The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys lacrosse team had nearly a month to live with the bitter aftertaste of a lackluster 8-5 loss in Nantucket on May 15. Friday afternoon at Dan McCarthy Field in Oak Bluffs, spurred on by a big and boisterous home crowd, the Vineyarders played with a burning intensity from start to finish and downed the arch-rival Whalers, 11-6.
Coming on the heels of a tough loss to Falmouth on Thursday, the emotional win over Nantucket for the senior-laden Vineyarders was all the sweeter.
Eli Gundersen, Hunter Meader, and Oliver Lively scored two goals apiece and Braden Sayles had an assist in the first half, staking the Purple to a 6-4 halftime lead.
The relentless Vineyarders continued to crank out the effort in the last two periods. Zander Amaral ripped a 20-footer into the net with 4:18 gone in the third quarter. Four minutes later, Oliver Lively and Eli Gundersen worked a hidden ball fake play to perfection, resulting in Eli’s third goal of the game. Zander Amaral scored the next two goals to claim a hat trick of his own and Aiden Marek notched MV’s final goal with 4:48 left to play, putting in a rebound after Aiden Conley rushed toward goal, did a slick 360 degree spin and took a big hit from a Whaler defender.
After the final second ticked off the clock, the Vineyarders rushed toward goalie Graham Stearns, who made 16 saves to earn the win in net.
“What do you say? An 11 to 6 game,” Vineyard Coach Chris Greene said. “We had a rough game yesterday with Falmouth and today was really just kind of a gut check about what we were going to do for the last three games of the season as we go into the playoffs and guys left it on the line. I think they understood, for the seniors, this was their last Nantucket game. We had some players who have been struggling this year really step up and guys bought in today. What do you say? They bought in. I’m proud of them. I’m proud of the effort they gave and I hope that’s what we’re going to do for the remainder of the season as we head into the playoffs.”