Vineyarders sink Sharks in field hockey OT thriller, 2-1

The girls now advance to play top-ranked Cohasset (16-0-3) in the sectional semi-finals on Wednesday at 4:30 pm.

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Belle Dinning celebrates with teammate Lee Hayman after scoring the game-winning goal. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Belle Dinning scored on a breakaway at 4:07 of overtime to lift Martha’s Vineyard to a 2-1 victory over the Monomoy Sharks Sunday in an MIAA Division 2 South Sectional quarterfinal played in Oak Bluffs.

The Vineyard senior co-captain won the game after breaking loose from Monomoy’s Marina Small near mid-field, charging toward the Sharks goal and slapping the ball past goalie Emily Grecco from 10-yards out to the right.

The goal set off a jubilant celebration among players, coaches, and fans as the fourth-seeded Vineyarders (14-3-1) advanced to play at top-ranked Cohasset (16-0-3) in the sectional semi-finals on Wednesday, November 11th at 4:30 pm.

“It was a fairy-tale ending and we’re the ones that get to happily live on,” Vineyard head coach Lisa Knight said after the tense, well-played match. “If you want someone on a breakaway, you want to see Belle Dinning because she can put the ball away. She wasn’t going to let anyone else have that ball.”

Dinning, according to Coach Knight, “had some stellar help from Lee Hayman, who’s just awesome. My four captains Sara Poggi, Lee Hayman, Emma Caron, and Belle Dinning have just been spectacular. I have a player out there, Genny Kent, who scored a goal today. This is only the 18th [varsity] game she’s ever played. She’d never played the game before but I watched her play last year. She’s a sophomore. She’s played every game this year and has just blossomed.”

Coach Knight also cited junior forward Juniper Ezanno and junior goalie Julia Bettencourt, who made six saves on the day.

The teams battled to a 1-1 tie after 60 minutes of regulation play. The Sharks carried the first ten minutes but the Vineyarders had the territorial edge for the rest of the first half, which finished 0-0.

The Vineyarders broke the deadlock 11:23 into the second half. After an inspired surge through the Monomoy defense, sophomore Genny Kent scored on a tap-in, assisted by Belle Dinning.

The hosts had a golden opportunity to increase the lead mid-way through the period after the officials awarded a penalty shot. Monomoy goalie Emily Grecco came up huge, however, turning aside Emma Caron’s shot with her right foot to give the Sharks a boost of momentum. With 8:30 remaining, Brooke Wrightington smacked the ball into the Vineyard cage at close-range, leveling the score at 1-1.

Both teams had their share of the play in the final minutes but could not win the game in regulation.

In the overtime period, with the teams pared down to seven players a side, the play was wide-open. The Vineyarders charged out of the gate from the opening whistle and did not have long to wait for Belle Dinning’s heroics.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” Coach Knight said after the big win. It was a total team effort. It doesn’t matter if they play 60 minutes or one minute, this team has just gelled. The nucleus has come together just amazingly. It’s beyond anything I could have imagined at the beginning of the season to be going to the semi-finals right now. They just refuse to lose. We got in that circle (prior to the start of overtime) and said ‘we’re not going to lose this game.’”