Depth And Experience Proving Valuable For Monomoy Girls Soccer

By: Brad Joyal

Monomoy junior Melissa Velasquez, left, embraces senior Lexie Hyora after scoring Thursday. BRAD JOYAL PHOTO

HARWICH – The Monomoy girls soccer players feel like they are hitting their stride at the perfect time — right as the team is eyeing a playoff push.

The team showed its depth Thursday afternoon when it earned a 5-1 victory over Cape and Islands League Lighthouse Division rival Sturgis East in Harwich. Four different Sharks scored goals to help the team improve to 7-4 on the season.

“We’ve had pretty good depth,” Monomoy coach Jenn Peterson said. “Kate Gabri and Karah Deveau have been our leading goal scorers, but we see a lot of different people contribute.”

Neither Gabri nor Deveau scored in Thursday’s victory, but that didn’t stop the Sharks from putting up another big score. Monomoy’s first goal actually was the result of a miscue by Sturgis East, as a Storm defender accidentally kicked the ball into her own net while trying to clear it after a corner kick by the Sharks in the ninth minute of action.

Although Sturgis’ Abigail Jarvis buried a penalty kick to tie the score with 13:31 remaining in the first half, Monomoy answered with two minutes left in the period when senior Lexie Hyora scored from the top of the 18-yard box.

Hyora was one of two seniors to score — classmate Jade Kennedy made it 3-1 when she scored in the third minute of the second half — before freshman Lilly Furman and junior Melissa Velasquez both netted insurance goals later in the second frame.

Although Peterson said it’s been “sort of an up-and-down season” given the fact the team has pulled some upsets while losing other games it felt it should have won, Hyora, a Chatham resident, said she has felt the team has communicated better than previous teams.

“We’re the closest we’ve ever been as a team,” Hyora said. “We work together and we know how to communicate and work for each other. I just feel like we’re the closest and this is the best team we’ve had so far.”

One of the team’s biggest highlights for the seniors came Sept. 28 in a 4-3 victory over Sturgis West — a program Monomoy’s nine seniors hadn’t defeated during their four years with the program.

“That’s going to be a game that I remember for a really long time,” Hyora said of the thrilling victory over Sturgis West. “I’ve been on varsity since I was a freshman and we hadn’t beaten them in five years. They are our biggest competition every year and it was unreal actually feeling that win. It was so close and we scored in the last three minutes, so it was crazy.”

One of the newcomers on this year’s team is Kennedy, a recent Lower Cape transplant who moved to Chatham from Connecticut. She said it’s been an easy transition joining the Sharks because the team really is an accepting group of girls.

“I just moved here to the Cape, and being on a team with the majority being seniors feels really inclusive,” Kennedy said. “There’s definitely a family and community feel — it’s like it’s a family-oriented sport and it’s been really nice to see that come to life.”

Kennedy also added that the seniors feel comfortable when younger girls are asked to contribute in key moments.

“It’s really nice to know that if you sub out or some new players come on the field, they know what they’re doing, they know how to do it and they’re willing to put in the work to do it,” she said. “It’s really nice and comforting to feel like everyone is really a part of this team and there isn’t any one person that shines brighter than anyone else.”

In order for the Sharks to go on a deep postseason run, they will have to remained focused — even when they play lesser competition. Staying focused has been one obstacle this season, according to Peterson.

“When we play really good soccer and play hard, we can compete with anyone in our league,” she said. “But it’s finding that motivation. I feel like sometimes they wait until they’re down or for something to happen that motivates them rather than coming out hard in the beginning.”

Hyora agreed with her coach.

“It’s just all about our mentality and our confidence,” she said. “If we come to play and we’re ready and focused, then I feel like we can beat any team that we put our mind to. We just have to work together and make it happen.”

Email Brad Joyal at Twitter: @BradJoyal