The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys varsity soccer team defeated the Bishop Stang Spartans of North Dartmouth Tuesday afternoon amid misty rain and slippery conditions by a score of 3-1.
The Vineyarders are now 8-1-1, and have had a strong season. The team’s only loss was its first game, against Nauset Regional High School on a particularly hot day. The team’s tie game was against Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, where the Vineyarders missed 27 goals. Head Coach Esteban Aranzabe told The Times, “We tied, but the flavor was a loss.”
Tuesday’s match against the Spartans got off to a slow start. Twelve minutes into the match, Mr. Aranzabe was yelling from the sidelines, “Guys! Guys! Wake up!” Shortly after, there was a time-out.
“It looks like we’re asleep out there — we are too relaxed,” Assistant Coach Ryan White told the team. “Go and play!” Mr. Aranzabe added in a high-spirited voice.
The motivational chat worked. Jason Lages scored the first Vineyarder goal at 26:07, assisted by Captain Brandon Dwane. The Vineyard pressure continued after the first goal, but they were unable to capitalize on opportunities. At 10 minutes left in the half, Mr. Aranzabe called out, “Wake Uuuuup!” At eight minutes, he piped up again, “Good morning guys! Let’s go!”
Finally the Vineyard boys took note. Brandon Dwane scored the second goal at 6:16, assisted by Noah Kleinhenz. By the time the halftime buzzer went off, the Vineyarders had missed 15 scoring opportunities.
Mr. Ryan told The Times at the half, “This is 50 percent of what they’re capable of. It’s just one of those days, I guess.” Mr. Aranzabe then addressed his team. “You promised me that we’d try not to make mistakes, and you are making the biggest mistakes I’ve ever seen. If you make mistakes, I’ll take you out — it’s not fair to the rest of the team. I want 100 percent, if not 100 percent don’t come out … You have not proved anything yet. This is Martha’s Vineyard. They are playing in our home. You are not doing it — just do it!”
Mr. Aranzabe walked away, and Mr. White continued the halftime exhortation: “Stop being your own worst enemy. Get out of your head and play this game against Bishop Stang. Don’t play against yourself — it’s the worst mistake you can make.”
The Vineyarders spent most of the second half in their opponent’s territory, but they just could not make it happen. After yet another missed shot on goal, Mr. Aranzabe told the players on the field, “We cannot lose those opportunities.”
Despite intense Vineyard pressure, Bishop Stang’s Matt Tetrault scored his team’s first goal at 21:30 in the second half. After multiple Vineyard drives, Jason Lages scored his second goal of the game at 10:49, assisted by Axel Cooperrider, sealing the Vineyard win at 3-1.
“It was a salty win — we usually play much better. They were a good team, and we needed the competition. We have been racking up seven, eight goals a game; today was a good wake-up call,” Mr. Aranzabe told The Times postgame.
Boys varsity soccer plays away Thursday against Bishop Feehan High School, a team the Vineyarders previously beat this season 8-0. Referring to that game, Mr. Aranzabe told The Times, “We did everything right, not like today.”
The next home game is 3 pm Tuesday, Oct. 7, against Somerset Berkley Regional High School.