Published September 22, 2023
By JENNIFER GENTILE
Updates post publication:
Melrose falls to Wakefield 2-1 (Sept. 21)
Melrose ties Belmont 2-2 (Sept. 25)
Melrose defeats Burlington 3-0 (Sept. 27)
MELROSE—While it has taken some time to get there, the Melrose High boys’ varsity soccer team opened their 2023 campaign with a 3-0 shutout over Reading on Wednesday, Sept. 13 on the road at Reading High and followed that up with a 2-0 shutout at home over rival Watertown just this past Tuesday to give them an early record of 2-0.
Rain and poor field conditions at the West Knoll field in Melrose have created a perfect storm for postponement, including their home opener against Woburn on Sept 7. But now Melrose is making up for lost time.
“Reading is always a good competition,” said Melrose head coach Dean Serino after the Rocket game. “It was nice to win on the road, because their field can be tricky for us. I think we had to work out the rust first, and then we focused on getting it done. This team just goes out and has fun. The chemistry is terrific.”
Against Reading, Melrose senior captain Amir Lahkiky scored a hat trick, earning the team’s first goal shortly before halftime, giving Melrose an edge over the Rockets 1-0 at the break. He’d score two more in the second half, one on an assist by Liam Gavin. “That’s Amir for you,” says Serino of his high scoring all-star.
Senior captain and keeper Aiden Heipler had a shutout at the net, an effort lauded by his coach. “Aiden had an excellent game for us. He really helped us out early when we needed to settle down.”
Heipler was helped by a tough back of defenders, including Malek Sayegh, Tyler Lecomte, John Arens and Dan Muller. Says Serino, “Coming into this season we really had to sort out new pieces, and against Reading I think it paid off. They played tough back there.” He also notes the efforts of sophomore Aiden Murphy, “I thought he played well.”
Melrose also saw some strong work by Erik Hall and Nick Thermenos in midfield along with Jovan Ssebugwawo, who Serino pointed out, “Had some great opportunities out there.”
And on Tuesday, Melrose welcomed the Watertown Raiders and shutout their ML Freedom rivals by a score of 2-0. Lahkiky once again led with 2 goals with Ssebugwawo earning an assist. Melrose defense, and Heipler in the net, were simply lights out.
Melrose is proving to be an athletic team, tough in the back, and with enough scoring gusto to continue a winning campaign this year. Notes the coach, “There are no egos on this team. Just an excited team-first mentality that shows when they step on the field.”
Melrose’s annual clash with Wakefield comes this week, scheduled for Thursday (post deadline) at Gavin Middle School. The Warriors are coming off an impressive win over historically-though Arlington, so it’s bound to be a slugfest.
Melrose returns home on Sept. 25 against Belmont.