HARWICH – It's been a bit of a roller coaster week for the Monomoy girls varsity soccer team, which fell to Sturgis West and Nauset but sandwiched in a welcome victory against Martha's Vineyard.
The Sharks played tirelessly against the Navigators on Sept. 20, but one well-placed goal was all it took for the visiting Sturgis team to claim victory in a hard-fought, physical outing.
“We knew coming in it was going to be a good match,” said Monomoy head coach Jenn Peterson. “They're a good team in the league, and one of the teams in the last couple years that's been at the top.”
From the start, the Navigators pushed the Sharks to a highly competitive game in which every player on the pitch was forced to work. Although the visitors made it tough for Monomoy to maneuver the ball into scoring territory, the Sharks kept at it, with Leah Nash putting forth a solid defensive effort.
“I thought Leah Nash in the back was fantastic,” said Peterson. “They have some speedy forwards and she could keep up with them.”
Keep up with them she did, along with the majority of Shark defenders, preventing Sturgis from scoring throughout the entire first half.
“I thought all my defenders were good, especially some of the young ones like Lexi Hyora, starting for her first time, and Dakota Hesse,” Peterson said. “And the middle of the field often gets overlooked.”
Also instrumental in thwarting scoring chances was Monomoy goalie Josie Ganshaw, who remains a key factor in Monomoy's strength.
“Josie in goal was amazing,” said Peterson. “When she's called upon she's as solid as any keeper in the league. She's good to have back there.”
Unfortunately for the Sharks, a shot inside the far left post snuck past Ganshaw, giving Sturgis a 1-0 lead with a little more than 15 minutes left in regulation play. Monomoy's offense then went to work trying to even out the score, but time wasn't on their side.
“We knew coming in it was going to be tough, and it was exactly what I expected,” said Peterson. “We're probably a little better defensively and they're probably better offensively, so it just took that one goal. But overall I think it was a well-played game and evenly matched, and we get to play them again.”
The Sharks fared better when they faced Martha's Vineyard the following afternoon, coming away with a 2-1 win on the strengths of Abby Wallace and Kelsey Olson.
Wallace scored first in the outing, sending in a shot roughly a half hour into the first half on a pass from Katie Ganshaw, with Olson netting the second Shark goal less than 15 minutes later on a feed from Dakota Hesse to take a 2-0 edge into the break.
The Vineyarders narrowed Monomoy's lead slightly in the second with a goal of their own, but the Sharks held on, employing their steady defense to keep Martha's Vineyard at Bay while goalie Josie Ganshaw made two stellar saves in net.
On Monday afternoon the Sharks traveled to Eastham to face Nauset, falling 2-0. The Warriors' first goal came when Reagan Meehan rebounded her own shot into the net, with Katie Leland netting the second.
Next up, the Sharks face St. John Paul II on the road Oct. 1, with their next home game slated for Oct. 3 against Nantucket beginning at 4 p.m.