HARWICH ─ After a lackluster first half, the Monomoy girls field hockey team burst into the second half of Saturday's game against Plymouth North with gusto to earn a 4-0 non-league victory.
The win came a few days after what head coach Cheryl Poore said was one of the best played and toughest losses of the season, a 1-0 outing against Barnstable, which she said was behind the Sharks' dispirited opening frame on Saturday.
“They were flat the first half, but you can expect that after the game we had against Barnstable,” Poore said. “I mean, that game was one of the best displays of athleticism I've ever seen on both teams, but we dominated, and then for Barnstable to get that one break and score, emotionally my kids were flat.”
The break came near game's end last week when the Raiders snuck in a late goal to claim the win, one of Monomoy's only losses all season.
The Sharks fared better on Saturday, especially after regrouping at the half, at which point Monomoy held a 1-0 edge, the lone goal scored by Carlee Tolley on a penalty shot just half a minute into game play.
Following the break, however, the Sharks were revived, netting three goals, two pretty much consecutively. The first came from Tolley at 24:52 to put Monomoy ahead 2-0, before Hannah Potter netted the second at 23:02 to give the Sharks a solid edge.
“Hannah Potter, today she really passed. She realized it's coming back to her so she'd have a better shot,” said Poore.
Tolley scored the game's final goal, and earned herself the hat trick, with a successful shot at 20:51.
Defensively, Poore said her squad was spot on, preventing Plymouth North from a single shot on goal or corners throughout the entire game, unfortunately leaving goalie Tessa Richardson with little to do than cheer on her teammates.
“I think our defense is playing so much better. We've made huge changes, and it's given Tessa as a rookie so much confidence to step up,” said Poore, who also gave kudos to the Plymouth North team. “I see a lot of potential in Plymouth North. They're smart passers, they use their wings well, they get the ball, they do give-and-goes, and we weren't adjusting at first to that.”
Monomoy played another strong game against Sandwich on Monday, but a late goal by the Blue Knights resulted in a 1-1 tie between the teams.
The Sharks took a 1-0 lead at the tail end of the opening half on a nice goal from Potter, a loose ball she sent into the net on a deflected penalty shot by Carly Donovan.
Monomoy held fast to their lead thanks to strong play from Colleen Cronin, until Sandwich snuck in a shot just before the final horn.
Poore said the next week-plus is going to be a real run for her team and features some of the toughest competition of their season.
“What we're trying to do is decide how to be ready with the schedule we've got for the end of the year,” she said. “It's all Division 1 teams, and we've got 12 days without a break, and I think that's in their heads even though we tell them 'one game at a time.'”
Fortunately, with the shutout against Plymouth North, the Sharks earned a spot in the post-season and are now vying for home field advantage.
“We're in the tourney, and have at least a piece of the (Cape and Islands) championship,” said Poore. “Now we're playing for home games for the tourney.”