Undefeated league champs will keep eye on prize
Published in the September 4, 2015 edition
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE — When it comes to volleyball in Melrose, winning isn’t exactly new. Last year, the MHS Lady Raider volleyball team gave fans another season to remember, earning a 14th league title (8 years consecutive) and an undefeated league record. But they fell just shy of returning to their 10th straight Division 2 North title game after a loss against Weston in semifinals. This year, they aim to stay focused, driven and motivated enough to bring the Div. 2 North title back to Melrose.
According to Melrose head coach Scott Celli, there is a wealth of talent this season. “This year, we have [it] across the board. We have 15 players on the roster competing for spots and nothing is set in stone. It’s a good problem to have.”
Leading the Lady Raiders as captains this season are junior Victoria Crovo and senior Marissa Cataldo. Both were productive hitters last season and will provide offensive oomph this season. Hannah Mulcahey is another outside hitter who will be counted on for kills. Other players Melrose can rely on offensively are returning starter Cat Torpey, senior Meagan Leyne, junior Julia Symonds, junior Bella Federico, sophomore Saoirse Connolly and sophomore Lydia Lombardo.
With the graduation of All State player Allie Nolan, the team’s setter role is open but that role could be easily filled by either Lily Fitzgerald or Emily DiPietro. Returning starter Kaitlyn MacInnes should see time in the back row along with new defensive specialists Jill Mercer, Katie Donovan and Daniela Cataldo.
During the off-season a number of players competed in intense training, including competing in Bay State games, which helps set them apart from competition. Good thing. Melrose has once again stacked their schedule with intense games. On tap this season are matchups against powerhouses Westborough, Notre Dame of Hingham, Arlington Catholic and Newton North. For Melrose the philosophy has always been “in order to be the best you have to beat the best” something the Lady Raiders are determined to do this season.
Fans may want to pencil in Friday, Sept. 25 when Melrose hosts Notre Dame of Hingham at 6 p.m. at the Melrose Middle School gym. It should be the first match up of giants this season.
But in the meantime, Melrose will host their season opener against Belmont on Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 5:15 p.m. That will be followed by another home game on Friday, Sept. 11 at 5:15 p.m. against Arlington.
Melrose is a team that sets goals and one of them is to re-earn their Div. 2 North title. Says Celli, “And obviously winning a championship is the ultimate goal.”