Warriors get closer to state tourney berth with decisive 5-2 triumph


IAN RITCHIE, a senior (#23), scored one of the five Warrior goals as the WMHS boys’ soccer team posted a decisive 5-2 triumph over Melrose yesterday afternoon at West Knoll Field. (Donna Larsson Photo)

IAN RITCHIE, a senior (#23), scored one of the five Warrior goals as the WMHS boys’ soccer team posted a decisive 5-2 triumph over Melrose yesterday afternoon at West Knoll Field. (Donna Larsson Photo)

MELROSE — The Warriors are now one point away.

The Wakefield Memorial High boys’ soccer team inched closer to its goal of making the state tournament yesterday afternoon with a decisive 5-2 win against Melrose at West Knoll Field.

The Warriors are now 7-6-3 overall and 6-6-3 in the Middlesex League Freedom division. Wakefield needs one more point to get into the state tournament. The Warriors have two more games to get that point.

“I’m never going to complain about five goals. Was it the prettiest game? Absolutely not. Melrose definitely came to play today. They really, not caught us by surprise, but impressed us with the effort that they gave of just attacking the ball,” said Wakefield coach Matt Angelo.

Wakefield wasted little time getting on the scoreboard when Neil Fitzgerald scored the first of his three goals on the game just seconds into the contest with an assist from Cam Yasi.

Melrose responded in kind about a minute and a half later with a goal from Frantzby Pierrot.

Wakefield retook the lead when Billy Sheerin fed a nice cross that Alejandro Winsor headed into the net to make it 2-1 in Wakefield’s favor.

The Warriors extended their lead with a goal a minute later by Fitzgerald.

Melrose had a prime scoring chance when they it was awarded a penalty kick. Marco Garofalo lined up for the shot with Wakefield keeper Tyler Strauss awaiting the kick. Strauss guessed Garofalo would shoot right and thus dove to his left in anticipation of the shot. Garofalo shot to the left, completely missing the open net, instead hitting the left post. He still had a chance to score when he fielded the rebound but by that time Strauss had recovered and was able to make the save.

The game was physical with the officials putting their whistles in their pocket for much of the game.

“It’s Melrose-Wakefield (so) these guys know it’s always going to be physical but it wasn’t dirty, which I like. I like clean, physical games. The field definitely played a factor. Coming to grass now from a turf team is kind of tough. It’s a little bit sloppy on the right hand side, so that kind of caused some chaos for us at times. But overall, I’m happy,” said Angelo.

Melrose cut the lead back to a goal when Garofalo scored to make it 3-2, where it stood at halftime.

“I think we are the stronger team and it showed at the end. Like I said, it wasn’t the prettiest of games but what I like about this game, the positive that I’ll take from it, is that we figured a way out. Some games you’re going to be off and if you can figure it out, that’s what great teams do,” Angelo explained.

Wakefield started the second half as they had the first, with a Fitzgerald goal, giving him his hat trick.

Ian Ritchie’s header (from Fitzgerald) made it 5-2 inWakefield’s favor, where the score would stand.

With two games to play in the season a win or even a tie will put Wakefield into the tournament.

“I’m thrilled. We have one more point (to get to make the state tournament),” said Angelo.

Wakefield hosts Burlington on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Walton Field travels to Swampscott on Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. for a non-league game against the Big Blue.


At West Knoll Field, Melrose

WAKEFIELD……3 2 — 5

Melrose………….2 0 — 2


First Half — Wak, Fitzgerald (Yasi) :23. Mel, Pierrot (un.) 2:05. Wak, Winsor (Sheerin) 14:10. Wak, Fitzgerald (un.) 15:10. Mel, Garofalo (un.) 22:30.

Second Half — Wak, Fitzgerald (un.) 4:00. Wak,Ritchie (Fitzgerald) 21:19.

Saves — Wak, Strauss (6). Mel, Souza (7).