Vineyarders excited for ‘Battle in the Atlantic’

The MVRHS football team after winning the Island Cup in 2022. —Dena Porter

A new tradition is in the making between Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard athletes: “The Battle in the Atlantic.”

Along with the football team, on Saturday, Oct. 28, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School field hockey, boys soccer, and girls soccer teams will travel to Nantucket to take on their rivals. 

In addition to the annual Island Cup going to the winner in the football game, three new “Golden Anchors” will go to the winner of each of the boys and girls soccer and field hockey games.

“We’re hoping to give the other teams playing that day, to put them in the spotlight as well,” Vineyard athletic director Mark McCarthy told The Times. “It’s not just about football. We’re trying to give the sports that same equal billing.” 

McCarthy explained that when the Cape and Islands league was re-formed three years ago, and with a new state playoff system, the Island Cup game is now always played on the last Saturday of October.  With the date change, the two school athletic departments were given an opportunity to coordinate schedules to add the three additional games on the same day. 

Travis Lombardi, the athletic director on Nantucket, and McCarthy worked together to create the three new Golden Anchors, as Vito Capizzo and John Bachellor did when they started the Island Cup Trophy decades ago.

The winner of each game will be awarded and keep the trophies for the whole year. On the Vineyard, McCarthy says they’ve built a trophy case that could hold all four awards. “If we happen to bring all four home, we’ll display them all next to each other,” he said. 

For the athletic director, it’s about giving the athletes some extra fun and excitement, and he’s hopeful that same excitement will extend to the rest of the Vineyard community. “It took years for the Island Cup to develop into what it has,” he said. “Hopefully, the anchors will be as coveted.”

Students are said to be excited about the big day. They were told on Monday about the new trophies. Matthew Malowski, coach of the girls varsity soccer team, said his team is psyched for Saturday.

I think it’s always exciting and dramatic to have another reason to battle with your rival,” he said. “Of course, the girls will be playing for each other and the pride of winning against Nantucket, but it’ll be extra special bringing home the first anchor.”

For any  Islanders looking to get to Nantucket on Saturday, there is a special ferry leaving from Vineyard Haven at 7 am, sponsored by the Touchdown Club booster program.