MV falls to Tantasqua, 1-0, in boys soccer tourney

Vineyard defense stellar; offense struggles to finish.


The 19th-seeded Vineyarder boys soccer team traveled to Fiskdale on Thursday to take on No. 14 Tantasqua Regional in the opening round of the MIAA Division 3 tournament, and suffered a frustrating 1-0 defeat.

The Vineyarders found the Warriors turf field much to their liking, and had the majority of possession, but similar to their 1-0 loss in the regular-season finale at Nantucket on Oct. 31, they couldn’t find their scoring touch.

“We just didn’t put the ball in the net,” Coach John Walsh said. “My defense was great. We’re allowing teams one goal or less. We solved our defensive issues the past few games.”

The Vineyarders got standout games in the back from seniors Ruairi Mullin, Rhey Rodrigues, and Nick Pecararo, along with junior Everton DaSilva and sophomore Nate Story, but the offense couldn’t break down the big, physical Warriors defense packed in front of the goal.

“They were big and organized in the back,” Walsh said. “We could get into their offensive third most of the time, but getting into the goal box was a big problem.”

The match was a study in contrasts between a Tantasqua offense rooted in a style once favored in the English game of playing a long ball over the middle to hard-charging attackers with that of a more fluid Vineyard short passing game.

“We weren’t able to pick off their distribution,” Walsh said. “Their goalie could kick the ball 65 yards, but Rhey Rodrigues, Ruairi Mullin, and Ryan Koster were able to limit their opportunities in the air.” Tantasqua repeatedly tried to thwart the agile Koster with physical play, but the Vineyard junior proved resilient, and the Purple were able to get under the Warriors’ skin to draw several fouls and earn free kicks.

With the teams still deadlocked at 0-0 late in the second half, Tantasqua finally broke through. Using a quick restart after the ball went out of play, the Warriors put a long throw into the box. A Tantasqua forward made a nice touch, and followed with an 18-yard strike into the net from the top of the box.  

A Vineyard equalizer would not come, and the season came to an end with the Purple at 7-8-2. Although 12 seniors will depart, the Vineyarders should have 10 players with extensive varsity experience returning, along with several promising sophomores and a few freshmen too.

“We’re losing a lot, but we’re gaining things in different places,” Coach Walsh said.