The dream season for the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School girls’ lacrosse team came to an end on Friday in a 12-8 loss to Hingham in the Division 2 South quarterfinals of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association tournament.
After defeating Oliver Ames on Wednesday, the Vineyard girls had advanced to the second round of the state tournament.
The game was played at home on Friday in front of a spirited, cheering home crowd. It was a soggy day, and scattered rainstorms at the start of the game made for a muddy field and slippery conditions.
But in the end it was not to be the best day for the Vineyard girls, who had entered the contest with a 19-0 record and number one seed in the tournament. The Hingham team was seeded eighth with a record of 16-5.
Things started off well enough, as the Vineyard girls marched to an early 2-0 lead on goals from Hayley Pierce and Laura Jernegan.
The Vineyard held a 5-2 lead until about midway through the half, but the strength of the Hingham Harbormen soon became evident, as they reeled off four unanswered goals to make it 6-5 at the half. The Vineyard came out aggressively in the second half to keep things close, but could never get the equalizer or take back the lead.
Coach Betsy Dripps said her team played well, hustling for loose balls and shutting down the opposing team’s passing lanes, but in the end they were outmatched.
“[We] kept them hopping in the first half,” the coach said. “[But] we haven’t seen that level of competition in our league or even our nonleague games. It’s just a whole other level of lacrosse.
“We really didn’t play badly. They just outplayed us.”
In the stands, Fella Cecilio — father of player Kate — clanged the familiar cowbell to encourage the Vineyard girls. Senior goalie Zoe Fisher also did her part between the pipes, making eight saves to keep the game close.
But Hingham added two goals late to put the game away.
“I knew they were good. They play in a great league,” said Laura Jernegan, Friday’s high scorer for the Vineyard team with four goals.
In addition Jernegan, Pierce had two goals, and Cecilio and Brianna Davies each had single goals in the loss.
Although there was disappointment both in the stands and on the field after the game, there was plenty of praise all around for the team’s great season.
“They have been undefeated all this time . . . they’ve had a wonderful season, and they played hard today. They had their chances today but they couldn’t pull through,” Mr. Cecilio said.
His daughter agreed.
“They were a really good team. And we played our hardest . . . We came together as a team. Even though we lost, it was a really good game,” Kate Cecilio said.
Coach Dripps said she was disappointed her team would not get a chance to continue the quest for a state championship. But she had nothing but good things to say about her team and all they have accomplished this year.
“They wanted to move on, but I’m not disappointed in what they accomplished here today. I feel for them because they wanted to win so bad . . . but the season always has to end, and I think it ended with a good game.”
She added: “I’m proud of them for their season of 19-1. It’s a pretty impressive record.”