Sunday, November 15, 2015

Game 26: AC 3 Melrose 1

It was the end of the line for Melrose as AC exacted revenge for its regular season defeat. Melrose finishes the campaign 22-4.

Steve Karampalas shares photographs. Click to enlarge

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Moving On

Photograph courtesy of Steve Karampalas. Click to enlarge.

Game 25: D2 North Semifinals Melrose 3 Danvers 0

Melrose hosted Danvers and advanced back to the D2 North finals after missing a year, defeating the Falcons 25-14, 25-14, and 25-15.

Danvers has a relatively new program and showed some proficiency at blocking and digging, but simply didn't have enough offense to overcome Melrose's experience and depth.

Victoria Crovo dominated in the middle for Melrose, Saoirse Connolly ruled the service line, and Kaitlyn MacInnes led the back row which had an above average performance. The full box score is not yet available.

The victory propels Melrose back to a rematch with long-term rival Arlington Catholic, Saturday at 3 p.m. at Tewksbury.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Semifinals Tonight: Learn to Fly

Aspire to something more.

Melrose hosts Danvers tonight at 7:00. The journey continues. Learn to fly.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Belichick on Leadership

Melrose volleyball has an elaborate process in place to choose its titular (captains) leaders. That includes an application process, interviews with teachers, and an election within the team. But leadership doesn't hold exclusivity within captaincy. 

Melrose has outstanding leadership with co-captains Marissa Cataldo and Victoria Crovo, but even the casual observer can see other 'floor leaders'. It's far harder to see from a distance other leadership among players. shares Bill Belichick's thoughts on leadership. "Everybody on the team has leadership," he explained. "You don’t have to be a captain to be a leader. You don’t have to be a 10-year veteran or anything else. Rookies give us leadership. Veterans give us leadership. Captains represent the team in various ways, but in the end, I think every player that’s a participant on the team provides leadership. If they have a good attitude and they work hard and they put the team first, then that’s really what leadership is all about."

Leadership springs from setting an example, through positive attitude (good and useful ideas), by supporting teammates through good times and bad. Developing the best approach to team chemistry transfers to the other teams in your life - family, school, work, and community.

Snap Judgment

Steve Karampalas shares great shots from last night's quarterfinal playoff match. Click the photo to enlarge. A few deserve a caption...

Pressure? What pressure?

Girls can jump, Part I.

Girls can jump, Part II.

 Girls can jump, Part III.

 "That's gonna leave a mark!" Note Emily far right...

"How did that mouse get there?"

"Winner, winner chicken dinner."

Monday, November 09, 2015

Game 24: D2 North Quarterfinal, Melrose 3 Bedford 0

Melrose (21-3) advanced to the Division 2 North Semifinals with a straight set win over the visiting Bedford Buccaneers, 25-18, 25-20, and 25-10. The win propels Melrose into the next round Wednesday against Danvers.

Melrose started slowly, trailing early, 6-3 before gradually restoring order. Melrose trailed 14-12 but went on a massive 7-0 run highlighted by Victoria Crovo blocks and kills abetted by strongside hitting from fellow Middlesex League All-Star Hannah Mulcahey.

The second set started unevenly as well, as Melrose and Bedford battled into the middle of the set. Meg Leyne went out early with an injury, and junior Bella Federico stepped up off the bench with her biggest role to date. Melrose closed out the set aided by strong back row play from Kaitlyn MacInnes, Julia Symonds, and the all-around excellence of league MVP Marissa Cataldo. Sophomore opposite Saoirse Connolly did her best impersonation of Gina Ciccone circa 2005 mixing outstanding defense, crisp passing, and occasional hitting.

Melrose put together a dominant third set, starting quickly at 10-5 and extending the lead to 20-7 highlighted by outstanding work outside by Marissa Cataldo and solid setting by Lily Fitzgerald. Melrose cleaned up and finished as Bedford committed a service error to end the match.

Lady Raider Notes:  A large crowd enjoyed tonight's contest, including numerous volleyball alumni parents. Melrose and Danvers have only one common opponent. Melrose defeated Winchester 3-1 and Danvers eliminated the Sachems in the first round, 3-2.

Division 2 North Quarterfinals Tonight

Melrose hosts Bedford tonight at the Veterans Memorial Middle School Gymnasium at 7:00.

Honor Roll

The best way to earn recognition for individual achievement is to lead your team to collective success. People tend to remember teams first and then the individuals on the bus. In "Good to Great", Jim Collins notes that the key to great organizations is getting the "right people on the bus in the right seats."

Middlesex League MVP:

Marissa Cataldo, the Swiss Army knife, Jen Cain clone

Middlesex League All-Stars:

Marissa Cataldo (183 kills)
Victoria Crovo (led team with 226 kills, 17th in Massachusetts*)
Hannah Mulcahey (161 kills)
Kaitlin MacInnes
Lily Fitzgerald (453 assists, 22nd in Massachusetts*)

MGVCA All-State Selection:

Marissa Cataldo

This represents the ninth consecutive year that Melrose has had at least one player honored as an All-State selection.

Congratulations to the team for another twenty win season and to all the players who earned special recognition.

*Statistics from

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Playoffs, First Round: Melrose 3 Greater Lawrence 0

Melrose advanced with its 20th win of the season with a straight set win over visiting Greater Lawrence, 25-10, 25-20, 25-3. It was the inaugural playoff experience for many of the Lady Raiders.

At times, the game lacked flow and neither team played its best volleyball.

Weston won't be returning as the D2 North champion, eliminated in the first round by always-tough Bishop Fenwick.

Fenwick-AC is the marquis game of the quarterfinals. This is reminiscent of the 2005 playoffs when Melrose faced uber-tough Central Catholic in the quarterfinals, en route to a loss in the state championship game.

The only common opponent for the Bedford Buccaneers and Melrose is Belmont, whom Bedford beat twice by 3-1 scores.

Melrose hosts Bedford Monday in the quarterfinals at the Veterans Memorial Middle School gymnasium.

Photos courtesy of Steve Karampalas. Click to enlarge a shot.