Hosts Burlington tonight in D2 North opener

Published June 7, 2019


MELROSE—The Melrose Red Raider lacrosse team will host Freedom League rival Burlington in the opening round of the Div. 2 North playoffs tonight, June 7 at 6:00 p.m. at Fred Green Field. Melrose (12-5) drew a #4 seed while Burlington (13-5) is right behind the Red Raiders in the #5 seed, making this a competitive, must-see match up. 

The Red Devils prevailed over Melrose in late-season action just two weeks ago in a 9-8 battle. Thus, the team knows they can’t take anything for granted, even after winning the ML Freedom division. “Burlington is a good team, they have an excellent goalie and attacker [Mitchell Maida] that posed a challenge,” says Melrose coach Matt James. “But I think we can use that experience to match up better. Both the players and the coaches can do a better job being prepared on the field and maintaining the intensity.” 

GOALIE MATT Rocha and Melrose Red Raider lacrosse team hope to prevail tonight over Burlington in the opening round of the Div. 2 North playoffs. (Donna Larsson photo)

Melrose has had a break since May 24, when they prevailed over Beverly, 8-4. It was a game that saw a terrific effort from Liam Maher, who had three goals. Since then, Melrose has been scrimmaging, and that includes a tie with #1 ranked St. John’s Prep. 

James is happy with recent defensive efforts. “I’m really loving what I saw defensively,” he says. “DJ Darwin has been hot. He’s performed awesome as a middie transitioning on defense. The growth he has shown in the last month has been incredible. And that also includes Andy Calvert who is playing great, and Brendan Maher, who in my opinion, is playing like one of the best defenders in the state.” 

Leading in scoring is junior Chris Cusolito, who is nearing 100 points in the season, between his 56 goals and 40 assists. “He’s playing like a maniac,” says his coach. “Such an impressive season.”

Melrose wants to focus on getting back their full, healthy roster on the field and making a run at the Div. 2 North. Notes James, “I just want to see an intensity at all times. We want to come out flying. These are great athletes and if they keep their intensity and finish the job, the Xs and Os will come together.” 

Tonight’s game starts at 6:00 p.m. at Fred Green Field.