MVRHS sports wrap-up


Boys’ hockey wins Heuchling & Swift Classic

This past week, the Vineyarders traveled to the University of New Hampshire to compete in the Heuchling & Swift Memorial Hockey Classic, hosted by Oyster River High School. The Vineyarders won the tournament in 2019, but hadn’t been back since, due to pandemic-related complications, so Coach Matt Mincone and his players treated their campaign as one of a title defense. 

For their first game, the Vineyarders faced off against Keene, ranked ninth in the state of New Hampshire. They had some big players, and were coming off a dominant victory over Portsmouth, but Coach Mincone had traveled to UNH a day early to scout out MVRHS’ first opponent of the tournament. He picked up on the fact that certain players of theirs were noticeably undisciplined, and that the Vineyarders could exploit that. Lo and behold, the Vineyarders induced a major penalty by the Keene assistant captain right off the bat, and capitalized on the power play, scoring two quick goals to start the game. On the defensive end, the Vineyarders allowed only 13 shots, and settled in for a 6-3 victory to start their tournament, their first victory of the season. Five different Vineyarders scored in the team win: sophomore Hunter Johnson (one goal, two assists), sophomore Nate Averill (one goal, two assists), junior Aiden Conley (first career goal), junior Liam Conley, and sophomore Frankie Paciello (two goals).

On day two, the Vineyarders played Portsmouth, and cruised to a 9-1 victory to earn themselves a spot in the championship game versus the hosts, Oyster River. Averill scored a natural hat trick in the victory over Portsmouth, and the Vineyarders continued playing disciplined hockey as a whole, something Coach Mincone really wanted his team to focus on after starting the season 0-3. The win over Portsmouth also featured the first career goals for sophomores Teddy Pacheco and Sol Donnelly.

Finally, on day three, MVRHS competed for the tournament crown. According to Coach Mincone, Oyster River was a solid team, and ranked in New Hampshire. The Vineyarders quickly conceded the first goal, but weren’t fazed, and tapped into the disciplined, confident mindset that had gotten them to the championship game. Junior assistant captain Chase Grant tied it up a minute later (assisted by Johnson and Averill), and the Vineyarders never looked back. In the second period, Paciello and Averill tacked on two goals in the span of four minutes, and Aiden Conley made it 4-1 in the third. Coach Mincone named senior captain Nick BenDavid, without a goal or assist all game, his “player of the game.” Going into the tournament, Mincone decided to play BenDavid at his natural position of defenseman, and BenDavid delivered, dominating the puck and leading the Vineyarders in transition all week long.

Reflecting on the tournament as a whole, Coach Mincone said, “It couldn’t have been a better result. In three days they figured it out … the team’s believing in something.” Not only did the Vineyarders turn their season around and defend their title, he explained, the tournament served as an opportunity for his young team to bond and “share personalities,” to which he wholeheartedly credits their tournament success. Furthermore, going into the competition, the Vineyarders benefitted from a spirited and uplifting game versus the alumni team, and some “old school” practices that got their conditioning up to speed.

Moving forward, the Vineyarders host St. John Paul II on Wednesday, Jan. 4, at 4:15 pm, and then travel to Nantucket to play the Whalers on Saturday at 2 pm. Considering the Vineyarders’ losses to league rivals Dennis-Yarmouth and Barnstable, Coach Mincone expressed the importance of these next two games.


Girls’ hockey with the bookends

On New Year’s Eve, the Vineyarders traveled to Dorchester to play Boston Latin Academy. Despite improving a lot from last season, the Dragons proved no match for the Vineyarders, as they would dominate play and end up winning 2-0. 

Interestingly enough, each goal came on the first and last shifts of the game, both scored by freshman Emily Coogan. Emily’s twin sister Jane, freshman Elle Mone, and senior captain Alana Nevin (two) had the assists. According to Coach Geoghan Coogan, Latin’s goalie played fantastically, stopping at least 40 shots. Otherwise, the Vineyarders probably would have scored much more. On the other end, MVRHS goalie senior Penelope Long continued her hot streak, and achieved her first career clean sheet. The Vineyarders’ record is now 2-1, with two ties.

This upcoming week, the Vineyarders have two important league games. On Wednesday, Jan. 4, the Vineyarders will play Dennis-Yarmouth away. Then, on Saturday, they will host Barnstable at 4 pm.


