Back-to-back wins help playoff cause

Published October 25, 2019

By JENNIFER GENTILE

MELROSE—The Melrose Lady Raider soccer team refuses to go quietly into the night and is riding on a two-game winning streak that they hope to extend into a playoff run. 

Melrose stands at 6-8-1 and needs two wins and at least a tie in their next three games to qualify for a Div. 2 North playoff appearance. They picked up two key leagues last week against Watertown and Wakefield to make that job easier. 

On Oct. 16 they traveled to Watertown and came back with a resounding 5-0 win. Earning the shutout at the net was Ava Palumbo. Melrose saw a goal by Grace Donahue in the first before Lauren Carlino scored on an assist by Andrea Mortimer. Serena DeBari had Melrose’s third goal, followed by Shelagh Downes and Jenna Champagne. 

THE MELROSE High girls’ soccer team is on a two game winning streak as they reach the tail end of their season. (courtesy photo)

It was a collaborative effort for Melrose, who needs every hand on deck these days. “We’ve been banged up a bit, battling injuries,” confirms head coach Rob Mahoney. “But many players have stepped up and made a real contribution.” That includes Jenna McGuire and Jenna Champagne, who Mahoney notes are showing great consistency. 

He also points to sophomores, Katherine Carney and Lucy Hannon, stepping up this fall. “They are really growing into their roles.”

Melrose also beat Wakefield on Oct. 18 at home at Fred Green Field in an exciting 2-1 win. “There was definitely a sense of urgency as both our teams needed wins for playoff qualification,” noted Mahoney.  

The two teams battled to a draw for nearly an entire half before Grace Donahue struck to make it a 1-0 game. Wakefield tied it up right after halftime but in the waning minutes, Melrose senior captain Ciara Smith struck the game-winner for a 2-1 final. It was truly a satisfying win for the coach and the team, who look to keep the intensity up as they make their final run for a playoff spot. They host Wilmington this Friday at Pine Banks at 4:00 p.m. in a game considered must-win.

“I admire the grit and perseverance they are showing late in the season,” says the coach. “For them, the next game is the biggest game.”