SHELAGH DOWNES (left) and Jenna Maguire were a big part of Melrose’s 1-0 victory over Burlington last Friday. (Raj Das


MELROSE—It was a special night last Friday evening at Fred Green Field in Melrose as the Melrose High girl’s varsity soccer team rode to a 1-0 victory over Burlington in front of a large crowd during Soccer Night Melrose celebration.

Sophomore goalie Ava Tormo and senior striker Jenna Maguire provided all the punch needed to take an early 1-0 advantage that Melrose wouldn’t lose. The result was a nice shutout that improved Melrose to 3-3-2 on the season. At press time, Melrose remains in good shape to fight for a playoff spot as they approach the halfway mark of the season.

Maguire hit the lone shot of a night at 22:18 in the first and Melrose defense did the rest, holding down a spirited Burlington team. Melrose defense looked sharp in the first thanks to efforts from Jenna Maguire and Kailey Donovan, who helped thwart scoring opportunities. But it was a save in the second half by sophomore goalie Ava Tormo that nailed the shutout and preserved the win.

“Ava was great, and really bailed us out,” says Melrose coach Rob Mahoney after the game. “That was a critical save, I really thought it was going in. But we love our clean sheets and we got one tonight.”

And he tipped his cap at the offensive output from Maguire. “Jenna is really coming into her own. She’s always been one of our most consistent players,” he says. “And she’s probably our most versatile player.”

Melrose would nearly score on a corner kick at 28:56 but came up empty. As it turns out, the one goal was just what the team needed to shuout the Red Devils. Solid defensive work from Ally Maguire and Lucy Hannon highlighted Melrose’s second half and coach Mahoney was overall happy with the works of their backs. “I thought our defensive backs played great. Katherine Carney sort of stepped into that auxilliary goalie role and Paige Crovo really played excellent for us.”

As Melrose approaches their second half of the season, they hope to go on a winning streak that could help propel them into an eventual playoff run. Current MIAA power seedings has Melrose 20th in Div. 2, but anything can change. And as they approach ten games into the season, there is plenty to like that coach Mahoney sees. One is the emergence of freshman Chloe Mahoney, who has become a dependable scorer. “Chloe plays older than her years. She just puts her nose to the the goal, is quick and finishes with her feet.”

He also points out the continued strong effort of Shelagh Downey. “She’s a workhorse, really dynamic and puts a lot of pressure on defense,” says her coach.

One thing is for sure, Melrose will continue to compete in arguably the state’s toughest league. Win, loss or draw, the team is only getting better.

They look to prove that when they host Reading this Friday afternoon at Pine Banks Park at 4:00 p.m.