The three-time defending state Division 3 champs have moved up to Division 2 this season, which will make the pursuit of a fourth consecutive title particularly challenging. The change won’t be felt to a large degree during the regular season, but on average, the Vineyarders would face bigger schools and tougher competition during postseason play.
“I’m excited for us to have a different challenge,” said Vineyard co-head coach Nina Bramhall, who enters her fourth season at the helm with Liz Roberts. “It’s a great opportunity for us to push ourselves and see if we can win at a different level. It’s always good to challenge yourself, which will add an exciting component to this year.”
The Vineyarders lost only once in 2017, by a 3-2 count to Sharon, the Division 1 state champion. The teams will meet twice this season, first on May 11 in Oak Bluffs and again four days later in Sharon. The non-league schedule is full of tough tests against the likes of Foxborough, D2 state champions in 2016; Wellesley, a top D1 team which lost by one point to Sharon; and Barnstable, another D1 powerhouse.
“I think our non-league opponents are at the highest level that they’ve been since we’ve been coaching,” Ms. Bramhall said.
Every starter returns for the Vineyarders this season, save for Paige Pogue, who switched to track and field. Kat Roberts, the number one singles player the past two seasons, is currently sidelined with an arm injury, and will miss the opening match on April 11 at home to Bishop Stang. Junior Kelly Klaren and sophomore Hannah Rabasca complete the stellar singles lineup. The Vineyarders have the state’s top first doubles tandem in senior Lizzie Williamson and junior Victoria Scott. The pair are undefeated in two years, and have claimed two consecutive state individual titles. Sophomores Alex Rego and Chesca Potter will play at second doubles. Senior Maia Ponte and sophomore Simone Davis round out the talented Vineyard roster.
The next home match for the Vineyard girls is Monday, April 30, against Eastern Athletic Conference foe Coyle and Cassidy.