Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Game 12: Refinement, Melrose 3 Wakefield 0

Melrose traveled to Wakefield and departed with a three set win and a playoff berth.

Every match provides opportunity to learn something about yourself and your team. Competition affords opportunities to refine serves, work on serve receive, improve passing, establish your communication identity, and so on.

Wakefield led early 5-4, as Melrose looked for answers to playing less than 'A' volleyball yesterday. But the wakeup call came early, and Melrose ran off a 13-2 stretch to lead 17-7. Melrose closed out the Warriors with an 8-2 finish to win 25-9.

Meri Lessing had five kills, Cat Torpey a pair, and Marissa Cataldo, Hannah Mulcahey, and Victoria Crovo one apiece.

The Lady Raiders went out quickly in set two to lead 12-4 with action for hard-working reserves. Wakefield got as close as 19-16 before Melrose closed out six consecutive points to win 25-16.

Junior Meagan Leyne, sophomores Bella Federico, Caroline Nolan, and freshman Lily Fitzgerald all got some valuable experience in the set.

The young Lady Raiders also saw plenty of time in the final frame and proved themselves to be quick studies, leading 10-3 and 17-6 en route to a 25-10 set win. It was more of the same with kills from Meagan and Cat leading the way.

The early integration of young players into the roster and into game action provides a continuous repletion of talented players through the system. Early development, coupled with practice and game experience helps contribute to eleven consecutive Division 2 North finals and seven D2N titles.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Game 11: Reversal of Misfortune, Melrose 3 Central 1

Melrose rebounded from its defeat to defending State Champion Notre Dame (H) with a four set 13-25, 25-14, 25-16, 25-14 win. The victory brings Melrose to the halfway point of the season and a 10-1 record.

Melrose came in 11th ranked in Massachusetts in the 'black box' Maxpreps.com poll.

Central dominated the first set, leading in its entirety, from 2-0, to 5-1, 11-5, and 17-9. Melrose struggled in every aspect of the game from serving (four service errors) to serve receive, hitting, and passing. Central brought the perfect storm in the set and won handily.

The second set began better for Melrose as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead. But Central responded to get even at 5 and 6, then lead 8-6. The game was even at 8, 9, and 11, when Melrose ran off a 14-3 close, the set featuring four kills from Meri Lessing and a pair apiece for Marissa Cataldo and Cat Torpey. Melrose reversed the trend of scoring mostly on Central errors and took control of the match at the midway point.

Set three saw the Melrose offense get into high gear, with a possible program record eighteen kills. Melrose trailed 4-1 and 7-5, but ran off a 20-9 finish to close strong.

Meri had four kills, while Hannah Mulcahey and Victoria Crovo both added another 4, and Marissa had three. Ashley Harding came into the back row cold and played excellent defense.

The fourth set seem anti-climatic as after leading 8-7, Melrose rallied to a 17-7 advantage and Central seemed dispirited after putting forth a great effort but getting worn down. Melrose piled on another fifteen kills, with five for Hannah, three for Vick, a pair for Allie Nolan, and a couple each for Steph Crovo and Marissa. Allie Nolan had a big night on sets as well.

Game Notes: There was a lot of Sister Act, too. Younger sister Caroline joined Allie at times, Stephanie and Victoria Crovo saw a lot of action, and defenders Amanda Cain and Kaitlyn MacInnes follow the capable footsteps of sisters Jen and Jill.

Updated Boston Globe Standings and More

Globe commentary...Don't sleep on Westborough and Weston. 

In weekend action, Middlesex League school Reading handed Longmeadow (Ranked number 10 in Massachusetts last week on maxpreps.com) their second defeat in the last three games. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bounce Back

"If you're going to make every game a matter of life or death, you're going to have a lot of problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." -- Dean Smith

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results." - attributed often to Albert Einstein but possibly first written by Rita Mae Brown or the Narcotics Anonymous Handbook

Following the University of Memphis loss to Kansas in the 2008 NCAA basketball championship game, Coach John Calipari wrote Bounce Back: Overcoming Setbacks to Succeed in Business and in Life.  Everyone faces adversity. Coach Calipari's players most commonly are minorities who have grown up poor and overcome difficult circumstances to become elite basketball players. All showed the ability to rebound from defeats, personal and team, to achieve on or off the court. 

Here are a few of his thoughts:

"Pedigree is of little importance to me; it's what you do game to game and season to season that determines what kind of program you will be."

"Remember, your trigger event will impact on others around you, so you need to be strong for them."

"Understand that people will begin assessing you for your next job, relationship, or business deal as soon as they see you are dealing with a pitfall."

"You also begin to understand that you are not going to have just one, two, or three bounce backs in your life. In fact, you're never going to be done transforming yourself, your career, and your relationships."

"You...should assess your performance frequently through the bounce back process...most of all you have to always be honest with yourself."

"In your own bounce back you have to be able to look at your situation objectively..."

"Take stock of what has happened, and be prepared to attack your bounce back with a passion and positive attitude - no matter what."

"Every high achiever has a powerful team of personal advisors to turn to for assistance, advice, and support. In fact, this team is so critical, it pays to begin assembling them early on in your journey...you need to include people who will challenge you and not be afraid to tell you things you don't want to hear."

You get the point. One setback in the midst of an excellent campaign serves not as a crisis or catastrophe, but as a learning opportunity and chance for self-reflection on how to improve individually and collectively. Consider it as an opportunity, like tempering steel makes it more useful. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Art of War

A passage from James Clavell's version of Sun Tzu's classic "The Art of War."

