Melrose off to a 2-2 start to the season

By JENNIFER GENTILE

MELROSE—The Melrose High girls’ lacrosse team has broken even with a .500 start to the season after wins over Malden and Medford and a couple very close losses to ML large teams. At 2-2, Melrose has a challenging schedule coming up as they enter April break.

The Red Raiders started their season with a 13-1 blowout over Malden, a game that boasted a big performance from senior captain Ally Maguire, who had 5 goals and 2 assists. But there was plenty of offensive oomph thanks to the work of Lucy Clark (2 goals) Sofia Pitcher (2 goals 4 assists) Meghan Maher (2 goals) Allison Doherty (2 goals 1 assist) Emily Lucien (1 goal) and Olivia Galusi (1 goal, 2 assists). At the net, sophomore Sophia Hitchman had a shutout, and was clean coming out of the net to give way to back up Gabby Hill. Coach Matt Galusi credited Hitchman’s work at the net. “Sophia continues to improve and is picking up the ball well. She’s had big saves and kept us within one or two goal losses.”

Melrose faced Woburn on April 6 and fell in a 7-6 overtime heartbreaker. Despite solid scoring from Kailey Donovan (2) and Ally Maguire, Sofia Pitcher, Meghan Maher, Allison Doherty and Megan Casey, Melrose saw turnovers pave the way for an overtime loss. “We committed 32 turnovers—dropped passes, thrown away passes. If you do that against anyone, you’re not going to win,” laments the coach. Though Melrose pushed Woburn to overtime, the Tanners scored with 12 seconds left in overtime to end things.

One more heartbreaker closed out the week: a 13-11 loss to an always-strong Belmont on the road on Friday, April 8. “We had first half turnovers that plagued us. Luckily, our defense was strong enough to limit it to a 5-3 deficit at the half,” says Galusi. Melrose’s second half was better as both teams exchanged goals in pairs. Melrose eventually tied the game at 11 until Belmont broke through with about six minutes to go. The Marauders scored the final goal with a second to go in regulation to make it 13-11. Despite the loss, Melrose saw some offensive wattage behind players such as Ally Maguire who had 3 goals and an assist, Megan Casey (2 goals and 4 assists) Olivia Galusi (2 goals and 2 assists) and Sofia Pitcher. Notes Galusi, “We got some serious scoring bids but couldn’t finish.” But, Melrose is learning from their mistakes. “We could be 4-0 right and not 2-2 due to our inability to protect the ball,” he says. “But, we were going down to the final seconds with Liberty Division teams and that’s encouraging.”

More tough competition is on the horizon. Melrose hosts Reading on Wednesday (post deadline) who are a tough out. Says Galusi, “Reading is always a super-talented team who are very deep. But we won’t shy away from the challenge.”

He continues. “As we move forward both myself and new associate coach Alicia Geiter stress taking care of the ball and finishing. I tell the team to play like there is no tomorrow. We are finding our confidence. Once we finally figure this thing, we will be a tough draw for any opponent.”