Could clinch tourney spot this week
Published May 24, 2019
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—The Melrose High girls lacrosse team is on the verge of clinching the Freedom League and a playoff spot after two key league wins over Watertown and Burlington this week. They remain undefeated in the Freedom League thanks to a clutch road win at Burlington on Tuesday by a score of 14-6.
In the game, Emma Randolph and Abby Cunningham both had 5 goals apiece and Lily Cunningham had 4. “Every girl played and contributed,” reports head coach Matt Galusi. “Those are the best wins when every girl has a chance to make plays.”
Galusi admits they played with a chip on their shoulder so to speak, after last year’s controversial check from a Burlington player that ended the season of Melrose’s top scorer, Lily Cunningham. “Every girl in a Red Raider uniform played for our captain Lily today after last year’s vicious cheap shot. They really rallied. It was impressive. We controlled the entire game.”
Scoring also for Melrose was Jenna Thorpe with 2 goals, Sam Zysk with 2 goals and a goal from Katie Wright and Jess Glynn.
Melrose also picked up a big win over Watertown last week, 22-11. It was a wide offensive contribution, with Lily Cunningham leading the pack with 7 goals and 2 assists. Goalie Marie Maher had an impressive 16 saves in the win.
Lily Cunningham leads the team in scoring this season with 51 goals and 28 assists. “Crazy numbers,” says her coach. “Abby [Cunningham] and Emma [Randolph] aren’t far behind either.” Melrose continues to have a variety of offensive contributions. Says the coach, “We can really score goals in bunches when we need to.”
He points to the defensive work of Maggie O’Donnell, Katie Wright, Meg Fogarty, Lizzie Casey and Jenna Carrieri, who are all aiding the great work of Marie Maher at the net. Says Galusi, “They are standing tall and preventing our opponents from getting good looks. Most of the goals we give up are in transition and on free positions. When we can see up in our defense we prevent good looks and force our opponents into bad shots. Our help (slides) on defense has been great lately and we are helping each other out by coming in hard and delivering aggressive checks.”
In recent days, Melrose has been able to get younger players in games. Says the coach, “Ava Palumbo has been a great midfielder for us and her athleticism is second to none. She will only continue to get better.”
Should Melrose win the Freedom League they would get an automatic tournament bid. And this team is now accustomed to a postseason. Says the coach, “If we can set our minds to playing disciplined lacrosse we should be fine moving forward. This team plays hard, never gives up and kick, fight and scream until the final whistle.”
Melrose will play Lynnfield on Wednesday (post deadline) and could seal the deal on Friday at home against Wakefield at 4:00 p.m. Fans are encouraged to visit Fred Green Field for Youth Lacrosse Spirit Night.