Melrose knocks off reigning state champ Reading, 9-8

Published May 10, 2019


MELROSE—The Melrose Red Raider lacrosse team is riding a five-game winning streak and remain undefeated in the Middlesex League following a week of victories including a 9-8 upset over last year’s state champ Reading on the road Tuesday afternoon. 

At 6-0 (8-3) Melrose is coasting towards playoffs and have outscored their opponents an eye-popping 65-17 in four outings. Right now, it’s a great time to be a Red Raider fan. Their victory over Reading was just what the doctor ordered after bowing out to them in the Div. 2 North playoffs last year. 

“This was the best win of the year, no doubt,” said Melrose coach Matt James. Melrose literally left it all on the field, as the coach noted the team fell asleep on the bus ride home. “They were so fired up and wanted this win.They played their hearts out.”

SENIORS WERE honored at the boy’s lacrosse Senior Night last week. Pictured, with their families are (from left): Liam Ton, Cody Porcello, Dana Monteiro, Stephen Getsick, Matt Rocha, Reed Carter and Nolan Castergine. (Steve Karamapalas photo)

Melrose overcame deficits of 3-0 and 8-4, and had the game tied at 4 at halftime. Melrose relied on a huge fourth quarter in which Melrose Andy Calvert scored the game winner with three minutes to go. Melrose also saw goals in that quarter by Matt Dussault, Brendan Fennell, Chris Cusolito. 

While Melrose had to contend with Reading’s mega talent Mike Tobin (4 goals), he had to contend with a ferocious Melrose defense, including Chris Cusolito and Andy Calvert who clamped down on Rocket offense in the waning minutes of the game. 

A highlight reel moment came from Oliver Hannon, who thwarted Tobin in the final minute of the game. “He delivered an insane trail check and knocked the ball out of his stick, grabbed the ground ball and regained possession,” says coach James. “Ryan Maher also did an incredible job defending Reading’s best attacker.”

Brendan Maher also stymied any last minute scoring attempts, while All American goalie Matt Rocha picked Tobin off at the end of the game to help seal the 9-8 victory. Said coach James, “Matt has been so consistent and lights out. He did incredible.”

Melrose also picked up a win Thursday, April 20 against Wilmington in an 18-4 victory and a complete shutout over the Stoneham Spartans 19-0 on Tuesday, April 30 in a game that saw outstanding contributions from Joe Lucien (who had 2 goals and 8 ground balls) along with six other first time scorers, including Nolan Castergine. Melrose was just as dominant in their 17-4 win over Belmont on May 2. Melrose overwhelmed the Marauders thanks the work of Chris Cusolito, Oliver Hannon, Andy Calvert and Ryan Maher. Defensively, coach James liked what he saw from Jake Rowe and Will Brandon. “They were just awesome on defense. They took it to a different level. Just super aggressive.” Offensively, Melrose saw Liam Maher with 4 goals and Billy Pesce and Brendan Fennell with three. 

With Reading behind them, and an even tougher Winchester scheduled for today at 4:15 p.m. at Fred Green Field, James is looking forward to Melrose performing on all cylinders. “Reading also provided us some areas to clean up, and doing that should generate more goals. Our depth chart is full now and we’re ready to take on the Sachems.”

Ball drops at 4:15 today.