HARWICH –Between the implementation of a new offense and the return of a couple key contributors, it almost feels as though Monomoy is fielding an entirely different boys lacrosse team than the one it had last spring.
After struggling to score goals and manufacture victories a year ago, the Sharks have been re-energized by the return of seniors Jake Burnie and Tommy Pandiscio, who were both sidelined last spring after sustaining season-ending knee and wrist injuries, respectively.
“The practice before our first game, [Burnie] tore his ACL,” Pandiscio said. “I went out there in the first quarter [of the first game] and broke my wrist. Our culture, that fire, was kind of gone last year. But this year, the energy and our family, we’re together.”
Along with classmate Tristan Coomber, the three seniors from Harwich have helped Monomoy experience an instant turnaround. The trio played some of its best lacrosse of the young season Friday afternoon as they combined to score 17 goals during the team’s 18-6 rout of Bourne at Monomoy Regional High School.
Although the Sharks pulled away to improve to 3-0, they did need to overcome a slow start. The visiting Canalmen jumped out to a 2-0 lead before eventually taking a 7-5 deficit into halftime.
Monomoy then lit up the scoreboard in the final 24 minutes after finding another gear during the intermission.
“We just poured it on today,” Pandiscio said. “We played a game yesterday and we were a little flat-footed, a little sore. But we just came in the second half; we knew that we were the better team, we just fought and racked up the goals.”
Even though the offensive firepower has been with the Sharks from the start — they cruised to an 11-3 victory over Dennis-Yarmouth in their season opener on April Fool’s Day — Burnie, Pandiscio and Coomber said they feel as though the team really hit its stride late last week when they earned a 16-9 win over Falmouth Academy one day before thumping Bourne.
Monomoy coach John Kent agreed, noting that he was impressed with the way the team overcame adversity early against Bourne.
“I loved the way they responded,” Kent said. “They respond really well to coaching and they have a lot of desire and intensity — that’s all I can ask for. They are a great group of kids and they really want it.”
In addition to the strong play of Burnie (eight goals, two assists), Pandiscio (five goals, four assists) and Coomber (four goals, two assists), freshman face-off specialist Tamer Khalil recorded a goal and two assists.
As dominant as their offense has been, the Sharks aren’t only focused on offense. Kent was quick to credit the team’s defense and singled out the final line of defense — senior Josh Lovely — for the way he has started the season.
“He had never played lacrosse before last year, so he made a big jump,” Kent said of Lovely, who made eight saves in the Bourne win.
There is still a long way to go before the state tournament, though Monomoy has its sights set on reaching the big stage. In the meantime, though, Coomber said the players are taking the success in stride after struggling last spring.
“It definitely feels a lot better,” he said. “It felt like this team is proving something.”
Kent said his players’ desire to leave it all on the field makes sense after all they have gone through.
“We have something to prove — we weren’t a good team last year,” the coach said. “It’s like this is our time. The guys that were out injured realized how fleeting this can sometimes be. This is the opportunity and you have to take advantage of the opportunity because you’ll never know when you’ll have it again.”
When asked about his goals for the remainder of the season, Pandiscio was quick to succinctly sum up the team’s feelings.
“We just don’t want to lose,” he said.
Email Brad Joyal at firstname.lastname@example.org.