HARWICH – The Monomoy boys soccer team hoped that a 4-1 victory against St. John Paul II on Oct. 1 would turn things around, but their season of struggle continued last week with a tough 3-1 loss to Sandwich on Oct. 3, putting the pressure on the Sharks regarding upcoming games as they compete for a spot in the playoffs.
Although the home team Sharks controlled a fair amount of the on-field action as game play got underway, the Blue Knights took an early lead with a goal at 23:02 in the first half. Monomoy’s AJ Williams then tied the game at 1-1 when he converted a pass from teammate Troy Olson at the 32-minute mark, with the Shark defense keeping the visiting Sandwich squad away from the net until the break.
But the second half proved Monomoy’s undoing as the Blue Knights scored twice in the frame, the first coming at 31 minutes into the half, and the second three minutes later, putting the game away for good.
“I thought we played well, a decent performance,” said Monomoy head coach Keith Clark. “We looked good early on. We controlled the tempo, but can't seem to generate enough dangerous opportunities in the final third. Then, if you don't get those chances, you get hit on the counter attack and fall behind.”
Clark said the final third of games has been his team's point of struggle throughout the season.
“That's a little bit of the way it's been lately,” he said. “We've been playing decent soccer, been knocking around, good possession, decent territory, but in the final third we just haven't been able to generate enough good, clear chances.”
Clark said he felt the score flattered the visiting Blue Knights as he thought it was an evenly played game.
“It was a close game and we certainly had our chances,” he said. “But [we were not] able to capitalize on our chances and were a little bit vulnerable to a counter attack.”
Coach Clark gave a nod to Troy Olson for his work “up and down the flank,” along with Sam Higgins, who “helped distribute the ball,” and center back Wes Ulrich.
“Overall, I think everybody contributed and played well enough,” he said. “I just think those guys were probably a little special today.”
The Sharks fared much better two days prior when they traveled to Sandwich to face the St. John Paul II Lions, coming away with a 4-1 Cape and Islands League victory that saw four different players find the back of the net.
Williams kicked off the scoring just seven minutes into game play, with SJP2 responding less than a minute later to tie the game, but a goal from Sam Chase just around the 15-minute mark gave Monomoy back the lead. Olson then extended Monomoy's edge with his goal at 35:00, which put the Sharks ahead 3-1 heading into halftime.
The lead proved a nice cushion for the Sharks, which saw Sam Higgins score the final goal of the outing in the second half, while Monomoy’s defense, including Trey Cox, Ryan Meehan, and Wes Ulrich, continued thwarting any scoring efforts on the part of the Lions. Monomoy goalkeeper Sean Deveau had seven saves in net.
“We were hoping to get a little bounce out of that,” said Clark. “That was a game where we scored four and hit the crossbar twice, so we felt like we were getting more of an attack. But against these stronger, athletic, bigger school teams we have difficulty breaking down their back line.”
At press time Oct. 8 the Sharks were set to travel to Yarmouth to face Sturgis East, with whom the Sharks played to a 1-1 tie in September. This afternoon Monomoy travels to Falmouth Academy for a 4:30 p.m. game, with the Sharks returning home Oct. 15 to host Cape Cod Academy, also at 4:30 p.m.
“We need to make a move in the league now,” said Clark. “We can. We're as good as everyone else in the league, if not better, but early on we didn't score in our chances against those other teams, so we've got a little hole to dig out of.”