It was an up-and-down week for the Vineyard’s high school sports teams.
The boys’ hockey team won a pair of games to inch closer to a berth in the state tournament, while the girls’ basketball team lost both a blowout against an unknown opponent and a tight game against a familiar rival. Meanwhile, the girls’ hockey team shook off a slow start and began to show potential, while the boys’ basketball team won a game by 30 points and lost another by a single bucket.
In perhaps their best game of the season, the boys’ hockey team defeated old rival Hanover on Saturday by a final of 6-4 in a game that featured six different Vineyard players scoring goals. It was the first time the Vineyard has defeated Hanover in several seasons.
Coach Matt Mincone said he was pleased with the win, although there were signs the team still needs to improve.
“It’s hard to complain after beating a good team like Hanover, but we are still not playing the way we are capable of,” he said. “We’ve had to sweat out some games after taking [a big lead] and we’ve had to rally in others to come from behind. I guess I’m still waiting for them to play their first complete game of the season.”
The Vineyarders took an early 5-2 lead on Saturday and outshot Hanover 16-2 in the second period. But their defense allowed two goals to let Hanover back into the game, and they managed to put the game away only late in the third period on an open net goal by Joel Rebello.
Tad Gold, Scott Cleary, Darren Gazaille, Henry Smith and Mitch Pachico also had goals.
Coach Mincone had mixed feelings about the win.
“We had six players with goals, and it’s good that we played good defense in the third period to wrap up the win,” he said. “But I wonder if this is going to send the wrong message in the long run — that we can get a big lead against a good team and then play soft and still win the game.”
On Wednesday, the Vineyarders easily disposed of Bridgewater-Raynham despite falling behind 1-0 early. Jason Schwab scored the game-winner late in the second period on a power play with assists by Scott Cleary and Colin Hurd, as the Vineyarders scored three unanswered goals to seal the win by final score of 3-1.
With the wins, the Vineyarders’ record now stands at 5-1-2.
Going into Saturday’s game at home against Notre Dame of Hingham, the girls’ basketball team knew it had its hands full. In addition to missing starter Erin Morris to injury — as well as Alexia Schroeder, who has been out all season — the team had only to look across the court to see what they were up against.
All but one of the Notre Dame players were at least 5 feet, 6 inches in height, with two players topping out over 5 feet, 10 inches. And as if this height advantage were not enough, their opponents also boasted a pair of lightning-quick guards giving them an added weapon of speed in the back court.
The result was a lopsided loss in a game that was essentially over by the end of the first quarter. The Cougars reeled off 10 straight points to open the game before Vineyard guard Kia Minor hit a foul shot, and then ran off another 12 unanswered points, ending the first quarter with a 27-7 advantage.
Notre Dame led 36-7 at the half, and won going away by a final of 54-21. Maddy Penicaud led the Vineyard with 8 points.
On Wednesday, the girls traveled to Bourne and kept the game close for three quarters before eventually falling 40-33. The Canalmen’s Courtney Donovan had a triple-double with 19 points, 13 boards and 12 blocks in the win. Minor led the Vineyarders with 10 points and Molly Fischer had eight points.
With the loss, the Vineyarders stand at 2-4 on the season.
With a record of 0-7-2, the girls’ hockey team is not exactly having a banner season. But a closer look, noted coach Sam Sherman, reveals that the team is making progress that isn’t necessarily reflected in the win column.
“It’s been slow going, but we’re improving,” said Sherman, who started the team nine years ago and has been coach ever since. “This is a team with a lot of heart.”
The coach pointed to Saturday’s 1-1 tie against Duxbury, the same team the Vineyarders lost by a final of 5-1 just last week, and Wednesday’s 2-1 loss against perennial power Canton, a team that went undefeated during the regular season last year.
Coach Sherman said his team has benefited from stellar goal tending from both senior Laura Jernagan and sophomore Jamie Forend.
On Saturday, Jernagen shut down the Duxbury attack and helped the Vineyard survive two power plays in the first period. After the Vineyarders fell behind on a goal by the Dragons’ Erin Levesque in the second, Alexa Fisher tied the game for the Vineyard in the third period on assists by Sophie Wiley and Cristina Wiley.
“It was maybe our best game of the season,” coach Sherman said. “Our defense played extraordinary.”
On Sunday, it was Forend’s turn between the pipes, and she didn’t disappoint, keeping the score tied late into the second period and limiting prolific scorer Brittany Lyons to a single goal. Freshman Gillian O’Callaghan scored late in the second period to tie the game, but Canton’s Jackie Rooney broke the tie with less then six minutes left in the game.
Coach Sherman said his team is improving at the right time of the season.
“I tell the players that this season is not over . . . we are playing much better and it is possible for us to string together a few wins here. We can still surprise some people,” he said.
After a string of hard-fought games early in the season that went right down to the wire — including last week’s triple-overtime loss to Wayland — it was a welcome change of pace for the Vineyard boys’ basketball team to win against Tahanto Regional by a comfortable margin of 68-38.
Coach Mike Joyce used his entire bench and 10 players scored in the win, as the Vineyarders built a 20-point halftime lead and never looked back. Nico Cuba had 11 points; while Jwann Johnson, Brant Silvia and Jess Swarington each had 10 points.
The Vineyarders faced a familiar foe in Bourne at home on Wednesday, and as usual the game went down to the final buzzer. Unlike Tahanto, Bourne proved to be no pushover, as Eric Robbins drained a three-pointer with less than a minute in the game to give the Canalmen a 57-55 win in front of a stunned Vineyard crowd.
The Vineyarders rallied from a four-point deficit in the first period and an eight-point deficit in the third to take what seemed like an insurmountable lead of six points with less then five minutes to play.
But led by Robbins, who finished with a game-high 29 points, the Canalmen chipped away at the lead and took a 56-53 advantage when he hit a three-pointer with 53 seconds left in the game. Nick Viera hit a wild shot in the final minute to pull the Vineyarders to within a point, but missed a lay-up with two seconds left that would have tied the game.
Coach Joyce said his team played well in stretches but failed to put the game away.
“We didn’t play with a lot of intensity at times, especially in the second half. It seemed like [Bourne] just wanted it more then we did. Offensively we made a lot of mistakes; we didn’t set good screens, we didn’t get into a good flow, and we made some bad shots,” the coach said, adding: “We can play a lot better and a lot smarter than that.”
Bubba Brown, who fouled out of the game in the fourth quarter, led the Vineyarders with 15 points. Viera had 14, Jwann Johnson had 14 and Pat Hart had nine.
The Vineyarders record now stands at 5-3.