Winter on the Island is here and daylight is fleeting, but the lights are bright at the ice arena, gymnasium and YMCA pool as the Vineyard student athletes are back for another season of hockey, basketball, indoor track and swimming.

Last year the boys hockey team notched two home playoff victories including a shutout in the sweet 16. Girls hockey also made the state tournament for the first time in 10 years. Girls basketball more than doubled their win total from the previous season, the boys team won 18 games including a home playoff game. Indoor track sent four athletes to the New Balance National Indoor Championship and the swim team beat Nantucket for the first time in program history while sending five swimmers to the sectional championship. 

There weren’t any banners last year but it was a season to remember for many of the returning athletes. More importantly now is the season ahead.

The boys hockey team made a run in the playoffs last year. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Last year, the boys hockey team rattled off an 11-game winning streak en route to a 5-1 playoff win over Fitchburg at home in the first round. They followed it up with another 4-0 home victory over Stoneham in the second round before losing to Norwell at the Bog in Kingston in the elite eight. 

Many of the key players on last year’s team are back to lead the boys, such as goaltender Zach Mathias, forward Nate Averill and defensemen Chase Grant and Aiden Conley. With their annual pre-season tournament against Oyster River, Lexington and Arlington Catholic last weekend in the rearview mirror, the Vineyarders will open the regular season at home against Saint John Paul II on Saturday at 4 p.m. 

While the girls hockey postseason run was not as long as the boys, their season was still one for the books. Coach Geoghan Coogan said after his team fell to Norwood that they were up against a program that had been in that position before. For the Vineyarders, it was uncharted waters for a young but talented team. With some playoff experience behind them, seniors Savannah Meader and Marin Gillis along with sophomore snipers Emily Coogan and Elle Mone are ready to lead the charge into the new season. 

The girls also hosted a three-team preseason tournament last weekend against Plymouth, Needham and Lincoln Sudbury. They’ll begin their regular season on the road against Nantucket Saturday before their home opener Sunday against Boston Latin at 1 p.m.

The girls hockey team will have some company on the long journey to Nantucket Saturday as the girls basketball team is also scheduled to square up with the Whalers in their season opener that afternoon. Led by captains Georgia Magden and Delilah Oliver, the pair hope to continue their winning ways on the other Island after they helped secure the first Golden Anchor as co-goalies of the girls soccer team. 

On Tuesday, Dec. 12, the girls will play their home opener against Natuset at 4:30 p.m.

The boys basketball team opens their season that same day on the road against Nauset. Last year, Coach Mike Joyce said the team’s camaraderie was key in their success as they beat Norton at home 69-51 in the first round of the playoffs. Building their identity around playing together will be equally important this year as seniors Nate Story and Josh Lake will lead the team with their sharpshooting, playmaking and defense. 

After their game against the Warriors, the boys have their home opener Saturday December 16 at 2:30 p.m. against Abington, a team they beat twice last year. Then on Sunday the 17th, they take on Nantucket at home at 1:45 p.m. 

For the indoor track athletes, the winter months offer a plethora of opportunities to compete. This year runners Daniel DaSilva and Daniel Serpa and field specialists Camille Brand in the high jump and Madison Mello with the shot put are just a few to keep an eye on as the season gets underway with the first meet coming against Barnstable next week. All of the league indoor meets are held at Wheaton College with larger events taking place at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury. 

Rounding out the wintertime action is the swim team, who last season saw the boys place third in the Cape and Islands championship and standout Olympia Hall swim in the 50 and 100 meter south sectional championships. At the same championships, Emmett Silva and Kaua De Assis were part of a school record setting 200 free relay team. All three will be back in action this year as their season gets under way on Monday at home in the YMCA pool against Saint John Paul II at 3 p.m.