First time since 2013 & 2nd title ever

Published June 11, 2021


MELROSE—It’s been a historical season for the Melrose High girls’ tennis team, who have clinched the Middlesex Freedom league with a nearly flawless record of 9-1, thanks to a clutch 3-2 win over Wakefield on Monday at the Crystal Street courts in Melrose. It was a down-to-the-wire victory for the Red Raiders who saw wins in two singles play and double play to catapult over the Warriors. This is their first league title since 2013, and their second ever. They will share the title with Burlington (also 9-1). 

LEAGUE WINNER Melrose girls’ tennis celebrated their seniors this week for Senior Day. Pictured from left: head coach Lydia Mays, capt. Emma Miller, capt. Haley Smith, capt. Grace Sanderson, Annalise Catalini, Michaela Szymczak, Dara Casey and assistant coach Jaden Taylor. (courtesy photo)

Prevailing in victory over Wakefield were Grace Sanderson in first singles and Ruby Robicheau in second singles. Melrose also benefitted from another victory from Dara Casey and Haley Smith, a duo who has mastered their game over the spring 2021 season. This win served as a repeat victory for Melrose after their first meeting against the Warriors just the week before. 

Even better, Melrose seniors got to savor their league win just as they were celebrated. Being honored on Senior Day were captains Emma Miller, Haley Smith and Grace Sanderson and fellow seniors Michaela Szymczak, Dara Casey and Annalise Catalini. 

“My six seniors are truly the best,” says Melrose head coach Lydia Mays. “You could feel their passion for the sport on and off the court. They are the most caring, motivated, and hard-working girls I have had the pleasure to know.” Certainly these upperclassmen truly had a big hand in this historic success. Dara Casey and Haley Smith finished the season undefeated (10-0). That is an incredible feat in the Middlesex League.

Another player who has slayed it this season is Ruby Robicheau, who went 9-1. “She lost by one point to Burlington. She is truly an unsung hero. She moved up to second singles seamlessly when the team had injuries and she stayed cool, calm, and collected the whole time.”

Everyone stepping up into their roles has made a difference for Melrose. From top to bottom, the efforts have been commendable. “I’m so incredibly proud of my girls,” says Mays. “They played so hard this season and gave me everything they had. We battled through a lot of injuries but in the end we came out on top at almost every match. We are also happy to share the league title with Burlington because we were so evenly matched.”

Girls’ high school tennis remains a popular sport for Melrose and coach Mays is excited about the amount of sub varsity players coming through the ranks. “I’m excited about a lot of my JV players. There are honestly too many players to name.”

At press time Melrose is slated to host Lexington in the Middlesex League Tournament on Thursday (post deadline). “Lexington is always a strong team so I’m expecting our hardest match yet,” says Mays. “But I’m excited for my players to play even stronger opponents.”