The MVRHS field hockey season came to an end Thursday afternoon at Cohasset High School. Maggie Lucier’s goal midway through the first half held up despite a tenacious Vineyard effort, as the eighth-seeded Cohasset Skippers held off the No. 9 Vineyarders, 1-0, in the opening round of the MIAA Division 2 South Sectional.
The game was also the last for Vineyard Coach Lisa Knight, who is retiring as Vineyard varsity head coach after 20 seasons and 20 state tournament appearances.
“For me, it’s a little bittersweet,” Coach Knight said. “It’s not how you want it to end. I’ll have my tears at some point in time, but, you know, if we didn’t come to play I think I would be less likely to cry, but they came to play today, and it’s a tribute to my coaches Kaylea Moore, Kendall Robinson, and Beth O’ Connor. It’s surreal right now; it doesn’t really feel like it’s over, but I know it is. I’ll miss it, and I’ll miss what goes on out on the field, but to end a career with a game like this is perfectly fine with me. I can’t ask for anything else. They left it all out on the field and they didn’t have any regrets. They lost to a very good team. Cohasset is an excellent team. This was a great game for them today, I’ll take it, and I’ll take being a coach at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School for a long period of time. I learned a lot from these players, from these athletes. It’s been an absolute privilege.”
Both teams were on top of their games in a well-played contest that never lacked for pace on the smooth, true turf field. Cohasset pressed the attack in the early going and forced two corners in the first 90 seconds. Vineyard goalie Amelia Simmons made a stellar right-pad save to keep the Skippers off the board. The Vineyarders fought back and earned a pair of corners with a good spell of their own.
With 14:46 left in the first half, Maggie Lucier jammed the ball through a jumble of legs in the Vineyard crease to score the only goal, assisted by Molly Greer. The play started with a corner, and the Skippers had four whacks at the ball before it rolled over the goal line.
Cohasset fed off the momentum, and forced three corners in quick succession. By the end of the half, the Skippers had seven corners to two for MV. Cohasset did an excellent job of clogging the middle of the field, especially around the goal. The Vineyarders did find space on the flanks, however. Abby Marchand rushed in from the right and fired a shot off the side netting, and Addy Hayman had a pair of long runs down the left sideline.
In the second half, the Vineyarders continued to pressure the Skippers from the flanks. As the half wore on, the Vineyarders began to make inroads through the middle, and saved their best and grittiest play for the final 15 minutes. MV had three quality chances to tie the game. First, Addy Hayman fired a 15-yarder from the top of the circle, which Cohasset goalie Caitlin Durkin kicked aside with a fine pad save. Next, Sally Caron deflected a long shot high into the mesh on the outside of goal. The last attempt came in the final minute, as Mackenzie Condon smashed a long hit that caromed off a stick and missed the right post by a foot.
After the final whistle, several Vineyarders dropped to the ground as the Skippers celebrated, but the tears quickly turned to smiles back on the ferry where the team, Coach Knight, and her staff received a well-deserved round of applause from the Vineyard fans, who far outnumbered and outshouted the host Cohasset contingent at the game. Once the first round of applause had subsided, the players gave themselves another hand for a season well done.
“You never want a season to end,” Coach Knight said. “They fought hard. They played right to the very end, and I’ll tell you something, that was played right from here, from the heart. They gave everything they had, everything they could possibly give. It ends a brilliant career for some of these young ladies, but there are still a lot of young ladies who are going to go on and a play another four years.”
Three of those players who will continue at the next level are Hailey Meader (Nichols College), Abby Marchand (Connecticut College), and Meghan Sonia (Anna Maria College).