Nauset-Monomoy Makes History With First Win Over Sandwich

by Brad Joyal
Monomoy sophomore Gaby Bassett high fives her teammates after netting the game-winning goal that lifted the Nauset-Monomoy girls hockey team to the program’s first victory over Sandwich. BRAD JOYAL PHOTOS
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BUZZARDS BAY – The roar when the team swarmed Nauset senior goaltender Olivia Avellar at the end of the game was a little bit louder than normal.

For the Nauset-Monomoy girls hockey team, some games mean more than others. The co-op squad’s tilt against Cape and Islands League rival Sandwich was among the games that packed higher stakes.

Monomoy sophomore Gaby Bassett scored the lone goal on a third-period power play with 9:14 remaining, and Avellar finished with 21 saves to help Nauset-Monomoy hold on for a 1-0 victory over Sandwich on Jan. 17.

The victory marked the first win over Sandwich for the Nauset girls hockey program, which was previously branded as the Cape Cod Furies and has been open to girls from Cape Cod Tech and Monomoy over the years.

“We obviously play a lot of good teams throughout the season from off-Cape and on the Cape, but sometimes when you see the same jersey over and over again and you’re used to them beating you, it kind of resonates in your head over time,” Nauset-Monomoy coach Zach Wells said. “For the girls to get that camel off their back, it’s a huge step forward for this group, the program itself, and it shows where this has come over the last few years.”

The game-winning goal was the latest heroics for Bassett, a Chatham resident, who Wells said had tallied nine goals in a three-game span. Her goal against the Blue Knights extended the Warriors’ win streak to nine games and propelled the team to a 10-1 record.

“I just shot it,” Bassett said of her goal, which came on a wrist shot from the slot after the she settled a pass in her skates before rifling a shot on goal. “It felt good to score.”

Avellar was perfect between the pipes, stopping each of the nine shots she faced during the final period en route to a shutout.

“I think she was extra dialed-in knowing what was at stake here,” Wells said of Avellar, a Boston University women’s soccer commit. “It’s her senior year and she wants to beat all of these teams on her last go-around and send all of these girls out on a positive note.”

Although Avellar admitted it was nerve-wracking to navigate a scoreless game against a stout opponent, she said her confidence in the team’s defense never wavered even during tense moments.

“I know the D is going to get their job done,” said Avellar, an Orleans resident. “I’m not worried about anything with us, I’m more worried about encouraging the forwards and getting something on the board.”

Nauset-Monomoy followed up the Sandwich result with a 2-2 tie against Falmouth on Saturday at Charles Moore Arena to bring its record to 10-1-1. The Warriors haven’t lost since Dec. 13, when they suffered their only blemish — a 5-2 defeat to Falmouth — on the road.

As the wins pile up, so too do the recognitions. The team was ranked fourth in Division 2 in the latest MIAA Power Rankings released on Jan. 19 and has hovered around the top teams since the MIAA began releasing its weekly rankings, which help determine postseason seeding.

“[The high ranking] is a good thing because it motivates the girls and they know they are doing well,” Wells said. “The record obviously shows it, but at the same time, it adds pressure because every game you have to view it as a must-win game if you want to move up in the rankings.”

Avellar said she’s hopeful that games like the Sandwich victory will help instill confidence that will carry over into the state tournament and help the Warriors reach the state final at TD Garden.

“I think it’s getting us ready for the Garden,” she said. “Hopefully that’s where we’re going to end up. I think these are the challenging games that are going to get us there in the end. Our attitude needs to stay consistent; the 10-0 wins are great, but the 1-0 games are the ones we need the most.”