Boys’ soccer advances to round of 16
On the weekend before Halloween, the Vineyarders capped off their two-loss regular season campaign with dominant shutouts over Cardinal Spellman (7-0) and Nantucket (3-0). Going into the playoffs ranked 10th in the state, MVRHS dodged a preliminary game, and advanced straight to the round of 32, hosting No. 23, Greater Lowell Tech, on Sunday, Nov. 6.
At face value, this game might have looked like somewhat of a challenge for Coach John Walsh’s squad. The Vineyarders were outmuscled at every position, and had to deal with some strong winds that afternoon. Furthermore, Greater Lowell had won their league during the regular season, and had experience against other elite teams in their region. The Vineyarders, however, are no joke either.
Starting with the wind at their backs, the Vineyarders capitalized on their superior speed with an onslaught of chances in the first half. Forcing Lowell to play deep and on their heels, Coach Walsh’s midfielders feasted on the open space ceded to them, especially senior captain Ryan Koster. Playing defense earlier on this season, Walsh slotted his jack-of-all-trades into the right midfield position for his first game back from injury in seven weeks, where he was free to “truly express himself” as an offensive playmaker. Koster drew two penalties in the first half, and converted the one he took. MV scored again in familiar fashion, on a breakaway, on a shot by senior Arthur DaSilva off a through ball from senior Teagan Myers.
In the second half, going into the wind, the Vineyarders switched to a more small-ball approach. Considering their speed, skill, small size, and experience in the wind, the Vineyarders were totally comfortable with this adjustment, and continued to contain Lowell’s trickiest forwards while adding to their lead. Arthur achieved a brace, dropping a defender and then the goalie en route to his second goal, this time off a steal and assist from junior Josh Pereira. His twin brother Kaio also scored — his 28th goal of the season. Coach John Walsh laughed, saying it was a “classic Kaio goal,” in which he started at midfield, dribbled past several defenders with only a couple one-twos from Arthur, and scored. The Vineyarders won 4-0, with the clean sheet by senior goalkeeper Matheus Rodrigues.
The Vineyarders’ round of 16 game was scheduled against No. 7, Dover-Sherborn, as The Times went to press on Wednesday, at 4 pm. Tickets can be purchased online at gofan.co.
Cross-country runners to prove themselves this weekend
This weekend, the Vineyarders will have the opportunity to qualify for the state finals at the Division II championships in Westfield. With a top individual placement, runners can qualify individually, which is a threshold that MV’s top runners have a legitimate chance of reaching. Seniors Daniel da Silva, Daniel Serpa, and Wren Christy, as well as junior Alexa Schroeder, have medaled at multiple meets this season, and have plenty of experience racing in high-stakes situations. These four successfully qualified for the state finals last year, and will be leaving it all out on the course at Stanley Park this Saturday, along with seniors Linus Munn and Eloise Christy, and the rest of the Vineyard squad.
Last Saturday, the Vineyarders had their final meet of the regular season in the Frank Mooney Invitational at the Wrentham Development Center. Da Silva (sixth) and Serpa (ninth) medaled in the men’s upperclassmen race for Division II runners, as did Schroeder (10th) and Wren Christy (15th) in the women’s division. Junior Caleb Guerrero also had a great race, achieving a personal record with a time of 22:10. Munn, sophomore Broden Vincent, freshman Jack Gallagher, and freshman Danielle Meyer competed for MVRHS as well.
Girls soccer goes all out
Family members, students, alumni, faculty, and other members of the community lined the whole length of McCarthy Stadium Field on Friday night to see the Vineyarders play their first playoff game in 20 years. Incredibly amazing and inspiring for his players to witness, “it was undoubtedly the most fans we’ve ever seen at a girls soccer match,” Coach Matthew Malowski said. For some of the Vineyarders, it was nearly intimidating. But could they rise to the occasion? The Dighton-Rehoboth Falcons were no easy customers.
MV ended up turning the energy and anticipation into an early first-half lead on a penalty kick by junior Elena Giordano. Freshman Reese Malowski was the catalyst for the goal, drawing a handball in the box. After the goal, however, the game went into a stalemate. First, junior Paige Malowski blew out her ACL going after a ball along the concavity of the sideline.
Then the Falcons tied it up early in the second half. The Vineyarders had speed, but the Falcons had physicality. So Coach Malowski decided to change directions. Instead of making long passes along the ground, he had his players go over the top, and exploit the fast pace of his wingers. Finally, with 14 minutes left in the game, the Vineyards achieved glory. The ball landed at freshman midfielder Eleanor Mone’s feet in the offensive half, and she lofted it up for Giordano. Giordano turned on the jets, ran with the ball past two defenders, and scored on a really tight angle across the goal. The crowd erupted, and the Vineyarders sprinted upfield to celebrate. Thirteen minutes later, the Vineyarders punched their ticket to the round of 32, setting up a match against No. 4, Hanover, away on Sunday.
The match in Hanover proved to be a big challenge as well. According to Coach Malowski, the Hawks were the highest-ranked Division III team almost all season. Once again, the Vineyarders started out strong, with freshman Reese Malowski hitting a “rocket” barely over the crossbar early on in the game. But as the game progressed, a few Vineyard starters went down with injuries, and the Hawks capitalized on the Vineyarders’ mistakes. Eventually Hanover scored on a couple of “unsavable” long shots from outside the box, the second being the ultimate decider. Late in the game, the Vineyarders retaliated with a combination of passes culminating in a goal by sophomore Talia Maccaferri, but couldn’t get another before regulation ended. Coach Malowski said, “Our girls played with absolute heart, and [Assistant Coach Cana Courtney] and I could not have asked any more of those girls. They played with so much pride and passion it was hard not getting emotional.”
For captains Josie Welch and C.J. Walsh, it would prove to be the final game of their high school careers, along with the seven other seniors on the team. Coach Malowski is extremely optimistic about the future of the team, however, considering eight of his 11 starters are returning, four of whom are currently freshmen. Furthermore, the junior varsity team coached by Patti Roads had a very successful season of its own, only losing twice all season.