Victory was in the air Saturday afternoon as five Vineyard sports teams hosted rival Nantucket at home under clear blue skies. Both of the varsity soccer teams shut out their Whaler opponents, while varsity field hockey and boys’ junior varsity soccer also earned wins. Junior varsity field hockey tied with Nantucket.
Nantucket play day is a staple of the fall sports lineup, with the Vineyarders and the Whalers alternating home islands. This year, the Island Cup football game will be played on Nantucket, with soccer and field hockey on the Vineyard. Athletic director Mark McCarthy reported more than 100 athletes had made the long trip from Nantucket. Arranging buses and travel requires “logistic creativity,” he said. Seven officials also travelled with the team.
Varsity field hockey earned the first win of the day, with sophomore Belle Dinning putting the Vineyard ahead midway through the first half on an assist from fellow sophomore Lee Hayman. Nantucket evened the score, but Hayman notched the go-ahead on an assist from senior cocaptain Issy Smith. Smith, back from an ankle injury, was playing in her second game of the season.
Head coach Lisa Knight said it was great to see the younger players stepping up, noting the play of sophomore Aubrey Ashmun and the solid defensive work of the back line.
Field hockey is now 5-3-1 on the season.
Shortly after the field hockey team had left their field, freshman Natalija Lakis put the girls’ soccer team up 2-0 after a free kick from sophomore Lucy Hackney. The junior varsity team did not play the Whalers, but Lakis was one of several players moved up due to injuries on the varsity squad. Fellow freshman Madison McBride notched her first varsity goal as well, with freshman Livvy Smith earning the assist.
The Vineyarders readjusted their coverage midway through the game, pushing the midfield up to account for the Whalers’ offensive scheme, and “played very smart,” head coach Richard Bennett said. The defensive play of the Vineyarder also stood out, coach Bennett said, giving keeper Cana Courtney little to do in her corner of the field. The girls are now 3-3 on the season.
Boys’ soccer remains undefeated after their 3-0 win over the Whalers in the final contest of the afternoon.
Junior cocaptain Lee Faraca got the Vineyarders off to good start in the match, heading the ball past Nantucket’s goalie in the ninth minute of the game. Each of the Vineyard’s three goals came in the first half: junior Jason Lages scored on a free kick and put the icing on the cake with a final score at five minutes left in the half, after an assist from senior cocaptain Kane Araujo.
“I was just very happy with the organization on the field,” head coach Damon Burke said, singling out the free kick goal. “It was a routine we’ve talked about a lot in practice.”
“We weren’t as possession-oriented as we usually have been,” he said. “But it’s a rivalry game, so people get fired up.”
Senior goalies Ben Wadleigh and David DaSilva were strong in the net, with DaSilva getting the most work at his end of the field of any goalie this season.
“He was well up to the task,” coach Burke said.
On the boys’ junior soccer soccer field, the Vineyarders also picked up a 2-1 win. Freshman Nainoa Cooperrider scored on a pass from freshman Liam Weiland, and freshman Nick Bonneau made a strong run through the Whaler defense to score on a Nils Aldeborgh assist. Girls’ junior varsity hockey split their game with Nantucket, 1-1, with freshman Gabby Hoxsie notching an early unassisted goal.
For more photos, see the gallery Vineyard Teams Victorious Over Nantucket.