Vineyard girls win two of three

Whitney Schroeder tries to gain a stride on Coyle Cassidy's Emily Ventura. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School girls soccer team has improved on an 0-2 start with three solid efforts in the past five days, resulting in a pair of victories and a close defeat. The girls lost a 1-0 Eastern Athletic Conference decision Tuesday to visiting Coyle Cassidy but, overall, coach Richard Bennett was pleased with the match.

“I think it’s the best we’ve ever played against them [Coyle Cassidy],” the coach said. “We had a couple of chances to score and couldn’t put them in and they squibbed that one in. I thought it was a fairly evenly played match.”

The match’s two halves were eerily similar. In each, the Warriors dominated possession for the first 25 minutes, while the Vineyarders were the stronger, more aggressive side in the final 15. At halftime, the Warriors had eight shots to the Vineyard’s six, with each team having four on target. The Purple had three corners in the opening half, all in a five-minute span in the waning moments. M.V. finished with a 5-3 edge in corners for the match.

“We started figuring out that they were pulling their backs up and we were able to put pressure on them with just a direct ball over the top,” coach Bennett said. “We created some opportunities that way, but we didn’t quite get the finishing touch on a couple of them.”

The visitors scored the eventual match winner eight minutes into the second half. The Warriors capped off their best pressure of the match with two quick shots into a wall of Vineyard defenders. The ball bounced back to Laura Johnson, who made sure the third attempt was the charm, looping the ball into the top right corner past helpless Vineyard keeper Cana Courtney.

“Overall, I was very happy with the way we played,” coach Bennett said. “Cana did a nice job in goal; she did everything she could do.”

The girls evened their record at 2-2 Saturday at Dan McCarthy Field with a 1-0 win over Whitinsville Christian School. The Vineyarders played a consistently fine match at both ends of the pitch. Mariah Campbell scored the lone goal, 15 minutes into the second half. Whitney Schroeder forced a Crusader turnover and Campbell moved up from a central defensive position to place a floater into the far corner.

“I thought we deserved to win today,” coach Bennett said. “I thought we had the better of the possession and controlled the game better, but 1-0 games, you never know. It was a little hairy at the end.”

The Vineyard defense was solid for the entire 80 minutes and goalie Cana Courtney earned the clean sheet.

Thursday, the Vineyarders came from behind to defeat Dennis-Yarmouth, 2-1. Casey McAndrews and Adelaide Keene scored second half goals for M.V.

The girls host Bishop Stang Thursday at 3 pm and Nantucket on Saturday at 12:30 pm.