But 11-10 loss can’t keep Melrose out of playoffs

Published May 31, 2019


MELROSE—Despite Melrose senior captain Lily Cunningham’s three goals and best efforts in the second half, the Melrose girl’s lacrosse team suffered a one goal defeat to Lynnfield on Wednesday, May 21 at Lynnfield High School, losing 11-10. Melrose kept the game close until the final horn, never letting the Pioneers gain greater than a two-goal lead.

With her team trailing 5-4 coming out of halftime, Lily Cunningham seemed on a mission to single-handedly will Melrose to a victory. In addition to her three second half goals, the senior played swarming defense and was not shy to power her way through multiple Pioneer defenders to try to make something happen on the offensive end.

“You give me a team full of Lily Cunningham’s, a team full of Abby Cunningham’s, and you might not ever lose a game,” said Melrose head coach Matthew Galusi. “That girl has the heart of a lion, she’s strong as an ox, and she just—she refuses to lose.”

DESPITE A loss to Lynnfield last week, the Melrose High girls’ lacrosse team qualified for another post season run. (Steve Karampalas photo)

Cunningham’s efforts alone were just short of enough to fully swing the momentum in Melrose’s favor. With 14:10 to go, Melrose took the lead when Abby Cunningham fired a shot, caught her own rebound after the ball careened off the goal post, then stuck it in the net. Emma Randolph and Lily Cunningham had each scored within the previous three minutes, making Abby Cunningham’s goal the third unanswered by Melrose, which gained a 7-6 lead at that point.

Lynnfield scored the next two, however, to gain the lead right back. The game was once again knotted at 9-9 with just 2:29 left to play until Lynnfield tacked on two more in quick succession. Melrose kept fighting, and Randolph stuck in a goal at the crease with 1:02 remaining to cut Lynnfield’s lead, but Melrose made a critical turnover with just under nine seconds in the contest, and the Pioneers ran out the clock.

The six-foot-plus Randolph was a scoring machine for the Lady Red Raiders, finding the back of the cage four times. Melrose seemed to have success flashing her to the crease and feeding her the ball. The Pioneers never seemed to find an answer for her height. “[Randolph’s] stick stills are unbelievable. She’s really comfortable in tight quarters,” said Galusi. “She has a quick release. Definitely a good weapon for us to have.”

Violations hurt Melrose in the first half. Four of Lynnfield’s five goals in the first half were a result of free position goals that granted the Pioneers open runs to the front of the net. Randolph (two), Samantha Zysk (one), and Jessica Glynn (one) accounted for Melrose’s four first half goals. Despite the outcome, Galusi expressed pride in his team’s performance.

“It was such a team effort. Every girl gave 100 percent. I mean, they can barely walk coming off this field today. They left everything out there.”