12-3 victory has Melrose 8-3 entering postseason
Published June 11, 2021
By MARIA O’DONNELL
MELROSE—The Melrose Women’s lacrosse team continued their dominance on Senior Night as they defeated their Wakefield neighbors in a 12-3 victory on Fred Green Field. After losing two games against Burlington two weeks ago, the Red Raiders redeemed themselves with home-and-away wins against Wakefield.
Melrose’s defense was dominant on Monday night, a tribute to their goalie Paige Rocha. After falling behind 1-0 and struggling through a scoreless first quarter, Melrose (8-3) shut down Wakefield’s offense, holding them to only two more goals for the entire game.
Melrose coach Matt Galusi credited the win to his defense, which in turn spurred the offense. “Defensively they just stepped up to the challenge. The defense was great tonight. The goalie Paige Rocha was awesome in net. (The) defense in front of her was great. So many of them played well. I felt defensively, we really shut them down.”
Melrose’s offense was a team effort with multiple goal scorers. Senior Ava Palumbo and sophomore Sofia Pitcher recorded 3 goals and 2 assists apiece, accounting for half of the goals for their team. Coach Galusi had praise for Ava Palumbo’s athletic efforts, especially on her senior night. “Ava Palumbo, the center (and) captain, had a hat trick. She just played great. She was all over the field.”
Other goals came courtesy of Meghan Maher, Ali Maguire, Jenna Maguire, and Corinne Francazio. After a strong offensive start to their season, the Red Raiders offense had faltered in the past couple of games before Monday night. However, the Raiders exploded with an offensive barrage on Monday night, utilizing an extra and effective pass.
“We transitioned the ball unbelievably well,” says Galusi. “We have been struggling to score the last few games and we came out of that slump tonight and it was unselfish goals. That extra pass was made all night.”
Melrose’s offensive efforts were also spurred by midfielder Ali Maguire, who returned to play after suffering an injury. “It was nice to have Ali Maguire back,” says her coach. “Ali’s been hurt and we try to slowly bring her back in. She just changes our whole offense and gives us a new dynamic and we are a different team when she’s on the field.”
Galusi praised his team for their unselfish play, a tribute to their growth over the season. “It was a great team win. We got every girl in that game. I’m super proud of the girls.”
Even more proud were parents and family on hand to celebrate the team’s outgoing seniors: Maeve Fogarty, Corrine Francazio, capt. Ella DeCecca, capt. Ava Palumbo, capt. Liz Casey, capt. Meghan Fogarty, and Paige Rocha.
The Red Raiders will be hosting Winchester at home in the Middlesex League Tournament on Thursday at 4:30 pm. before they enter the MIAA State Tournament. Melrose is the defending league champions and they will look to defend their title after an impressive regular season.