“If you know the enemy and know yourself,
you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. 
If you know yourself but not the enemy,
for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. 
If you know neither the enemy nor yourself,
you will succumb in every battle."

Commonwealth Stat Leaders

All categories not available.

Kills leaders.

Yesterday's Key Stats

Melrose - Burlington Photoessay

Images courtesy of Don Norris. Click photos to enlarge.

Game Summary and More

Three hallmarks of successful teams are commitment, composure, and confidence. Commitment gets you to a certain level, composure allows teams to overcome adversity, and confidence emerges from proven success. Defeat with honor helps excellent teams identify areas needing improvement and Melrose should derive confidence and refine their game for the second half of the season.

The first set saw Notre Dame run out to a 4-0 lead only to see Melrose return fire to even the score at 5, 6, 7, and 8. It was nip and tuck throughout, with a string of service errors plaguing both clubs. ND led 13-11 only to see Melrose rally to lead 14-13, followed by ties at every point to 18. The hosts led 21-18, but after trailing 23-21, Melrose got even at 23 and 24, with Meri Lessing having six first set kills, including four of the last five Melrose points. ND got the final two points to capture the critical first set, as Melrose had six costly service errors.

Notre Dame carried momentum into the second stanza, erupting to a quick 9-2 lead. Melrose struggled to get its offense in gear, but Victoria Crovo picked it up with three second set kills. The Lady Raiders got as close as 11-7, but ND pulled away. ND had numerous service errors, which I presume reflect an aggressive service style. They finished with a 14-11 run to capture the set 25-18.

Backs to the proverbial wall, Melrose responded in the third set. Tied at three, Melrose ran off six consecutive points with Meri serving, as matchups become critical, containing the opposition's hitting game. ND closed to within 10-7, but Melrose ran the lead to 18-11, and held off a late ND rally from 24-19 to win 25-22.

The offense came alive in set three, with thirteen kills, four from Hannah Mulcahey and Meri, three from Victoria and a pair from Marissa Cataldo. Excellent setting from Allie Nolan made that possible along with solid passing from the back row, including libero Amanda Cain.

Melrose started well in set four, leading 5-2 and 8-3, but the best teams never quit. ND won eight of the next ten points to lead 11-10. Scores were level at 11, 12, 16, and 18, but ND widened a lead to 22-20, before Melrose ran off three to lead 23-22 with a pair of Lessing kills and one from Allie. But the defending State Champions maintained their composure and took the final three points to emerge as winners.

Meri had another big set with five kills, Victoria had three, and Hannah added two for Melrose.

View from the Quincy Patriot Ledger:

Notre Dame Academy 3, Melrose 1: The Cougars (9-0) followed up their big win Tuesday over Barnstable by prevailing again at home, 26-24, 25-18, 22-25, 25-23. NDA was led by junior setter Corinne Cox of Duxbury (48 assists, 8 kills, 3 aces), senior captain Julia Marshall of Weymouth (12 kills, 5 aces, 6 digs) and junior outside hitter Avery Spaziani of Hingham (14 kills, 11 digs, 2 aces).

Upcoming schedule:

Next week Melrose hosts always tough Central, then goes on the road for a pair against Wakefield and Watertown.

Standings as available from Maxpreps.com

Around and About.

Lexington volleyball from WickedLocal.com.

Belmont volleyball.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Game 10: Respect Notre Dame 3 Melrose 1

It's late and I will give a more complete report when I have more details. Melrose traveled to face number one Notre Dame (Hingham) and got respect but no victory.

NDH handed Melrose its first loss of the season 26-24, 25-18, 22-25, and 25-23. Melrose has a lot to build on as NDH handed perennial D1 Champion Barnstable a 3-0 defeat earlier this week.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

To Be the Best...

you must beat the best.

Melrose travels to Notre Dame Academy tomorrow looking at opportunity. Winning the big game in sports means making one more play and raising your level of play. Melrose has always played its best against the best teams, since its epic defeat of undefeated Arlington Catholic (22-0) in 2003 to capture its first Division 2 North title.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Game 9: Not Bedeviled Melrose 3 Burlington 0

Melrose finished up their home stand with a sweep, erasing Burlington 3-0. Melrose moves to 9-0 and faces defending State Champion Notre Dame (Hingham) Friday as the last two Division 2 State Champions square off.

Burlington took a quick 3-1 lead, but Melrose took the lead at 5-4 and didn't trail again in the first set. They extended the lead to 9-5 and 19-7 on the way to a 25-13 opening set rout.

The Lady Raiders delivered X-box numbers in the set with seventeen kills. Senior Meri Lessing had five as did sophomore Victoria "V-Rex" Crovo. Junior Marissa Cataldo was not far behind with four.
Burlington stayed competitive in the second set, tied at 4 and trailed 9-7 early. But Melrose went on a 16-5 run to win going away 25-12.

Victoria hammered home another four kills, Meri delivered three, and Allie Nolan and Hannah (The Second) Mulcahey also found the range with a pair each.

Melrose finished the match with a 25-21 third set. After leading early 4-1, the Red Devils struck back to lead 6-4, 9-7, and 12-9 before Melrose got even at thirteen. But it wasn't 'easy' as the visitors led 17-15 and 18-17 before Melrose put it away with an 8-4 closeout.

Unofficially, Melrose added another baker's dozen kills, with Meri (7) and Victoria and Hannah (two apiece) doing much of the damage.