Published June 14, 2019
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—It was quality lacrosse against two league rivals on Friday, June 7 at Fred Green Field in a highly anticipated rematch between the Melrose Red Raiders and the Burlington Red Devils during the opening round of the Div. 2 North playoffs. Fourth seeded Melrose (12-5) faced a tough Burlington team (13-5) who had just beaten Melrose two weeks ago in regular season play.
But Melrose avenged that loss with a 14-10 victory to advance them to semifinals against Winchester (see accompanying story).
Melrose junior Chris Cusolito continued his hot season with six goals against a talented Red Devil defense. “He was awesome, just all over the place,” said Melrose coach Matt James. “He’s had an incredible season and playoffs.”
Cusolito, who recently received EMLCA All American honors, was hard to stop for Burlington, who proved a tricky opponent.
“This was a just on old school game,” said James. “A physically aggressive, quality win. Maybe the most satisfying win of the season. Burlington is a really strong team who is well coached and they are always hard to put away. And sure enough, they kept coming back.”
But thanks to goals from Matt Dussault, Brendan Fennell, Andy Calvert and Liam Maher, Melrose stayed ahead of their rivals.
James had special praise for the freshman Maher, who finished with an impressive 32 goals this season. “We’ve asked so much of him this season,” he said. “He filled a really big role. This is the most productive freshmen we’ve ever had.”
Burlington took a quick 1-0 lead but it was all Melrose after that.
“Having Brendan Fennell back this time against this team really helped us,” notes James. “And Brendan Maher was excellent defending their best attacker.”
“This is not a rivalry that is over, by any means,” says James. “I predict we’ll battle it out again next season.”