Staffed with new coach, team looks to evolve this fall 

Published in the September 8, 2017 edition


MELROSE—With a new sheriff in town, the Melrose Lady Raider field hockey team is hoping to transition into to a playoff-ready group as they launch their fall campaign with a new coach, Erin Parker, who spoke to the Melrose Weekly News about how the team looks in their early season, what preparations they’re taking to prepare for their season opener against Lexington.

THE MELROSE Lady Raider field hockey team kicks off their season this week with a home opener against Lexington. (file photo)

THE MELROSE Lady Raider field hockey team kicks off their season this week with a home opener against Lexington. (file photo)

“My takeaway so far is that I see an aggressive, dedicated group,” says Parker. “In our scrimmage play, we reinforced basics but also got a chance to see our strengths and room for improvement. We held our opponent scoreless in the second in our last scrimmage. I was very pleased with that.”

Melrose will be led by senior captains Sam Kroon and Lauren Freed, and manned at the net by goalie Courtney O’Connor, a returning junior. Kroon is expected to use her stick skills on offense and, on defense, players like Mairead Clark haver shined. “Mairead’s play has been good, she does a lot on the field.”

“This is a season that will have plenty of opportunity for girls to take roles on the team,” says Parker. “We saw that a little bit in our scrimmages. After the first half, if the girls see things aren’t going our way, they adjust and figure out which way works. They’ve surprised me in a good way.”

Parker noted she’d like to see her team, particular defense, step out of their comfort zone. “Part of it is a confidence level, but that builds over time. Being a team that can ever beat Watertown requires a bit of confidence and finesse. Once you refine your skills, trust your teammates, it makes it easier.”

Parker also notes the appetite for playoffs in the community. “I hear a lot from folks who wants this program to return to a playoff staple, just as we do. I believe we have those ingredients. I think the Middle School program is a great source for this.”

Nearly 60 athletes tried out for the Middle School team, which speaks volumes about the program’s advancement. “The support of the Recreation Department has been terrific,” she says. “Having these numbers plus the field hockey clinics and camps, it means that the seeds are being planted.”

But for this season, expect Melrose to focus on outsmarting some of their top competition, including Lexington, whom they open against on Thursday (post deadline). “We definitely want to surprise our competition and keep them on their toes. This team is hungry and they take the game serious. If we remain focused I think we can do well.”

On Monday, Melrose travels to Arlington before another home game against Woburn on Wednesday at 3:45 p.m. at Pine Banks.

Field Hockey Schedule

Thu 9/7: 3:45 PM vs. Lexington

Mon 9/11: 3:45 PM @ Arlington

Wed 9/13: 3:45 PM vs. Woburn

Fri 9/15: 3:30 PM @ Wilmington

Tue 9/19: 3:30 PM vs. Stoneham

Mon 9/25: 3:30 PM @ Watertown

Wed 9/27: 3:45 PM vs. Wakefield

Fri 9/29: 3:30 PM @ Burlington

Tue 10/3: 6 PM @ Belmont

Thu 10/5: 3:45 PM vs. Reading

Mon 10/9: 12 PM @ Winchester

Fri 10/13: 3:45 PM vs. Wilmington

Tue 10/17: 3:30 PM @ Stoneham

Fri 10/20: 3:45 PM vs. Watertown

Wed 10/25: 3:45 PM @ Wakefield

Fri 10/27: 3:45 PM vs. Burlington