Vineyard field hockey rolls past Sturgis West

Harthcock nets hat trick in 6-0 win.

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Vineyarder Molly Menton goes on the offensive with teammate Maddy Tully lending support and Grace Pepe of Sturgis West at right. — Ralph Stewart

The Vineyarder field hockey team rebounded from a tough loss to Falmouth on Friday with a thorough 6-0 triumph over Sturgis West, Monday afternoon in Oak Bluffs.

Skyla Harthcock had a hat trick and added an assist to pace the Purple to a Cape and Islands League Lighthouse Division win.

The hosts attacked the Navigators in waves through the first 15 minutes. Harthcock notched her first goal 4:47 into the game by poking the ball through a scrum of players in the crease, and added a second tally at 14:04 with a five-footer after stripping the ball away from a Sturgis defender.

The Vineyarders pressed on for a third goal after the ensuing face-off but Sturgis stabilized and closed out the half with solid pressure and five corners, matching the Vineyard total for the first half.

“After the last game, where we had a 10-minute lapse that really cost us, we talked at halftime today about keeping the mental focus,” Vineyard Coach Becky Nutton said after the game. “If I feel like we’re getting pushed on our back foot, that’s when we really focus and communicate and make sure everyone is checked in, so we don’t have any accidents, any missteps like we did the last game, and they did, they refocused.”

The second half began as the first, with the Vineyarders making a beeline for the Navigators net. Unlike the first half, the Vineyarders kept their feet on the gas through the whole 30 minutes and chalked up four more goals.

Emily Mello put the hosts up 3-0, four minutes in. Following a corner, Skyla Harthcock pivoted at the top of the circle and hit a shot toward the goal. The ball took a deflection and Mello pounced on the rebound.

Five minutes later, again from a corner, Harthcock claimed her hat trick with the third of three rapid-fire shots while camping out in front of the Sturgis cage.

“That was a breakout game for Skyla,” Coach Nutton said. “I’ve been waiting for this to happen all season for her, because she is such a hustler and she has the stick skills, and she wants it so bad. This was her day. I’m so happy to see that.”

Rose Herman made it 5-0 with 8:30 remaining, starting the play by whisking a strong corner to Charlotte Packer at the top of the circle, then charging to the net to stuff in Packer’s return feed. 

Kylie Estrella closed out the win in style by ripping a 15-footer inside the right post.

After the game, Coach Nutton liked what she saw from an offense that had scored just four goals through the first five games.

“We opened the floodgates with scoring,” she said. “One of my pregame goals, I said we need to finish on attack, not just do all the work to get it up there, get one shot, and lose the return. They focused on that, and they converted. I was just saying to them that I saw so many of them having the best game that they’ve had this season, so things just came together, and I think they fed off each other. I think as soon as you see someone score, you just want to score too, and then it lights that fire inside.”

The Vineyarders (2-3-1 overall, 2-0 C&I) are back on the home field against Nauset on Friday. The varsity game starts at 3 pm, with the JV game at 4:30.