Monomoy Girls Lacrosse Hopes Increased Turnout Paves The Way For A Special Season

by Brad Joyal

HARWICH – A year ago, Brendan Purcell was trying to become familiar with the Monomoy girls lacrosse players as he prepared for his first season leading the program.

After guiding the team to a 16-4 record and a trip to the second round of the Division 4 state tournament, Purcell is eager to spring back into action and is hopeful that the Sharks will take another step forward this season.

“I think last year coming in was a bit of a whirlwind,” said Purcell. “This year, I was able to plan things out a little bit more. I’m really excited for the season because I feel like we have higher expectations. I have higher expectations for myself this year.”

Although the team lost two key contributors from last season in graduated seniors Lucy Mawn and Angelina Beasley, the rest of the team returns while the program also continues to grow.

“A few years ago, we only had 20 or 30 people,” said senior captain Karah Deveau, a Harwich resident. “I started captain’s practices this year and we had 45 people at the first one. It’s a lot of people, and a lot of them have potential.”

In addition to having Deveau — the team’s returning scorer — back at midfield, Purcell said senior Susannah Brown and junior Lucy Bates will help solidify the midfielders. Behind them, senior goaltender Victoria Letendre returns after a big junior campaign.

“She had a phenomenal year last year,” Purcell said. “She hit 200 saves pretty early in the year.”

Purcell said one aspect of this year that he wanted to tweak after his debut season was the team’s schedule. Despite finishing last year with a 15-3 regular season mark, the Sharks were ranked No. 17 in the state tournament and were forced to go on the road to Lynnfield in the opening round.

Although the team took care of business and earned an 8-5 victory over Lynnfield before suffering a 17-5 season-ending loss at Ipswich, Purcell is hopeful that a tougher regular season schedule will help increase the Sharks’ standing in the power rankings this spring.

“We just missed having a home game,” Purcell said. “So, this offseason I was proactive and we were trying to get games against teams that were ranked higher last year. That way hopefully we’ll get a home game to start the playoffs.”

“We were this close to a home game,” added Deveau. “We were literally one goal off. I think it would be really good for us to get a home game — I think it would [boost] people's confidence. If we won that, it would just get even better.”

Deveau said she’s optimistic about this season and said it should help that the players have gained a year of familiarity playing for Purcell.

“Last year we had a really good year — the best one that we’ve had so far as a team,” she said. “I feel like this year we’re going to be even better just because he’s had the experience of coaching us for a year and we have the experience of playing for him.”

Monomoy will host Martha’s Vineyard in its season opener at 4 p.m. April 2.