The girls’ varsity lacrosse team represented their high school, their Island and their country with honor over two weeks during a 12-day jaunt to England where they played some of that nation’s top youth lacrosse teams while also making new friends and visiting some historic sites in Europe.
For coach Betsy Dripps and her globe-trotting troop of lacrosse players, it was the trip of a lifetime.
“I’m so proud of these girls and how they handled themselves during this trip. They were perfect ambassadors on and off the field,” she said.
Coach Dripps said there were some moments of culture clash for the Vineyard girls, many of whom are largely unfamiliar with big city living, never mind a big city in a foreign nation.
“It was interesting getting 15 girls on the tube in London. Even crossing the road was an experience, because the cars were coming from the other direction and we had to wait for the little green man to come up [on the traffic signal]. But we were old pros by the end of the trip,” she said.
Coach Dripps first introduced lacrosse to the Island 13 years ago when she moved here from Philadelphia and started a program at the high school. During that span, the Vineyard has hosted several teams from England, but the April trip marked the first time an Island team had visited its British counterparts.
While in London, the girls visited Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the Tate Modern museum and Windsor Castle. “It was a lifetime of culture and learning in under two weeks, the whole experience was amazing,” Coach Dripps said.
But between visits to Parliament and Blenheim Castle, the girls squeezed in some good lacrosse. They won their first international game April 20 by defeating the Westonbirt School. Coach Dripps said the English players were fast and aggressive with the sticks, but the Vineyarders worked together to seal the 8-6 win.
Laura Jernegan in that game paced the Vineyarders with four goals, Cristina Wiley had one goal and two assists, Hayley Pierce had one goal and an assist, Nica Sylvia had one goal and two assists and Jane Alexander had a goal. Zoe Fisher had an outstanding game in goal, making 11 saves on the day.
The Vineyard girls did not fare as well against Cheltonham Ladies College (actually a private high school), losing 7-4. Jernegan again led the Vineyarders with three goals, while Wiley had one goal and Pierce had an assist.
The Vineyarders then played to a 7-7 tie against Moreton Hall near Chester, before traveling to Oxfordshire to take on St. Helens/St. Katherines where they lost 10-3. The final game of the trip was against St. Catherines at Bromley, the recent winner of the All England/All Wales World Lacrosse Cup.
The Vineyard girls lost 14-3. Alexander, Wiley and Jernegan all had goals.
In the latest chapter in what has fast become a heated rivalry, the powerhouse boys’ lacrosse team dropped a close game to an equally talented Franklin team at home Saturday by a final of 8-5. Coach John Stabile said it was the team’s first game after a 10-day layoff, which may have led to a little rust early on. “We were lethargic in the first half at times; before we knew it we were down 3-0. But considering that we were down early, I think we played well overall,” he said.
Franklin came into the game with the same record as the Vineyard — seven wins and one loss — and was in many ways their mirror image. Both teams boasted a powerful offense, quick midfielders and a huge backfield, and both teams are especially tenacious.
“We played them last year and lost by one goal in overtime. Our players respect [Franklin] and also really want to beat them. But they were just too much on Saturday; we would punch them and then they would come right back with a counter punch,” Coach Stabile said.
Riley Dobel and Mike O’Donoghue each notched a pair of goals in the loss, while Duncan Meyst also scored.
The Vineyarders came back and punished New Bedford at home on Tuesday, winning by a lopsided 14-1 margin, their biggest margin on the season. For Coach Stabile it was a return to form for his team, which raised its record to 8-2 with the win.
“We were only leading 4-0 at the half, so we just poured it on in the second half — that might have been our best stretch all season,” he said.
The coach credited goaltender Gus Hayes, who made 12 saves and had perhaps his best game of the season.
Both Dobel and Meyst had three goals and one assist apiece, while Cody Chandler added two goals, O’Donoghue and Lucas Pisano had a goal and an assist. Kenny MacDonald, Mike McCarthy, Daron Stobie and Max Conley also notched goals.
