Melrose lacrosse returns even stronger in 2016
Published in the April 1, 2016 edition
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE — The Melrose High boys’ lacrosse team has enjoyed a stretch of success for half a decade, including a league title in 2014. This spring they return to Fred Green Field bigger, stronger, senior-experienced and ready to reclaim a league title that went to Wakefield last season.
A dozen or more seniors will assume starting duties on this team, who went two rounds in Div. 2 North playoffs in 2015, (ultimately falling to Beverly, 10-8). It’s this senior leadership that could make Melrose a contender in Div. 2 North this season.
According to head coach Matt James, last year’s juniors have developed into mature, seasoned players with a tremendous chemistry. Many of the players were teammates on the 2015 Super Bowl Melrose football squad , and by all indications that camaraderie has transferred into spring. Leading the team are their captains Jack Siebert, Tom Calvert, Cam Hickey and Ryan McDermott. Both Calvert and McDermott are four year starters with plenty of playoff experience. Siebert was the team’s leading scorer last season and is predicted to be in the prime of his high school career this season, along with junior attacker Corbin White. Zack Phipps and Tom Calvert, two other standouts, will anchor defense while Connor Locke returns to the net as goalie.
“This is a very committed senior class,” says Melrose head coach Matt James. “There is a huge maturity difference in one season, they gained experienced and have gotten stronger during the off season and they practice extremely hard, there is no senior slacking. We’re hoping for good things.”
Two players whom James predict will be tough to penetrate are senior captain Cam Hickey and Justin Auger, two sizable middies whose presence may wreak havoc on rivals. “Justin just blew us away in preseason while Cam is an outstanding player and a great practicer. I expect really good things from him.”
Ultimately, Melrose is sporting a lineup of players with plenty of big game experience behind them – always a good thing. “These seniors want to leave their mark; it’s their time,” says the coach. “Our goals are more than just winning the league, it’s preparing them for an extended tournament run and contending with large teams.”
Melrose has a tough schedule in 2016 – purposely constructed this way in order to play with the best. This includes several non-league Div. 1 teams such as Wellesley, whom they open their season against on the road Saturday at 1 p.m. Melrose will host Hamilton-Wenham in their home opener on April 5 at 4 p.m.