Red Devils proved tricky in Melrose’s 10-9 home win
Published in the June 9, 2017 edition
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—The Melrose Red Raider lacrosse team met their match on Saturday at a sun-filled Fred Green Field in Melrose when they hosted a competitive Burlington team and took a narrow 10-9 in front of a large home crowd, thanks to a game-winning goal by senior Corbin White and lights out net-minding by goalie Matt Rocha.
Two critical saves by Rocha under the 4:00 mark helped keep the game 9-9 until White’s deal breaker. Melrose’s 10-9 victory punched them into semifinals where they faced Div. 2 top seed Wakefield on Tuesday night (see accompanying story.)
Melrose dominated play for first 3 quarters, but Burlington (12-6) took control in the 4th, scoring the first 3 goals, and then tied the game up 9-9 with 5:40 left. With the clock draining every face off was critical, and Melrose was on the losing end of them during the game. Melrose took control of the ball when needed, Rocha shut down the Red Devils at the net and Melrose drew a penalty at :36 and soon killed the clock to victory.
After the game, coach Matt James spoke of the effort. “We had seen Burlington this year, they are a senior heavy team, their defense is underrated. We felt confident in the first half, and maybe coasted a bit, particularly our younger players. It was nice to see our seniors fight hard, Mike and Corbin.”
Melrose’s offense was as spread out as ever, with three different Raiders contributing in the opening minutes to make it a 3-0 game. Christian Nyland scored first for Melrose (12-7) to make it a 1-0 game, following by Jack Wells and Chris Cusolito, whose goals made it a 3-0 game. Burlington responded with a goal to make it 3-1 but Melrose’s Mike Calvert replied by finding the net to make it a 4-1 game. At the end of the quarter Melrose held the lead. In the second quarter Burlington made it a 4-1 game before Christian Nyland doused their adrenaline with back-to-back goals to make it 6-2. A Burlington Red Devil found the net at the close of the half and the teams went into the break with Melrose leading 6-3.
Burlington showed signs of life after the half, chipping away at Melrose’s lead, scoring to make it 6-4, before Andy Calvert hit a goal that made it a 7-4 game. The two teams traded goals at the end of the third (Melrose’s courtesy of Mike Calvert) before the quarter closed with Melrose remaining in a three point lead at 8-5.
In the fourth quarter the Red Devils came out unrelenting and determined to steal victory from Melrose. They immediately shot three goals in a row that changed the tide of the game. At 8-8 Melrose defense began to clamp down and Melrose’s Mike Pedrini scored a critical goal to give Melrose an edge of 9-8. With 5:40 left in game Burlington hit again, tying it up at 9-9. Melrose defense amped up their game, Rocha making two impressive saves at 4:00 and 3:00 and Melrose defenders kept control of the ball while Corbin White found the net with the winning shot with nearly a minute left to take victory.