Boys’ basketball continues to dominate the Cape and Islands

This past week, the Vineyarders had two road games against Sandwich and Dover-Sherborn, as well as a home game versus Barnstable. To start, the Vineyarders played the Blue Knights on Tuesday, Dec. 27, walking away with an 84-44 victory that improved their record to 4-0. During the second quarter, MVRHS outscored Sandwich 33-13, allowing Coach Mike Joyce to play the bench the entire fourth quarter. Senior center Matheus Rodrigues starred for the Vineyarders with a monster double-double (26 points, ten rebounds), and junior point guard Nate Story had 19 points of his own.

Next up, the Vineyarders road-tripped to Dover on Dec. 30 to play the undefeated Raiders. Coach Joyce said, “[The] matchup of two undefeated teams lived up to the billing.” The Vineyarders went into halftime up 13 with the help of some hot three-point shooting, but Dover-Sherborn upped their intensity in the second half to “stifle” the Vineyard offense. The game came down to the wire, and MVRHS ultimately lost 54-48, their first loss of the season. The Vineyarders ended up conceding a season-high 21 turnovers, the majority of them coming in the second half. On the other hand, Rodrigues had his second consecutive double-double (13 points, 12 rebounds), while Story (11 points) and fellow junior Sam Zack (nine points) also performed well offensively.

Finally, MVRHS hosted the Red Hawks on Tuesday, Jan 4. The Vineyarders outsized the Red Hawks’ small, speedy players, but were up against their pesky, persistent, full-court press, which featured lots of double-teaming and trapping. In the first quarter, the Vineyarders controlled the ball the majority of the time, but were only able to create a one-point lead for themselves, 11-10. But in the second quarter they settled in, began to really dominate the boards, and extended their lead to 29-18 by halftime. With the help of some triumphant and-ones from Rodrigues and Story in the third quarter, the Vineyarders slammed the door shut on Barnstable to improve to 5-1. Rodrigues ended with another huge double-double (27 points, 13 rebounds, two steals), and junior forward Josh Lake finished with an impressive 17 rebounds.

The Vineyarders’ next game will be away versus Nauset on Thursday at 5:30 pm. After two additional road games, they will return home to play Nantucket on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 1:30.


Girls basketball earns applause

On Thursday, Dec. 29, the Vineyarders hosted Bourne for their fourth game of the season. In the final home game of 2022, family members, friends, and members of the boys basketball team came out to root for MVRHS on an otherwise subdued weekday afternoon.

In the first quarter, the Vineyarders started in man defense, and were up against Bourne’s full-court press and lots of double-teaming. Initially, the Vineyarders struggled to get the ball into the offensive half, but when they did, were scoring pretty efficiently due to some strong shooting from sophomore guards Delilah Oliver and Piper Blau. In the second quarter, Delilah and Piper cooled off a bit, but senior captain Maria Andrade stepped up, scoring eight points down low.

Using some quick passing and lots of communication to beat Bourne’s press, with Maria being the centerpiece on both ends of the floor, the Vineyarders forced Bourne to switch defensive schemes, and went into halftime down 28-22.

In the second half, both teams took turns scoring, with the lead never going beyond six or seven points. It seemed like whenever Bourne’s shooters would make a shot, Blau would match it with a shot of her own; whenever Andrade would get a bucket in the paint, Bourne would hit a layup on the other end. Entering the fourth quarter, the energy in the Pachico Gym was palpable, and it was evident that the players were responding to it. With six minutes to go, a scoring frenzy ensued, and the score ballooned from 39-33 to 46-44 in a matter of minutes. With the crowd behind her, Oliver had just scored three clutch free throws, and a dramatic comeback was in the making. But right when the Vineyarders had a chance to tie it, one of Bourne’s experienced shooters hit a three-pointer with about a minute and a half to go. Despite a breakaway layup under pressure from Andrade, the Vineyarders couldn’t close the gap, and fell 50-46.

As the clock ran out, and the Vineyarders exited the floor, an applause rang out from the crowd. Even though the Vineyarders had suffered the loss, they fought until the end, and were very entertaining to watch. Coach Melissa Braillard said, “I [am] really proud of how the whole team played and supported each other. They didn’t allow setbacks to overwhelm them, and kept their composure to stay in the game the whole 32 minutes.” 

On Tuesday, Jan. 3, the Vineyarders followed up this thriller with another nail-biter in Barnstable, falling 27-23 to the Red Hawks. Coach Braillard explained that her players did a good job of neutralizing Barnstable’s top scorer, but they themselves weren’t able to get settled on offense. Andrade starred again for the Vineyarders, putting up an exact double-double, and Oliver added seven points and five rebounds of her own. The Vineyarders’ next game will be against Sturgis West at home on Friday at 4:30 pm.