Seniors honored & team prepping for D2 playoffs
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Melrose defeats Westborough 10-9 (6/5) to advance to the Sweet 16
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Published June 2, 2023
BY JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—The Melrose High girls’ lacrosse team is heading to playoffs after clinching a spot in the Div. 2 playoffs with a a Senior Night victory over Shawsheen at home on Wednesday, May 24 at Fred Green Field. Melrose picked up a massive 17-7 win, earning their 8th victory of the season that punched their ticket to a post season. They also maintain a high #17 seed in Div. 2 that ensures a second path to post season.
Leading scoring was Jill Frawley with a great effort of 6 goals and four assists.
It was also a senior special with Sofia Pitcher (3 goals), Meghan Maher (3 goals) and Megan Casey (2 goals) finding the board.
“Seniors contributed on both sides of the ball,” says Melrose head coach Matt Galusi. “We started slow but picked it up and took care of business. Defensively we kept Shawsheen in check.”
With a strong Sofia Hitchman at the net, Melrose also prompted turnovers in the second half that helped set up many goals to pull away from a 5-5 halftime tie. Says Galusi,
“Our seniors really contributed on both sides of the ball. Need to thank Meg Casey, Sophia Pitcher, Meg Maher, Sophia Galusi and Lindsay Teeven for rising up and ensuring that their senior night would end in a win.”
“We came out in the second and took control of the game from the face off and never looked back. Super proud of these girls and how they responded to a challenge.”
Days later, Melrose would fight for league title rights against rival Burlington in an overall fantastic barn burner that fell the Red Devils way, 10-7.
Melrose had to overcome an early deficit of 5-2 despite two goals from Melrose’s Jill Frawley. And they’d get that chance with a game changing faceoff surge with about five minutes left in the first half. Fueled by a penalty goal by senior captain Megan Casey, Melrose would score twice more behind the goals of Cailan MacDonald (assist, Frawley) and Meghan Maher (assist, Lucy Clark) to narrow it to a 6-5 game at the half. Much of that was done on the dogged work of pair Megan Casey and Emily Lucien whose tough midfield work with groundballs and overall defense helped keep the ball solely in Melrose’s possession to clear the path to those goals.
Says Galusi, “Emily Lucien played one of the best defensive games I have seen in quite some time, limiting a Division 1 player (Collins, will be attending and playing at UNH) to 1 goal and 1 assist. That’s just tremendous defense. Jill Frawley helped out when Emily needed a blow with covering Collins. Lindsay Teeven continued to be the voice of the defense and controlled it perfectly.”
At the net, Melrose junior captain Sofia Hitchman was near flawless in the draining minutes of the first with back-to-back saves. Melrose would have to contend with tough opposition from Burlington’s CJ Tremblay, who scored two goals in the first half, and then another in the opening of the second. Cailan Macdonald would put Melrose within one goal again with a shot in the net at 12:45 and a highlight-reel goal by a falling Jill Frawley tied it up, much to the delight of the well-attended crowd.
With seven minutes left, Melrose was showing some wear and tear, slowing down at key moments that allowed a shot by Burlington’s Ava Robichard to give Burlington an 8-7 lead they wouldn’t lose. While Hitchman at the net had a quality save at 4:04, two Burlington goals—one from CJ Tremblay—in quick succession made it a 10-7 final. To the victors (Burlington) went the spoils (league title).
“Sophia Hitchman was huge down the stretch, 14 saves overall, and kept us in that game until the very end,” says coach Galusi. “But, we just struggled to get quality scoring opportunities and that ultimately did us in. It really left a bad taste in our mouths because that was a game that we beat ourselves.”
Melrose now finishes second in the Freedom League but is 100% focused on their Div. 2 playoff run.
“The level of competition ramps up,” says Galusi. “We need to make sure that we don’t start flat and get flustered. We need to compose ourselves and stay the course. If we can play defense like we did vs. Burlington and offense against Belmont then we could be alright.”
“I know we will be ready for whomever we draw in the tourney and I have my fingers crossed that we stay at 16 or better and are able to host a game.”
Fans are encouraged to visit www.miaa.net and our social media pages for up-to-date playoff information.