Regular season finale win launches Melrose into playoffs
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE — Entering their last scheduled game of the regular season, the members of the Melrose High School girls’ varsity lacrosse team knew there was a lot at stake. At 7-8-1 the Lady Raiders faced a do-or-die scenario, needing just one win to secure a postseason or watch their season end at Shawsheen Field in Wilmington.
For Melrose it was mission accomplished, as they pulled off a resounding 15-6 win that brings Melrose (8-8-1) back to playoffs, having clinched their second straight Div. 2 North playoff appearance. The win also allowed them to finish 2nd in a tough Middlesex Freedom League.
Melrose worked a strong offensive game with senior captain Anna Steele scoring 4 goals and 1 assist, Leonora Ivers with 4 goals and 4 assists and Haley Rodriguez with 4 goals and 2 assists.
At the net was Cat Torpey as goalie, stepping in for an injured Sarah Foote and Torpey had a strong day, notching 10 saves for Melrose. Added scorers also included Haley Mate’, Jill Mercer and Rachel Difreia who had 1 goal apiece.
“This was a great way to end the season and returning to playoffs is exciting,” said Melrose head coach Cate Arkins. “We earned about 14 assists during the game, which speaks volumes about where we are as a team. The kids are using their heads, throwing opponents off-guard and making nice transitions.”
Wilmington was the first to strike, taking a 1-0 lead in the opening minutes of the game and another lead of 3-2 further into the quarter. That was as far as their lead would go. Melrose clamped down on defense with Lucie Coleman saving numerous ground balls, lobbing assists and playing great defense, along with teammate Shannon Jones.
At the net Torpey showed a remarkable poise that impressed her coach. “Cat stepped up for us and even though she hadn’t played goalie since youth lacrosse, you wouldn’t know it.”
The game demonstrated that Melrose is no longer just a “second half” team. Faced with a disadvantage on the scoreboard, they rose above it. “Our team is showing poise,” says the coach. “In the past, if we were down two goals in the beginning of a game that might set the tone but now the girls fight and come back because they have play with confidence as a team.”
As they prepare for playoffs, Arkins plans to review what has worked and what hasn’t over the season. That includes watching film. “We could improve communication in the defensive zone, there is always room for more of it and focus on setting up offense, like the kind you saw in the Wilmington and Wakefield games. But I’m glad we have a lot of senior support to our younger players, and an overall energy and enthusiasm.”
Brackets are expected to be announced Friday. Fans are encouraged to visit www.miaa.net for up to date information.
Div. 2 North Power Ratings
Team W-L Pct.
1 Austin Prep 18-1 0.95
2 Marblehead 12-4-1 0.74
3 Newburyport 11-4 0.73
4 Ipswich 8-5 0.62
5 Bishop Fenwick 11-5 0.69
6 Triton Regional 10-8 0.56
7 Pentucket 7-5-1 0.58
8 Wakefield 11-7 0.61
9 Manchester-Essex 4-7 0.36
10 Melrose 8-8-1 0.50
11 Lynnfield 8-8 0.50
12 Lowell Catholic 8-5 0.62
13 Hamilton-Wenham 2-7 0.22
14 Burlington, MA 7-9 0.44
15 Tewksbury Memorial 4-10-1 0.30
16 Georgetown, MA 7-11 0.39
17 North Reading 2-8 0.20
18 Swampscott 8-11 0.42
19 St. Mary’s, Lynn 9-11 0.45
20 Shawsheen Valley Tech 6-7 0.46
21 Wilmington 2-13-1 0.16
22 Greater Lowell Tech 2-5 0.29
23 North Shore-Essex Tech 1-6 0.14
24 Winthrop 0-8 0.00