Plymouth South holds off Vineyard field hockey, 3-2

Panthers strike early in both halves; late Vineyard charge falls short.

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The Vineyarders lost a close one to Plymouth South in a nonleague field hockey game, Monday in Oak Bluffs. MV outshot the Panthers 10-6, had more shots on goal by an 8-3 count, and earned more corners, 6-5, but the visitors had the edge where it counts most: on the scoreboard, and left with a 3-2 win. 

The Panthers dominated early in each half, scoring once in the first and twice in the second. The Vineyarders responded well in each case, controlling the remainder of each period, but for Coach Becky Nutton, the game will be remembered for what might have been had her team gotten off to a good start.

“I feel like it takes us time to get to that mental state where we feel the pressure and we start to all really play with that same tenacity,” Nutton said. Plymouth South “is a physical team, and this was a physical game. They were pushing us throughout, but we needed to be there from the beginning, and not in the last 10 minutes of each half.”

Several Vineyarders had outstanding games. Charlotte Packer and Molly Menton were as relentless on the flanks as Skyla Harthcock was up the middle. Ava BenDavid, Emily Mello, Meghan Zeilinger, and Emily Anderson also had the Panthers on the run.

“We’re kind of through the halfway point in our season, so we’re at that point where we are starting to understand who plays best where, and how to react to teams now,” Coach Nutton said. “I can say we had a lot of players play well, but until we all got it synchronized, we didn’t convert. We should have.”

At the start of the game, the Panthers took up residence in the Vineyard end, and Emma Chicchetti scored the well-earned first goal of the game at 9:44, capping off a solid spell of pressure in front of the home goal.

The Vineyarders had the Panthers on the back foot for the next 20 minutes, forcing four corners, and looked likely to tie the score before halftime, but a goal would not come.

Early in the second half, South got a pivotal break in the form of a penalty stroke, assessed to Vineyard goalie Amelia Simmons for trapping the ball between her pads a bit too long for the officials’ liking. Kaitlyn Fabrizio stepped up and swatted the ball inside the left post for a 2-0 lead. Two minutes later, Panther Anastacia Goslin scored on a rebound through a scrum in the crease, and the game threatened to get out of hand.

The hosts would have none of it, though, and once again became the aggressors. The Vineyarders got their own break, with Plymouth South whistled for a 10-minute infraction, and wasted little time making the extra player count. After just 16 seconds, Emily Mello fired a 10-footer inside the right post and put the Vineyarders on the board.

The Purple kept up the pressure, and with 3:30 remaining, following a corner, Skyla Harthcock drilled a reverse stick shot from the top of the circle into the Panther cage with a resounding thud, and cut the lead to 3-2.

The Vineyarders still had time to grab an equalizer, but the Panthers stiffened their resolve and closed out the game with three straight corners.

The next home game for MV is scheduled for Sunday at 12:30 pm against the Nantucket Whalers.