Youth & athleticism defines their 2024 squad  

THE MELROSE HIGH boy’s lacrosse team’s home opener is Tuesday at 4:15 against Belmont. (photo by Raj Das


MELROSE—The Melrose High boy’s lacrosse team is looking to bounce back after an “off” season in 2023 and when they open their 2024 season on the road on Thursday (post deadline) in non league play against a competitive Beverly team with their home opener to follow on Tuesday against Belmont at 4:15 p.m. With a strong strength of schedule in 2024 Melrose could easily forge a road to playoffs, a place the team is quite familiar with. 

Melrose only lost three seniors last spring, which means a youthful and experienced squad returns ready to right the errors of last season. A strong junior class and some experienced senior starters are a fine start. 

Returning this spring as captains are seniors Colin Fahey (returning) and Max Kleinbub, both multiyear players on the team. They join a group of seniors that include goalie Michael Fuccione, Declan Baker, Jack Wright and new player Liam Gavin. 

“We’ve had some really good pre season scrimmages, most recently with Billerica, with a lot of stuff I liked to see,” said Melrose head coach Matt James on their early season. “This is a hungry group of athletes and the excitement level is high. Our captains are so experienced and great leaders. They want to get past last season and bring the wins back.”

Returning starters include strong underclassmen such as Nick Hitchman, Sean Maher, Anders Guiliano, Andrew Marciano, Charlie Hoskins, Jos Barayani, Quinn Haggerty, Quinn Fogarty, Leo Kleinbub, Dylan Mesjian, Rocco Kraunelis, Noah Fay and Luke DiMilla. Freshman Finn Alpers also joins the squad. 

At net, senior Michael Fuccione has held steady for Melrose since his freshman year. Now he is growing into his own, with a boatload of confidence and experience. Says coach James, “Michael is steady and has grown up so much in four years. He’s gained a lot of confidence. As a senior, he manages our defense. He’s exactly where we want him to be.” 

Defensively, coach James will expect a lot from senior starter Declan Baker, Charlie Hoskins, junior Anders Guiliano and new player Milo Mujalli who James comments, “Watch out for this player. He’s very talented.” 

Melrose will be looking to maximize offense this year and much of that could come from Max Kleinbub, a four-year starter who was a dynamo last year. “Max will just have a huge presence out there,” says James. “He’s such a big part of our offense. He’s given the league notice that he’s a player to contend with.” 

Look for other weapons on offense like Nick Hitchman and Quinn Haggerty. Says the coach, “Nick was our second leading scorer last year and a big part of our offense along with Quinn Haggerty who is just a great athlete and will come up big for us.” 

Also look out for returning sophomore Dylan Mestjian, a long stick middle. “Dylan had a great pre season and will be a starter,” notes his coach. 

As for the Middlesex League? Much of the talent in recent years has been in the Freedom League, with archrival Wakefield frequently a thorn on Melrose’s side and on the opposite side in the Liberty, Reading as always is expected to be a league contender, though they graduated a huge amount of seniors last year. Burlington should prove to be tricky, as they’ve enjoyed a solid athletic year in most varsity sports. With a tough schedule which includes all of the ML and talented teams like Marblehead sprinkled over the season, there will be no nights off. 

Sums up the coach, “We have some things to clean up, mostly on the coaching end, but we liked a lot of what we saw against Newburyport and Billerica and will be ready to play.”