MELROSE—For the fifteenth straight year, the Melrose High volleyball team are league champs.
Melrose (14-1) remains flawless across all Middlesex League teams at 13-0 with four games to go. They helped their cause with back-to-back victories over Peabody and Watertown this week. Melrose remains in the top 4 of the Div. 2 power seedings and is looking to secure a top seeding and are likely to host a handful of playoff games. They remain the North favorite in Div. 2.
While winning the Middlesex Freedom is a bit of a dynasty for Melrose, this team stands apart as they have yet to lose a set in all Middlesex League games (their only loss was to Div. 1 non league Newton North.) With that in mind, it was time to celebrate on Tuesday evening.
Prior to the start of their Watertown game, Melrose celebrated seniors who have been key to their success for a Senior Night celebration. Honored for the evening were their seniors, Ava Burns, capt. Abby Hudson, capt. Elena Soukos and capt. Autumn Whelan. The team also gave a special salute to their trusted National Anthem singing Elena Simard.
Melrose swept their rival Raiders in sets of 25-14, 25-14, 25-7. Melrose relied on hitting from senior captain Elena Soukos, who had 14 kills. Junior captain Chloe Gentile had six. Sophomore Sadie Jaggers shined up front with 5 kills, and also bringing the heat were Ava Burns and Gia Vlajkovic. The well attended event was a senior special. Soukos was unstoppable in set one, serving from southpaw Ava Burns was a highlight in set two and a set three highlight included a 12 point service run by Chloe Gentile. Senior capt. libero Autumn Whelan was near flawless in her role on defense. The return of Abby Hudson was welcomed by teammates and fans alike, and she shined on the service line with several points.
Melrose head coach Scott Celli lauded his seniors for their contributions to the program. “This group of seniors have been a remarkable, dedicated group. They all have brought something different to the table but the one thing that they all had in common was the ability to inspire each other to be the best player possible.”
The win came on the heels of an exciting non league victory last Friday evening over a talented, Div. 1 Peabody team. While Melrose took care of them in straights sets 3-0, Peabody (11-3) proved to be a competitive team. Leading scoring for Melrose was Elena Soukos with 17 kills while Chloe Gentile had a strong game with 12 kills and a large amount of blocks at the net. Melrose had a staggering 50 kills in total during their three sets.
Melrose started the set with giant leads of 10-2 and 18-4 behind hitting from Sadie Jaggers (8 kills) and Elena Soukos and saw a long service run for Chloe Gentile. An Autumn Whelan ace would close the door, 25-11. In set two, Melrose saw very strong play from Ava Burns and Chloe Gentile, whose block kills helped Melrose take leads of 6-3 and 12-5. Autumn Whelan once again brought the heat on the service line with aces and service points. Gentile and Soukos combined for ten kills in the set and Melrose took the set 25-8. But Peabody showed perseverance in set three which Melrose won by 25-23. While it was close, Gentile and Soukos created more havoc for the Tanners, with Soukos delivering the game winner to take the set and he game, 3-0.
Melrose also benefitted from solid seving from Gia Vlajkovic and Emma Desmond, who had 38 assists as setter.
At 14-1 (13-0 ML) Melrose is looking to finish their regular season unbeaten. They will have to beat three Freedom foes and two non league visitors to do it. Melrose would like nothing more than to finish their 20 game season at 19-1 prior to playoffs. Stay tuned.
10/21 @ Wakefield, 6:30 p.m.
10/23 v. Frontier, 1:30 p.m.
10/25 v. Burlington, 5:30 p.m.
10/27 @ Wilmington, 5:30 p.m.
10/29 v. Central Catholic,