THE REIGNING Middlesex League champion boy’s soccer team advanced two rounds in playoffs before falling to Bedford, 1-0 last weekend. (photo by Raj Das, edphotos.com)
League champs bow out in 1-0 loss to Bedford
By JENNIFER GENTILE
BEDFORD—It was a joyride season for the 2022 league champ MHS boys soccer team, who advanced to the Div. 2 Elite 8 after two playoff wins, but they fell on Saturday, Nov. 12 on the road to No. 3 seed Bedford, 1-0, in quarterfinal play.
A win would have brought a Sectional trophy home to No. 6 seed Melrose, but one Bedford goal with just minutes left in the game broke an otherwise deadlocked 0-0 contest. Melrose got this far thanks to an opening round win over Chicopee, 4-0, and an exciting Sweet 16 win over Nauset 1-0 (see accompanying story)
It has been about five years or more since Melrose fought for a sectional trophy, and this team had all the ingredients for a deep run. Nonetheless, it was a triumphant playoff journey for the league champs, who traveled just two days after beating Nauset at home. It was a stalemate against Bedford until the end of the game with just 5 minutes to go when Warrior Sawyer Elliot scored off a corner kick from Devandar Kaushik to give the game its only score, with Melrose not having much time to catch up, for a final 1-0 loss.
Melrose finishes their outstanding season at 14-5-2.
According to Melrose coach Dean Serino, his team can hold their heads high. “We knew going in that Bedford was a team who scored on corner kicks, and we had been fending them off all day. They wore us down a bit and maybe I didn’t go to the bench maybe more than I should have, and that’s on me. I don’t fault these kids. Not one bit.”
To get this far, though, speaks high volumes about Melrose’s talent and character. “Last year we had a similar season, but we bowed out in first round of playoffs,” says the coach. “They learned from that. It was a rallying call. Seeing them after the game, they were gutted. That’s hard to watch. It hurts because it mattered. But they played with joy of the game and without fear. We loved this journey.”
As for his outgoing seniors, captains Joey Beshel, Damian Markovic, Russell O’Donnell, Ian Smith, and Chris Weldon, Rory Coyne, Filip Ilic, Mario Marchio, and Noah Brown, there are only so many words to adequately describe the journey taken since days of early childhood. “You can’t go this far without seniors,” says Serino. “You can’t win a league or a trophy without seniors. They were incredible ones. Their leadership meant everything. They will do amazing things in life. They will return and remain close to this program. That I already know.”