Whaler Sports Roundup – September 26, 2023

David Creed •

There were no Whaler varsity sporting events on Monday, September 25. The golf team was scheduled to travel Barnstable but the match was postponed due to poor weather. On Tuesday, there were five teams in action. The boys soccer team pulled off an upset against the Nauset Warriors to earn their first win over the Warriors since Rich Brannigan II became head coach of the Whaler’s program in 2001, the golf team continues to roll and had another strong outing, the cross country teams had mixed results, field hockey ended in a scoreless tie, and the girls soccer team lost on the road.

Boys Soccer Beats Nauset 4-2 In Historic Upset

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Edin Vasquez. Photo by Chris Tran

Rich Brannigan II has been leading the varsity boys soccer program for 21 years. His teams have been perennial tournament teams and the program has been one of the school’s most consistent. But one thing Brannigan and the Whalers had yet to do was beat the Nauset Warriors, who are one of the state’s powerhouse soccer programs.

Nauset beat Nantucket soundly just last week on September 19 in a 5-0 shutout, and on Tuesday in a rematch on the island scored the game’s first goal 30 seconds in. But the Whalers didn’t let any of that phase them and were able to earn that elusive first win over the Warriors by a score of 4-2.

“I feel great about the boys. We came up with a game plan that was different. I don't think Nauset was expecting it out of us so we played a totally different style today versus how we played on their field the other day,” an elated Brannigan said after the game. “I said to them our first objective is to score a goal. Just go out there and score a goal. So we took away a defender and we added a striker. When Nauset scored within the first minute you're like 'Oh, man. It's going to be another long day.’ But the guys just settled in.”

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Whaler head coach Rich Brannigan II was all smiles after Tuesday's victory over Nauset. Photo by David Creed
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Photo by Chris Tran

Junior Jose Diaz tied the game in the 13th minute. He continues to be the Whalers top goal scorer on a consistent basis. Edin Vasquez, a senior striker, gave Nantucket a 2-1 lead in the 41st minute that they would take into halftime.

“It was good to see Edin get back on the board because he is sort of turning into our primary target of a striker where Jose is a different type of player,” Brannigan said. “Jose finds little channels and is opportunistic. Edin is a bigger guy and he sort of finds and wins 50/50 balls. Now he's starting to include his wing players and his midfield players as well.”

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Denzel Tejada jumping on the back of Edin Vasquez during Tuesday's game against Nauset. Photo by Chris Tran

Junior midfielder Jake Johnson extended Nantucket’s lead to 3-1 in the 58thminute. Johnson began the year red hot with a three-goal game against Rising Tide in the season opener, but had not scored since. Brannigan said he was another player he was very happy to see back on the scoresheet.

“Some of the main guys that you want to see scoring goals did today,” Brannigan added.

Alex Ivilov was in net for the Whalers. He wasn’t too busy on Tuesday, but made several quality saves at important moments of the game.

“He didn't have a ton to do but he made a couple of important saves in that second half, and he was quick off of his line,” Brannigan said of Ivilov. “He wasn't waiting for the referees whistle and he made a couple of good reaction saves where the referee ended up blowing it offside on maybe one or two of them, but those were big. That's the mentality of the goalie. You have to stay focused for the entirety of the play year. Alex played a very good game.”

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Sophomore Alex Ivilov. Photo by Chris Tran
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Photo by Chris Tran

Brannigan said his midfield led by Johnson and fellow junior Ryan Coleman was sharp. All in all, he said it was a day where it was hard to find anything to criticize.

“I liked almost all of our players who played today. I was just a little worried about our back group all game,” Brannigan said. “On a flat day without this wind, it would have felt different. But the 50/50 balls, the bouncing balls and trying to figure out when that ball is in the air what it's doing, that's really hard to do. So the defending crew did their job, but there were a few scenarios that I was concerned about that were probably weather related.”

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Photo by Chris Tran
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Photo by Chris Tran

The Whalers are now 3-2-2 this season and will look to carry this momentum into a home matchup with the Dennis-Yarmouth Dolphins on Thursday, September 28 at 4 p.m.

