Melrose seals the deal with win over Watertown
Published May 17, 2019
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—The Melrose Red Raider lacrosse team punched their ticket to a postseason following a 17-1 win over Watertown on Monday. The victory was their ninth of the season and Melrose now aims to increase their wins to position themselves as a top seed in the Div. 2 North.
The Red Raiders (7-1 league, 8-4 overall) are one game away from clinching another league title and are able to if they beat rival Wakefield, winners of five in a row, on the road on Thursday, May 16 (post-deadline).
Melrose coach Matt James was happy that the Watertown victory allowed a variety of players into the lineup (9 different Red Raiders scored) and he credited players like Liam Maher and Matt Dussault for their efforts. “They looked sharp, and I was also happy to allow some JV players to get out there and get playing time in.”
The win comes on the heels of a disappointing loss to a very talented Winchester squad on Friday afternoon at home. The Red Raiders may have faced their stiffest competition of the season when they fell to the top-ranked Sachems, 11-7. Winchester (13-1, 5-0) are a senior-heavy team who essentially staked their claim on the Div. 2 North prize. But the Sachems will have to go through Melrose once more if they want that title.
“It was a frustrating game,” says James. “We had trouble getting things going and had a lack of continuity. They are a really good team that exploits weakness.”
The Red Raiders took an early lead but lost steam in the final two quarters of the game, which handed Melrose just their 4th loss of the season. Chris Cusolito had a strong game with three goals while Andy Calvert had two for Melrose. “They carried us the whole game,” says their coach.
Scoring for Winchester, winners of 8 straight, were Charlie Ward (four goals), and Harry Carpini (2 goals). The Sachems got on the board first when Carpini found the net, but Andy Calvert scored past Reading goalie Matt Sufferdini to make it a 1-1 game. Melrose took a larger 3-1 lead when Shea Fogarty and Chris Cusolito both scored. Reading made it a 3-3 game late in the first before Cusolito struck again and gave Melrose a 4-3 lead at the end of the first. Carpini helped the Sachems take a 6-4 lead, but Cusolito hit his third shot of the game to make it a close 7-5 contest at halftime, advantage Winchester.
In the second half, Winchester thwarted most of Melrose’s offense while their attackers Ward and Carpini found the net again and gave the Sachems a large 10-6 lead late in the third. Melrose defense limited Winchester to one goal in the fourth but couldn’t generate offense to flip the script and Melrose took a tough 11-7 loss. Melrose goalie Matt Rocha had 14 saves over the night.
Says coach James, “I thought Matt played really well but overall I think our defense was challenged. We have 15-year-olds going against 18-year old [Sachems] so while overall it was a frustrating game, keeping it a 4 goal game is something to be proud of too.”
Melrose can set their sights on another goal, however. They are one win away from winning another ML Freedom Title and can do so this week against Wakefield (Thursday, May 16) or onTuesday at home against Burlington. Action against the Red Devils start at 4:00 p.m. at Fred Green Field.