A hockey goal comes fast and furious: a wrist snap, a zooming puck, an army of hockey sticks raised in celebration. Everyone sees the end. It’s easy to miss the setup.

The Vineyard girls’ varsity hockey team scored five goals as they defeated Bourne 5-1 last week to secure their spot in the state tournament. Aubrey Ashmun, the only girls' hockey player to score 100 career points in Vineyard history, scored two. Sydney Davies, her partner on the line since freshman year, put one away. And defenders Erin Hegarty and Olivia Ogden both found the net.

Call it serendipity: it’s only fitting that the four senior captains would be the ones to put the finishing touches on the Vineyard’s fourth straight trip to the tournament.

Senior captain Aubrey Ashmun is the only girls' hockey player in school history to score 100 points. — Ivy Ashe

Ashmun, Davies, Hegarty and Ogden were there when the hockey team made the postseason for the first time in program history, four years ago. All made varsity as freshmen, the youngest players on a team that was beginning to find its way in the wider world of girls’ hockey after years of building a foundation. Since the captains first hit the ice for their inaugural high school game, the team has posted a winning record each year. The Vineyarders won a league title. This year, they are 9-5-3 with three games left to play. They won their own home tournament, the Nan Rheault, for the first time. But they still remember the locker room celebration, the blasting music, the celebratory sprays of water, the cupcakes everywhere (“It was a mess,” Davies said), from freshmen year.

“I don’t think they take it for granted that we’re winning,” head coach John Fiorito said. “They understood the significance of that first year. It was years in the making, so it was nice they got to see how passionate people were for wanting [to improve].”

“Coming in with all seniors, it was great because you could learn so much from them,” Ashmun said. “And you could really just grow from playing with better players, being able to look up to them and grow from their talents.” It’s the captains’ talents that younger players benefit from now--not just in the varsity program but all the way down to the youth hockey Ospreys program, where the seniors help out.

“When you grow up at the rink, you’re always looking up to the people ahead of you,” Davies said. She remembers watching the varsity teams play and thinking “Oh my God, I want to be just like them.” Davies’ older brother and her cousins all played hockey. Ashmun’s brother was a captain on the boys’ team. Hegarty and Ogden were both figure skaters before switching to hockey when they got older (Hegarty’s younger sister is a varsity goalie now).

“I’m just so happy that hockey’s getting so much bigger with girls on the Island,” Davies said. “When we were little, there weren’t as many opportunities.” She and Ashmun remember being the only girls on their youth hockey teams.

Sydney Davies: "When you grow up at the rink, you're always looking up to the people ahead of you." — Ivy Ashe

“I think the more [the girls] progress in the program, and the better we get, the more goals that we accomplish, the more people want to see how we’re doing,” Ogden said. “No one wants to see us fail.”

“Even the JV girls team has evolved so much,” Hegarty said. “Their team is overflowing.”

“We’ve created a culture over [at the rink], and they are a huge part of that,” Coach Fiorito said. The captains exemplify the work ethic and team-first attitude so valued by hockey culture in general. Ashmun, for example, didn’t have a clue she was about to score her 100th point during a game last week. They put in the hours at practice, but good teams are built as much in the locker room and on the bus as they are on the ice.

“What was really great when we were freshmen was the seniors wanted us to feel like ‘You did this, you helped with this,’” Ogden said. “No matter who you were on the team or how much you played.” The captains set out to create the same atmosphere.

“It’s a small team, and there’s no drama,” Ashmun said. “We’re all from different friend groups and we come together and bond over our love of hockey.”

What is it about hockey? Everything, they say. Skating on a fresh sheet of ice. Skating in general. The chemistry you gain with your teammates, when everything is flowing on the ice and passes land exactly right

This year, it was all clicking at the Nan Rheault Tournament, which all four captains cite as the most memorable games of the season. The Vineyarders won 9-3 in the opening round game against Scituate before defeating Quincy/North Quincy 1-0.

“We were really nervous about playing Scituate because they’ve always been a tough competitor,” Davies said. “And they still were—I think this year we played so well together and it just clicked. It showed on the ice.”

“We wanted to win it for Ellie,” Ashmun said. Sophomore defender Ellie Hanjian suffered severe injuries in a car accident last year, and could not play hockey this season. But she still has a locker in the locker room, and was on the bench at Nan Rheault, running onto the ice after the win to cheer with the team.

“She’s still part of the team,” Hegarty said.

“The other day, we had a really tough loss to Marshfield,” Davies said. “But you still have your team at the end of the day, and you all know you did the best that you could...even when you have some tough losses, it’s still worth skating for.”

“When you get that win, that tough win that you’ve worked all week for, and you just pull it out--it’s blood, sweat, and tears, but that’s the best part,” Ogden said. “That’s why we play.”