Coach Stabile said everyone contributed in the win.
“This was a true team effort, everyone deserved some of the credit. And that is what we are going to need down the road, we can’t always depend on one or two players carrying the team,” he said.
The Vineyarders next play at home on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. against Falmouth.
After a strong start, the baseball team has hit a cold streak, losing games to Central Catholic and Old Rochester over the past two weeks to drop their record to 3-7-1.
The Vineyarders traveled to Merrimac College to play Central Catholic last Monday, in a game in which their pitching staff gave up 10 walks en route to a 15-8 loss.
Zack Coutinho started the game and gave up seven earned runs over three innings, while Ben Ciciora and Nick Billingham pitched in relief. As has been the case for most of the season, the Vineyarder offense was strong, as Joel Rebello, Scott Cleary, Coutinho and Billingham all knocked in runs.
Coach Gary Simmons noted that the Vineyarders are batting over .300 as a team.
“If we get our pitching in order, I think we can bounce back. Our lineup has gotten hits all season,” he said.
The coach said the team will get a boost when starting pitcher and third baseman Kendall Chaves returns against Wareham this Friday. Chaves is expected to anchor the starting rotation and provide a big bat in the lineup. “We’re starting to get our players back and become whole,” the coach said.
Last Friday’s game against Old Rochester was a barn burner and a heartbreaker, as the Vineyard rallied for seven runs in top of the seventh inning to tie the game at 11-11, only to watch the Bulldogs push across a run in the bottom of the inning for a walk-off win.
Catcher Billy Johnson launched a grand slam to make it 11-10 in the top half of the frame, followed by a two-out single by Lamar Moreis who then stole second and scored on a single by Tad Gold to tie the game.
“It’s especially tough to battle back from seven runs to tie the game only to lose. But the fact that the kids didn’t give up after being down showed some real character,” Coach Simmons said.
The Vineyard boys next play at home against Dighton Rehoboth on Monday at 3:30 p.m.
The boys’ tennis team bounced back with a tidy win over Chatham on Wednesday as Andrew McHugh and Dylan Hutchinson won in straight sets over their opponents to pace the Vineyarders. After suffering from a severe ankle sprain, team captain Seth Seeman played in his first varsity match of the season as part of doubles pair with teammate Win Grimm. Together they rolled to a convincing two-set victory.
Number three singles player Daniel Han struggled through a first set loss, but regained his form for a three set win.
Coach Ned Fennessy started Austin Gampher and Parker Pearlstein — ranked number 14 and 16 in the singles ranking list — as a doubles pair so they could gain some varsity experience. The tandem won the first set in a tie-breaker and then rebounded from 3-5 to run four games for a second set and match win.
The Vineyarders are now 4-4 on the season.
Josh Burgoyne, coach of the varsity softball team, concedes that his young team is experiencing some growing pains. After losing a five-inning game to Cardinal Spellman at home last Friday 24-5, the Vineyarders went on to drop a 14-1 contest at home to Old Rochester on Saturday followed by a 12-7 loss to Dennis-Yarmouth on Wednesday, also at home.
Coach Burgoyne said his young team — which has several starting players who are freshman and sophomores — has showed promise at times, but the failure to get a big out and a propensity for late inning errors has been especially damaging.
“We’ve battled back in a lot of these games and gotten right back into it, but then we beat ourselves in a lot of ways. It’s a sign of a team that is growing and learning,” he said.
Pitcher Caroline Davey went the distance in Wednesday’s loss to Old Rochester, and she managed to keep her team in the game early as the Vineyarders tied the game at 3-3 in the third inning. But the team committed seven costly errors, and Old Rochester pushed across two runs in the fifth and then three runs in the seventh to put the game away.
Martha Scheffer went 2-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs in the loss, Julie Perry went 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs, Taylor Perrotta went 3-for-4 with a triple and two RBIS, and Katie Hines, who recently returned to the team after suffering from a stress fracture, played shortstop and went 2-for-3 with an RBI triple.