HARWICH ─ It was hot, humid, and not exactly pretty, but when the final whistle blew on the Monomoy boys varsity soccer team's first-ever Cape and Islands League game last Friday, the Sharks emerged victorious with a 1-0 win against Sturgis East.
The triumph came courtesy of senior forward Akeem Bucknor who found an opening in the midst of a scrum in front of the Sturgis net and took the shot, netting the only goal of the hard-fought game midway through the second half. Though Monomoy head coach Keith Clark would have liked a more dominant outing, but felt that between the heat and shaking off the summer rust his team's performance was challenged.
“I think our preparation really wasn't great today,” Clark said. “It was just one of those days when things didn't go quite how I wished early on.”
Clark said that the heat, intensified by high humidity, was definitely a factor in the outing.
“I think both teams used their bench extensively,” he said.
Though at times play was even, when the Sharks did have the ball in their possession, they worked to control it and keep it out of the hands of their opponents. Excellent work in goal by Ted Clifford and Henry Watson, who split the job between halves, prevented Sturgis from finding a spot on the scoreboard.
“Whenever you shut a team out you've got to thank your goalkeepers,” said Clark, who also praised the efforts of Bucknor and teammates Sean Spies and captain Rudy Fratus. “You've got to give it to Akeem for scoring the goal, and I would also say Sean Spies and Rudy Fratus were key for us in trying to hold the ball and keep possession a bit,” Clark said.
Clark said he expects senior goalie Nick Delande, who was seriously injured last season when he suffered a concussion after a knee to the face, to return to the net soon.
Next up for the Sharks is a home game against Falmouth Academy today at 4 p.m. in the Shark Tank, with Clark hopeful that his team's positive start leads to another win. Meanwhile, he's pleased with the first.
“We're happy to start with a win,” said Clark. “We're really kind of scrappy, but I think that happens early in the season. We've got a lot of new guys and we're young, so it's going to take a little while, but I was really proud at the end that they gutted it out and earned the victory.”
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