Vineyard sports fans had their fill of home team action on Saturday, with all four varsity winter sports teams playing and a fifth game played by the junior varsity girls’ basketball team for good measure. But there was little joy on a blustery winter day; three of the varsity teams lost and one played to a tie.
The bright spot was the girls’ JV squad, which defeated Duxbury 40-24.
The team lost to another Eastern Athletic Conference opponent on Saturday before rebounding with an easy win against Bourne at home on Tuesday. Less than two weeks ago the Vineyard’s record was 11-1 and 4-0 in the conference.
The boys lost 72-65 to Bishop Stang at home on Saturday; it was especially frustrating since they defeated Stang last month by a similar score of 72-67.
With the pair of recent losses the Vineyard boys have fallen to 4-2 in the conference, and 12-3 overall.
Coach Mike Joyce was hard pressed to explain why his team struggled.
“Whenever you are riding high, you can almost expect some sort of lull during the season. But it’s frustrating, we lose two games that we could easily have won . . . these are games we were winning earlier in the season,” he said.
The Blue Raiders jumped out to an early 10-2 lead in the first quarter, and retained a large lead for most of the contest. The Vineyard team finally came alive in the fourth quarter led by Randall Jette, who scored 17 of his team-leading 20 points in the final frame, to bring his team back to within a single point with three minutes left.
But it was a case of too little, too late for the Vineyard boys, who ran out of gas before they could pull ahead. The Blue Raiders sank their free throws late to seal the win. Steven Handy had 18 points and Lamar Moreis scored 12 in the loss.
But the team returned to its winning ways on Monday, rolling over non-conference opponent Bourne at home 67-29. The team jumped out to an early 9-0 lead in the first two minutes, and held a 20-point lead by the second quarter. All 11 players on the roster scored at least once in the win.
The team plays on the road tonight against Coyle-Cassidy and tomorrow against Greater New Bedford Regional; there is a home game on Tuesday at 4:15 p.m. against Bishop Stang.
With the door to the postseason closing, the boys’ hockey team skated to a 3-3 tie against Somerset at home on Saturday in a game that featured high emotions, trash talking, physical play and some questionable calls.
The tie dropped the Vineyarders to 5-9-1 on the season and 2-3-1 in the Eastern Athletic Conference. They now need to win the rest of their games to qualify for the state tournament.
Coach Matt Mincone hasn’t given up hopes for the playoffs, but he was understandably sore after Saturday’s tie; his team gave up a two-goal lead and a 3-2 lead in the final minute. And there was apparently some spotty officiating that didn’t help matters.
“I’ve never been one to complain about the referees, if they make a bad call, you live with it — that’s part of the game. But I am having a hard time biting my tongue after [Saturday’s game] because the calls on the ice clearly affected the outcome of the game,” the coach said.
He said Somerset was awarded nine power plays, while the Vineyard had none. “That sort of says it all right there. You never see that sort of disparity,” the coach said.
With the very capable Alex Dorr between the pipes after the starting goalie failed to show up, the home team was sharp early, pushing across two goals in the second quarter in quick succession — one by Colby Gouldrup and another by Max Davies — to take a 2-0 lead.
Last week Coach Mincone complained that his team lacked fire and emotion. They took the ice on Saturday with plenty of both, matched by the rough-and-tumble Somerset players.
It was a game of penalties, and Somerset took the advantage, scoring two goals to tie the game 2-2 at the start of the third period. Henry Smith scored a short-handed goal in the final minutes to give the Vineyarders a 3-2 advantage, but the lead was short-lived.
With less than a minute left, the referees called another penalty on the home team to give Somerset a 5-on-3 advantage, allowing them to again score to end the game with a 3-3 tie. “It was a tough pill to swallow. After we scored that short-handed goal [to take the lead], I had a funny feeling another penalty was coming . . . and it did,” the coach said.
The Vineyarders play at Coyle-Cassidy tomorrow and at home against Bishop Stang at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
Coach Lisa Stewart called it a Jekyll and Hyde type of week. Her young team played brilliantly in a 56-34 win at Somerset on Friday, but went flat in a 48-31 home loss to Duxbury the next day.
“In terms of basketball I.Q. these players are right there, they understand the game and they understand how to play as a team. But we still have these little setbacks, we take one step forward and one step back . . . but we’re making progress; overall I am proud of how this team has played,” the coach said.
Jillian Sedlier had 14 points in Friday’s win, while Jenny Lindland and Katie Hines each had 12.
The team record now stands at 7-8, and with five games left to play, the road to the state tournament is a clear equation: if the team wins three out of five they’re in; anything short of that and they’re out. Coach Stewart has confidence in her team.