NORWELL – The word “quit” wasn’t in the Monomoy field hockey team’s vocabulary. The Sharks were among the state’s most relentless teams this season. When they were faced with adversity, they would dig deep, dial up another level of intensity, and get themselves out of trouble.
The team’s no-quit persona was on full display until the final game of the season.
Despite overcoming a two-goal deficit against fourth-seeded Ipswich, No. 1 Monomoy’s season ended Nov. 16 with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Tigers in the Division 4 state semifinal at Norwell High School.
“I’m so proud of this team,” Monomoy’s first-year coach Kathryn Andreoli said after the game. “I don’t care what the score was, these girls played with their whole hearts. That’s all that I can ask for as a coach, that they came out and tried their hardest and they wanted it so bad. I’ve never seen a game like that — ever — to have it go to the end like that was a culmination of our hard work all season.”
Ipswich clinched the victory once its junior Chloe Pszenny scored on Monomoy’s senior goaltender Caroline Upson in the final round of the shootout. Linde Ruitenberg and Ella Vogler also scored for the Tigers in the shootout, while seniors Caroline DiGiovanni and Isabella McMahon were credited with shootout goals for the Sharks.
The outcome was filled with heartbreak and even a bit of controversy. Monomoy had another goal taken off the board during the shootout after it was determined the team shot out of order.
“I don’t believe it was communicated to me up front,” Andreoli said of the infraction. “It was just an unfortunate circumstance because we played really well.”
Monomoy needed to erase a 2-0 deficit to force overtime long before the shootout. Following first-half goals by Ipswich’s Estelle Gromko and Ruitenberg, the Sharks finally got on the board less than three minutes into the second half when eighth-grader Samantha Clarke redirected a shot by DiGiovanni into the net to make it 2-1 with 12:52 left in the third quarter.
The teams were scoreless for almost the next 30 minutes. It wasn’t until time completely ran out before Monomoy netted the equalizer, as freshman Emily Layton scored off a corner penalty to tie it at 2 with no time remaining at the end of regulation. The teams played two scoreless 10-minute overtimes before beginning the shootout. In the end, Monomoy finished its season with a 15-4-2 record.
“The fact that we made it all here, and then we were down 2-0 and came back, I’m just really proud of the girls and how we played,” said DiGiovanni, who was named the Cape and Islands League’s co-Most Valuable Player alongside Barnstable’s Reagan Hicks. “We played the entire game — we can’t really do much about the shootout. I’m just proud of how we are as a team and how far we made it.”
DiGiovanni leaves the Sharks as one of the most dominant players the Cape has ever seen after scoring 45 goals this fall. Although the team will certainly miss her scoring production and leadership skills, the season-ending loss predicted a bright future for Monomoy, which saw both of its goals in regulation come from underclassmen.
“This year we definitely did a lot of rebuilding,” DiGiovanni explained. “I feel like next year they’re going to get some more girls and they are going to get older. I see a bright future for next year.”
“I’m really proud of the younger girls that stepped up,” added Andreoli. “We had some younger girls step into roles they didn’t plan to do, and it just shows how talented a program we have here at Monomoy. Unfortunately, some circumstances don’t work out in our favor, but I think the way the girls played and the way they stepped into their roles is so inspiring.”
When asked what she’ll remember most about this year’s team, the first-year coach pointed toward the Sharks’ intangibles.
“Their heart, their passion and their drive to succeed,” Andreoli said. “You can’t teach that stuff. I’m really honored to be their coach.”
Email Brad Joyal at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @BradJoyal