Back-to-back honors make it a banner year
Published May 31, 2019
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—The Melrose High girls’ lacrosse team prevailed as the winners of the ML Freedom division after a 14-8 win over Wakefield at home on Friday, May 24. They have swept the division as undefeated victors for two straight years (this year going 5-0) and thanks to the effort they will also see a post season.
“It feels awesome,” says Melrose head coach Matt Galusi. “These girls work hard and they deserve all that they have earned. They can always go into that gym, look up and see their league champ banner. Not losing a Freedom game for 2 consecutive years is a big deal.”
In the game, Lily Cunningham had a whopping 6 goals and two assists. Abby Cunningham and Emma Randolph had three a piece and chipping in with one each were Sam Zysk and Jenna Thorpe.
At the net, Linnea Kelley and Marie Maher split duties with 6 saves each. “Our defense played strong,” says the coach. “All season Meg Fogarty, Katie Wright, Lizzie Casey and Chloe Halligan have played great.”
For Melrose, this season marks the team’s fourth consecutive playoff run as well. “Not bad for a program that is 15 years old,” says Galusi.
The event also marked the team’s annual Spirit Night, honoring outgoing senior players Abby Cunningham, Lily Cunningham, Linnea Kelley, Samantha Zysk, Maggie O’Donnell, Jenna Carreiri and Courtney O’Connor, along with team manager Gabby Merullo, who Galusi noted was their “super statistician all season.”
“I will definitely miss these seniors. I’m so happy that Lily and Abby will be playing at the next level together at Roger Williams. It is pretty impressive that they both are well over 100 goals and 50 assists each as well. And I want to thank Maggie O’Donnell, Jenna Carrieri and Courtney O’Connor for all of their hard work and dedication to the team. I also want to thank Sam Zysk not only for her stellar lacrosse play these last two season, but for always bringing a tear to my eyes when she sang the national anthem.”
Overall, there was much to celebrate on Friday from big players to little players. “I love Spirit Night and getting the youth program involved,” says Galusi. “It’s so much fun to see how excited the little ones get for the big ones. It is because of that youth lacrosse league that we are having the success we are.”
With a focus now on playoffs, and seedings due to be released this Friday, Galusi spoke of where their stand in the field. “Last year’s playoff appearance taught me not to play in traffic. You go up against a power like Marblehead that’s basically how you feel, survival mode trying not to get run over. Hopefully we have a different draw this season. Ideally, I’d love to have a preliminary round game and get some momentum going. Regardless of the outcome you need to enjoy the experience and learn from it and keep moving forward. Anything can happen and I’m excited to see how it plays out.
For Galusi, the Lady Raider lacrosse team has become a family affair as well. “I want to thank the awesome parents in this program for all they do for the team, and own family, Suzanne, Olivia and Sophia. It was really special to be able to coach Olivia this season and next year I’m really looking forward to coaching both Olivia and Sophia.”
MIAA seedings are due to be released today, Friday, May 31. Fans are encouraged to visit www.miaa.net or visit our social media pages.