Joan Harris, contributing writer
The Nantucket girl’s soccer team made a concerted effort to be successful in their division this season, with strong strides from starting seniors like Ava Mosscrop (left defense), Caroline Correia (center-back), and Evelyn Fey (midfield and attack). Versatility is a strong point among the girls, and senior co-captain Sarah Hanlon (midfield and defense) and sophomore Lauren Cutone (midfield and defense) are perfect examples of this. Their ability to excel in multiple positions on the field is just one of the reasons why the ladies continued pushing, despite disheartening results.
The start of the year was difficult, as with most sports coming off of a faulty 2020 fall season, where playing was limited. “This year was an adjustment,” Sarah Hanlon explained. “At the beginning of the season only four of my teammates had ever played on a varsity soccer team. This meant that we had a very new team that wasn’t used to playing with each other.” To overcome this obstacle, Hanlon says they made it a priority to bond with each other on and off the field, creating everlasting friendships.
In previous years, the girl’s soccer program has been distinctly competitive, limiting the numbers of freshmen and sophomores able to play on the Varsity team, which starkly contrasted the 2021 season; eight of nineteen players this year were underclassmen. This fact does not take away from the overall skill of the team, however. Senior Emerson Milne pointed to freshman Adney Brannigan as an exceptional player and goal scorer who “is sure to lead the team in a big way next year when the seniors leave.”
Even with the discernible obstacles the ladies were forced to overcome in the beginning, they finished out the season with serious improvements, a true testament to their dedication and tenacity, as well as to the coaching staff’s abilities. The team is guided by head-coach Brian King and assistant Shelley Brannigan. Hanlon commented: “Our coaches did a great job motivating us to play and keeping morale high. They allowed us to enjoy each practice with one another.”
On September 11th, Nantucket suffered a crushing 0-6 loss to East Bridgewater. However, in their rematch on October 23rd, the ladies were able to halve their opponent’s score and end the game 0-3. Though they still lost, their drive led them to keep the score closer, a small victory. Improvement in performance after a previous defeat recurred throughout the entire season. Another example is the Whaler’s 0-3 loss to Falmouth on September 21st, but followed by a 0-0 tie on October 14th.
Hanlon believes these improvements were due to their October 7th game against Barnstable: “We noticed our first switch when we tied Barnstable, something we never thought we could do this season. After that we had an upward spiral, and gained a lot more confidence in ourselves and our team as a whole.”
At the end of the season, the team achieved a record of 2-13-3, giving them two wins and three ties. A notable win for the girls was their last game; a match against Nantucket’s notorious rival, Martha’s Vineyard, hosted on Nantucket on October 31st, homecoming weekend. Nantucket pulled out the win 3-2, with freshman Adney Brannigan scoring two of those goals. The team was just one placement away from entering the playoffs at the end of the season, but just missed out, unfortunately for the nine seniors that will venture into other opportunities next year. This batch of players includes Macy Crowell (goalie), Tamoy Marner (mid-fielder), and Daniella Tejada (mid-fielder). Their losses will be seen in a tremendous way next season.