Melrose tops Belmont in OT, 11-10

Published May 10, 2019


MELROSE—The Melrose High girls’ lacrosse team has had plenty of reason to celebrate over the last week thanks to the team’s back-to-back wins, including a barn-burning, 11-10 road victory over a tough Belmont team on Monday. The result keeps Melrose at 4-2 in the league (4-4 overall) as they reach the halfway point of the spring season. 

On Tuesday, April 30, Melrose pulled off an easy 18-8 win over Stoneham on Senior Night at home. “It was always great to get a Middlesex win,” said Melrose coach Matt Galusi. “The entire team got playing time and we spread the ball around. Multiple girls contributed offensively.” 

Honored that evening were seniors Jenna Carrieri, Lily Cunningham, Abby Cunnigham, Linnea Kelley, Samantha Zysk and Maggie O’Donnell. Says Galusi, “Senior Night is always bittersweet. We celebrate our seniors and their accomplishments on and off the field yet we know that our time with them is rapidly coming to a close. We have a very special group of seniors and I will miss them tremendously when their Melrose playing days are over.”

THE MELROSE High girls’ lacrosse team enjoyed back-back-wins last week including an OT victory over Belmont. (Donna Larsson photo)

Melrose followed that victory up with a thrilling 11-10 overtime win over Belmont on the road Thursday. In the game, Melrose’s Lily Cunningham had 5 goals, Emma Randolph had 2 and Jenna Thorpe and Maggie O’Donnell both had one. Melrose senior captain Abby Cunningham was the player of the game with 2 goals and 2 assists, including the overtime game-winner. And Melrose goalie Marie Maher had an outstanding 16 saves in net. 

“Marie was immense for us,” says her coach. “Belmont was a tough out for us. We knew that we had to bring our ‘A game’ and it would take 50 minutes to get a W.” 

Belmont came into the game with a 5-2 record but Melrose wasn’t intimidated. Says the coach, “Both me and my assistant Sarah Foote knew our team was coming to play. You could sense something different. We were focused and loose.”

The game was a back and forth event and tied at 8 at halftime. Galusi pointed to a turning point when senior defender Maggie O’Donnell scored. “It was a beautiful goal and once she scored it, I knew we’d prevail.”

Melrose looked strong defensively behind the work of Meg Fogarty, Lizzie Casey, Chloe Halligan, Maggie O’Donnell, Jenna Carrieri and Katie Wright. “They were stingy with their coverage and Belmont had to work for every goal they scored,” says their coach. “Jenna Thorpe, Jess Glynn, Sam Zysk and Ava Palumbo also really stepped it up in this game.” 

Just two minutes into overtime, Melrose’s Katie Wright stripped a Belmont ball cleanly, then picked up the loose ball and used tremendous speed to transition the ball upfield to Abby Cunningham, who ended the game with a laser beam, top shelf beyond the Belmont goalie.”That was the play of the game,” says Galusi. “We would not have won otherwise. Katie found Abby and the rest is history—drive home safely folks because this one is over.”

As they reach the halfway point of the season, Melrose sits 4-2 record in the league. “Our record is great but it is also deceiving,” says the coach. “We could be 6-0 in Middlesex play as the Woburn and Lexington games got away from us.” 

On tap this week are the always-tough Reading Rockets and Winchester Sachems. Says Searles, “Reading is having a year for the ages and is ranked in the top 10 in Mass. Winchester is always skilled and disciplined. We will have to play flawless lacrosse to prevail in these games.”

It remains a milestone season for Melrose. While Abby Cunningham and Emma Randolph have both reached the 100 plus goal plateau, coach Galusi has also reached his 150th win as a head coach last week.

He says, “It’s a good time to be a Red Raider. Stay tuned because we are only just beginning our rise.”