Thursday, October 08, 2015

Game 12: Melrose 3 Woburn 0 and Novel Ideas for Better Volleyball

Melrose interrupted their road swing with a three-set 25-6, 25-12, 25-12 victory over Woburn. The Lady Raiders played with a lot of energy and the general level of enthusiasm in the gymnasium and on the bench definitely has increased.

The victory raises Melrose's record to 10-2 and they remain undefeated in the league. For the league to increase its competitiveness, I would recommend that each team play every team in the league ONCE (11 games) and fill out the remainder of the schedule with nine to eleven other games. If a team wanted to schedule another Middlesex League opponent again, that would remain an option and perhaps restore those stronger, traditional rivalries (e.g. Melrose-Reading). Weaker or less experienced teams could also schedule teams that might be more competitive for themselves.

Consider a Melrose schedule like this:

11 Middlesex League games
2 games (home and away) with Bishop Fenwick
2 games (home and away) with Arlington Catholic
1 game (alternating sites) with Central Catholic
1 game (alternating sites) with Ursuline
1 game (alternating sites) with Westborough
1 game (alternating sites) with Andover
1 game (second game) with Reading

That creates a twenty game schedule with at least half the games highly competitive.

Consider the NDA Schedule. They play historically strong Ursuline, Medfield, and Frontier twice. They play "legacy programs" Barnstable, Westborough, AC, Melrose, and Canton one game apiece. The players enjoy a better experience, the fans see more competitive matches, and the team is far better prepared for post-season play. Traditional rivalries are preserved and new rivalries are developed and enhanced. It's a win-win situation. Yes, Melrose would probably not have as many twenty win seasons, but that has never been a benchmark for coach Celli and his staff.

Melrose details are available here.

Division 2 rankings are here. These are incorrect as somehow Notre Dame Academy has disappeared from the rankings.

Yesterday's box score versus Woburn is here.

Tomorrow, Melrose plays Winchester (one of the stronger Middlesex League teams) at 7:00 P.M. at the McCall School (Winchester).

The Power of Video

Bob Cataldo shares recent Melrose Volleyball action versus Reading with the "Coaches View" from the end zone.

Video analysis allows coaches and players to analyze both decision-making and execution on every play and forge growth via specific drills (blocking, digging, serving, etc.) and coverage changes or teaching designed for correction. For example, when double blocking the outside, the outside blocker's outside hand should slightly angle in, to keep blocks in play instead of allowing offense to 'wipe the block'.

Coaches can also rapidly do statistical analysis on digs, total attacks, attack success rate, et cetera.

Many thanks for sharing.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Game 11: Melrose 3 Reading 0 Back on Track

Melrose traveled to Reading and emerged with a three-set win. 

Melrose got balanced offense from their top four hitters including double-figure kills for Victoria Crovo and Marissa Cataldo. 

The Lady Raiders limited service errors which also helped. 

Melrose's win gives them a two-game lead on Winchester and Reading in the Middlesex League. 

Here is the upcoming volleyball schedule for fans. From a players' standpoint, the only contest that matters is the next one. 

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Middlesex League Bragging Rights in the Offing

Melrose continues its road trip at the Hawkes' Fieldhouse tomorrow at 4 P.M. to face reading. 

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Game 10: Central 3 Melrose 0 Grand Central

Melrose has experienced highs and lows in its annual (and sometimes more) meetings with Central. Yesterday, Central exacted its reversal with a three-set victory in Lawrence.

These non-league games are critical to the team's development and can provide practical learning experience and inform the coaching staff about what adjustments are needed to optimize team growth. 

Friday, October 02, 2015

The Reading Mandate

Michael Hyatt discusses the value of reading

Engagement improves our knowledge, analytical and problem-solving abilities

Reading helps us understand other people, their viewpoints, and motivations

Mastery of communication allows us to share critical information. 

This simple activity has physiologic benefits such as lowering blood pressure. Mild reductions in blood pressure lower circulation risk and improve survival!

Our brains benefit from "neuroplasticity." We can remodel our brains into advanced age improving both brain density and connections. Good deal! 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Game 9: Melrose 3 Stoneham 0

They say "you can't go home again." That's not exactly true, as Coach Scott Celli and the Lady Raiders stopped in Stoneham long enough for a three set victory.

Everyone available on the roster played a lot and well. Coach Celli mixed and matched a lot of players throughout the match.

Jill Mercer's smooth serve (16 serves, no errors) and solid defense and Bella Federico's net play stood out for me.

Elsewhere in the Middlesex League:

Melrose continues its road swing Friday at always tough Central Catholic at 6 P.M. Melrose and Central have played some great matches over the years with both teams having their share of big wins. 

More Snaps

Photographs courtesy Steve Karampalas; click shots to enlarge.

Recently minted Melrose Hall of Famer Hannah Brickley stops by.

ML Standings

From The Boston Globe

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Game 8: Melrose 3 Watertown 0

Melrose expanded its win total to seven with a straight-set win at Watertown.

Melrose is in the midst of perhaps its longest road streak ever with five road games in six contests. Wednesday Melrose has another Middlesex League match traveling to Stoneham.

I didn't see the latter half of the NDA game, but was impressed in the first half of the match of the team's willingness to hit out. Successful teams attack and play decisive volleyball. Indecision and tentative play inform unsuccessful teams.