The boys varsity lacrosse team represented its pride and passion for Vineyard sports in its final clash of the season on home turf.
The Vineyarders dominated the Fairhaven Blue Devils defensively, and capitalized on every opportunity during their final home game of the season. With a final score of 15-7, the team was able to get a strong win and increase morale for its upcoming battle against rival Bishop Stang.
Vineyard pressure started off strong and engaged, with senior Jacob Gundersen scoring within one minute of play. The Vineyard began to take off with an incredible bounce goal by Riley Amaral toward the end of the first quarter.
And the pace of shots only increased, as Sam Wallace hit a clean corner shot to start off the second quarter. Although the Vineyard defense was superior, Fairhaven attackmen were able to break through. Despite a great save by goaltender Max Smith one minute before, Fairhaven scored with 2½ minutes left in the second quarter.
At the half, the Vineyard was starting to pull away with a 6-3 lead. Two successive goals, the first by senior Zack Moreis and the second by Sam, kick-started what would prove to be an standout rest of the game.
With great defense on the Vineyard end, and an impressive performance by Max, it was tough for Fairhaven to infiltrate. Another goal by Sam broadened the gap between the two teams at 10-3.
The scoreboard read 5 minutes, and the score was 14-6. For the Vineyard boys, it had been a fierce performance, and Fairhaven had put up a good fight.
For the senior players on the team, it was their last time setting foot on the field that some of them had practiced and played on for four years. Senior defenseman John Morris said that he has built a powerful bond with his teammates during his time at MVRHS that transcends school or extracurriculars.
“I am going to miss the bond that I have with my whole team,” said John. “You get really close with people.” He also said many of the athletes on the team have played multiple sports with each other. “You spend hours every day with these guys, plus they are your friends outside of sports,” he said.
Many players, like attackman Zack, will not be closing the door on their sports careers but instead entering a new level of athleticism and competition. Zack said he will be attending Nichols College in the fall, and looks forward to playing football there.
Another senior midfielder, Matteus Scheffer, said he is excited to continue his lacrosse career at the University of Rhode Island, but will always miss the deep connection he feels with his Vineyard teammates. “It is a very close, tight-knit community here,” said Matteus. “Everyone knows each other and wants to show their support.”
Head Coach Chris Greene said he is proud of each of his players for their hard work and dedication. “I’m real happy for them,” said Greene. “They worked hard and got the win.” Greene also said that he is excited to see some members of the team continue their sports careers in college.
Greene said that the Vineyard squad has “flashes of brilliance,” and that this win was one of those flashes. “It has been a process, getting to know these guys and watching them mature as athletes and as people,” said Greene. “They have grown a lot in the past couple years, and I have enjoyed seeing it.”
Greene praised each one of his players individually at the opening ceremony of the game, where flowers were presented to the parents of each senior.
“Jacob Gunderson is a special player, he has a special skill set that not many who have come through here have acquired,” said Greene.
He also recognized players who started a little later than freshman year: “J.J. Mendez picked up a stick three years ago, and he proceeded to never really put it down. We get a lot of kids that come into the game late, and you’re never really sure what to expect, but he really worked hard.”
Greene expressed his appreciation for the team’s commitment to the sport. “It has been a joy to watch the passion that Sam Rollins has for this team. He has been to every single clinic, every camp that the Vineyard has had. I know he is going to do great things.”
Emotions were high as Greene expressed his sadness that senior Evan Sodder was injured, but assured the crowd of his confidence in Evan’s ability. “Evan will be swimming for Worcester Polytechnic Institute; they have no idea the greatness that is coming for them,” said Greene.