Girls soccer ends season with more injuries than wins

The Nantucket Whalers Girls Soccer Team has finished their season with just four wins, ten losses and three ties, finding themselves in fifth place with a league that consists of six teams. They are highly looking to improve their numbers of wins, however, injuries have played a role in the team’s difficulty to win. Six girls including their two senior captains, Katherine Pittman and Caroline Richards were injured and unable to play for much of the season. Pittman’s injury being a contusion of the knee, she was out for a period of the closing season but eventually returned. Richards’ injury ultimately ended her season early after fracturing her ankle in three places during an away game against Monomoy.

“KP(Katherine Pittman) got hurt when she hyperextended her knee chasing the ball, just like I did last year. And then that combined with my injury, just through the team off,” said Richards.

Pittman agreed by expressing her opinion about the injuries by saying, “I think the girls did a really great job keeping it together, but it definitely is hard to lose players especially after you’ve already created a rhythm.”

Head Coach Phil Taylor spoke on behalf of the team about their two captains by calling them “the backbone of the team on and off the field” and that they “had been high performers for the best of three years of the program.”

Looking into the future, Taylor believes that “everything” needs to be improved when searching for a better record and hope for a playoff spot.

“Soccer is a dynamic, holistic game,” said Taylor, stating, “You have to engage it and think it. You truly get out what you put in. Believe in your potential ability and keep high standards. This includes a change in focus for the off season. Coming to pre season ready to compete with good basic skills and a good fitness base. This way it is easier to implement tactics and see through high pressure periods in games. Also allowing more time in practice for functional work. The ability to execute something in soccer often relies on your fitness, technique and decision making.”

However, Richards believes that she sees potential on the JV team.

It’ll be hard, but if anyone can do it, it’s them,” Richards expressed.

At times, Pittman feels as if chemistry needed to be worked on between the team and the coaching staff.

“Sometimes the girls kind of got, puzzled,” she explained.

Taylor thinks that improving the execution between the defending and the attacking side, is what is needed to see a bright future for the team as they try to make playoffs.

Errors or misses cost us often. Make it count and be assertive in all aspects of the game.”

We were good this year, I genuinely believe that,” said Richards. “Our problem was putting away goals. We couldn’t do it. I think our team is very defense oriented, which is ok but that’s not what is going to win us games and I think in the future there needs to be more emphasis on that.”

There is hope for the team to improve on the few wins and potentially create a spot that fits perfectly for them in state tournament play.

Football succumbs to Green Wave in 28-13 defeat

The Green Wave washed up to Nantucket and took the win back to Abington and advanced to the state tournament. After a determined and hard fought battle, the Whalers pulled up short in a 28-13 loss. Senior Alex Small opened the scoring early in the first six minutes with a speedy run that surpassed Arlington’s defense. The game was equalized after a diving touchdown run from the Arlington running-back in the second quarter.

“I just felt like both team were good teams but obviously Abington was the better team,” commented Small on friday nights game.

Both teams had possession of the ball and forced turnoverincluding a pair of interceptions; one by Senior Kalik Liburd and the other caught by the Green Wave.

The Whalers had not expected to be able to blow out, as they generally do against teams in their league, considering that the Green Wave is a much larger and stronger opponent.  Head Coach Brian Ryder praised his team saying, “I’m really proud of our kids. They never quit and they fought hard, they played hard and they really gave those guys a game. A pleasure to see that,” He continued, adding, “A much bigger program than what we have here with amount of player and their coach has been there for forty years.”  A difference in size of two teams seems to be a leading factor, as the Whalers dominated Holbrook who had limited supply of payers off the bench.

Ryder’s attitude embodied a strong determination and drive that was reflected in senior Maxx Cunningham when he claimed, “This team never quits, never quits.”  

“My team was really prepared but you know, there were times where we had our downs, and we tried to get back up but they were just the better team today,” explained Small.

After realizing the strength of the Abington team, Cunningham said, “We came out really confident, but we’re also not playing anyone in the Mayflower [League] anymore.”

Following their defeat, there was also news that the annual Island Cup Game will be on hold for a year.  Ryder touched base on this stating, “I’m sorry for the seniors since that the vineyard game won’t happen in a couple weeks.  This is their last home game and I feel really bad about that.  Other than that I am really proud of the way they played today.”

Despite it being their last home game, the Whalers will travel to a consolation match. They await the results to see who they will be playing this coming weekend.  The future isn’t dark for the team as they have strong players including; sophomores Tyrone Burton and Devonte Usher who have proven their strength on the team that will be able to guide them to the light of victory.

“The team coming up next season, you know just do your best. Losing 15 seniors doesn’t matter. It’s just how you play. Just keep on learning, building, have a great season.” Small encouraged.

Cunningham expressed his feelings and said, “I love everyone on this team and we came together as like a band of brothers.”

