Monomoy Field Hockey At The Head Of Its Class

By: Brad Joyal

Topics: Field Hockey , School Sports

Monomoy senior captain Caroline DiGiovanni possesses the ball during Saturday’s game. BRAD JOYAL PHOTO

HARWICH – Before the Monomoy field hockey team began its season, Kathryn Andreoli, the Sharks’ new coach, stressed the importance of conditioning. 

​“She pushes us a lot,” junior Helen DiGiovanni, a Harwich resident, said of Andreoli. “We run so much. We do running on the weekends when we have no practice just to make sure we’re conditioned. It helps a lot.”

​All of that conditioning was on full display Saturday afternoon when the team ran past Cape and Islands League foe Dennis-Yarmouth for a 4-0 victory — a noticeable improvement from the 3-2 win the Sharks eked out against the Dolphins when the rivals met Sept. 29 at D-Y.

​“It’s showed in this game and the Nauset game this week — we’re outrunning teams and these girls are really starting to reap the benefits of their hard work,” Andreoli said, referencing the Shark’s 2-0 victory over Nauset on Oct. 13.

​With Andreoli at the helm, this year’s Monomoy team has been among Cape Cod’s best. The squad improved to 11-2-1 on Monday following a 6-1 victory over Sturgis East — the latest of many lopsided wins the Sharks have earned this fall.

​Part of the team’s success stems from its offense — Monomoy has outscored opponents 50-12 through 14 games — though the winning has truly been a result of complete team efforts.

​“This year we’re definitely very offensively strong, but our defense has been getting a lot better and we’ve been getting used to working with each other a lot better,” said senior Caroline DiGiovanni, Helen’s older sister.

​The elder DiGiovanni entered this season as the league’s two-time defending Most Valuable Player and has continued to live up to the hype. She leads the team with nearly 30 goals and scored all four in Saturday’s win over the Dolphins. 

​Andreoli said having a talent like DiGiovanni helped with the transition of taking over a new team.

​“She’s an excellent athlete,” Andreoli said. “I’ve actually never seen anyone like her. She’s dynamic — she’s fast, she’s tough, she’s got great stick skills. She’s obviously a standout athlete and to have her as a captain leading this team, I’m very lucky to have that as a first-year coach. She’s unstoppable if you ask me.”

​The DiGiovanni sisters aren’t the only pair familiar with each other, however — Helen pointed out the two sisters play on the Cape Cod Field Hockey club team alongside junior Carly Dimock and freshman Emily Layton. She said that familiarity has also translated to the Sharks.

​“I feel like we all work really well together because we’ve been playing together for years,” Helen DiGiovanni said. 

​Even with all of the talent the team possesses, Monomoy’s success is also a result of the team’s approach. All it takes is a few minutes of watching the Sharks to understand that they approach the game with a competitiveness that separates them from their opponents.

​Andreoli said the fact that they play with an edge — and want to get better — makes the group a joy to coach.

​“These girls are very motivated,” she said. “They want to win and they want to play well, and that’s what is so awesome about coaching this group. There’s never really a day that they don’t want it. I tell them it doesn’t matter what the score is, every quarter is a new quarter.”

​All of the extra conditioning and the team’s determined work ethic has made a difference. As the regular season winds down, the Sharks look like one of the teams to beat in Division 4.

​In fact, as of press time, Monomoy sits atop the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s power rankings for Division 4 teams. The new power ranking system was introduced this year and will be used to determine seeding in the postseason tournaments.

​Andreoli said the high ranking is a thrill, but noted it’s really just a result of the hard work her team continues to put in. ​

“I didn’t know what to expect as far as all of the rankings go — when I started, I just wanted to help keep the team together and figure out how to run the practices,” Andreoli said. 

The coach is confident about what the Sharks might accomplish the remainder of the season due to the way the team continues to make strides each time it takes the field.

​ “This team continues to impress me every game,” Andreoli said. “I have seen such a difference since the beginning — their skill level has gone up, their speed and the camaraderie of the team is just so great. I’m so lucky to coach these girls because they’re very teachable and they’ve taken all of the things I’ve taught them and put them into play.”

Email Brad Joyal at Twitter: @BradJoyal