THE MELROSE girls’ hockey team wrapped up a competitive 2023 season last week and will return their entire team in 2024. (photo by Raj Das, edphotos.com)
Entire squad returns in 2024
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—The Melrose High girls’ hockey team may not have reached playoffs this season but they finished a promising one filled with wins, marked improvement and gained experience for their very young squad.
While there are no graduating seniors, junior captain Lucy Clark remains Melrose’s upperclassmen leader and the team’s highest scorer this season with 12 goals scored for 20 pts. Those numbers have tripled from last year, according to Melrose head coach Frank Sorrenti. “I can’t say enough about Lucy, who provided everything a coach could expect as a leader and role model. She’s dependable, has a solid work ethic and is a great kid, she is the ‘rock’ that carries our team.”
Right behind her is promising freshman Julia McNeely who led the team in points with a total of 22 (11 goals, 11 assists). Her and Clark’s goals were critical in one of their final games of the year against Burlington on Feb. 15. Both the two and Ella Daniels found the net for Melrose in their 7-3 loss, with assists by Nora Murray. And against Medford on Feb. 18 in a 5-2 loss, Melrose enjoyed goals from Grace Daniels and McNeely, who scored on a short goal.
While Melrose found defense a bit of a challenge this season, their improved offensive production bodes well for next season.
Says Sorrenti, “The game vs. Burlington was an example of us cashing in more offensive activities. It did start to come around towards the second half of the season. We managed to score a lot more goals this season than last (9 in 2021-2022 as compared to 43 scored this season).”
While their wins this season were a bonus, what most impressed Sorrenti was the development of his youngest players, 7th and 8th grade middle-schoolers, plus those recently in that role who are now freshmen. And he also saw positive signs of the team’s ability to reduce deficits in second pairings against opponents during the season.
He says, “We played Wakefield three times this season, with losses of 7-1 and 6-0, but in our third meeting had a good chance to win in a 3-1 loss. Hopefully this points to improvement and puts us in a good spot when looking towards next season.”
Melrose goals for next season are to continue to develop their young players, encourage “veteran” players to step up to add to more wins in the column. Says Sorrenti, “We will still be an incredibly young team next season but with another year of experience under our belt playing in one of the best public school leagues in MA, we can show promise.”
Coach Sorrenti also wants to thank assistant coach Kathryn Porter for all her work. “This was Kathryn’s first season and was a seamless fit and had a warm welcome. Coach Kathryn was primarily responsible for our defensemen and handled the group throughout the season with skill, consistency and without missing a beat. She added a dimension to our team and we hope that she will return next season.”