Melrose’s hard-fought tie helps wrap up the fall

Published in the November 3, 2017 edition

MELROSE SENIORS were celebrated at the start of the Melrose-Haverhill game on Monday. Pictured with family members, from left to right: Lauren Pedrini, Kiera Sixsmith and Sarah Herron. (Steve Karampalas photo)


MELROSE–The Melrose High girls’ soccer team wrapped up their season with a competitive game against Haverhill (11-6-1) on Monday, an evening that marked Senior Night. Celebrated prior to the game were seniors Sarah Herron, Lauren Pedrini and Kiera Sixsmith. And while Monday night ended in a 4-1 loss, Melrose brought strong defensive display that gives hope to this ultra-young squad for 2018 and beyond. 

“Towards the end of our season we had our defense back but didn’t find the net as much as we should have,” says head coach Bill DeSimone. “Haverhill was a skilled team who plays in a tough league. We put up a fight.”

Scoring on Monday was sophomore Katie Wright, whose second half goal helped Melrose stay competitive. Sharing goalie duties was Jill Stone and Becky Hamburg, with Stone completing a solid junior season as starting goalie. “Jill was rock solid for us all season,” says her coach. 

Melrose has seen post season in six years during DeSimone’s tenure, and while this year was not one of them, Melrose’s youth will fare well in the years to come. All of their offensive scoring came from their underclassmen, now seasoned players.

But on Monday, the coach was noting the longtime efforts of his upperclassmen. 

“There are many girls who did a lot of great things for us. First of course, are our seniors. Lauren [Pedrini] played all four seasons with us and I’m really going to miss her grit. Sarah [Herron] is a class act, to have come back from an Achilles tendon injury, and Keira [Sixsmith] has also been with me since freshmen year. She’s a unique player with great knowledge of the game.” 

Melrose showed plenty of bite in their final two league games against Wakefield and Burlington. The Lady Raiders battled to a draw in each contest, 1-1. Worth noting is their defensive gem against the Red Devils, who knocked Burlington out of the tournament, thanks to a goal by sophomore Grace Donahue. On Thursday, Oct. 26, Melrose battled rival Wakefield to a 1-1 tie thanks to solid goalkeeping from Stone and a goal from Ciera Smith. 

Among other bright sides in the second half of the season have been notable play from other underclassmen. DeSimone notes Emma Lynch Galvin’s strong second half and some dynamic play from sophomore Lauren Carlino. “She brings energy and will be a good player for us.”

“Most of our defense is coming back,” he continue. “Jill [goalie] returns, we are so fortunate to have Lily and Abby Cunningham and Serena DiBari next year. There is a lot to look forward to.” 

That includes the work of Ava Palumbo and Jenna Champagne. “Those two will be huge players for us,” he predicts. He’s also excited to have back Peri McDonald back healthy and Sam Smith in the middle. Smith he notes, “is our most consistent player.” 

Melrose is equipped in 2018 to turn things around with so many starters returning. Says the coach, “These kids are really coming along. They will be a tournament team next season. They are a pleasure to coach.”