With two wins already under their belt, the high school golf team is off to a fast start.
Anchored by Tony Grillo, arguably the best young golfer in the state, who recently won his second consecutive Massachusetts junior championship, many already are calling the team a lock to make the state tournament.
But in the match-play style of high school golf, even the most talented player cannot carry a team alone.
According to coach Doug DeBettencourt, young Grillo won’t have to.
“Yes, we have the two time junior state champion. But from top to bottom we have a very talented group. Our top six players can match up with just about anyone on any day. It’s going to take the whole team to make the state tournament, and I am confident that is what will happen,” the coach said.
In most matches, the top six players compete one-on-one against the top six on the other team in match play. Each golfer plays nine holes; each hole is worth one point. The maximum points from each round is nine.
Grillo will likely be the team’s number one golfer throughout the season, meaning he will match up against the other team’s number one every match. The golfers expected to rotate through the other five slots are seniors Gregg Leonard and Albion Alley, juniors Luke Pisano, Sam Scott and Gus Hayes, sophomore Henry Smith and freshman Alex Bilzerian.
In their opening match last Thursday, the Vineyarders dominated Seekonk — the final tally was 33-21 — and followed that with an impressive win on Tuesday against Wareham, by a final of 36-18.
Coach DeBettencourt described his team as a veteran bunch aware of their talent. But still, they bring a youthful exuberance to the game and don’t take themselves too seriously.
“It’s just a bunch of kids who enjoy playing golf. They can be serious, but they can also be laid back ... that’s the right makeup for a golfer and an even better recipe for a [golf] team,” he said.
The team played at home against Bourne yesterday, but results were not available at press time. They next play inter-Island rival Nantucket at home at Farm Neck Golf Club on Tuesday at 3 p.m.
The girls’ soccer team lost six seniors from last year, many of whom were starters, but coach Russ MacDonald is confident he has more than enough players to fill the holes.
Gone are Alice Hopkins, Lainey Aristide, Kelly Silvia, Brittany Stone, Caetlyn Hutchinson and Sandy Paredes, but in their place are five senior starters and many talented underclassmen. Coach MacDonald believes these players will provide more balance and depth than the team has had in years.
“Losing seniors to graduation is part of high school athletics. It is normal to lose around five or six players a year, and this year I think we can expect a smoother transition to [the new players] than most other years,” he said.
Seniors Gaby Sullo and Nica Sylvia are expected to anchor at midfield, along with fellow seniors Angela George at outside linebacker and Jocelyn Andrade at center back. Juniors Emma Lee Iverson and Christina Wiley will see time at midfield and backfield.
Junior Alexia Schroeder, who led the team in scoring last year as a sophomore, will again lead the offense. Fellow juniors Bethany Pennington, Samantha Cooperrider, Erin Morris and Meaghan Gouldrup will likely see time at several positions.
Kia Minor, who played junior varsity last year, is expected to be the starting goalkeeper.
“[Kia] has been doing spectacular so far ... I think our goal tending may be a strength,” coach MacDonald said.
Coach MacDonald said the team is blessed with versatile athletes who can play various positions.
“What we have are options; what we don’t have is a lot of experience in some positions. Some girls will be playing with little or no varsity experience. We have a solid core of about eight or ten veteran players — and I hope that the younger girls will learn from them,” he said.
The coach said the team’s strength will be its midfield, which he hopes will control the tempo and flow of the game.
It will be a trial by fire for the Vineyarders over the next week as the team plays a total of four games in seven days, no small feat for a team also going through its first week of school. After opening at home against Seekonk today at 3 p.m., the Vineyarders play tomorrow at home against Billerica, then are away at Wareham Tuesday before returning home on Wednesday to play Falmouth.
“We actually play about one-third of our schedule in about 12 days ... so we’re going to find out what this team is about in a hurry,” coach MacDonald said.
The boys’ soccer team ended their opener with a scoreless draw against Nauset on Tuesday.
Senior goalie Nico Cuba turned back every shot, while his counterpart, junior Brett Conrad, made four saves to preserve the tie. The Vineyarders next play at home on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. against Wareham.