HARWICH – The Monomoy boys varsity lacrosse team was celebrating Monday night not only their big Senior Night win against Sturgis West but an even bigger victory against the D-Y Dolphins that gave the team its first-ever spot in the playoffs.
Fresh from their commanding Senior Night win against Sturgis West, the Monomoy Sharks played host to the D-Y Dolphins, seeking to avenge an earlier season loss, and boy did they.
Elijah Beasley led the way with four goals of Monomoy's 11-7 defeat of the Dolphins, with Owen Smith netting three, Connor Deveau two, and Connor Santoni and Rory Carpenter one each.
The win not only boosted the Sharks to an 8-6 overall record – 8-4 in the Cape and Islands League – but also secured them a spot in the postseason, the team's first-ever foray into the tournament.
Senior Night for high school sports teams often means the opportunity for the seniors on the roster to shine, but in the case of the Monomoy squad, things played out a little differently on May 10. After the soon-to-be graduates gave their team a noteworthy lead against Sturgis West, en route to an 18-7 victory, it was time to celebrate those who will take the program to new heights in the future.
Though the seniors were certainly on fire from the get go, it was sophomore Smith that found the goal first for the Sharks on an assist from senior captain Santoni after a bit of back to back play in the opening frame.
Two minutes later, as the fog began swirling across the pitch, Santoni sent in the second goal unassisted to put Monomoy ahead 2-0. Then Ben Thomas snagged possession of a faceoff, racing with the ball all the way to his own unassisted shot to give the Sharks a 3-0 lead. Santoni and Smith each added another two and Connor Deveau scored one of his own before the first quarter ended with Monomoy ahead 8-0.
The Sharks went on to add another five goals in the second, including a first-ever varsity shot from Riley Demanche on an assist from Santoni that set fans and teammates cheering. Also adding goals in the frame were Santoni from Kyle Charlot, Deveau unassisted, Santoni from Deveau, and Elijah Beasley from Jack Archibald, for a halftime score of 13-1, Monomoy.
At halftime each of the team's seniors was honored, with head coach John Kent offering personal anecdotes about each, including Demanche, Clay Howell, Trent Firth, Thomas, and Santoni, who was a founder of the inaugural program, originally played as a club sport before becoming an official part of the spring lineup.
“The seniors have set the tone both in practice and games,” said head coach John Kent. “Ben Thomas is a first-year player who's become a key member of our team offensively and defensively. Clay Howell gives us his all and has been a great role model for the younger players. Riley Demanche helps anchor our defense and takes faceoffs. It takes a special person to be asked to take something new on in senior year and succeed. Trent Firth is another one who sets an example every single practice and game, and he's fearless. Connor Santoni, senior captain, is a team leader on and off the field. He encourages his teammates to work to get better in practices and games.”
Santoni gave kudos to his teammates for the program's success, and their coaches, John Kent and Brendan Pursel, for their dedication.
“I would like to say how proud I am as a captain of my teammates, and how far they have come in four years,” Santoni said. “None of this would have been possible without them and I hope they realize how far we have all come. This year's team is so special because we finally have the coaching that brings us together!”
Kent also praised the efforts of Pursel, who, like himself, joined the Sharks for the first year.
“Assistant coach Brendan Pursel has been great as a mentor to the team and shares a lot of his lacrosse knowledge, and helps them focus,” said Kent. “I don't know where I'd be without him.”
For the game's remainder, though a senior or two rotated in here and there, play belonged mainly to the team's younger generation, much to the delight of their teammates and fans gathered to take in the game. Four goals were scored in the third quarter, and another one in the final frame, with Archibald, Rory Carpenter, and Ben Rounseville adding to the list of scorers. In the end, Santoni led with six goals and three assists, followed by Deveau with three goals and one assist, while Smith had three goals. Beasley had one goal and three assists, Carpenter one goal and two assists, Thomas and Archibald one goal and one assist each, and Demanche and Rounseville each had one.
In net for the Sharks was Firth, who made eight saves, while senior Clay Howell won seven faceoffs during the match. Defensively Howell, Cam Coomber, Charlot, and Tyler Crossen played solid games, while offensively the match allowed Tyler Potter, Tristan Coomber, Tommy Pandiscio, Damarr Beckford, and Dylan Meincke to gain some valuable playing time in which to show their strengths.
The excitement reached a fever pitch in the later minutes of the game when the aforementioned younger players stepped up, setting fans cheering wildly each time they gained possession and maneuvered the ball toward the goal. Teammates on the sidelines, meanwhile, were just as vocal, spurring on their fellow Sharks, excited by the possibility of someone scoring his first-ever varsity goal.
In spite of the game ending in a tough loss for West, the Navigators showed sportsmanship and complimented the talents of the Monomoy team, with more than a few nods going to Santoni for his tireless efforts in the game. Then, not once but twice, it was time for the Sharks to celebrate before wrapping up their regular season and prepping for tournament play.
“We have a really good team, a good group of kids, good character,” said Kent. “They practice hard and they play as they practice. Our goal has been to work and get better each and every day, and every one of the players have bought into that. I think anyone who has seen them has seen that. It was a big win for us last night and now we're back at it. Better today than yesterday and better tomorrow than today.”