MVRHS coed swimming team competed for the first time at the varsity level after two seasons as a club.

The Vineyarders, affectionately known as the Splash, debuted in the YMCA pool on December 12 against the Pope John Paul II Lions. The Splash came up 14 points short but raced well. The winning 200-yard medley relay team of Katherine Donegan, Mariah Campbell, Galya Walt, and Taylor Brasefield were the first Vineyarders in the record books with a time of 2:30.42.