HARWICH ─ After dropping five recent games, the formidable footwork of Monomoy senior Akeem Bucknor lifted the Sharks to a much-needed 5-1 win against Sturgis West last Thursday, with Bucknor netting each of his team's goals in the outing.
“It was important for us to play well and get a win today after losing five matches on the trot,” said Monomoy head coach Keith Clark. “I was waiting to see what our reaction would be after a bad loss on Tuesday at Rising Tide. I was happy in the way that we responded today.”
The win qualifies the team for post-season play for the first time in Clark's four years at the helm, and the first time since the creation of the regional high school.
Bucknor put in his first goal in the fourth minute of the opening frame when he found an opening after receiving a nice pass from teammate Ben Thomas. Although the Navigators responded roughly five minutes later with their lone goal of the game, the remainder of the match belonged to Bucknor and his teammates.
Clark admits to feeling some anxiety when West evened the score.
“At that moment I was concerned that we may have lost confidence and it was going to be a long day,” he said. “[Especially with] West having played us tight in our first meeting and having already qualified for post-season play.”
Clark need not have worried, however, as Bucknor took the ball and ran with it, scoring two goals in less than a minute before adding a third two minutes later to make it 4-1 at the half.
At that point Clark was able to utilize nearly everyone on his squad, with strong play coming from a host of Sharks, including Karlill Bien Aimée, Ryan Neiser, Derron Morrison, Sam Chase, and Brian Butcher.
Roughly 16 minutes into the second half, Bucknor capped off his scoring run with goal number five, with Monomoy keeper Henry Watson making what Clark called “a couple of big saves” in the half to deny West any opportunities for a rally.
Clark also gave kudos to team captain Rudy Fratus and junior Sean Spies for their tireless efforts throughout the game.
“The dominant midfield play of captain Rudy Fratus and Sean Spies was the backbone of our success, as has been the case all season,” Clark said.
In nothing short of deplorable conditions on Friday night, the Sharks faced Sturgis East, playing to a scoreless draw. At press time Monomoy was set to travel to Cape Tech for their final game of the regular season. MIAA tournament seeds were expected to be completed sometime Nov. 2, which Clark was looking forward to.
“We still have two difficult matches remaining, and hope to win out,” he said. “And perhaps put us in a position to have a first round home match in the MIAA Division 4 tournament.”
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