By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE — The Melrose Lady Raider lacrosse team has seen the benefit of playing on artificial turf help aid the start to the season. With two games under its belt already, the team is searching to take close losses against heavy competition and translate them into wins.
The Lady Raiders (0-2) opened their season with a tough stretch of schedule. On April 2 the team traveled to Winchester to take on the Sachems, a squad they’ve never beaten who went all the way to the Div. 1 North finals last season. In a close 11-9 loss, the Lady Raiders delivered their best effort to date against them and they delivered a strong message: Don’t overlook Melrose.
“I think we definitely surprised them,” said Melrose head coach Cate Arkins. “We just seemed to be one step behind them throughout the game. We tied it up a number of times. It was a great game. The girls were very happy because we were in it the whole time.”
It was a balanced amount of scoring from Melrose, with senior Anna Steele leading the charge with four goals following by two each from Katey Baraw and Haley Maté. Leonora Ivers added one and Haley Rodriguez chipped in with two assists.
It was a tale of two different halves for Melrose, who struggled with turnovers in the first half along with dropped shooting percentage which led to a 7-3 Winchester lead at the half. Melrose outscored the Sachems in the second half with four of their own while Sarah Foote limited damage at the net for Melrose. “We just missed tying it up toward the end. I was happy at the performance on both ends of the field,” says the coach.
Melrose then played a non-league game against Lynnfield on Monday, April 6 and the result was an overtime thriller that unfortunately went the way of the Pioneers. Despite being down 6-2 at the half Melrose fought back to tie it up thanks to a goal from Katie Baraw (two total). Other scorers for Melrose included Steele (2), Haley Maté (1) Leonora Ivers (1) and Haley Rodriguez (1) and solid goaltending from Sarah Foote at the net.
“This was a good defensive game for us,” says their coach. “We lost on defense this year so we’re a work in process but I saw better communication and players stepping it up. Every day we get better.”