RUBY ROBICHEAU is among those who will lead the league champion Red Raider girls’ tennis team this season. (photo by Raj Das,



MELROSE—Fresh off the heels of their league championship season in 2021, the Melrose High girls’ tennis team returns with plenty of opportunity for new and returning players as they kick off their season on Thursday, March 31 and play in more seasonable weather next week at home at their new home base of Lyons Court in Melrose, where they will battle Reading on Wednesday afternoon.

The team returns with captains Ruby Robicheau, Emily Chow and McKenzie Donovan and a total of 9 seniors who will lend their valuable experience from last season. In 2021 Melrose clinched the Middlesex Freedom League title and battled strongly in the first ever Middlesex League Tournament.

This season they alternate home matches with the boys on Lyons Court and will enjoy both a longer schedule of 16 matches and the opportunity to compete in the Div. 2 State Tournament, which would allow them to play any given opponent across Massachusetts rather than just a traditional sectional opponent.

Melrose senior Ruby Robicheau is coming off a very successful junior season in third singles. Expect her to move up in the ranks to a lead role on the team. That same goes to senior Emily Chow who returns ready for more doubles play, while teammate McKenzie Donovan show potential in both singles or doubles. Wildcard Ava Piccone has experience in doubles but could also emerge as a singles player this season.

Overall, 24 girls make up the team and there are only 7 starting spots, so the competition will be fierce. According to Melrose head coach Lydia Mays, the pieces are still moving. “We’ve enjoying challenge matches right now because we have tons of players vying for open spots.”

They lost a lot of senior talent last year but have many faces ready to become contributors. Mays says, “Given the talent that we lost, we look much stronger than one might expect. We definitely have roles that need to be filled. But there is so much improvement I’ve seen since last season. You can tell a lot of these girls practiced in the off season.”

Over the course of the season, look for some usual suspects from across the Middlesex League to serve as rivals. Perennial competitor Burlington remains a must-see match on the schedule. “Burlington may have lost seniors, but so did we,” says Mays. “So, they remain our best competition.”

Come see the girls in action on Wed. April 6 when they battle Reading at home at 4:15 p.m.