Ryder put in his input for the class of seniors, “It’s been a pleasure coaching this group seniors, many of them worked hard all year, and in the offseason, and the weight room to get to this point. It’s going to be sad to see them go, but we’re going to enjoy one more week of coaching them.”

Field hockey misses another chance for playoffs

With the postseason upon us, teams have been eagerly awaiting to hear their seeding and as to who their first opponent will be. Unfortunately, for the Whalers Field, that is not the case. After a hard fought season, they ended with a record of 5-11-1 and, similarly to girls soccer, they had their last game of the season canceled.

“At the start of the season many players did not have definite positions, and there were many gaps to be filled from the loss of last year’s seniors,” said the captain goalie, Sami Trattel. “After figuring out where everyone could play at their best, it was just a matter of improving their skill.”

The seniors lost including Sierra Grey, Isabel Beal, Darcy Foulkes and Lianna Harrington, all of whom have graduated and are attending college now.

Senior captain Sydney Strate reflected similar ideas to those of Trattel, saying, “despite the losses, the team has certainly been improving over the season. While most of the losses were to larger and more competitive schools, the games in our league went really well this year. Throughout the season though, as a whole team, I would say we’ve improved on our skills greatly, especially through our better communication among the field.”

The larger and more competitive schools Sydney Strate is referring to are teams such as Dennis-Yarmouth and Barnstable, both who not only have a larger pool of students to pick from but also participate in the recruitment of athletes from other areas in Massachusetts. Aside from these bigger schools, Strate also noted that, “certain games just seem to be unlucky,” especially with the boat rides off island this year being especially rocky and the weather inhibiting the team from practicing for almost a week.

“In order to achieve wins, you just simply have to try your hardest,” said Strate. “Don’t give up after the first goal has been scored by the other team, you have to stay motivated to finish the game with victory. It is very important to not just give up on yourself, but to also use the skills you have as a team to show what you’ve got. You can clearly see the difference between us not caring for the game and when we are determined to win.”

The games the team were determined to beat were certainly those against Monomoy and Martha’s Vineyard, both who proved to be fierce competitors. These games, “proved that our team wasn’t giving up on hope,” Strate said.

For next year, the team agrees that in order to make it into the tournament they need to be prepared against the bigger, harder teams. Strate emphasized the importance of always thinking of the impact of each game on their record, and further their ability to make playoffs.

“But more importantly I think as a team sometimes we just need to remember to have fun,” said Strate lastly. “Have fun doing a sport you love, and just have confidence that you are going to win.”

NFD names Stephen Murphy new Fire Chief

Former Chief of the Nantucket Fire Department (NFD), Paul Rhude, has recently retired from his position after nearly 2 years. His form of resignation was submitted in June due in combination to the the lack of housing and being able to see his family. Nantucket High School Graduate, Stephen A. Murphy, had been filling in since July but has now been named Chief of the NFD after the town meeting held in mid-September. He has been working for the town since 1987 after high school and with Murphy’s family living on Nantucket and already with housing, his main focus can now be with the NFD.

“Strengthen the skills and abilities of the people that work here.” Is Murphy’s main focus as he steps into his new commanding position. To strengthen the firefighters, means “investing in training and growth of the members”, according to Murphy in order to “continue the expectations and demands put on the department.”

Murphy didn’t think he would be in this position as he wanted to first work with aviation controlling air traffic.

“I had a completely different idea of what I wanted to be doing,” Murphy admitted. “I had worked at the airport in high school and had ideas of continuing in aviation, specifically working as an Air Traffic Controller after graduating. I took the test a couple times but it never happened.”

After working in aviation for four years, he then found himself in the fire department where he enjoyed the work and training. His passion for the job did not go unnoticed, and he soon began training to become chief.

“While at the Airport I took the EMT course that was offered at the fire department,” Murphy said. “I found I liked the job and decided to work towards getting a position in the department.”

Firefighters are sure to be ready for emergencies after going through training and checking their equipment daily to make sure they are functioning safely to get the tasks done.

“Everyone knows the job means putting out fires, but some do not know we run the ambulance as well.” With firefighters being busy with preparation and training, they work 25 hour shifts to perform these different tasks.

“The fire station is their home while working,” Murphy emphasized.  

As chief, the work mainly consist of paperwork for administration and making sure that the training, equipment and skills are at best in case of an emergency.

After resigning from the NFD, Paul Rhude has been able to work on projects that Chief Murphy will now pick up on. “The new fire station project and upgrading the ambulance service to advance life support level, would be two of the larger objectives for the department.” Not only will he be striving to finish these projects, he also says that he has “felt strongly about having paramedics giving care on Nantucket for a long time.”

Although Murphy didn’t have intentions to become a firefighter, he has grown an appreciation for his responsibility for our town.

“When people call for help, it is at some of the worse times of their life. Being able to help and make a positive impact is the most rewarding feeling sometimes.”