The graduation of 11 skilled seniors is a challenge for the young Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) girls lacrosse team to overcome. The team will have to work especially hard to make up for the loss of one of last year’s senior captains, midfielder Lee Hayman, who is now playing at Denison University.
The captains are seniors Amanda Bernard and Lacey Dinning and juniors Audrey McCarron and Lily Pigott. The rest of the varsity team consists of freshmen and sophomores.
Head coaches Kursten Moore and Bob Hayman are returning for their second season. Last year the team made it to the second round of tournament play.
“It is most definitely a rebuilding year, but we have a lot of underclassmen who will step up,” Coach Hayman said. “When you start a season like this, you often have no idea where the pieces are going to fit. With a lot of new talent and strong leadership, I have high hopes for this team.”
With few veteran members, practice has focused around the basic mechanics and fundamentals of the sport. As the season goes on, Coach Hayman believes the repetition of the fundamentals will lead to execution in gameplay.
Sophomore midfielder Addy Hayman was last year’s high scorer. She will be an important link between the veteran players and the new varsity underclassmen. Sophomore Hailey Meader will be the starting goalie, after gaining some varsity experience last year.
“I think we will surprise some people this season. There are many athletic girls on our team who are picking up the skills needed for key varsity roles very quickly,” said Lily Pigott.
While the inexperience of a young team poses many challenges, Amanda Bernard believes it may also be a strength. “A young team hasn’t developed bad habits,” she said. “The underclassmen are so ready to learn and take on anything thrown their way.”
Strong leadership for boys team
The boys team will also face the challenges of the graduation of a deep and athletic senior squad. Jack Garrett is the lone senior captain, but is joined by junior captains John Morris, Sam Rollins, and Matteus Skeffer.
“I feel really good about the leadership we have,” head Coach Chris Greene said. “I have no doubt that the four guys we have as captains will keep everyone on the same page and motivated.”
Coach Greene believes the team will qualify for postseason play, and has the potential to roll into the playoffs and win some games there, too.
“I would not call this a rebuilding year,” he said. “We lost a couple of key guys, but the difference this year is that instead of depending on those guys, the team is really going to share the load, and they are prepared to do so.”
Sam Rollins is expected to step up on defense after the loss of defenders Krishna Datta, Jimmy DiMattia, and Andy DiMattia to graduation. Ben Clark, Austin Chandler, and Tom Irwin also left big shoes to fill when they graduated. Sophomores Dylan Ebanks and Riley Amaral will be seeing some valuable minutes on the field.
With team depth that extends especially to underclassmen, leadership from the captains will have to set the tone for the team as a whole. “As a captain, I really focus on working hard during practice, and giving an example for how players should act on and off the field,” John Morris said.
The team is putting a lot of emphasis on the importance of adjusting to game speeds from controlled practice speeds. With skilled players stepping up into important positions, the season looks promising.
“I’m excited, and the team seems excited,” Coach Greene said. “A lot of success is well within our reach this year.”