With one senior lost to graduation, Vineyard Coach Mike Joyce has a host of familiar faces back in the lineup with a year of experience under their belts.
“You could see it early on in practice; kids already knew drills I wanted to run, knew some of our philosophy already, and hopefully could take that next step, which a lot of them have,” Coach Joyce said. “You could tell their confidence, of the sophomores and juniors, especially, who were freshman and sophomores last year, really carrying themselves differently and playing with a little more aggressiveness, a little more physicality, which is what we lacked last year, when we were playing a lot of bigger teams and they just outmuscled us. That will be different this year. I’m expecting to be back in the tournament and be competing for the Cape and the Islands [League], which we’ll be moving into this year.”
The Vineyarders have moved from the Eastern Athletic Conference, where they won seven titles (four outright and three shared) in nine seasons. This season, the Vineyarders will play league rivals Cape Cod Academy, Cape Tech, Monomoy, Nantucket, Sturgis East, Sturgis West, and St. John Paul II.
Kane Araujo, who coached the Vineyard freshman for the past two seasons, will now lead the JV team. James Jennings is the new freshman coach.
The Vineyarders have a good mix of senior leadership and younger scoring talent. Seniors Sam Wallace and Matt Morris are the team captains. Dylan Dyke, Owen Porterfield, and Talon Russillo complete the senior quintet on the roster. Returning juniors Jared and Jeremy Regan, Aidan Araujo, and Solon Oliver, are joined by newcomer Justin Chin. Rammon Dos Santos, Aiden Rogers, and Mike Trusty are the varsity sophomores.
“The Regan brothers, Rammon Dos Santos, Mike Trusty, and the younger kids are going to have to take on a bigger role,” Coach Joyce said. “The seniors, especially Matt and Sam, have shown great leadership so far. The sophomores and juniors will probably bear the weight of the scoring, with contributions from the seniors, but the seniors will have to be the ones out there leading physically and emotionally, and they’ve been doing a great job.”
The Vineyarders also don’t lack for depth. “We can probably go nine or 10 deep, without much falloff,” Coach Joyce said.
Heading into the season opener, Coach Joyce was encouraged by his team’s play and attitude during practice. “The energy and the chemistry have been great,” he said. “These guys now have been together for a whole year. You can just see it, they enjoy playing with each other, they have fun, and they play hard. When people come out to see us, they’re going to see a group of kids playing their butts off, with a lot of intensity. We’re going to be pressing a lot.”
Slow start dooms Vineyarders in boys tip-off
Somehow, the energy and intensity that Coach Joyce observed in practice failed to materialize in the opening quarter of the Vineyarders’ opening game against the Monomoy Sharks, Tuesday in Harwich.
The Sharks feasted on their guests’ slow start and ran up a 25-6 lead after the first quarter. The Vineyarders gamely fought back and played well the rest of the way to force overtime with the score tied at 68-68, but Monomoy pulled away in the extra period to win, 79-69.
“We were lethargic and not playing with the intensity we needed in the first quarter,” Coach Joyce said. The Vineyarders also had three players foul out, which hurt down the stretch.
Jared Regan led MV with 17 points, Mike Trusty scored 13, Dylan Dyke and Rammon Dos Santos had 11 each, and Aidan Araujo added nine more.
The Vineyarders look to even their record in the home opener against Sturgis East Charter School on Dec. 13. The opening tip is 5:30 pm.
Vineyard JVs win
The JV team supplied the silver lining in the Vineyard trip to Monomoy on Tuesday, beating the Sharks 58-36. Ty Matthews was the high scorer with 17 points.