Girls hockey stand their ground against elite opposition
This past week, the Vineyarders played Sandwich away (Wednesday, Dec. 14), and the Nauset-Cape Cod Furies (Saturday, Dec. 17) at home. Preseason, Sandwich was ranked Top 10 in the state, and Nauset was returning a dominant corps from last year, so the Vineyarders had their work cut out for them.
On Wednesday, MVRHS conceded the first goal to Sandwich in 30 seconds, on a tough break. But the Vineyarders weren’t fazed, and eventually tied it back up late in the second period on a goal from freshman Emily Coogan, assisted by senior Alana Nevin. According to Coach Geoghan Coogan, “[It] really seemed we had the momentum in the game at that point, and we clearly were controlling the game.” Unfortunately, Sandwich scored on a tough bounce not too much later, and iced the game in the third period. Despite the 4-1 loss, “Our effort was there the whole game, and we know we can compete with the top teams. We’ll see them again on home ice in January,” said Coach Coogan.
On Saturday, the Vineyarders were up against a star goaltender for the second game in a row, and had to play with a few players out due to illness. But on another awesome give-and-go between Emily Coogan and Alana Nevin, the Vineyarders took the initial lead, and held onto it for most of the game. On the other end of the ice, the Vineyard defense did a fantastic job “neutralizing Nauset’s dominant forwards” all game, but finally Nauset tied it up off a turnover late in the third period, sending the game into overtime. Even though the Vineyarders continued to control play, and raised their final tally of shots on net to 53, the game ultimately ended in a 1-1 tie.
Looking back on the season thus far, Coach Coogan commented, “The team continues to come together. This team wants to play for one another, and that shows on the ice, the way they move the puck and play as a unit.” The Vineyarders’ next game was scheduled at home versus Falmouth on Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 4:15 pm.
Girls basketball comes down to the wire versus Nauset
The Vineyarders traveled to Nauset for their second game of the season on Tuesday, Dec. 20. Looking to avenge their loss to Falmouth last week, the Vineyarders found their offensive rhythm again against the Warriors in a back-and-forth game that was close until the final buzzer.
When asked what was different this time around, Coach Melissa Braillard explained that the girls capitalized on their great ball movement, and were finishing with contact — things they focused on in practice this past week. Furthermore, their shots were falling, and they were successful when driving to the basket. Sophomore guard Delilah Oliver was the leading scorer for the Vineyarders, with 23. Meanwhile, senior forward Maria Andrade tacked on a near double-double (10 points, nine rebounds), and senior forward C.J. Walsh had six points and eight rebounds as well.
Down 14 in the third quarter, the Vineyarders locked in for the final stretch, and were able to bring it within six late in the fourth quarter. They had been pretty disciplined on defense most of the game, so Coach Braillard had her players use their remaining fouls to control possession as much as possible in the final minutes. Unfortunately, the Vineyarders ultimately fell short, 53-43, but are happy with the way they performed. According to Coach Braillard, the Vineyarders exhibited a “great team effort” for a second consecutive game, and just kept pounding. Their next game will be their home opener on Tuesday, Dec. 27, against Sandwich.
Boys’ hockey plays off-Island twice
On Wednesday, Dec. 14, the Vineyarders traveled to Barnstable for their first official away game of the year. The Vineyarders excelled on the power play, scoring on three of four opportunities. The sophomores did exceptionally well, with Hunter Johnson (one goal, two assists), Frankie Paciello (one goal), and Nate Averill (one goal) scoring for the Vineyarders. On the defensive side, though, the Vineyarders struggled, conceding a total of eight goals to the Red Hawks. According to Coach Matt Mincone, containing the Red Hawks’ speed was their main issue.
On Saturday, the Vineyarders left the Island again to play the Dennis-Yarmouth Dolphins. In what was almost an incredible comeback, the Vineyarders rallied for three goals in the third period, after initially going down 4-0. The sophomore corps of Johnson (one goal, one assist) Paciello (two goals), and Averill (two assists) starred for the second consecutive game. Coach Mincone stated, “Some soul-searching this week as we ramp up practice for a tough Plymouth North game on Friday afternoon (weather permitting) … The team needs to define their identity, and compete the full 45 minutes.”
Boys’ basketball has stifling defense
On Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 19 and 20, the Vineyarders had back-to-back home games against Sturgis West, and then Nauset. Neither game was much of a challenge for the Vineyarders, in part due to MVRHS’ impressive defense, which effectively ended each game by halftime.
Against Sturgis West, senior center Matheus Rodrigues (14 points) and junior point guard Nate Story (nine points) led the way for the Vineyarders, who led 41-5 at halftime. In the second half, Coach Mike Joyce rested his starters and had his players park the bus, finishing the game with a solid 52-15 victory over the Navigators.
Against Nauset, the Vineyarders attacked their opponents on both sides of the court. During the second quarter especially, Nauset looked lost against Coach Joyce’s full-court press and his players’ effort on defense. It seemed like every Warrior possession ended with a steal, block, or another forced turnover for MVRHS. Heading into halftime, the Vineyarders had built a comfortable 46-19 lead, and for the second game in a row, Coach Joyce was able rest his starters for much of the second half. Rodrigues (16 points, eight rebounds, four steals) and Story (13 points, four steals) starred once again, and senior guard Cam Napior also had four steals of his own. The Vineyarders ended up winning 68-43, improving their season record to 3-0. Their next game will be against Sandwich away on Tuesday, Dec. 27.