Rainy weather and a slippery, muddy field made little difference to the Vineyard boys’ soccer players Thursday night, as a hat trick by the team’s leading scorer and a strong showing from both veterans and newcomers powered the team to a decisive 4-1 postseason win over visiting Old Rochester.

Old Rochester is seeded fifth in the division three south section bracket. The Vineyard is seeded fourth. On Tuesday, the team defeated Bishop Stang 2-0 to advance to the section quarterfinals.

Sophomore Nevin Wallis makes a run. — Ivy Ashe

“Before the game, we really talked, and we were totally convinced that we would win,” head coach Esteban Aranzabe said after the match.

Junior Jason Lages, absent the past two games because of a red card, returned to play in peak form, putting the Vineyard on the board in the 23rd minute of play. Ten minutes later senior Brandon Dwane set Lages up for his second goal of the evening.

The Vineyard made quick work of their next possession, with sophomore Aksel Cooperrider hitting a long pass to Dwane. Dwane, barely looking down, deflected the ball straight into the net to give the team a 3-0 lead.

Evan Santos scored for the Bulldogs in stoppage time to make the score 3-1 at halftime.

Umbrellas show Vineyard support. — Ivy Ashe

Three minutes into the half Dwane connected with Lages at midfield, setting up a long run for the striker, who evaded the Bulldog defense to notch his third goal of the evening, prompting one fan to call out “Messi, Messi” (Lages wears the same jersey number as the Argentine national star).

The skies opened shortly after, dousing the fans in the stands; a row of purple-and-white umbrellas bloomed along the sidelines. The Vineyard offense continued to pressure Old Rochester, and several shots went just wide of the goal. Old Rochester’s best chance came on a breakaway midway through the half, but the shot bounced off the crossbar.

The game was a showcase for the Vineyard’s passing game and the speed of its players, and also allowed the younger players a taste of postseason play. Sophomores Nick Bonneau, Elias Fhagen-Smith, Nainoa Cooperrider, Doug deBettencourt, Nevin Wallis and Liam Weiland made their presence known on the field, as did freshman Gabriel Bellebuono.

With the win, the fourth-seeded Vineyard moves to a 16-2-2 record and advances to the semifinal game of the division three south sectional tournament, where they will face Medway, the number one seed in the bracket. It’s a rematch for the Vineyard: the two teams also met last year in the semifinals, with Medway taking a 2-1 overtime win. That game will take place at neutral site Taunton High School at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 11.

“We’re ready,” Coach Aranzabe said. “We learned from our mistakes, but the guys are together and we’re ready to go to the next level.”

The team closed out the evening with a salute to its fans, but to the dismay of some, the ground was too muddy for the customary back flip celebration of senior goalkeeper Matt Stone.

“I only came for the back flip!” someone shouted.