Melrose (6-1) on cusp of playoffs, league title

Published in the October 20, 2017 edition

SAVA VLAJKOVIC (left) and David Kurti have plenty of reason to celebrate. The Melrose High boys’ soccer team is on the cusp on playoffs and a possible league title. (Donna Larsson photo)


MELROSE—The Melrose Red Raider soccer team has led a quiet campaign in the Middlesex Freedom League, where they enjoy a current 6-1 record. Melrose has lost two games over the course of the 2017 season and at 6-2-5, are one win away from a tourney bid. If they beat rival Watertown on Thursday (post deadline) they can help clinch their second straight league title.

According to coach Dean Serino, some critical games this week will determine their future. “We want to win another title, and we are very close to playoffs. But we’re going to maintain focus and take it one game at at time.”

Melrose helped their cause with a 4-0 league win over Stoneham on Tuesday night at Stoneham High. Melrose enjoyed a 2-0 lead at halftime thanks to goals by Cam Rosnov and Lance DeSelm. Melrose broke it open in the second half with goals from Stian Forsberg and Miguel Contreras. Goalie Jared Dowell earned another shutout at the net, keeping the Spartans scoreless in both halves. 

“It was a good team win and everyone contributed,” says the coach. “And Stoneham played competitively. This was a big game for us and we needed it.”

Melrose enjoyed solid defense and midfield play courtesy of Lucien Carbonneau, Pete Wiesen and Will Pzegeo. “I thought we moved the ball well, played strong at the middle. And Jared came through with us at the net.”

The Red Raiderss strength this season has been its adaptability, something Serino touched upon. “What I like about this team is the players are interchangeable. They fill in for each other, move to different spots. It works and they enjoy it that way. I think it’s a sign that they are real students of the game.”

This year, nearly half of Melrose’s games have ended in ties. “We’ve had a lot,” says Serino. “There have been good ones and bad ones. Our first one against Arlington was a good one. Later in the season, our ties with Reading and Belmont were more disappointing because we let them back into the game. But the good thing is, we learn from these ties. We review the game and see what we did wrong and how to right it. We don’t want to get upset over it.” 

As for a (likely) playoff run? “Right now, we want to take it one step at a time,” Serino said. “This team supports each other and love the game and that will always serve us well.”

Melrose next travels to Wakefield on Tuesday, then hosts their final regular season game against Burlington on Thursday, Oct. 26 at 6:30 p.m.