Lax girls top Westborough, 10-9 to advance to Sweet 16

VICTORY FORMATION for the MHS girl’s lacrosse team who secured their first-ever home playoff win with a 10-9 victory over Westborough in the first round of the D2 Playoffs on Monday night. (Jennifer Gentile photo)



After press time: Melrose falls to top seed Notre Dame Academy (Hingham) – June 7


Published June 9, 2023

MELROSE—Maybe it was the home field advantage, or maybe just the industrial grit they’ve showed all season, but the talented Melrose High girls lacrosse team (9-8) secured their first-ever home playoff game and win on the grass of Fred Green Field on Monday evening when they outshot Westborough, 10-9, in the opening round of the Div. 2 playoffs to advance to Sweet 16 play.

FRESHMAN CAILAN Macdonald celebrated her well-timed goal in the awaiting arms of senior Sofia Pitcher. (Jennifer Gentile photo)

At press time, Melrose was slated to travel to play undefeated #1 seed Notre Dame of Hingham in this round on Wednesday, June 7 (post deadline).

It was a gripping game against Westborough that saw Melrose hold leads of 9-8 and 8-7 in the final frame after an even, deadlocked game. 

Melrose senior captain Megan Casey led in scoring with 4 goals and two assists, including the game winner. “Meg was a true leader today, her words, her actions, everything,” said head coach Matt Galusi after the game. “She had a fire in her eye and she simply was not losing that game.”

Casey was a ferocious combination with sophomore Jillian Frawley who also had 4 goals, 2 assists and several steals. “Jill was tremendous as always, solid with the ball in her stick and causing some very timely turnovers that proved huge,” says her coach.

It might have been that early midfield work that helped pave way to victory. Says Galusi, “Westborough was athletic and skilled in the midfield but our middies Jill, Meg and Sofia Pitcher just played better defense, and we limited turnovers and had quality possessions. Sofia Pitcher played outstanding in the midfield as well. What she did was crucial to help ensure a victory.”

Scorers Cailan MacDonald and Alison Doherty also came up with goals at precise moments to keep Melrose a step ahead in the final frame, while tight midfield work by Nadia Santos and Ella Daniels also helped.

Indeed, it was a total team effort, with a smothering Melrose defense rising to the occasion in the final minutes of the game, starting with Sofia Hitchman who had 13 saves at the net. She had great help from Melrose’s Alex Leeman and Lindsay Teeven.

Said Galusi, now in his 6th year as head coach, “I can’t say enough about Sophia. She has been a rock star in net. Alex has been outstanding on defense and is always moving at 100 miles per hour. Lindsay Teeven is “steady Eddy” on our D unit. She is intelligent and vocal and leads our defense very well. With Emily [Lucien] injured we had to platoon some girls on defense: Sophia Galusi, Kiera Brophy and Kayla Good, who did a nice job of picking up the slack.”

Melrose scored first on a goal by Jillian Frawley (assisted by Cailan MacDonald) but Westborough would take an early 2-1 lead minutes later. A 2-2 equalizer by Megan Casey off an assist by Alison Doherty would prevent another Ranger lead during the game. Frawley and Casey (asst. by Meghan Maher) would score two more within a minute, and three fine saves by goalie Hitchman preserved the 4-2 lead as halftime approached. Before the buzzer, Frawley scored again on a free position goal to give Melrose a 5-3 lead as they went into the break. 

Westborough came out fighting in the second half, clawing their way back into the game early in the second. Melrose allowed the Rangers to take more shots, keeping Hitchman a bit too busy at the net. Despite another goal by Frawley at 23:08, Westborough would score two in a row in a matter of two minutes, one on a turnover at the Melrose net.

Despite some temporary faceoff struggle, Melrose regained control and scored a goal at 17:02 by Megan Casey to give them a critical 7-6 lead. An equally clutch goal by Cailan MacDonald made it an 8-6 game with 14 minutes left. Not surprisingly, the Rangers scrapped back to tie it 8-8 with 11 minutes left, making it anyone’s game late. 

From there, it was a Herculean effort from Melrose defense to prevent another score. Led by great defense from Lindsey Teeven, Frawley and a preventative ground ball grab by freshman Kayla Good in front of the Melrose net, the girls helped thwart any scoring threat.

A key, game-changing goal came with 5 minutes left when Jillian Frawley found Megan Casey in front of the net, who then made a leaping catch and spin before lobbing a hammer into the net for a 9-8 lead. 

Fans went wild when junior Alison Doherty scored Melrose’s 10th goal, only to see it rescinded when Westborough was called on a penalty. She was awarded a shot and simply repeated the goal for good measure. 

Melrose will now advance to face reigning state champ Notre Dame of Hingham. Last year Melrose faced the behemoths, who beat Melrose by 16 goals last year. “To say we have a herculean task is an understatement,” says Galusi. “We’re going to their field and give everything we have for 50 minutes and let the chips fall where they may.”

Regardless, he was grateful for this first-ever, home playoff win, especially for his seniors’ sake. “I’m happy that these kids last game on Fred Green was a thrilling victory. That game was fitting for the way that their graduation went, a true rollercoaster ride, and these seniors wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Fans are encouraged to visit and our social media pages for up to date playoff information.