Girls lax advance in states

Vineyarders handle Fontbonne by 15-4 at home.

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The top-seeded Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) girls varsity lacrosse team, undeterred by a week of controversy around their program, put a 15-4 hurtin’ on the Fontbonne Academy Ducks in a South Sectional opening-round game of the Division 2 state tournament in Oak Bluffs on Thursday.

Seniors Alexis Condon, Louise McDonald, and Addy Hayman scored first-half hat tricks, and Skyla Harthcock had a pair en route to a 9-1 Vineyarder halftime lead. Condon and Hayman finished the day with four goals apiece, and Abby Marchand and Lolly Bazahler each had a goal before a sparse crowd at Dan McCarthy Field.

The Vineyarders, now 18-1 on the season, prepare to meet eighth-seed Archbishop Williams

(15-8) in the quarterfinals on Saturday at Dan McCarthy Field in Oak Bluffs, time TBA. While both the Vineyarders and Archie’s had a bye to begin the tournament, Williams had to beat Falmouth Academy 15-5 to advance to Saturday’s contest.

The Vineyarders began their pregame week with a controversy over school policy violations, leading to the suspension of Head Coach Kurstin Moore and Assistant Coach Bob Hayman for the remainder of the season. Junior varsity Coaches Jennifer Hart and Jo Douglas are handling bench duties throughout the playoffs. Senior Sophie Combra was the sole Vineyarder not in uniform on Thursday. Athletic Director Mark McCarthy would say only that “Sophie is not available today.”

The young Fontbonne team struck first for a 1-0 lead less than three minutes into the contest, as good as it would get against a Vineyarder team that played terrific defense all day. Sally Caron, Alysse Guyther, and Katharine O’Brien had key blocks and clears in front of freshman Lila Mikos, who turned away nine shots, most of them toughies, in a big-game performance.

The MVRHS offense featured pinpoint passing on Thursday, hitting cutters breaking for the net for the majority of their goals. The Vineyarders dominated in draws (faceoffs) won, and won a majority of ground balls, two stats important to winning.

Fontbonne goaltender Bridget Healy had to be the No. 1 Ducks game star, turning away a dozen Vineyarder chances, including three point-blank, can’t-miss chances, among her saves.

Game officiating style had some press box vets scratching their heads. Play stoppages and long delays in game resumption, with both refs close to the players most of the time rather than spacing themselves, slowed the tempo.

But the game was physical. The Ducks took two penalties and committed multiple other fouls, including a brisk stick off the head of Hayman. Fontbonne double- and triple-teamed Hayman, allowing Condon to become the field general to good effect. The Ducks (11-6) are a team on the rise — lots of underclassmen who are fast and get after it, competing hard for every ball.