HARWICH ─ Overcast skies couldn't dull the shine of the Monomoy girls soccer team on Saturday as the Sharks battled to a 1-0 non-league victory against Mashpee courtesy of an early goal from Maggie Dever and solid work by the team's defense.
“That was a good win,” said Monomoy head coach Jenn Peterson. “We scored early and then held on.”
Dever netted Monomoy's lone goal, the game winner, less than 10 minutes into game play when she saw an opening at the net and capitalized. From there, though the Sharks had a few more scoring chances, it was their defensive game that clinched the victory as players not only redirected the ball back into Monomoy territory, but Shark goalie Josie Ganshaw proved herself a force to be reckoned with in net, making more than a few stellar saves.
Peterson appreciated the early goal, noting that many of Monomoy's wins have come through late-game scores.
“It was nice to get the early goal and play up the rest of the game,” she said.
Then the game rested primarily on the shoulders of the defense, which rose to the occasion and kept the Falcons off the scoreboard.
“The defense has been strong all year,” Peterson said. “That was our big question mark coming in after we lost three or four starters in the back, so the fact that they've been strong and stayed so organized has been one of the keys to our success.”
Peterson gave post-game kudos to Dever and defenders Francesca Barr and Katie Ganshaw.
“I thought Maggie Dever, with the goal early, played well in the midfield for us,” Peterson said. “And the back line and our goalie continue to keep us in games. Cesca Barr and Katie Ganshaw on the defense have been our rocks this year.”
The Sharks were likely carrying over some of the momentum from their win against the Whalers two days prior when Monomoy bested Nantucket 2-1, this time with one of those aforementioned late-game goals.
This time the Shark finding the net was Abigail Higgins who put Monomoy ahead on a pass from Kelsey Olson with about 10 minutes left in the game.
Dever scored the opening goal for Monomoy in the first half on an assist from teammate Leah Nash, with Nantucket evening the score in the second half before the Olson-Higgins duo struck.
Though the team saw its undefeated status interrupted by a loss to Nauset on Monday night (Oct. 16), the team allowed just two goals to the non-league Warriors, seeing excellent play from Higgins, Nash, and Ganshaw in goal with nine saves overall.
The Sharks have clinched a spot in the postseason and are 10-1-2 overall and 7-0-2 in the Cape and Islands League. Peterson said that the team's winning season has been a big factor in their motivation each game.
“When I took over a few years ago, they hadn't won a game,” she said. “So this is a totally new thing for them. They know how it feels to be on the other side. This is a new feeling and I think they're taking pride in it. Taking pride in the fact that we're at the top of the league.”
Their coach said that playing non-league teams like Nauset and Mashpee is an excellent skill-builder as the postseason approaches.
“We play all these league games and I feel like the league games have all been competitive, but going forward you know you're going to get teams in the tournament that are really good,” Peterson said. “These are just teams that are going to show you where you are and what you have to do. These are the type of teams you're going to face when you get out of your league, and it's going to be important to know that you can play with them and have confidence.”
Next up for Monomoy is a home game against Cape Cod Tech on Oct. 21 with an 11 a.m. start, followed by an Oct. 23 travel game to Tech for a 4:15 start.