THE MHS field hockey team’s home opener is Monday, Sept. 13 against Woburn at 4:30 at Pine Banks. (Raj Das photo)


Look for another competitive team in 2021


MELROSE—One year after an incredibly successful 2020 campaign, the Melrose High field hockey team returns this week looking to pick up after their fantastic fall season when they powered their way to a near-best ever record of 7-2-1.

Last year Melrose finished second behind state powerhouse Watertown in the Middlesex Freedom League, quiet a feat for the team, who returns to the field both new faces and old. This season Melrose welcomes a new coach into the fold. Former MHS junior varsity coach Claire Grogran takes over this season and she’s excited to have a roster of sixteen players, including waived 8th graders allowed to compete on the upperclass squad.  Opening up the team to 8th graders has given Melrose numbers and depth needed to compete in an always-tough Middlesex League.

Leading the team are senior captains Kalina Piasecki, Caeleigh Corolla and junior captain Meghan Maher. Melrose will once again play in a very competitive Div. 2 and the Middlesex Freedom League which features field hockey titan Watertown, who Melrose will place twice this season. Thus, it’s important for the team to be full-staffed and with depth. Other strong starters returning include Erin Sampson and Anna Mackey, both attackers who will be players to watch this season.

Hard struck last fall by some tight COVID-19 restrictions, it’s back to field hockey as this team knows it. Last season, Melrose was forced to play 7×7 which tested individual players’ endurance. “It’s great to play 11×11 again and have corners back,” confirms coach Grogan. “We’re looking forward to having fans back too. There is excitement to have the game back the way it’s meant to be played.”

Last year was quite an experience for Melrose, who despite playing a very limited game of field hockey, managed to put together their most competitive season in at least a decade, losing only to Watertown in league play. That’s the kind of momentum they hope will catapult them into success this fall. Says the coach, “We had such a good season last year. And coming off it has made pre-season fun. [Former coach] Erin Parker left the program in great shape, and these girls are excited to play because they know they can win.”

Expect Melrose’s defense to be anchored by junior Meghan Casey. “She does it all for us,” says Grogan. “She really is our anchor out there.” She also points to the efforts of Caleigh Corolla, who has been a defensive mainstay for Melrose for several years, along with Rory Kirby, Lindsay Teevan and Riley Maguire. At the net count on sophomore Layla Szymczak to hold down the fort as goalie. She takes over for longtime goalie (and now graduate) Brianna Stanton.

On offense, look for experienced upperclassmen to lead the way. “Kalina is one of our highest scorers and our most experienced.” But keep your eye out for Meghan Meghan, Megan Casey, Anna Mackey and Erin Sampson to find the net. Also seeing time will be Bridget Price, Caitlin Price, Shannon Mackowski and Olivia Galusi. Look for freshman find Ava Viola to get plenty of minutes of action too.

Melrose will hit the road to Arlington on Thursday (post deadline) to open their season before open at home on Monday, Sept. 13 at 4:00 p.m. at Pine Banks against Woburn.