HARWICH – New rules and a whole new way of playing the game didn’t seem to faze the Monomoy girls varsity field hockey team when they took on the Barnstable Red Raiders on Oct. 1, cruising to a 5-1 victory in their season opener.
Caroline DiGiovanni was in top form in the outing, netting four of the five goals scored by the home team. DiGiovanni scored her first goal of the game at 12:59 in the first half on an assist from Isabela McMahon.
From then on, the Sharks dominated the game, now played as seven-on-seven instead of 11 vs. 11 as traditionally played, the change reflective of COVID-19 protocols. Other changes include no corners and mandatory mask wearing for all players and fans.
DiGiovanni combined forces with sister Helen for goal number two at 6:33 in the opening frame, with Helen sending a nice pass to Caroline, who fired it into the box, putting the Sharks ahead 2-0 heading into the second quarter.
DiGiovanni struck again in the second on an assist from Carly Dimock, then netted her fourth goal roughly three minutes later, again on an assist from Helen DiGiovanni. Capping off the scoring was Amy Hinesley, who converted a pass from McMahon with just over a minute on the clock.
Meanwhile, it took the Red Raiders until late in the game to get past Monomoy goaltender Caroline Upson, a new player that joined the Sharks at the beginning of this season. Overall, Upson had five saves in net.
Also turning in stellar performances against Barnstable were Nikki Awalt, Elena Fritsch, and Ava Packett, with Awalt a defensive force as she rebuffed numerous attempts by the Raiders to approach the goal.
When asked about her team’s performance in their opening game, Monomoy head coach Jennifer Estes said that field hockey coaches in the Cape and Islands League collectively decided that given the altered game play and shortened season, none would be doing post-game interviews.
The Sharks had a much tougher go of things on Oct. 5 when Monomoy hosted rival Nauset in the Warriors season opener, with Nauset playing to a 3-0 shutout of the home team Sharks. Working in Nauset’s favor was speed and punishing defense.
Said defense saw every player stake a claim in front of the net each time Monomoy threatened, creating a barrier that proved impenetrable. Nauset also had speed on its side, proof that the sprints head coach Cheryl Poore favors during practices were paying off. On several occasions Nauset players blazed down the turf toward Monomoy’s goal, leaving the Sharks in a position of playing catch-up.
Junior forward Zoe Bates scored each of Nauset’s goals, earning herself a hattrick, with the first coming unassisted in the first quarter. Sophie Christopher had the assist on Bates’s second goal, giving the Warriors a 2-0 edge at halftime before Bates extended that lead in the second half on an assist from Julia Weiner.
The game marked the first time in net for Nauset goalkeeper Lea Kilpatrick, who had a strong performance that included six saves.
A frustrated Monomoy squad picked up the tempo a bit in the final frame, with Awalt again turning in a strong performance, but there was simply no getting past Nauset’s defense. The Sharks take on Sturgis East on their home turf tomorrow (Oct. 9) at 4:30 p.m., while the Warriors will travel to Barnstable for a 4 p.m. game against the Raiders.