Martha's Vineyard boys lacrosse team tops visiting Nauset, 8-6

The host Vineyarders had their hands full against the winless Warriors before prevailing with three late goals.

Jacob Gunderson moves behind the net with the ball as Henry Wallace (5) and Greg McCarron (4) move into position. photo by Alex Palmer.

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) boys lacrosse team entered Saturday’s game against winless Nauset with two factors on their side: They were playing at home, and they had three wins under their belts. But the visiting Warriors had other ideas. Relying on team speed, solid goaltending, and general feistiness, Nauset battled the host team to a virtual standstill for much of the game before surrendering three late goals. The final score was 8 to 6.

Junior Nick Hull got things rolling for the visitors with two first-period scores. Hull and sophomore Mark Takakjian would be thorns in the side of MV all day with their breakout speed and pesky aggressiveness. Hull’s strength was another asset; on his second goal he battled relentlessly against three Vineyard defenders while maneuvering to get his shot off.

The teams exchanged goals through the second period, and things were all even at 3-3 when Vineyard co-captain Austin Chandler tallied twice in a span of 30 seconds to give his team a 5-3 halftime lead.

The Warriors, unfazed, started the second half with the same tenacity that sparked their first-period lead. They scored two third-period goals, including Nick Hull’s third of the game, and the teams were tied at five. Then midway through the final period came a key play. Nauset, pressing for a third consecutive goal and the lead, appeared to have achieved both when Hull scored from 15 feet in front, but whistles were blowing and the referees were conferring. The goal was disallowed on a crease violation.

With this reprieve, and several huge stops by senior goalie Eli Laikin, momentum shifted toward the home team. With five minutes to go, senior co-captain Ben Clark, a constant physical presence, scored to give the Vineyarders a lead they would not relinquish. In short order, Henry Wallace and Austin Chandler followed suit, and the Vineyarders could finally relax. A late Nauset goal resulted in the 8-6 final.

MV Coach Chris Green was succinct in his postgame appraisal. “The game was a lot closer than I would have liked,” he said. That’s exactly how it seemed from the sidelines, but Nauset, with spirited play and determination, did not make it easy.

Senior Austin Chandler’s three goals led the Vineyarders’ scoring. Chandler was stellar throughout the game in his role as offensive point man, distributing the ball skillfully to teammates and creating his own scoring opportunities. Junior Lucas DeBettencourt added two goals, while Ben Clark, Henry Wallace, and Greg McCarron registered one each. Eli Laikin was outstanding in goal, particularly late in the game when he stopped several point-blank shots to keep his team in the game.

The Vineyarders, now 4-3 on the season, will be on the road against Bishop Stang on Tuesday, May 3, in an Eastern Athletic Conference game.