Melrose tops Warriors, 5-2, to steal series

Published November 6, 2020

THE MELROSE girls’ soccer winning streak continues, thanks to their 5-2 win over Wakefield on Monday. (Raj Das


MELROSE—The road to a potential league title for the MHS girls’ soccer team just became easier thanks to a second victory against the Wakefield Warriors on Monday evening at a frosty Fred Green Field. The event marked Breast Cancer Awareness night, with a donation to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the girls showed plenty of passion on the field as they took a commanding 5-2 win to improve to 5-1 on the season. They currently sit at the top of the league ahead of Wilmington (3-1).

It was a closer game at times, as Wakefield was within shooting range, down just 3-2 with fifteen minutes left. But the Melrose pairing of Shelagh Downes and Jenna Maguire took the game out of Wakefield’s hands in the last 3 minutes of the game by assisting on each other’s scores for a 5-2 final. 

Melrose goalie Joceyln Skane held the Warriors to one goal in the first half of play, while Ava Tormo finished the job in the second half. Maguire led in scoring for Melrose with two goals. Despite blanketing Wakefield coverage, Melrose scored with 7 minutes left in the half when Alyssa Champagne scored on a Jenna Maguire assist, to make it a 1-0 game. 

Wakefield would find the net and make it a 1-1 game at halftime. 

Melrose head coach Rob Mahoney credits an inter-team halftime talk among the players to help fuel their second half surge. “I don’t know what was said but it worked because immediately after, we began scoring,” he notes. 

It started with an Andrea Mortimer goal that make it a 2-1 game when she scored on a penalty kick (her third of the season). Not much longer after, Wakefield fought back with a sharp, free-kick to make it a closer 3-2 contest. That was before Jenna Maguire found the net for Melrose with a minute left and Shalagh Downes followed suit with a buzzer-beater to finish the job at 5-2. 

According to coach Mahoney, some behind-the-scenes work by key players has made a difference in their winning campaign this season. He points to the work of Haley Smith, a senior who is helping Melrose collect victories. “Haley has had a lot of minutes and just wins the ball in the midfield a lot and helps us in transition. She’s been so valuable to the team both last year and this year as well.” He also credited the work of Downes and Maguire in the victory.

At 5-1, Melrose has a very good shot of taking the Middlesex Freedom league. They will require beating Burlington or taking a game from top contender Wilmington, who will be benched this upcoming weekend for COVID-related concerns. 

Mahoney is grateful that Melrose has moved right along, able to play every game on the schedule—unlike neighboring towns such as Reading, Wilmington and Wakefield, who have seen their seasons interrupted for COVID-related cases. Says the coach, “We’re just going to keep on doing what we’re doing. We have Burlington next week and hope to get that game in. Wilmington, we don’t know.” 

The Wildcats are 3-1 on their season before they were forced to stop their season. Should they resume and face Melrose, the Wildcats will have some ground to make up to match Melrose’s 5-1 record. Their cancelled games will not be made up, meaning Melrose has the best record in the league and that may remain the case for the rest of the season. There could be a first-ever league title for Melrose, if the league awards it. 

Mahoney acknowledges the ever-changing atmosphere. “We’re taking it one game at a time. Burlington is a much-improved team that is well-coached. We’re looking forward to playing them. It will be a competitive game.”  Melrose will host the Red Devils at noon on Saturday and then travel to Burlington on Veteran’s Day.