The streak is alive for the Martha's Vineyard varsity boys' soccer team.
The Vineyarders held on to their undefeated record and moved on to the next round of the playoffs in dramatic fashion Monday evening, defeating visiting Scituate 2-1 in stoppage time during the quarterfinal matchup in the division three south section tournament.
Sophomore Jason Lages took a feed from junior Ben Poole with 1:46 left in the game to sink the ball into the left pocket past Scituate keeper Tom Benoit, sending the large home crowd into a frenzy.
The Vineyard now faces fifth-seeded Medway in the semifinal Wednesday. Game time is 4:30 p.m. in Canton.
Monday's victory was hard-fought for the Vineyard boys. Despite controlling play for much of the first half and outshooting the Sailors by a considerable margin, the team was unable to score a needed goal early on. The score was 0-0 at the half.
The team got on the board in the 47th minute of play, after a run up the middle by Lages set up junior Colin Cameron for a close shot. Cameron's goal attempt was deflected on the ground by Benoit, setting the stage for captain Sam Entner to nab the rebound and put the Vineyard ahead 1-0. The goal was followed minutes later by another Lages run, this time passing to captain Kane Araujo. Araujo crossed to Entner, but the shot slid inches shy of the goal.
In the 60th minute, Scituate scored the tying goal on a header by Joseph Desmond after a free kick, sending the ball sailing past senior keeper Ben Wadleigh. The goal is only the fifth Wadleigh has allowed all season.
“Scituate is a good team,” head coach Damon Burke said after the game. “When they got the equalizer, that was a real test for us.”
The goal provided the Sailors with visible momentum; for much of the remainder of the game, Scituate kept the ball in Vineyard territory, and several well-placed shots sailed just wide of the top of the net.
An equally challenging foe for the Vineyard was the chilling temperature, which had dipped into the mid-30s by the second half.
The team regained its stride with five minutes remaining of play, settling back in to the possession game that has served them well all season. Plays by Araujo, Poole, captain Lee Faraca and junior Elie Jordi brought the ball back into range, setting up the final score. The Vineyard did not rest easy once they regained the lead, switching into purely defensive mode to shut down any Scituate comeback.
“It was a great team effort,” coach Burke said, noting the grinding work of the defense. The Vineyarders have spent the past week training for the game. “It's almost been like a second preseason,” he said.
“These guys deserved to win at home for the fans, under the lights; they didn't get to do that all season,” he said.
Last year in the tournament, the Vineyard defeated the Sailors 1-0 in the first round. The team is seeded eighth in the tournament this year. The Vineyard is seeded first, and enters the semifinals with a 16-0-2 record. They will play the winner of Monday night's Apponequet—Medway game. At press time, the site and time of the match was unknown.
For more photos, see the gallery Vineyard Picks Up Postseason Win Against Scituate.