Melrose could be the pick of the league this spring

Published in the May 23, 2018 edition

By JENNIFER GENTILE

MELROSE—While the weather looks dreadful this spring, the forecast is good for the Melrose High boy’s lacrosse team who enter the spring season loaded with returning players.

Fresh off another Div. 2 North playoff run last spring, Melrose is equipped with experienced seniors, a returning goalie and a solid sophomore class. Its fair to consider the Red Raiders the pick of the league this season as they kick off their home opener against Lexington on April 4 at Fred Green Field.

This week, they are polishing off their final rosters during indoor tryouts. But the Red Raiders can already count on their returning starters to pick up where they left on in 2016 when Melrose was an overtime point away from a D2 North final appearance.

Expectations are big, and that’s perfectly fine for Melrose head coach Matt James. 

THE MELROSE Red Raider lacrosse team returns loaded with talent this spring. Their season begins at home on April 4. (file photo)

“This is a team that has the potential to be our best to date,” says the coach. “We have tons of depth, players who have committed to playing college lacrosse and return with the best goalie in the division. It’s also our largest team to date in numbers, so we’re very excited to start.” 

Leading Melrose this season are quad-captains Lou Izzi, Cam Rosie, Mike Calvert and Jack Wells. Two of those players, Izzi and Rosie, help make up Melrose’s tough defensive unit, along with returning senior Will Pzegeo, and new underclassmen Brendan Maher and Nolan Castergine, both of whom look great in the pre-season, reports the coach.

At the net, Melrose couldn’t be in better hands with all-star junior Matt Rocha. The returning goalie was a force last year as a sophomore, and spends his offseason training in the sport. “Matt is going to be critical to our success. He’s the best in the division, if not the state. His ability to limit turnovers is incredible. Off the field he is a kid of great character.” 

On offense, Melrose returns with plenty of attackers, including returning sophomore Christian Nyland, who scored over 20 goals last season as a freshman, and Jack Wells, who has committed to play at St. Anselm’s next season. Wells is a force as an attacker, says James. “He’s highly scoutable and one of the best attackers in the state.”

Melrose also saw major contributions from midfielders Chris Cusolito and Mike Calvert last year. James also predicts good things from Alex Soto on faceoffs and the overall play of Andrew Calvert and Darwin Anderson. 

Looking around the Middlesex League—Wakefield proved to be one of the best in the state last season when they compiled a 20-0 record. Melrose fell to them in an overtime heartbreaker, 11-10, in the Div. 2 North semifinals. Melrose will look to surpass them in the ML Freedom League come this spring. But James likes his chances. 

“This is a team that is a real contender. We have a lot of depth and great youth and energy. Players will be vying for positions, and we have a lot of options. It’s going to be a good season.”

Fans can catch the Red Raiders in action when they kick off their spring on April 4 at home against Lexington. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule

*home in caps

4/04 LEXINGTON, 4 

4/06 at Acton Boxborough 

4/10 at Arlington, MA, 3:45

4/12 WOBURN, 4

4/17 BEVERLY, 10:00 a.m.

4/19 at Needham, TBD

4/21 at Central Catholic, TBD

4/24 at Wilmington, 4

4/26 STONEHAM, 3:45

4/30 at Wellesley, TBD

5/01 at Belmont, 4

5/04 READING, 4

5/08 WINCHESTER, 4

5/11 at Watertown, 4

5/15 WAKEFIELD, 3:45

5/17 at Burlington, 3:45

5/21 MARBLEHEAD, 4

5/23 HAMILTON-WENHAM, 4