Golf Continues Strong Play In Win Over Sturgis West

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Photo by Chris Tran

The Whaler golf team continued their strong play on Tuesday, beating the Sturgis West Navigators at home 238-283.

The Whalers were led by senior Henry Kathawala once again, who shot a 35 for the second consecutive match. Other scores included senior Colby O’Keefe, who shot a 37, which is a personal best for him.

Cole Chambers shot a 41.

Ryan Davis shot a 41.

Paddy Carroll shot a 42.

Mike Culkins shot a 42.

Braden Knapp shot a 43.

Jack Halik shot a 46.

“I couldn’t be happier with the output right now,” head coach Sam Herrick said of his team’s play. “Not only are the boys playing good golf, but for the most part they’re playing smart golf. They’re limiting the ‘hero’ shots and making good decisions.”

The golf team is now 6-2 this season and their next match is scheduled for Thursday, September 28 on the road against Cape Cod Academy at 3:30 p.m. This will be the second meeting between the two schools. Nantucket beat CCA 258-275 on September 12.

Girls Cross Country Wins, Boys Lose In Road Meet

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Photo by Chris Tran

The Whaler girls cross country team beat the Monomoy Sharks 26-29 Tuesday afternoon while the boys lost to the Sharks 31-25.

Nantucket’s girls team was without despite without Bailey lower and Chloe Girvin in this meet – two of the Whaler’s top runners. Head coach Lisa Wisentaner said they are typically the team’s number two and number three runners.

“I talked with the girls team before the meet and said if we wanted a chance to win, everyone would need to step up and they did just that,” Wisentaner said. “Hannah Harrington took her third straight win and Kaitlyn Harrington cut over a minute from her previous time for a solid effort as our 2nd runner – finishing fourth place overall.”

Wisentaner said that eighth grader Keegan Farrell also achieved her best time of the season and finished in sixth place overall. Andrea Bunlerssak and Sianna Ivilova rounded out the top five runners and also finished with their best times of the season to date.

As for the boys they were missing Gus Barber, who is Nantucket’s number three runner. Wisentaner said had they had Barber, she felt like his presence would have given them a solid chance at winning.

Senior captain Rory Murray won for a third straight meet with a time of 19:42, which is the best of his season. Dorian Manov continued to be a solid second runner and finished third overall with a best time of the season. Finley Seip, Numa Solano, and Justice Kyomitmaitee rounded out the top five for Nantucket. Wisentaner said that all three of them also dropped significant time and hit season best times.

The Whalers next meet will be Tuesday, October 3 at home against the Rising Tide Herons.

Field Hockey Ties SJP 0-0

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Photo by Chris Tran

The Whaler field hockey team tied St. John Paul II 0-0 Tuesday afternoon. The result was the second straight tie of the season for Nantucket, who is now 2-2-2 this year. Their next game will be on Friday, September 29 on the road against Sturgis East at 4 p.m.

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Photo by Chris Tran
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Photo by Chris Tran

Girls Soccer Loses To Nauset

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Photo by Chris Tran

The Whaler girls soccer team was without two of their top players once again in Adney Brannigan and Claire Misurelli Tuesday afternoon against Nauset on the road, and they struggled without their presence and lost 11-0 to the Warriors.

Nantucket is now 3-4 this season. They will try to get back to the .500 mark on Thursday, September 28 on the road against the Dennis-Yarmouth Dolphins at 4 p.m.


Wednesday, September 27:

The volleyball team will be on the road today taking on the Dennis-Yarmouth Dolphins at 3:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 28:

The boys soccer team will be at home taking on the Dennis-Yarmouth Dolphins at 4 p.m.

The girls soccer team will be on the road facing the Dolphins at 4 p.m.

The golf team will be on the road to take on the Cape Cod Academy Seahawks at 3:30 p.m.

For more sports content, follow our Current Sports Instagram page here. More photos from Friday's golf match - taken by Current photographer Chris Tran - are below.

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