Updated Wednesday April 19
The Nantucket Whalers jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and kept the pedal to the metal en route to a 10-4 victory over Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) in a boys varsity lacrosse matchup Saturday at sunny Dan McCarthy field in Oak Bluffs.
The Whalers scored less than two minutes into the contest, and built a 4-0 advantage after one period. The Vineyarders, fresh off an 11-8 win over Mashpee on Thursday, closed the gap to 4-1 early in the second quarter on a snapper by sophomore Riley Amaral.
The Whalers scored twice more in the second period before MVRHS senior Jack Garrett found the back of the Whaler net, finishing off a plucky rush by John Morris to keep the ball alive in the Whaler end to make it a 6-2 contest at halftime.
Play became increasingly chippy in the second half, with major and minor calls on both squads. This didn’t stop Nantucket from lengthening its lead, though the lead was was offset by the first of two gritty second-half goals by Vineyarder sophomore Sam Wallace. Ivan Shepherd, John Morris, and Sam Wallace all had assists in the game. Sophomore keeper Max Smith turned away nine Whaler shots, compared with eight Vineyarder shots on the Nantucket goal.
The Whalers improved to 5-1 on goals from six players, including a pair from Alex Small, who bedeviled the football Vineyarders in the Whalers’ 2016 Island Cup win. The young Vineyarders fell to 1-2 on the season.
Eighteen penalties were whistled in the game. After the game, veteran referee Tom DiMarzio said that play got rougher as the game went on.
A sparse but vocal crowd cheered the Vineyarders on. When they fell behind 9-3 late on the third period, one fan yelled “Remember the Patriots,” a reference to the New England Patriots come-from-way-behind win in the recent Super Bowl. Mr. Wallace evidently was listening, potting his first goal of the game 18 seconds later.
Despite that highlight, Vineyarder Coach Chris Greene this week said the game was “the most unemotionally played game, on both sides, I’ve seen in 19 years of this rivalry. Yeah, there was some chippy play, but the Vineyarder team that played on Saturday was not the team that practiced on Friday. That’s on me. We have to get them ready for the big moment. We have to focus, win games we should win, to make the tournament.” His 10-6 team in 2016 advanced to the sectional quarterfinals in tourney play.
“We’re working some kids into the system. Defensively I thought we played OK. Matteus Scheffer did a great job on J.T. Gamberoni, one of their top offensive threats, but we couldn’t get into our own offensive sets,” he said, noting that Mr. Wallace “is developing into a nice player. He’s becoming a go-to guy for us.”
The Vineyarders face off against Barnstable High School on Wednesday, April 19, at 1 pm.