Published in the April 19, 2021 edition.
By DAN PAWLOWSKI
WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield High volleyball team concluded their regular season on Saturday with a home loss to Melrose, just four days after the Red Raiders won the first matchup at Melrose High 3-1.
The Warriors concluded their regular season with a 6-4 record while Melrose finished undefeated to win the Freedom Division title.
Wakefield will host Reading (1-9) in the first round of the Middlesex League playoffs tonight, 6:30 p.m. at the Charbonneau Field House. The Rockets defeated Lexington 3-1 in their regular season finale on Tuesday for their first win.
Wakefield has never defeated Reading. The Rockets are 8-0 against the Warriors dating back to the 2013 season. The Warriors have yet to take a set from the Rockets as all of those wins were by 3-0 scores.
Evidence of Wakefield’s improvement as a program was on display April 13 when they took a set from Melrose for just the second time in program history. The Warriors were hoping for more, but they proved they could beat anybody in the league.
That victory came in the third set after Melrose took a two sets to none lead. The Red Raiders won the first set 25-16 and a closer second set 25-21.
Melrose was one point away from sending the fans who gathered for senior night home with a 3-0 match win when Wakefield head coach and Melrose High alum Kayla Wyland called timeout with her team trailing 24-21. Junior Maddy Seabury, who led the Warriors with 17 kills and added two aces, hit a cut shot for a kill and blocked a Melrose hit after a great rally that landed on the Red Raider side to make it 24-23 and force a Melrose timeout from Wyland’s former coach Scott Celli.
Senior captain Clara Butler (2 kills, 31 assists, 3 aces, 13 digs) came out of the break with an ace from the service line to tie it and then another to give the Warriors a one point lead. After nearly picking up another service point, Butler earned the set-winning assist by passing across court to junior Kelsey Manchester (5 kills, 2 aces) whose spike created an awesome moment of celebration for the Warriors who finished the set on a 5-0 run.
The Red Raiders regrouped and won the final set 25-14.
Wakefield had consistently strong efforts throughout the four sets from multiple players including Seabury, Butler and Manchester. Senior captain Hailey Burke had a strong game in the middle with 6 kills as did junior Mia Desruisseaux (5 kills, 10 digs) from the outside.
Wakefield’s back line was also very steady against multiple strong hitters of Melrose. Junior Hannah Kelley had 21 digs as the Warrior libero. Juniors Amanda Nett (8 digs) and Claire Donahue (4 digs) were also strong on the back line.
The Warriors couldn’t hang with Melrose in the first (25-10) or third (25-13) sets during the regular season finale at WMHS. The second set was a much closer 25-19.
Seabury led the Warriors again with 7 kills. Desruisseaux had 6, Manchester had 5 and Butler had 3.
Butler led the team in assists with 19 and tied for the lead in aces with 2 along with Donahue.
Kelly led the way in digs with 12, followed by 11 from Desruisseaux, 9 from Butler, 8 from Donahue and 6 from Nett.
The Warriors are one of eight teams playing in the first round of the league’s volleyball tournament. Belmont will travel to Watertown, Woburn will visit Wilmington and Arlington will host Stoneham. Winchester, Lexington, Melrose and Burlington all got first round byes. They will each host a quarterfinal game against one of the four winners tomorrow. It is unknown at press who the winner of tonight’s Wakefield vs. Reading match will play in the next round.