Published June 7, 2019


MELROSE—The #15 seed Melrose Red Raider tennis team faced a Herculean task against #2 seed Concord Carlisle in the opening round of the Div. 2 North playoffs when they traveled to face the 14-2 Patriots on Monday, June 3. And while Melrose fell 5-0, coach Matt Williams expressed admiration for their effort against one of the best teams in the division. 

“Coming into this year, we considered this somewhat of a rebuilding year,” says the coach. “But I was really pleased with how to battled and improved, vying for a league title.” 

THE MELROSE Red Raider tennis team. Front row from left to right: Nick Koen, Adam Drafts-Johnson, Alex Germain, William Burke, Ethan Cesar, Griffin Castergine. Back row left to right: Zac Zibaitis, Jim Frederick, Tyler Janzen, Russell Darwin, Henry MacDonnell, Jimmy Markham and Eli Coleman. (Donna Larsson photo)

Though they had their work cut out for them against Concord Carlisle, Williams was proud of them nonetheless. “Concord Carlisle is super tough. They just were too strong to keep up with and we didn’t have the weapons to compete. But I was happy with our play overall, a few of our teams got a couple game wins and that was a highlight.” 

Among those who showed some fire against the Patriots were Griffin Castergine in third singles and both doubles pairs, Tyler Janzen/Russell Darwin and Jack Summersby and Nick Koen. 

Melrose ends their season at 9-9 and look to learn from their playoff experience next season, when they return starters Zac Zabaitis, Griffin Castergine, Tyler Janzen and Nick Koen. 

Says the coach, “Our seniors, Jack Summersby, Henry O’Donnell and Russell Darwin are leaving big shoes to fill. It’s a bummer to lose them because they were such key players and were excellent leaders with great skill and enthusiasm. We will miss them.” 

He expects his returning players to come back tennis-ready in 2020. “They are seasoned now and will be great leaders. We are looking forward to another year of quality tennis.”