The MVRHS girls lacrosse team got its first win of the season on Friday at Dan McCarthy Field in Oak Bluffs, holding off a late Nauset rally to edge the Warriors, 8-7.
The exciting win was a big boost for the young Vineyarders who field eight sophomores, seven freshmen, and three juniors.
“We’re very proud, we played really well as a team,” Vineyard Coach Jo Douglas said. “We took what we’ve been practicing, and it showed. We really got all the ground balls and pushed it, and played the lacrosse game that we’ve been working on.”
Maggie Best, Ali Dyke, Caroline Kelleher, and Nellie Long scored in the first half to give the Purple a 4-2 lead at the break.
The teams traded goals for much of the second half, with the Vineyarders maintaining their two-goal advantage. Nellie Long scored MV’s first of the second half, running from midfield and storming her way to the net through the entire Nauset defense. Ali Dyke scored next for the hosts, popping the ball into the cage after taking Caroline Kelleher’s feed from behind the net.
With 3:25 left in regulation, Nellie Long circled the Nauset goal and bounced a shot past the goalie to claim a hat trick.
Down the stretch, Julia Sayre made a nice block on a Nauset shot, and Vineyard goalie Lila Mikos snagged a Nauset pass from behind the net. Maggie Best ran down the left flank and fired the ball home for an 8-5 lead with 52 seconds left. The three-goal lead was crucial. Nauset scored two quick goals in the final minute, and won a face-off with 14 ticks left on the clock, but couldn’t mount another attack.
Monday afternoon, the girls were back at Dan McCarthy Field for a rematch against a tough St. John Paul II team. The Lions came out roaring in the first half, and took an 11-2 lead to the halftime break. Ali Dyke and Caroline Kelleher scored the Vineyard goals.
The second half was a different matter. The Vineyarders scored two quick goals and played tenacious defense throughout. The Purple still came up short by a 17-6 count, but they played the Lions almost straight up for 25 minutes.
Isabelle Murphy scored in the second half, Ali Dyke added another goal, and Alana Nevin tallied twice, including a buzzer-beating heater from 20 yards out to close the game. Caroline Kelleher picked up two assists. Lila Mikos tended goal in the first half, and made nine saves. Nellie Long took over the duties in the second half, and stopped six shots.
After the game, Coach Douglas said that she saw a noticeable improvement in her team from the first meeting.
“We definitely improved since that first game we played them. I think the team felt that, even the other coaches said that, so that means a lot,” she said. “We made some changes for the second half, and I think that really helped us on defense, because we had much more communication and we were able to work as a team, so that benefited us in the second half for sure. On attack, we didn’t force it as much, so we learned about working as a team, working it around, looking for good feeds, and we got some great opportunities.”
MV capped off the busy stretch of games with a visit to Falmouth on Tuesday afternoon. The Clippers won, 8-3, against a Vineyard squad missing a host of players due to testing. Isabelle Murphy, Ali Dyke, and Caroline Kelleher scored a goal apiece, with Murphy adding two assists.