HARWICH – After a tough start to their 2019 season, all the Monomoy boys varsity soccer team wanted was to make the playoffs. A stellar Senior Night performance against St. John Paul II offered a boost, but it was a scoreless tie against the D-Y Dolphins the following day that clinched the post-season berth.
Senior Night offered the team's future graduates a chance to shine, and shine they did, with the Sharks netting both of their two goals in the opening frame en route to a 2-1 victory against the Lions.
Senior AJ Williams scored both goals, each in spectacular fashion by way of leaping kicks above SJP2 goalie Colby August, the first coming at the 13th minute in the opening frame on an assist from senior Paul Reece.
Monomoy controlled a good deal of the opening action in the Oct. 24 game, which saw all nine seniors step in and step up for the entirety of the first half. After regaining possession of the ball from the Lions, Reece took off downfield, firing the ball to an open Williams who kicked it past August as he dove toward it, then hopped over the SJP2 goalkeeper to knock the ball home, giving the home team a 1-0 advantage.
The second goal unfolded in much the same way, this time with Matt Velasquez passing the ball to Williams, who again dodged August to put the ball in net, giving Monomoy a 2-0 lead at the 17-minute mark.
The Lions narrowed the Sharks' lead in the 39th minute when John Rezendes capitalized on an opening just prior to halftime, bringing the score to 2-1 at the whistle.
Following the break, Monomoy's traditional starters entered the fray, with Troy Olson trying valiantly for a goal in spite of numerous thwarted attempts. Meanwhile, Monomoy's defense upped its intensity, with Wes Ulrich, seniors Ryan Meehan and Sean Gould, and Trey Cox working hard to keep the Lions from putting the ball in net.
Gould had a scoring chance or two of his own, but neither team was able to find the net in the second half, which ultimately worked in Monomoy's favor, much to the delight of the team's seniors.
“It was definitely an emotional game,” said Meehan, one of the team's captains. “A lot of the seniors were really feeling it because if we didn't win this game we wouldn't go onto the tournament. It was really good to go out there and get the win.”
Fellow senior and captain Sam Chase said the goal was to make the playoffs in spite of the team's rough start.
“I think it's really something the team came all together for,” Chase said. “Even though we struggled at the beginning of the season, we really came together as a team and on the field to win all the games we needed to make the playoffs. It feels great. I think we've improved a lot as the season progressed. I didn't think we'd make the playoffs. Now, it's there and we fought for it.”
That playoff berth was clinched with the team's 0-0 tie with Dennis-Yarmouth on Oct. 25, largely due to the solid efforts of Sean Deveau in the Monomoy net. Deveau and the Shark defense, which included Meehan, Cox, Ulrich, and senior Trevor Russell, worked tirelessly to ensure that the Dolphins were kept off the scoreboard.
In spite of two close calls, one in which a ball swept above the crossbar over Deveau's head, and the other when a D-Y player's shot went wide, Monomoy remained focused, with Chase, Sam Higgins, senior Connor Deveau, and Duncan Ramler battling for ball control throughout the match.
Meehan said what he appreciates most about the 2019 Monomoy team is their bond.
“Especially this year what I'm going to miss the most is the family,” he said. “We were talking about it in the locker room. It's more like a family than a team at this point. We care about everything that happens. When someone gets hit, everyone's grades, tutoring each other, we're all there for each other this year.”
Monomoy was set to take to the road for its final regular season game against Nauset on Oct. 30, with seeds for the playoffs expected near the end of the week. Follow @ChroniKat on Twitter for updates.