Six days after tying the archrival Nantucket Whalers, 1-1, in Oak Bluffs, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) boys soccer team traveled to Nantucket and left with a 2-1 Cape and Islands League Atlantic Division win.
Nico DePaula scored the match winner by converting a penalty with two minutes remaining. The referee awarded the spot kick after a Whaler defender stepped in front of the keeper and made contact with Vineyarder Diogo Goncalves on a ball played into the box. DePaula, with the match and a possible postseason bid on the line, sent the Nantucket goalkeeper the wrong way and coolly slotted the ball into the lower left corner.
The teams traded goals in the first half. Derek Partida put the Whalers in front, but Samuel Balbino equalized for MV, tapping in a rebound in the 22nd minute.
Tuesday afternoon in North Eastham, the Vineyarders suffered a 4-1 setback to the defending Division 2 state champion Nauset Warriors. The Vineyarders (5-7-3 overall, 5-2-3 C&I Atlantic) are the only C&I team to earn a point against the Warriors (13-0-2, 11-0-1), a 2-2 draw in Oak Bluffs on Sept. 26, but in the return, Nauset jumped out to a 4-0 lead before Diogo Goncalves broke the shutout, finishing off a skillful Vineyard rush down the left wing and across to the right, with a couple of nice touches and a sure strike into the side netting.
“We made a couple of mistakes, and they capitalized. They are big, fast, and good in the air, bigger than we are at every position,” Vineyard Coach John Walsh said.
The Vineyarders played well in stretches, and, overall, were better in the second half than in the first. “We were possessing the ball, making some one-two plays, some combinations and fluid soccer, which is really what I want,” Walsh said. “We were doing it, but weren’t doing it for long enough. We have to be more consistent. We have it in us, it’s just not there all the time.”
MV plays two big league matches in the coming week: Saturday night at Barnstable and Monday at home (3 pm) on Senior Day against Sandwich.