HARWICH – The Monomoy girls varsity field hockey team has opened its 2019 season in a big way with impressive victories against Barnstable and Dennis-Yarmouth. The team's captains, who have played together for four years, say it's all about determination and connection.
Making key connections on the field led Monomoy to a thrilling 2-1 victory on Monday afternoon in South Yarmouth as the Sharks upset the defending State Champion Dolphins, bringing their record to 2-0. The captains noted that the team is just getting started.
“It does not stop here,” said Holly Evans, one of five seniors on the team, and one of the team's four captains.
When the team got off to a slow start in the first half, head coach Jennifer Estes called a time out that she felt gave the Sharks a spark, ultimately leading to Monomoy's first goal, and the first goal of the game, scored by Caroline DiGiovanni on a nice assist from teammate Carly Dimock with a little more than 11 minutes left in the first half.
“I think we started off a little bit slow. It was an adjustment to this grass and this field,” Estes said. “Obviously we're used to playing on turf, so anytime we play on grass it is an adjustment, but the minute I took that time out we completely switched it and it kind of lit a fire under them.”
That fire continued to burn even after the Dolphins tied the score with a goal of their own just before halftime, but after the half the Sharks kept up their intensity, with Nikki Awalt and team captain Jess Currie instrumental on defense.
“From the start of the game to the end, Jess cut to the ball, moved to the ball, and was consistently aggressive and intense, and I think that helped the rest of the team,” said Estes of Currie's efforts. “And Nikki was fantastic on defense. She comes out of nowhere with these stick saves. She's amazing and brings her hockey skills to field hockey.”
With the score still knotted at 1-1, the Sharks worked to redirect play toward the D-Y goal, finding success in the latter part of the second half when stellar teamwork led to the game-winning goal. With 11:57 left in regulation play, senior captain Ali Barrett executed a nearly perfect pass to Dimock at the post for the score, with Monomoy's solid defense ensuring a Shark victory.
“Ali's pass to Carly on that last goal was beautiful,” Estes said. “We're seeing each other in ways that we didn't last year and really making plays for ourselves.”
Monomoy opened its 2019 season last week with a 1-0 victory against Barnstable, with DiGiovanni netting an unassisted goal, with goalkeeper Caitlin Bouvier making four key saves in net to help the Sharks hang on for the win.
“I don't think we've ever beat Barnstable or D-Y in my whole high school career,” said Currie. “It feels amazing.”
While the captains each have their motivational sayings—for Evans it's “Energy creates energy” and “intensity all the time,” and for Barrett it's “Adversity builds champions”—the quartet of captains said what's behind the team's success this season is its bond.
“In my opinion we're more of a family than we are a team,” said Sarah Babb.
“A better family than we've ever been any of the years we've played,” added Evans. “We had a lot of adversity last year. But look where it has us now.”
Barrett said the team is benefiting from its diversity.
“We have so many young players,” she said. “Our two goal scorers, Caroline DiGiovanni and Carly Dimock, Caroline is a sophomore and Carly is only a freshman, so it's kind of cool to see them take the lead. We're all playing like such a team out there.”
“I think we have a lot of talent,” said Currie. “We're one big family and we just have each other's backs.”
The success they've enjoyed in their opening games is something that the senior captains have been working toward for a long time.
“We've been waiting for this since our eighth grade year,” Barrett said.
“We've been learning from all the past captains we've ever had and are just kind of emulating what they did,” said Evans. “We're not just basing off that; we're growing off that.”
Estes said the leadership of her captains plays a big role in firing up the team.
“I want to compliment their leadership,” she said. “They've helped build that. They're all leaders in separate and great ways. I think a lot of younger players can idolize them and see themselves in them, which has really been impactful.”
The team, she said, is finding strength in unity, as evidenced by two determined wins.
“They all played for each other,” Estes said. “They play for each other every single game and no one ever gives up. Any time they're on the field they're pushing 100 percent.”
“This is going to be a great season,” said Babb.
The Sharks next had their sights set on a Sept. 11 home game against Nauset (6 p.m.), with another home game today (Sept. 12) against Falmouth at 4 p.m. On Monday (Sept. 16) the Sharks host Sturgis West, also at 4 p.m.