Big victories over Marblehead, Lexington
Published April 12, 2019
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—The Melrose Red Raider lacrosse team is off to a quick 2-1 start to the season after two impressive wins over Marblehead and Lexington this week.
They began their season on April 3 in Marblehead and prevailed in a 12-9 victory. The Magicians are a team who, just a few seasons ago, knocked Melrose out of playoffs, so to steal victory on their territory was pretty sweet for coach Matt James and the Red Raiders.
And it was a solid game for varsity newcomer Billy Pesce. The junior led among the 7 different scorers with three goals. “Billy really stood out,” says James. “This is an unselfish team; he and our other scorers received great feeds from their teammates. It was really great to see so many different players contribute offensively.”
Melrose defense shined, led by Matt Rocha who had 9 saves at the net. He was aided by some solid work on the field by his teammates. Said the coach, “Jake Rowe played really well on defense and Brendan Maher was excellent against Marblehead’s best player.”
Melrose faced an even tougher test against Div. 1 state finalist Acton Boxborough on Friday during their home opener. They fell in a close battle, 10-8, but Rocha had a very solid game with 14 saves at the net, helping the Red Raiders take early leads of 1-0 and 2-1.
Defensively, Ryan Maher was terrific during the game, a sentiment coach James agreed with. “He played excellent and was matched up against one of the toughest players on the team,” says the coach. “The growth he has shown in one year is amazing. Brendan Maher was also awesome on defense.”
“It was a good game and a real even match up,” says James.
In the contest, Brendan Fennell had 2 goals and 3 assists, while Matt Dussault had 2 goals and Chris Cusolito had just 1 goal but proved the driving force on offense. James points out that Oliver Hannon had a solid job in faceoffs with aid from Shea Fogarty. “We asked a lot from him and he was excellent and aggressive in his position.”
“I think we left a few goals on the field. We responded really well in the fourth which showed that we can play with anyone. That said, Acton-Boxborough dictated the pace, and that’s something that will change and focus on. Some of these players might be sophomore and juniors, but they need to know they are good enough to control the pace of the game.”
Melrose collected their second win against an unbeaten Lexington team on Tuesday afternoon on the road, 13-10 to improve to 2-1. Brendan Fennell had four goals to continue his hot streak for Melrose, and Andy Calvert earned Player of the Game nod with a sold all around performance, while coach James saluted Matt Dussault’s effort as well. “All three of these guys were awesome.”
Melrose looks to keep on the winning side on Tuesday when they travels to Needham for a 7 p.m. game.