Published April 12, 2019
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—The three-time league champion Red Raider tennis is is back for another exciting spring season.
Last year, the Red Raiders enjoyed a 12-4 campaign, a league title and an appearance in the Div. 2 North quarterfinals. This year, its roster has some new faces.
That’s not including their returning captains Henry McDonnell and Jack Somersby. Both were a big part of the team’s last two league titles and extended playoff runs. Senior Russell Darwin also returns, who the coach will also count on for leadership. Another part of their success last season was Zac Ziabatis who returns as a junior singles player, along with Griffin Castergine, Tyler Janzen and sophomore Nick Koen.
Head coach Matt Williams has led Melrose to consecutive playoff seasons and league titles. This year, he’s hoping his veteran players and new crop of faces will keep Melrose competitive in an always-tough Middlesex League. “These are great athletes and good kids. We have some new faces and we’re hoping the weather will cooperate for us to get outside and get some quality practice in.”
Melrose has a tough schedule out of the gate, having to get through Middlesex Large teams like Woburn, Lexington and Arlington in their first week. But they also will battle more equitable foes such as Wilmington this week. Says the coach, “No match will be easy. In fact, I think Wakefield will be tricky. We have a lot of new players so we will have our hands full. Our focus will be concentrating on the teams that are beatable.”