HARWICH/OSTERVILLE ─ It's been a wild 2016 ride for the Monomoy girls varsity soccer team, whose season came to an end this week when they fell to Sturgis West in the MIAA Div. 4 South first round after defeating Bourne 4-2 in the preliminaries.
In spite of the loss, head coach Jenn Peterson was proud of her team's accomplishments.
“To go from never making the tournament to winning a game and getting this far, you have to look at the season as a success, even though it would have been nice to advance,” Peterson said.
Monomoy's busy weekend kicked off on Saturday afternoon when the No. 15 Sharks hosted the No. 18 Canalmen on their home turf. After a back-and-forth start, it was Monomoy that found its way through Bourne's defense, with Maggie Dever netting one of two goals she'd score in the game on a corner kick from teammate Abby Higgins.
The excitement continued for the Sharks when goalkeeper Josie Ganshaw demonstrating her quick reflexes by dashing out to stop a breakaway shot from Bourne's Abby Ariango that would have tied the game.
As fans cheered on their home team, the Sharks blew into the second half ready to go, with Higgins finding the net on a long kick to put Monomoy up 2-0. Seven minutes later, Dever netted her second goal of the game, blasting by Bourne's defense for a solo shot that made it 3-0 Sharks. Then, not even a minute later, Maddy Kavanaugh booted one in, much to the delight of her teammates, putting Monomoy ahead 4-0, a score the Sharks would preserve for a good while.
Bourne, however, wasn't finished and managed to get two shots past Ganshaw in goal, one from Tess McCabe and the second from Ariagno. Both goals served to put Monomoy on notice, inspiring them to combine forces to thwart any further scoring attempts as the clock drained on the team's first-ever tournament win.
“Saturdays game was fun,” said Peterson. “It was exciting to host a game. It was exciting to see the fans there and have that energy and see how our girls responded.”
Peterson praised her team for capitalizing on opportunities during the second half, leading to the win.
“From Maddy Kavanaugh coming off the bench and scoring right away to Abbie Higgins and Maggie Dever having fantastic games and putting the ball in the back of the net,” Peterson said. “We had a pretty all-around good game with everyone stepping up and playing well from our back to our goalie to our forwards. They put it all together.”
The win earned the Sharks a trip to Osterville on Monday to face No. 2 seed Sturgis West in the first round, a game that didn't go Monomoy's way in spite of a solid effort in the 4-1 loss.
The Navigators seized control early on, keeping possession near the Monomoy net for the majority of the opening half, taking the lead within the first 10 minutes of game play. West went up 2-0 on a penalty kick.
Monomoy, undaunted, roared into the second half determined to find the scoreboard, which it did when Higgins converted a pass from Tara Barry nearly eight minutes into the frame, narrowing West's lead to 2-1.
Unfortunately for Monomoy, in spite of stepped up Shark play, West went on to score twice more in the final half, bringing Monomoy's season to a close.
“Giving up an early goal was really tough,” said Peterson. “You come out excited and give up that early goal and you kind of deflate a little bit.”
Peterson acknowledged West's prowess.
“They're definitely a better team than Bourne,” she said. “They're a good team. In order to beat them, we'd have to play a really good game, capitalize on all opportunities and not give up any soft goals like we did. But I give my team credit for coming back in that second half and scoring their goal and making it 2-1.”
It was West's third goal, though, that hit the Sharks where it hurt.
“I thought that third goal was the absolute dagger, right after we scored,” said Peterson. “I think that was the killer. That was tough.”
Peterson had high praise for goalie Ganshaw, Barry, and Ganshaw's sister Katie.
“Josie handles herself really well, and she's mature for her age,” she said. “She's 12 and she's playing against 18-year-olds and you wouldn't know it just by watching so she always stands out. Then there was Tara Barry on the outside, and Katie Ganshaw in the back played really hard.”
Peterson said next year will likely be somewhat of a rebuilding year due to the loss of key seniors.
“Mostly we'll feel it in the back,” she said. “That will be the project for next year, where are we going to get defenders. We'll miss all of them, but we'll notice it in the back line the most.”
Overall, Peterson was impressed with her team's progress this season.
“They all played pretty well,” she said.