11th hour wins good enough to punch ticket to postseason
Published in the October 30, 2015 edition
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE — It was a fight to the finish for the Melrose Lady Raider soccer team, who needed to pull off a winning streak to qualify for a 2015 MIAA postseason. But it’s now mission accomplished for the Lady Raiders, whose victories over Watertown and Malden last week helped seal the deal. By securing a second place tie in their league, Melrose advances along with Wakefield and Stoneham.
A proud Melrose coach William DeSimone credited the team for their perseverance. “Led by this year’s senior class, this team understands what it means to work together for a common goal. We just keep playing. This Class of 2016 has raised the bar.”
The fun started on Tuesday, Oct. 20 under the lights at Fred Green Field when Melrose enjoyed a resounding 4-0 victory over Watertown. Celebrating Senior Night, it was an evening in which seniors shined. Both Michelle Henry and Emily Bertolaccini scored their first career goals, while senior goalie Melissa Rushton earned a shutout at the net for Melrose. Also putting goals in the net for Melrose were Aevary Smith and Erin Reardon.
The night honored their outgoing seniors, including quad captain Katey Baraw, Emily Bertolaccini, Hannah Butler, Julia Foley, Michelle Henry, Jacqueline Pereira, quad captain Hayley Rodriguez, Melissa Rushton, quad captain Aevary Smith and quad captain Olivia Smith.
Head coach Bill DeSimone credits the hard working Lady Raiders (5-9-2, 4-5-1) for the battle. This season Melrose enjoyed victories over (among others) Stoneham, Burlington, Reading, and Watertown, keeping most hard-fought games within a goal or two. Melrose played tough without the contributions of senior Jackie Pereira, an EMass All Star who would have averaged anywhere from 10-15 goals for the Lady Raiders. For coach Bill DeSimone, the determination the team showed despite it speaks volumes.
Brackets are expected to be announced Nov. 2 and playoffs could begin as early as Nov. 5. Check out next week’s edition or visit www.schedulestar.com for up to date information.
No matter the result of the playoff games, this team is something special to its coach. “There will always be a place in my heart for them,” DeSimone says.